Bursts of colour, sunflowers the size of my head, balconies adorned in bunting and freshly brewed coffee…
welcome to summer at the Ouseburn!
I’m not entirely sure how to describe the Ouseburn. Geographically, it’s a river which flows through Newcastle, under Byker bridge toward the Tyne, but it’s what’s built around this trickling river that makes the Ouseburn such a go-to destination.
The Ouseburn I know and love is a cluster of old buildings, industrial-style shipping containers that have been transformed into workshops, offices and cafes and best of all, a self-contained farm. Rather than knock everything down and rebuild a cold, contemporary series of commercial spaces, developers, business owners and dreamers have built their businesses in the old lead works and various nooks and crannies, making the Ouseburn a place like no other!
The Ouseburn comes alive at weekends, when its grassy verges are filled with sun seekers drinking alfresco and the atmosphere is easy like a Sunday morning, but having never visited the Ouseburn before, I decided to give my little brother a tour, starting with a cuppa at the Ouseburn Coffee Company.
A self-proclaimed coffee connoisseur (or addict), Jed savoured every sip of his americano while I sampled their flat white. As we sat on the grass in the sun, we got seriously philosophical discussing the distinctive taste of the roast before heading across the road to the Ouseburn Farm for a wander.
Since the last time I visited, the farm (a community-led project) has really expanded. Full of flowers, vegetable patches, sheltered grow tunnels and quirky displays, we had a little nosy around and even got some cucumbers for our guineapigs Biscuit and Cookie who were particularly impressed with their locally-grown veg!
Jed definitely gets his love of animals from me, so naturally was in his element as we petted Babushka the Tamworth pig, the three resident tortoises, fluffy ducks, rabbits and guineapigs to name a few. From what I gather, there has been a city farm in Byker since 1976 with the aim of educating children living in the city about where their food comes from. Sadly the farm was forced to close in 2002 when it discovered the soil contained high levels of lead from the former lead and paintwork factory located onsite. Thankfully the farm reopened in 2009 after the land was cleaned up.
We also spotted some little birds which hilariously reminded Jed of the famous ‘Lunch atop a skyscraper’ photo…
After popping our heads into the little farm shop, we headed upstairs to the cafe and couldn’t resist a sweet treat as we sat on the sun-soaked balcony that overlooks the Ouseburn.
A totally canny day out, I highly recommend you give the Ouseburn a go!