Information Now

Hobbies

There are lots of groups and activities that you can enjoy in Newcastle. Trying a new activity or groups is a great way to meet new people, get out and about and be active. Use the quick links below to jump to the sections that interest you most.


Archery

Archery in the UK is organised around clubs, counties and regions. Clubs provide beginners with courses, and many run their own competitions. The counties and regions also run championships and provide routes for progression through coaching and squads. You can find your nearest Archery Club in the Club Finder Section at Archery GB.

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Arts and crafts

Art can take many different forms and you are sure to find something that you enjoy doing. It is a hobby that you can enjoy on your own or you can join a class to learn new skills or to meet other people with the same interests and to share ideas.

See our section on Lifelong learning and Community Centres for details of organisations that provide opportunities to join art classes.

The following list of venues and organisations run regular art or craft sessions:-

Byker Community Centre

St Martin’s Centre

Walbottle Village Institute

Walkerville Community Centre

Search

Fawdon Community Centre

Chain Reaction

Chilli Studios provide creative based services for people with mental health problems, to promote social inclusion, encourage social interaction, build resilience, develop skills and ability, enable potential and improve wellbeing.

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Bingo

Bingo has always been a popular pastime and has seen a huge increase in popularity in recent years. There are several large bingo halls in Newcastle but you may prefer to play at a smaller venue near to your home. Many smaller venues, such as Community Centres and sheltered housing schemes, offer bingo sessions that are open to the public.

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Birdwatching

Birdwatching is something that you can enjoy on your own or with friends in the local parks and gardens, or further afield. There are many books available to help you identify the birds that you see and develop your interest and knowledge. If you would like to meet like-minded people and to attend organised trips or lectures, the following organisations may be of interest:

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Bridge and Whist

Many community centres have bridge or whist groups so it’s worth contacting your nearest venue. Walkerville Community Centre, West Denton Community Centre and the Denton Burn Community Association have Bridge Clubs.

You can also visit Bridgewebs.com to find a local Bridge Club.

Remember, you don’t have to join a club to enjoy a game, it’s just as easy to get a group of friends together and form your own club!

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Bowling and Carpet Bowls

Indoor bowls is a great way to meet people, make friends and keep active. There are a number of local community Bowling Clubs and Carpet Bowls sessions where you can give it a go including;

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Cookery

West End Women and Girls Centre run a women’s cookery club on Fridays.

Food Nation runs a range of cooking skills training courses.

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Community Groups

See our section on Community Centres for a full list.

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Creative Writing

Creative writing is a popular hobby which you can enjoy in many ways. It can mean creating poetry, short stories, plays or many other forms of writing. You may just wish to write for your own pleasure or you may want to join a group and share your writing with others. Organisations which may be of interest include;

  • New Writing North – the only North East writing agency which supports and encouages aspiring writers. They have a weekly newsletter which you can register for to receive information on local events, activities and new projects.
  • Apples and Snakes – supports and encourages performance poets in the North East

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Eating and Drinking

If you enjoy eating, drinking and socialising there are lots of groups that you can join in Newcastle. With everything from Tea Parties, to cafes and wine clubs. Visit our page on Food and Friends for more information.

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Dance

Dancing is a great way to be active and meet new friends. There’s a range of dance classes and Tea Dances that take place in Newcastle each week. You can find more on our Fitness page and our Food and Friends page.

  • The Blackfriars Centre host a weekly Tea Dance.
  • Equal Arts are running a 5 year project called Creativity Matters offering free workshops to people over 50 who would like to develop a creative interest and skills and contribute something positive to the their community. There are 2 groups available to participate in – Dance and movement in Gateshead, and Music in South Shields. When the groups have developed skills in these areas they will visit care homes to share their skills with staff and residents.
  • Helix Arts run a free weekly dance workshop for anyone over 65. The dance workshops are held at West Denton Community Centre.
  • Walbottle Village Institute runs dance sessions including tango and line.
  • The Jenian School of Dancing have a variety of dance classes including ballroom, tango, salsa and tea dances.

