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“that’s what you’ve come to wylam brewery for”

“that’s what you’ve come to wylam brewery for”


An adventurous way to spend a Saturday afternoon in Newcastle is to visit Wylam Brewery at Exhibition Park. A helpful fact: the walk from the central train station to Exhibition Park is less than half an hour. But be warned: the half-an-hour walking route is directly through the city centre, which is characterised by majestic creamy-grey stone, with many delightful columns and rooftops to admire. This will add fifteen minutes or more to the half-an-hour walking time it takes to get from the Central train station to Wylam Brewery at Exhibition Park. This is why we suggested Saturday afternoon, when time is melty like a croque monsieur straight from the oven and you can admire the creamy-grey of the buildings without the ticking hands of the clock shouting at you.

The clock will stop anyway, just over the road from the station. It’s here you’ll see the bronze Man with Potential Selves by sculptor Sean Henry. The man with Potential Selves has three. The first bronze Self of this man appears to to be floating horizontally, resting on his elbow. No matter how the wind blows, he stays horizontal, like a frozen flag. The clock has stopped for him, just as it will for you, as you try and imagine his sideways world, where everything is half-way up and half-way down. Surely the Self of this bronze man must love reading Kafka, now and then. Don’t stay too long with this Self, or you’ll end up sideways too.

The bronze man’s second Self is just ahead, in front of the exit to the Metro Station. He’s upright and walking. If you rushed past the second Self you might think he’s ambling by, maybe in contemplation. Don’t be mistaken: he’s frozen too. Maybe take a photograph with him in a walking pose, so that in the suspended photographic world he has a walking companion. That’s something he might appreciate, and when you’ve gone home and printed the photograph, you will too.

Walk on and you’ll approach the third Self, who has observed you from the start. He is stoic; he does not need a walking companion or Kafka. From where he stands, on a podium, he can see the entrance to the Metro and the Station. He’s busy watching, so pass on by.

Here, the clock begins again, slow enough to admire the creamy-grey buildings and be off to Wylam Brewery, that you’ve adventured so far to see. Soon enough, you’ll reach the main entrance of the park, where there is a gate to welcome you. Go through; on your right is a skate park. Here, you can watch skaters roll up and down the ramps, kicking their feet and chasing after their boards. Some of them are good. Watch for a bit, from afar. But then onwards: you’ve got a while to go and much more to see. Like the underpass just ahead. Now that’s something special.

The best way to enjoy an underpass like the one in Exhibition Park is to visit it at the brightest part of the day so that when you venture into the darkness you can imagine yourself at the end of the long cave, maybe somewhere tropical.

Then, back into light. In front of you is a winding road that goes upwards. It’s a bit of a climb. At the top, catch your breath. It is here you will first catch sight of the Palace of Arts.

Wylam Brewery, NewcastleGateshead

Wylam Brewery, NewcastleGateshead

The Palace of Arts is at the end of a long road lined with trees; it looks like the Versailles of a science fiction novel. It was built in 1928 for the North East Exhibition, when it housed art from all around the world. Once, it was a science museum, then a military museum and, for quite a long time, it was empty. Now it is home to Wylam Brewery, where you can watch gigs and try good beer and attend fancy events like weddings and exhibitions. On a Saturday afternoon, it’s a good place to be.

But first, the lake. In 1929, there was a beautiful bridge over this lake. In old photographs, you can see couples crossing the bridge arm in arm, like on a promenade, as rowers paddled along the still water underneath. These days, there is no bridge, but there are swans, ducks, moorhens and coots. These days you have to walk around the lake, but that’s all part of the fun.

As you get closer to the concrete steps of the Palace of Arts, you will notice how tremendous the building is. As you walk through the columns, you may get the feeling that you’re entering a historic government building, or a stately home. It’s a nice feeling to have while drinking beer.

And that’s what you’ve come to Wylam Brewery for: the beer. The beer is brewed right there in the Palace of Arts, and while you sit on one of the high stools next to rows of Penguin classics admiring the big, industrial lights, you can drink it and think: this was made right here. Or if it’s a nice day, you can sit outside in the beer garden and enjoy the same fresh air as the cows on the Town Moor, next to Exhibition Park, and the swans and ducks and moorhens and coots in the lake, and the Man With Potential Selves, just behind you in the city. And you can think of all the adventures you had while getting here, and how there’s really nothing else like it.


For more adventurous ways to spend a Saturday afternoon in Newcastle, visit:

Wylam Brewery Events
The Baltic
Side Gallery

This promoted story was paid for by NewcastleGateshead Initiative and produced by The City Talking