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From NewcastleGateshead with love

10th February 2011

Categories: Latest News

NewcastleGateshead is home to some of the most dramatic love stories ever told, and with only a couple of days to go until Valentine’s Day now is the perfect time to discover the area and create your own romantic memories.

The most famous of these is the elopement of Bessie Surtees in the 18th Century. The daughter of a merchant and banker, Bessie fell in love with John Scott, who as the son of a coal dealer was not deemed a good enough match by her father. Despite being told not to see him the lovers continued to meet in secret.  On the night of 18 November 1772, John rescued her from her bedroom window and they ran off together and married in Scotland. John then went on to become Lord Chancellor of England.  Bessie Surtees house is now owned by English Heritage and is free for anyone wishing to visit the scene of the elopement.

NewcastleGateshead was also the place where Beatles legends John Lennon and Paul McCartney penned their best-selling single “She Loves You.” The band were in town on tour and are said to have started composing the hit in their hotel room following a performance at the Majestic Ballroom in Newcastle, now the popular music venue Carling Academy.

But it’s not just these romantic links which make for an unforgettable Valentine’s trip, there are also a host of romantic spots around the “twin cities” to inspire you, fantastic hotel deals for that special break away and some “love”ly themed events.

Here are just a few highlights:

NewcastleGateshead’s Romantic spots

Do not miss out on the beauty of NewcastleGateshead’s Quayside at night. A romantic evening stroll will unveil the spectacular lights of the Gateshead Millennium Bridge, which never fails to please. While there, soak up the world-class cultural buildings of the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and The Sage Gateshead to make for the perfect romantic walk.

Pack up some wine and cheese and enjoy a picnic at the feet of the Angel of the North. This iconic figure provides a panoramic view which really is an experience like no other.

Or dine in the 6th most romantic restaurant in the UK – Blackfriars in Newcastle. The restaurant is the oldest dining room in the UK with the main restaurant originally built to house the refectory for the city’s ‘Black Friars’, and as a working inner-city former monastery, it is unique.

Valentine’s Events:

Concert:  From Gibside with love, Gibside Estate, 12 & 13 February, 3pm – 5pm 

Song and verse for St Valentine’s Day in Gibside Chapel to celebrate Gibside’s lovers, followed by a strawberry cream tea; £7.50 per person, including refreshments, booking advisable. Normal admission applies.

Also at Gibside there will be guided tours highlighting the estate’s most romantic viewpoints and recounting the dramatic love life of Gibside's most famous lady, Mary Eleanor Bowes (1pm) or create mementoes for loved ones with the kids. Finish off with tasty Valentine's treats in the tea room.  Normal admission applies.

And if you need an antidote to Valentine’s Day Gibside also has a Bushcraft Bonding event on 13 February. You can meet new people and have a laugh while discovering how to live lightly in the outdoors with skills like food foraging and creating cosy campfires; £8 per person, including refreshments, booking essential. Normal admission applies.

The North East’s Most Romantic Film 2011,  Before Sunrise,  Tyneside Cinema, 14 February

Every year the people of the North East are asked to vote on their favourite romantic film, with the winner being screened at Newcastle’s most popular independent cinema the Tyneside Cinema on Valentine’s Day. This year’s winner is the classic Indie romance “ Before Sunrise”.

Starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy the romantic tale will be shown at 8.30pm on Valentine’s night.

Valentine’s Love Wall, MetroCentre, Gateshead, 11 – 14 February

Show your love this Valentine's with a special message on the Love Wall, and support the British Heart Foundation's 'Mending Broken Hearts' campaign with a £1 donation. All money raised will go towards the research of new treatments at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle.

Simply visit the Love Wall stand in Town Square in the MetroCentre,  Europe’s largest shopping centre,  from Friday 11 to Monday 14 February,  and receive a love heart to write your Valentine's message on.  You'll automatically be entered into a prize draw with the top prize a weekend stay at the beautiful  Linden Hall Hotel near Morpeth, Northumberland.

When Harry Met Sally, Whitley Bay Playhouse, 14-16 February

What better way to spend Valentine’s Day than with a trip to see the stage version of one of the most romantic films of all time!

Day 8 Productions brings to the stage the much-loved academy award winning classic When Harry Met Sally.

The classic, spanning a dozen years, tells the hilarious tale of two New Yorkers and the friendship that develops between them as they date (other people rather than one another!) and share the trials and tribulations of relationships.

There is a special Valentine's Offer of £10 per ticket for the 14th Feb show.

Erin and Anton “Puttin on the Ritz”- The Sage Gateshead, 13 February

Take your loved one back to the romantic balls of days gone by with a performance by BBC “Strictly Come Dancing” favourites Anton Du Beke and Erin Boag. The pair are joined by superb guest dancers and a live orchestra conducted by Richard Balcombe for their fabulous new show.

With music from Irving Berlin, Leonard Bernstein, Kander & Ebb and Cole Porter, the show includes classic hits such as ‘Puttin’ on the ritz’, ‘On the Town’ and ‘Razzle Dazzle’. 

And for that football fan in your life why not take them to the Discovery Museum, Newcastle to see their special NUFC: For the Love of Football exhibition.  

Open until  26 June, the exhibition displays decades of rare Newcastle United football memorabilia ranging from Hughie Gallagher’s 1926/27 Championship shirt, to modern day items such as Andy Cole’s Number 9 shirt.

Special Valentine’s Deals

Jesmond Dene House Hotel, Jesmond Dene Road, Newcastle, Tel: +44 (0)191 212 3000

Situated in the beautiful woodland haven in the heart of Newcastle, the hotel is offering a special Romantic Escape package for Valentine’s weekend. The deal includes overnight accommodation;  a five-course tasting menu dinner in the restaurant with a glass of Champagne, a red rose and champagne breakfast, all from £276, and for those staying choosing to stay on Valentine’s Day itself, the experience also includes live music in the Great Hall.  

Matfen Hall Hotel, Matfen, Newcastle, NE20 0RH, Tel: +44 (0) 1661 886500,

Only 10 minutes drive from NewcastleGateshead this stunning country house hotel is the perfect place for a romantic break for two. The hotel’s Valentine’s Weekend offers include one night accommodation, champagne on arrival, dinner from the sharing menu and bed and breakfast from £185 per room.

For more information go to  


PR Contact: Hayley Quarmby, PR Officer, NewcastleGateshead Initiative, 0191 440 5741,

 Why 'NewcastleGateshead'?

You may wonder why the destination is described as NewcastleGateshead...

Newcastle (a city on the north bank of the River Tyne) and Gateshead (a town on the south bank of the River Tyne) have been transformed into a single cultural and cosmopolitan visitor destination: NewcastleGateshead (think Buda Pest). 

The two places are closely linked - by seven bridges across the river – and visitor attractions and events can be found on both sides.  Visitors to the area are drawn to sample attractions, galleries, live performances, sporting events, museums, restaurants, hotels and much more in both Newcastle and Gateshead - with easy pedestrian access from one to the other in a matter of minutes via the Gateshead Millennium Bridge.

Three of the area's most high-profile contemporary attractions (BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, international music centre The Sage Gateshead and world famous public art the Angel of the North) are all in Gateshead, while Newcastle brings a wealth of history and heritage (along with its world-class contemporary developments), plus an incredible choice of cosmopolitan nightlife, to the successful partnership: NewcastleGateshead.

For further information and to register for access to high resolution images visit:

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