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Family and Local History

Researching your family history (genealogy) has had a recent increase in popularity, with many TV programmes and books dedicated to the subject. If you are interested in finding out more about your ancestry there are several ways to go about it. You may already have some knowledge about genealogy, or you may be happy to read a book on the subject and get started on your own. If this is the case, there are many websites that you may find useful for your research. We have listed a few of them here:

Tyne & Wear Archives are the largest archives in the North East. They store many historical records and can assist you with your own research. There is a public searchroom where you can carry out your own research. The Archives also house the BFI Mediatheque facility which is a free film archive. You can also watch old TV programmes and full length films. No resevation required. You may also want to use Tyne & Wear Archives to research your family history or local area.

The National Archives have a large catalogue of public records available online. This may be useful to you if you are looking to research a person, place or subject. Many of their records relate to historical government files but they also include military service records from before the 1920s.

Fawdon, Coxlodge and District History Society are a group of history enthusiasts who meet monthly (September to May) for talks about local, national and international history.

Westgate P.A.S.T is an established Local Heritage Initiative for the collection of oral history photographs and artefacts to record the change that has taken place in the west end of Newcastle to the present day. Contributions to the project can be made in a number of ways. Contact the project to give your reminiscences, which will be recorded and transferred to audio CDs. They can also assist you to preserve and record social history photographs. Westgate P.A.S.T. can also help you to learn new skills, such as digital photography editing, interviewing, photography, sound editing, and using computers and the Internet.

The Society of Antiquaries – Newcastle upon Tyne is interested in the history and archaeology of the North East of England. They have a library on the top floor of the Great North Museum and organise a programme of events throughout the year.

There are several organisations that run genealogy courses across Newcastle who can offer guidance on researching your family history. Read more in our article on Lifelong learning.

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Film clubs

Search run a film club once a month on a Friday at West End Library on Condercum Road. Once a month the library shows popular and classic movies free of charge and sometimes even with popcorn thrown in.


Film making and photography

Newcastle ACA (Amateur Cinematographers Association) have a variety of opportunities for members including:

  • making video
  • scriptwriting
  • still photography
  • music
  • documentary
  • drama
  • spoken commentary

New members are welcome. Meetings are held at West Denton Community Centre on Tuesdays 7pm to 10pm.

Friends Action North East run a photography group once a month on a Saturday for adults with a learning disability and/or autism.

Going Digital list various photography workshops happening in the region.

Gosforth Camera Club meets each Tuesday from September to May at the Millstone Haddricksmill Road from 7.30pm.

Jesmond Library run a weekly camera club on Tuesdays from 7pm – 9pm.

Greater Walker Community Trust runs a Photography Group on Tuesdays and Fridays during the summer months.

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Fishing

Fishing is a very popular hobby that is enjoyed by all ages. It can be a relaxing way to spend a day and doesn’t have to be expensive.

Leazes Park Angling Association has been active in the park since the 1970’s. There are approximately 200 members and both senior and junior membership. They manage the fish stocks and organise competitions around the lake.

Wansbeck and Cramlington Angling Club is open to everyone and welcomes new members. The club has three lakes on the Blagdon Estates and one in Ashington. Monthly meetings are held in Cramlington.

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Fitness

Visit our article on Fitness for more information on the huge range of classes and groups in Newcastle. Your local Community Centre may also offer fitness activities including;

  • Football
  • Walking,cycling and climbing
  • Dancing and Zumba
  • Yoga,Tai chi and Pilates

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Flower arranging

Search run a fortnightly flower arranging class at Cornerston. Group members bring along their own flowers but other materials are provided. The class costs £2.

The National Association of Flower Arrangement Societies (NAFAS) has two associated clubs in the Newcastle area. These are:

  • Wallsend club – meets at St. Columba’s Church Hall in Wallsend on the last Thursday of each month at 7pm.
  • Gosforth club – meets at Daverson Hall, Elmwood Avenue Gosforth on the first Thursday of each mont at 7.45pm

If you would like to find out more about either of these clubs please contact the Northumberland and Durham NAFAS.


Gardening and Allotments

Gardening and growing vegetables and fruit is a popular pastime and a great way to get out in the fresh air!

