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22 Things Literally No One Ever Tells You About Newcastle

Fancy zip-sliding across the Tyne, or visiting a dog café? Come to Newcastle.

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1. There's a cat café called Mog on the Tyne.

Instagram: @mogonthetyne

If the inspired name wasn't enough to encourage you to visit, then how does a latte with a side of tabby cat sound? You’ll be surrounded by cuddly felines, who you can play with to your heart's content. There's also another cat café called Catpawcino on the quayside. Bonus!

2. And a dog café called Dog and Scone.

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All six dogs at the café are owned by the manager, Sean Shi, who got his first dog (Momo) a toy poodle, in 2014. All of the dogs go home with him every night for snuggles under the duvet.

3. There's a fully vegan pub in Ouseburn.

Instagram: @katerobertsrd

It's called The Ship Inn, and it has a fully vegan menu, which includes these amazing "lucky taco": a soft taco filled with marinated tofu that's been wrapped in nori and coated in batter before being fried. Woah.

4. And the best non-vegan tacos in town are in Byker.

Instagram: @lainyslips

Most people probably wouldn’t pick the home of PJ and Duncan one of the city’s culinary hotspots, but if you head to Chucho’s at the top end of Shields Road you’ll find absolutely banging tacos made with unusual ingredients like black pudding.

5. You can join a mysterious pie society.

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For just a pound, you can join Newcastle’s mysterious High Pie Society. Each month, Pie Club meets in a secret location, which is revealed only 48 hours beforehand – and enjoy each other’s home baked creations, and a bit of good conversation. Sounds pie-fect (sorry).

6. Or explore a hidden orchard in the heart of the city.

Instagram: @tomnicko91

There's a lush little oasis crammed between Stepney Bank and the Ouseburn itself, with a wildflower meadow and pond squeezed into a tiny area which feels somehow massive despite having the three bridges flying overhead.

7. You can have a gourmet lunch in a shipping container.

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Local food writer Anna Hedworth runs her own kitchen from a shipping container in Ouseburn, and it' fab. The container has been transformed into a chic and cosy little hideout by Anna; the perfect place for a catch up with friends.

8. There's a hidden speakeasy in the city centre.

Instagram: @nitehawksbar

It's called Nite Hawks and it's secreted away in a basement near the Theatre Royal. It's hard to find, so you're usually guaranteed a table. Try one of their "Mouth and Trousers" cocktails made with whisky, bourbon, cognac, and calvados to really kick start your night.

9. The best view in Newcastle is from the Sky Lounge.

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On the roof of Vermont Hotel is a beautiful cocktail garden with fantastic views across the Tyne. It's usually only open for guests, but during the summer months members of the public are allowed up for drinks and the opportunity to soak up the epic view.

10. And the second-best view is from the football stadium.

Instagram: @col_lives

The St. James' Park stadium is 150 feet high, and from April to October you can take a rooftop tour to check out this unique view. You'll get a full safety briefing, and climb to the top of the roof on walkways. It's not for the faint-hearted, though.

11. You can check out taxidermy of variable quality at the Great North Museum stores.

Instagram: @lindafrancebooksandplants

If you've ever wondered what happens when people with far more confidence than technical skill decide to skin, stuff, and then mount an animal, then the answer in these behind-the-scenes storerooms. Ring the museum to sort out a tour with a curator.

12. Or take up taxidermy yourself.

Instagram: @moth_studios

Take a hands-on class at Moth Studios in Commercial Union House on Pilgrim Street. You’ll start small with a mouse, but Moth founder Sherene’s a dab hand with birds, moles, foxes, and pretty much anything else people donate to her too.

13. You can get unbelievable pizza from a big gold van.

Instagram: @roguevillage

Scream For Pizza are maximalist pizza geniuses who regularly pop up at events around the city in an eye-catching van, but they’re always at the Free Trade Inn pub quiz on a Wednesday, so you can get their pizza there. God save the Scream.

14. There's a bar that's also a working ceramics studio.

Instagram: @kilnouseburn

Go for a drink at Kiln. You’ve not known true calm until you’ve had a pint while looking through a massive window at a man very slowly making a pot.

15. You can help build a cinema in an old warehouse.

Instagram: @starandshadowcinema

After being shuffled out of its old home in an Ouseburn warehouse a few years ago, the radical Star And Shadow Cinema has a new home in Sandyford. It’s not quite finished, but it’s being built by volunteers – go and give them a hand.

16. Or take up one of Henry VIII’s favourite sports.

Instagram: @tobyarup

Jesmond Dene real tennis club is one of only 27 "real tennis" courts in the country, which play the original, historic version of tennis where you bounce the balls off the roof. They do taster sessions should you need any pointers on how exactly it works, which you probably will.

17. You can (and should) get bubble waffles at Breadpoint.

Instagram: @juanito83

Bubble waffles are essentially waffles that look like bubble wrap, and they're delicious, especially when filled with ice cream. This bakery on the fringe of Chinatown does loads of stuff you’ll not find anywhere else, too.

18. George Stephenson’s old steam engine workshop is now a part-time roller disco.

Instagram: @aenigmafly

Every few months, the Grade I-listed Boiler Shop warehouse turns into a glitter-fuelled party on wheels, perfect for indulging all your '80s retro fantasies.

19. You’ve probably been walking straight past one of the best bits of architecture in the city.

Instagram: @walkingsuburbanmulticulture

The Lit and Phil library gets a lot of love, but The Mining Institute next door often gets ignored, even though it's incredibly gorgeous. You can wander around the library or see a free talk in the Brazilian mahogany-panelled lecture theatre.

20. You can taste the teas of the world at Tea Sutra.

Instagram: @bettidooley

This cosy, quirky little tearoom sells almost every type of tea you can think of. If you want to sample Yun Wu, from the cool, misty highlands of Huang Shang of Anhui in eastern China, you can. They also sell awesome, middle-eastern inspired vegan food from 12-3pm every day.

21. There's a special train that takes you to curry paradise.

Instagram: @middlemiss24

The Valleys Restaurant in the heart of the Northumberland countryside is based in a renovated, historic train station, and they run their own train service into the city. Beautifully dressed staff will ply you with drinks and take your order as you travel.

22. And you can ride a zip slide across the river Tyne.

Instagram: @zipslides

Zip Slides UK run regular events where you can sign up for a zip wire experience to raise money for a local charity. St Oswald's Hospice are the beneficiaries of the next event; you need to raise a minimum amount of sponsorship to take part. Whee! Would you be brave enough?