I think it’s about time you start booking accommodation for this year’s NYWF, right? Right. If you’ve been to NYWF in previous years, you’ll know there’s no easy answer when it comes to the closest spot to all the action – this year, much like last year, venues spread all the way from the Gun Club to the Cambridge. And if you haven’t been to NYWF before, you probably have no idea where to stay. Luckily for you, I’m a Newcastle veteran and have stayed in my fair share of Novocastrian backpackers, hotels and living rooms. So, while you might have to stretch out those walking legs no matter where you toss your suitcase, here are some places that I personally guarantee* will do you just fine.
I have stayed in many a YHA in my day (Okay, like, maybe three) and for good reason. It’s like McDonalds – the fries here are the same as anywhere else. It’s a trust thing. Do you want a bed? Do you want locker for your junk? Do you just need somewhere to crash and a quick scrub every day? Welcome to the YHA machine, my friend. If you plan to travel with a bevvy of pals, this would do quite nicely for you. Bonus points: the Newcastle YHA building is old and thus is quite pretty, both inside and out. Which is pleasant, even if it isn’t really helpful.
Despite my extensive knowledge of Newcastle and all its fine affordable accommodations, I am yet to experience the institituion that is Backpackers By the Beach. I’ve heard some stories, and almost none of them are suitable to share here. NYWF Co-Director Alex stayed here in 2010 though, so I asked her to weigh in. Here’s what she has to say:
“A lot of festival folk stay at Backpackers by the Beach (or the YHA, which is just up the road) which means there’s always someone to walk home with after a long night. It’s also pretty close to the sea baths if you happen to be stumbling home from that direction (or inclined toward an early morning dip). The rooms themselves are basic hostel fair – there’s bunk beds in dorm rooms. The dorms themselves are quite small though so you’re sharing with two or three other people. The hostel also has a decent kitchen downstairs plus (at least when I stayed) the internet is pretty reliable. If you’re looking for a cheap bed to crash in and aren’t fussed about bells and whistles, this is a good option.”
This one year, my mate Lizzy (and this year’s official Press Room Daily Blogger) managed to score a sweet suite in the Clarendon Hotel for free and was kind enough to let me crash on the sofa. The sofa was a fold-out complete with crisp sheets and fluffy pillows, and was nicer than my bed at home. There’s events close to the hotel, coffee and tea facilities in the rooms, and the bathroom in our suite was bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S. If you are one of those actual real life writers in possession of some actual real life money (Which: Who are you? Tell me your secrets) you should probably book a room at the Clarendon.
Speaking of Lizzy, since I’ve never kipped at the Cambridge backpackers, I asked her to give us the lowdown, and she was happy enough to oblige:
“The Cambridge is a pub and a music venue. Also, you can sleep there. I booked late so there were not a lot of accommodation choices left. If you find yourself in this situation, the Cambridge is a pretty good option because 1. The people who work there are pretty cool, 2. They have a shuttle service to and from the airport that is cheaper than a taxi, 3. They have beds, AND bathrooms. HOWEVER, the Cambridge is possibly closer to Cambridge, England than it is to the centre of Newcastle. There are free buses (magic, way to go Newcastle) during the day, but if you decide to walk it, you will regret this for possibly the rest of your life. Also when I got there they’d given my room to someone else. Also the music pumped all night. Also a streetlight kept me awake a lot. Pros and cons, man, you got to weight that shit up.”
There you go, you lucky NYWF punters. Four totally suitable options. (Okay, three, if you’re not Rich Uncle Pennybags.) Now you’ve got no excuses and can book yourself somewhere to crash in October. You’re welcome! And if anyone has any other hot accommodation tips, let us know!
*please do not hold me to this. It is not my fault if you get put in a room with a puking insomniac axe murderer. I am not God. I am not Beyonce.