I live about 7 miles from Morpeth and have been there lots over the years. It has good night life and is a nice place to visit through the day, whether to go shopping or for a stroll along the river. It was traditionally a Market Town and although it does still have a market this is no longer the main attraction.
== Where is it? ==
Morpeth is located in Northumberland about 17 miles from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. The River Wansbeck flows East through the town. Since 1981, it has been the administrative centre of the County of Northumberland
== Getting There ==
Morpeth is located a mile off the A1 so is easily accessible by road. It also has good public transport links; a bus station with regular buses and a train station.
== What is there to see and do? ==
Carlisle Park - this is a fairly large park area which is next to the river Wansbeck. There are two play areas, one for younger children and the other for older children, as well as an area for playing basketball, lots of grassy area and trees. The children's play area still has a paddling pool and it sometimes has water in it in the summer. I have spent many summer days in Carlisle park, either as a child in the play areas, or strolling along the river. I've also been on the rowing boats that you can hire on the river.
Bagpipe Museum - I've only been in here once. It's quite small but it's interesting. I wouldn't recommend coming to Morpeth just to visit it but if you're here anyway it's probably worth a look.
Leisure Centre - I've never been in here but I often use the car park next to it, when I go out in Morpeth on a night time. I believe it has a swimming pool and a range of sports facilities and it usually looks likes there's people coming and going quite often :)
== Shopping ==
There's a good selection of shops and I like to go here sometimes as it's better than Ashington, where I live (but it is not as good as Newcastle). Morpeth has some of your usual high street stores such as Boots, WHSmith, and Dorothy Perkins but it also has some good unique shops such as Appleby's book shop and Smails, a hardware store on the main street. People often say if Smails haven't got it then it's not worth having!
They have recently re-opened Sanderson Arcade, which offers some new shops not previously located in Morpeth. It opened before Christmas and attracted lots of people. I've been a few times since it opened and it's really good. They have opened a New Look, larger M & S, The Body Shop, Lemon, a handmade chocolate shop (Oxley's of Morpeth) as well as a café in the centre of the arcade. It has some good shops, although they are probably mainly ones you would just go to if you needed something specific. The arcade also looks much nicer than it did before the renovation, as well as being much more visually pleasing. Supermarkets include Morrison's and Lidl.
== Night life ==
As Ashington doesn't have the greatest of nightlife, my friends and I often like to go out in Morpeth, as it's cheaper and closer than Newcastle. It does cost about £20 for a taxi home though, so if we do go out in Morpeth I often take my car, as I don't mind whether I have a drink or not. We usually venture to Morpeth about once a month or so over the summer months, though it's a good few months now since I was there on a night out.
There are a number of places to drink in Morpeth and the nightlife is suitable for a variety of ages. As there's not really much else nearby, adults of all ages can be found in the pubs there. Morpeth tends to be busier on Saturdays than Fridays. I know this mainly from word of mouth but I have been there once a Friday, and compared to a Saturday it was very quiet.
Morpeth has a great atmosphere on a Saturday night. We usually go to the same places every time we go but sometimes we do pop into a different pub for a change of scene. The pubs are all located along the main street and market area so there's not far to walk between pubs - this does feel longer on a cold, dark winter's night though! Parking is free after 7pm in Morpeth and there a couple of car parks which are within easy walking distance to the pubs.
The pubs always have a good atmosphere and the music is varied. Morpeth also has a nightclub (Suburban) which costs £5 to get in. It's a large club, but the drinks are more expensive than the pubs so we don't often go here, especially as you need to pay a fiver to get in. You don't pay to get into the other places in Morpeth. We nearly always have a good night out in Morpeth and as it's a fairly small place we often see people we know, which I always think makes for a better night.
== Other ==
There are lots of places to eat and one of my favourite restaurants is located here (an Italian restaurant called Gianni's) I don't often eat out in Morpeth but when I do we usually go to Gianni's. There are other specialty restaurants that I've heard are really nice and I think that I should probably try some of the other ones too.
Morpeth has some really nice (rather expensive) houses and it appears to be a really nice place to live. However, some of the houses are along by the river and these were damaged by flooding early in September 2008 when the river Wansbeck burst it's banks. This flooding was the worst Morpeth had seen since the 1960's and many people only just moved back into their homes last summer. There are a number of schools in Morpeth, from first schools through to a high school (which has a really good reputation).
Suffragette, Emily Wilding Davison, who famously threw herself under the Kind's horse in 1913, was from Morpeth and she is buried in the graveyard of St Mary's. Her gravestone bears the slogan of the Womens Social and Political Union and says "Deeds not words".
The weather in Morpeth is typically British. It tends to be warmer than Ashington as it's further inland so there's less wind, so I like going to Morpeth on a summer's day for a walk along the river :)
There are places to stay in Morpeth as well as places in the local area. Morpeth could be a good base to explore Northumberland or somewhere to visit if you are staying elsewhere in the region. All car parks are pay and display throughout the day, but they are free after 6pm.
I really like Morpeth and like I've said I go quite often. I would definitely recommend a visit to Morpeth if you are in the area, especially in the summer months!
Thanks for reading! x
Morpeth is 15 miles north of Newcastle Upon Tyne in the county of Northumberland. It is situated on a loop of the river Wansbeck which runs through the town.
