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An unlikely hub of culture, Gateshead boasts some of the most interesting examples of art, architecture and design in this region of the UK. There are many wonderful museums to be visited and historical tours to be taken in this city that boasts a rich and interesting past. There is, however, much to be said about Gateshead’s immediate location as well. Right on the River Tyne, Gateshead is the perfect place to be based while exploring the area’s amazing natural and cultural landmarks. All travellers need is a rental car, which can be obtained from any one of the many agencies in the city.
Who to Book With
Those looking to hire a car in the city will be pleased with the selection of companies present. Such names as Avis, Budget and Hertz are all available and provide the option of online pre-booking. The offices of most of the car rental agencies in the city can be found at the central railway station and at a few other locations in the central business district.
Best Time to go
Summertime, spanning the months from June to September, is peak season in the city. During this time, the crowds start to descend and the prices gradually rise. Advanced bookings are the only way to prevent paying steep prices and running the risk of losing out no that ideal rental car.
Need to Know Essentials
All agencies will need to see the following documents before they are allowed to release any rental cars:
- A valid driving licence or, for foreign drivers, an international driving permit
- The credit card used to make the online booking
- A form of photographic identification, like a valid passport
- Proof of booking
Driving in central Gateshead is not too necessary, as the centre, at least, is quite small and most parts of it can easily be navigated on foot. Travellers wanting to go a bit farther outside of the centre, however, should definitely consider renting car, as it is the most reliable mode of transport for longer journeys.
Parking in the city is not overly complicated, but it isn’t exactly free either. The city operates a range of car parks and garages all over using a Pay and Display system. Different parking garages have different rates and permitted lengths of stay, so drivers will need to read all of the signs before making a decision to park. On-street parking is also available but it is far more expensive than the parking garages and often the reason why drivers incur steep fines.
The centre of Gateshead is very small, and the most important landmarks, such as the train station, the harbour and the CBD, are no more than 15 minutes away from each other when travelling on foot. That said, public transport options are available for those that prefer to get around a bit more quickly.
The local metro services, not only the entire city of Gateshead, but areas farther afield like Sunderland and Newcastle as well. This service in the most efficient of the public transport options and is popular with both tourists and locals. The service runs from 05:30 to 00:00, and a train can be expected at any station every five minutes. Tickets can be bought from kiosks on any platform in the city.
The bus service, also a reliable mode of transport in the city, often reaches areas that the train simply cannot. The service is operated by Quaylink and runs to all popular areas, including the Gateshead Quays. These buses are all electric and have very low emissions. Single journey tickets can be bought on the bus, but longer-term tickets, like the Day Rover and the Metro Saver, need to be bought from a kiosk.
Flagging down a taxi is not usually the best way of getting around, as few roam the streets in search of business. Often taxis can be found waiting at the railway stations or at bus terminals. Alternately, book a taxi over the phone in advance. Reputable companies that offer such services include Dean Taxis and Gateshead Central Taxis.
Gateshead is a nice enough place to explore, but the real charms lie in the city’s surroundings. A few kilometres outside of town are some of the area’s most interesting sites, ranging from historical buildings to new-age cultural centres. The scenery is also quite remarkable, makes the drive that bit more enjoyable.
St Mary’s Lighthouse - This has been a landmark in Tynemouth ever since it was opened in 1898. The original building has undergone some renovations since then, but tourists can still visit this historical site and take in the stunning views over the River Tyne.
Blue Reef Aquarium - Ocean lovers should make their way to the Blue reef aquarium. You can explore the underwater world starting from Gateshead’s coastline and continuing to more exotic destinations. There are many different species of sea creature housed here, including seahorses and seals.
National Glass Centre - An interesting cultural establishment at the University of Sunderland, the National Glass Centre not only exhibits interesting arts and crafts but also allows visitors to learn the trade for themselves. The centre itself is built mainly from glass and is quite a work of art.