Words leave imprints in your mind like footprints in the sand
Hidden Reading Spaces in the North East
Welcome to a ten point tour of some of the best hidden and not so hidden reading spaces in the North East. There are many more, many more that did not make the cut. We give you now a whistle stop tour of 10 places in the North East for you to sample. This is only the start. Something to whet your literary appetites.
This is the tour itinerary -
As you may know the literary characters of Vera Stanhope (from the books by Ann Cleeves) and Kate Daniels (from the Mari Hannah novels) are prone to wander these parts. This is their stomping ground after all. So you may end up bumping into one of them at some point. As Vera herself might say – ‘Keep an eye out pet ‘
1. First stop – Bamburgh Castle
Pick up your book and read in the castle grounds, beside its stone walls – of particular note as it features heavily in Mari Hannah’s latest novel – Monument to Murder. Don’t forget the surrounding coastline! Stunning is not the word.
2. Heading down the coast….Why not stop off at Low Newton – famous for its small village, gorgeous beaches and gorgeous views. Not to mention the roaring fires of the The Ship Inn – It’s where another local author, Hazel Osmond set some of her novel The Last Time I saw your Face -
3. Alnwick next – Barter Books and Alnwick Castle
You have to visit the Harry Potter castle if you come to the North East and what better way to experience it than by taking a copy of one of the books and reading the scene where they all play Quidditch – It’s Alnwick Castle of course! This is also the ideal spot to read a bit of Jane Eyre and imagine you are looking at Thornfield Hall or even a bit of Jane Austen – Pemberley Hall anyone?
Alnwick is also the home of the amazing station/book emporium known as Barter Books - Alnwick Station, Northumberland NE66 2NP. Sell those you have read and buy some more. Sit beside a roaring fire, drink coffee and eat the home made ginger biscuits………..They discovered the Keep Calm and Carry On poster – yes that one – but somewhere there must be one saying keep calm and just keep reading -for this is THE spot to do it in -
4. Now, hop in that car or jump on that bus as we’re heading off to Corbridge for our next reading space – If you want another book to read on this tour then look no further than Forum Books – for their amazing support of getting authors for events, great banter and advice about the books they read and personally recommend – 8 Market Place Corbridge
Corbridge is also the setting for a rather gruesome scene in the first Kate Daniels novel -
Book Purchases in hand – head on over to the Tea and Tipple cafe- just across the Market Place from Forum Books – and sit back and enjoy….
5. Off to Hexham now, just up the road , to Cogito books
A small quiet oasis of a shop hidden down a cobbled alley through an arch – (a bit Diagon Alley ish from Harry Potter) just off the main square in Hexham . You may want to pick up a book here – they’ve got oodles of them. And a lovely comfy couch to sit on and relax. But don’t fall asleep there, well I was so comfortable and had just finished the wonderful Kate Morton’s The Forgotten Garden and wanted to stay in that world just a little bit longer…..
6. Right now, we’re off to Newcastle. Public transport is great so no worries there, but if you’re feeling adventurous, why not travel in style? Vera – ‘Oh not for me pet’ Read from the best vantage point there is for a glorious view of The Angel of the North
Can you read when flying up in a helicopter? If you’d like to try, then there are many trips you can take if you have the stomach for it. Or if not, you can off course go by car and then sit at the base and READ.
7. The city centre beckons now – so we’re off to the Sage for a great reading space – the centre for musical excellence as well as some of the most atmospheric reading experiences you will ever have.
Ooh another excuse to sit down and spend time reading in somewhere with a view and most likely a musical soundtrack? Its only the Sage in Gateshead. Make the most of the approach by carrying your book across the Millennium Bridge and walking up the stairs for the full effect. Then sit back and enjoy. A walk along the Quayside , along the banks of the River Tyne- stomping ground for both Kate and Vera – will provide many points to stop and read.
8. If you’re feeling peckish at this point, why not head out to The Living Room on Grey Street where Kate Daniels met for a meeting to discuss a case -
Don’t have much time to linger in the city centre – that’s the topic for another tour – now we’re off to the coast. On the Metro – careful as you don’t want to end up as Margaret Krukowski did in the latest Ann Cleeves novel Harbour Street – but a nice long ride on the Metro can give commuters some very nice reading time indeed. Just as well there is no stop called Mardle as there is in the book…..
9. Jump off the metro and we’re in Tynemouth for some ‘Light beside the Seaside’ -
Feel the sand in your feet and sit on the rocks recreating the scenes and sounds of The Light between Oceans. Not only are the rocks a great place to sit but the beaches are too!
10. Last but certainly not least – let’s head off to North Shields for one stop you will not want to miss – Keel Row Bookshop http://www.keelrowbookshop.co.uk/
I left this until last as the last time I went I got so lost that I ended up staying for four days and nights. Its that full of books that I could not get out as I could not find the door – nor did I want to to be honest. I would live here if I could. There are gazillions of books and the owner knows exactly where they are. I’m sure he’s read all of them. There is even a miniature version of the shop in the children’s room. So even if you’re tiny there is a place to sit and read
The North East really is a book lover’s paradise.
For more information on the books featured – please pay Kate and Vera a visit -
Kate Daniels – http://www.marihannah.com/
For Vera – http://www.anncleeves.com/vera/
For more information about the places featured, then please contact info (at) the booktrail.com. We can customise a trail or itinerary and pick the ideal places for you. This is only a taster of where we read! Welcome to the North East of hidden reading spaces. Hope to see you soon.
book reviews and all things books by Lizzy Baldwin
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