Wednesday, 11 March 2020

Discovering The Biscuit Factory in Newcastle

Sometimes I get myself into quite a funk.  I'm the kind of person that, even on a weekend, needs some kind of plan or structure to my day to stop myself falling into a negative frame of mind, whilst most people love to spend a Sunday lounging about in their dressing gown watching rubbish on TV it tends to leave me feeling very low. Despite knowing this about myself sometimes I make the mistake of not getting showered and dressed as soon as I get up and that is where I found myself recently  - sitting under a blanket on the sofa, close to tears for no apparent reason.  I had brunch plans with my friends but had got myself into such a bad place that I felt like I wanted to cancel on them.

If you're like me and find yourself getting into moods like this the number one piece of advice I can give you is to get up off the sofa (as much as you don't want to!), get showered and dressed and head out for a solo adventure somewhere that you find really calming and relaxing.

Discovering The Biscuit Factory, Newcastle


Whilst I usually head off to the coast to chill out, I decided to try something a little bit different this time and instead went off in the direction of Ouseburn (one of my favourite parts of Newcastle for a mooch) and to the Biscuit Factory, the UK's largest independent commercial art gallery. Now I realise that I may have lost some of you at "art gallery" and believe me, I get you!  I'm definitely not the kind of person that spends their free time wandering about looking at art - I'm no expert and if I'm being completely honest a lot of art just leaves me feeling a little baffled and confused.  The Biscuit Factory, however, is unlike any other art gallery I have ever visited and if you're looking for somewhere really peaceful to unwind I highly recommend giving it a try.

Discovering The Biscuit Factory Newcastle


Although I perhaps don't always understand art, I do love a great building and The Biscuit Factory is housed in the most beautiful Victorian warehouse and is the loveliest place for a wander. With stunning red brick walls, huge windows and wooden beams it is a light space with some really lovely contrasting features and I could happily spend hours just wandering about admiring the architecture.  Even if art isn't your thing as soon as you walk through the door I'm pretty sure this will become your new happy place too because it's impossible not to smile as soon as you enter the building.

The Biscuit Factory Newcastle


Unlike a lot of other art galleries The Biscuit Factory has a really small collection of art which is perfect for the beginner like me and there really is something for everyone displayed on their walls. If you love the North East and are passionate about the beauty of our coastline and countryside you will definitely find something to admire in the gallery. There are always some truly beautiful paintings and drawings on display and during my visit I admired some lovely displays of paintings of Newcastle and the Northumberland coast, each one I could happily imagine would look rather lovely in my living room.

The Biscuit Factory - Newcastle


My visit perhaps wasn't best timed as the gallery were busy setting up their Spring launch. With the displays changing every season some of the walls were a little bare ready for new pieces but I guess that just gives me a great excuse to go back really soon.

As champions of original and handmade pieces there are some really inspiring things to look at with a lot of the work being very affordable - I much prefer a gallery that showcases art that's attainable rather than looking at things that are way out of my price range.  When we do eventually get round to buying some forever pieces for our home I will definitely be heading to The Biscuit Factory to start our collection.

My favourite part of the gallery on my visit were the incredible framed pictures by "Light up North", originally featured in the Winter exhibition, you can find them tucked away round a hidden corner in a dimly lit room. The paintings all feature neon slogans and they really are fantastic and well worth checking out. The illuminated art is created in Saltburn and I love how eye catching and cheeky their pieces are.

The Biscuit Factory Newcastle - Light up North


However long you plan to spend mooching around the art it's easy to make a bit of a day trip out of a visit to the Biscuit Factory thanks to fantastic extra offerings. Bookworms will love the addition of "Forum Books", a small yet perfectly formed bookshop which makes for lovely browsing and foodies will definitely want to make their way to the Factory Kitchen.

Even if you have no interest at all in art you really must plan a trip to Biscuit Factory if only to check out their food offering, the beautiful little café creates delicious dishes and has a very good menu filled with lunches, afternoon tea and the kind of cake counter that makes your mouth water. They have some great offerings for special dietary requirements with some delicious vegetarian and vegan options as well as gluten free.

After enjoying a lovely solo stroll round the gallery I met the girls at Factory Kitchen for a late brunch, served all day it's a great weekend treat with a menu so tempting I spent ages trying to pick between four dishes. In the end I went for the Sauteed Mushrooms on Toasted Sourdough (£7.50) and added a poached egg and merguez sausage for an extra £3.75 . If you have the option to leave the car at home it's worth knowing that they also have some incredible sounding brunch cocktails available.

Factory Kitchen - The Biscuit Factory Newcastle


Factory Kitchen is quite the hidden gem in Newcastle and if you're looking for somewhere a little different for a catch up with friends it's a great option. With plenty of seats, the café is really light and decked out in loads of foliage which gives it the loveliest relaxed vibe. I am very keen to go back in the Summer and enjoy an afternoon tea on their sunny roof terrace and the afternoon teas that were being delivered to the tables around us looked really good.

I am so thankful to The Biscuit Factory for pulling me out of my bad mood and giving me somewhere new to call a happy place - they truly make art accessible to everyone and I don't think anyone could leave without a massive smile on their faces.  I can't wait to go back!

The Biscuit Factory Newcastle - Factory Kitchen


Find The Biscuit Factory at:

16 Stoddart Street
Shieldfield
NE2 1AN

0191 261 1103

https://www.thebiscuitfactory.com/

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