Travelling north from Newcastle ,on the A1 and then on to the A197, will take you onto a tree lined street which leads down into Morpeth town centre.. On the left hand side is the golf club with the Cottage Hospital opposite. Carrying further on you will see the St Marys Church dating from the 14th century which contains some of the most important stained glass in Northumberland and it is also the burial place of the suffragette, Emily Davidson. Underneath the church are remains dated from the 13th century and there is also a watch house which was built in 1831 to protect the cemetary against grave robbers. Morpeth, being conveniently situated on the Edinburgh coach road, made it a target for bodysnatchers who would sell the corpses onto the medical profession.
As you proceed down the road Carlisle Park will come into view on the left hand side. The park has won many awards for it's floral displays and is a popular location chosen for wedding photographs. In here you will discover ancient oak trees and red squirrels. There are many exoctic tree species including Monkee Puzzle and The Maidenhair Tree.
The William Turner Garden is a tribute to the doctor and botanist who was born in Morpeth in 1508. In this garden you will find the plants and flowers which were popular for gardening and medicine in Tudor times.
There are some lovely walks to be had through the park leading into either woodland or down to the promenade beside the river. However the woodland walk is on uneven ground and may not be suitable for those with mobility problems. While the promenade is fairly flat and suitable for wheelchairs or buggys. There are tennis courts, a bowling green, a small play park and paddling pool for the children and you can also hire a rowing boat if you are feeling energetic!
Opposite Carlisle Park is the Old Courthouse which was built in the 19th century and at one time also had a prison attached but this has long since been demolished and now the Police Station occupies the land behind it. The Courthouse was sold a few years ago , renovated and is now luxury flats.
Then you will come to the Telford Bridge built in 1830 by Sir Thomas Telford with the Toll House to the left where at one time a toll had to be paid before crossing the bridge.
At the end of the bridge on the left hand side is The Chantry, built in the 13th century, and at one time used as a school but now houses the Tourist Information Service and in an extension at the back showcases local crafts. The bagpipe museum can also be found here.
Turning left after coming over the bridge brings you into Bridge Street which is the main shopping area along with Newgate Street. The usual high street shops such as Woolworths, Boots, Superdrug, Burtons etc can be found here as well as cafes, restaraunts and bakeries and of course pubs!
One unique shop though is Smails which has been in the town since 1958 and is still run by the two remaining Smail sisters. It is built over two floors which are jam packed with everything from slug pellets to three piece suites and anything in between! It is often said in Morpeth if Smails haven't got what you're after then it's not worth having!
Running off Bridge Street is Sandersons Arcade which is due to be revamped soon attracting some of the bigger named shops such as Next and Marks and Spencers amongst others.
Carrying on up Bridge Street you will pass the Queens Head public house which was once a coaching inn dating back to 1656 and still has the original fireplace in tact. Accomodation is available here..
The Town Hall is the next imposing building and was built in 1714 by Sir John Vanbrugh who was best known for designing Blenheim Palace. Farmers markets are held here once a month along with sales and displays and there is also a public convienience inside.
Opposite the Town Hall is the Market Place which at one time was one of the greatest cattle markets in the country but now only has a few market stalls set out on a Wednesday.
The turning to the right takes you to Newgate Street which has a variety of small independent specialist shops, pubs and several good quality B&B's some of which will allow pets.
The Clock Tower, built in the 17th century, has had many uses one of the more unusual being a prison and at one time a meat store.
Beyond here is Oldgate where Collingwood House can be found. This was the home of Admiral Lord Collingwood who fought the Battle of Trafalger along with Nelson. Crossing the Oldgate bridge over the river takes you into the High Stanners area which is a lovely peaceful spot for a picnic or just to feed the ducks.
Morpeth is ideally situated as a base for exploring Northumberland with it's unspoilt woodlands and uncrowded beaches. There are also more castles and fortified buildings in Northumberland than any other county in England. Some places worth a visit are Hadriens Wall, Bamburgh with it's imposing castle, Holy Island which is only accessible by a causeway when the tide is out so always check tide times before attempting to cross. The Keilder Forest is also a very good day out along with Craster where you can buy freshly smoked kippers and Seahouses one of the larger seaside resorts. Newcastle and Gateshead Metro Centre are only 15 miles away too so all you shoppers can indulge in your favourite pastime!
The Lake District, Scottish Borders, Durham and North Yorkshire are all within easy reach of Morpeth so as you can see it really is ideally situated.
Morpeth has good bus and rail links for those who don't want to take the car the bus station being in the centre of town and railway station just on the outskirts as you approach Morpeth.
There are severall B&B's in Morpeth itself with more in the outlying areas along with larger hotels so all tastes and pockets are catered for.
There are several car parks to choose from but the downside is they are not free except for after 5 and on Sundays
At the bottom of Bridge Street beside St Georges Church toilet facilities are also located here
On the road out of Morpeth towards Pegswood beside Morrisons petrol station
Behind the Town Hall
Behind the Market Place go along Newgate Street and take the first right beside Applebys Bookstore and the next right again, go around the roundabout and it is on your left.
In conclusion Morpeth is a pretty town set in the lush Northumbrian countryside and is a lovely place to visit whether it be for the day or perhaps as a base from which to explore the many varied and interesting landscapes which surround it. I have only given a small taster of Morpeth to you so if you want to discover more come and see for yourselves and you won't be disappointed.
Thank you for reading
manlybeach July 2008