If you don’t have your own garden, you could rent an allotment. There are around 3,000 allotment plots in Newcastle across 61 sites.  There is a link to the allotment sites  and the area representatives on the City Council page.

There are lots of benefits to renting an allotment. You could: get more exercise, eat more fresh fruit and vegetables that you have grown, meet new friends, share your knowledge and escape from day to day pressures.

The average cost is £50 for a full plot, and half plots are also available on some sites.  To find out more, contact the Allotments Officer.

As well as being enjoyable, gardening can also be a great way to get some gentle exercise and improve your health. For more information about the benefits of gardening, visit our section on Keeping physically active.

West End Women and Girls Centre run a regular women’s gardening session.

Greening Wingrove Project have a number of different community growing projects in the area.

Scotswood Natural Community Garden run an Elderberries programme specifically for older people, which includes montly nature-based activities, weekly gardening drop ins, horticulture courses and older people’s forum. Drop in sessions are every Wednesday between 9.30am and 2.30pm.

GardenWorld has plenty of ideas for throughout the year of how to get working on your garden.

Thrive offer online advice and gardening tips as well as education and training programmes.

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Jigsaw Puzzles

Jigsaws are not only great fun but will also help to keep your brain active. If you don’t want to buy them, you can borrow jigsaws from your local library, the same way you would borrow a book. For details of your local library, visit our Libraries section.

The British Jigsaw Puzzle Library send jigsaws by post to members (there is a membership fee). There is a wide variety to choose from with varying degrees of difficulty!

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Knitting

Knitting can be very relaxing and is a hobby you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home. However, you may like to join a knitting group to swap ideas and patterns and to socialise with others.

Byker Community Centre runs a Craft Group on Wednesdays which costs £3 per session. It includes art, crochet and knitting and any other craft that you wish to bring with you. There’s an opportunity to lear from others and pass on your skills too. It’s suitable for all.

Search organises a knit and natter group every Tuesday at Cornerstone from 1.30pm – 3.30pm. Search can provide knitting needles, wool and simple patterns, or you can bring along your own knitting. 40p for tea and biscuits.

Cornerstone organises a weekly Craft group on Thursdays.

West End Women and Girls Centre run a regular Knit and Natter group.

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Model Boats

There is a Model Boat Club which operates from Paddy Freemans Park.

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Music

There’s loads of ways to enjoy music in Newcastle. For more information please see our articles on

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Outdoor Activities

See our section on Fitness for ideas on how you can enjoy the great outdoors.

There are lots of Parks and Gardens to enjoy in Newcastle too.

Parklives is a free and easy way for you to get the best out of your local park. You’ll find a whole host of activities near you, on their website.

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Penfriends

If you enjoy writing and receiving letters and would like to make new friends or even just keep in touch with existing ones, why not make a penfriend? Receiving a letter or email can really make a difference to the lives of people who may be housebound or lonely and it’s a great way to keep in touch with friends who move away. You could also write to someone in a different country or even a member of the armed forces. To find a penfriend, you could try visiting the British Penpals website (or another one) and registering your details.

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Reading

Many people enjoy reading, and there are such a variety of books to choose from you’ll always find something new to try. If you always stick with the same authors or genre, why not try something different, such as a biography or classic literature. Ask friends and family for recommendations of books they have read, or read the book reviews in magazines or newspapers. Take a chance on a new author, you never know, they may become your favourite!

Libraries

Newcastle Libraries have a number of libraries located around Newcastle. Visit their website for more information on how to become a member and to find your closest library. They have a range of activities and groups that you can get involved including book groups and local history groups. If you are unable to get to a library to borrow books, you may be eligible for the Newcastle Libraries Home Delivery Service. Visit our section on Libraries for further details.

There are also organisations who can provide audio books for people who are visually impaired or have difficulty reading because of illness or disability. See our Libraries section for further information.

You may also like to visit the Library Thing which is an online service to help people catalogue their books easily. Because everyone catalogues together, LibraryThing also connects people with the same books and comes up with suggestions for what to read next.

Reading Groups

If you like discussing your thoughts and opinions on books, why not join a reading group? Most reading groups select a different book every month and then meet up to discuss their views. Remember, you can always form your own group and invite friends and neighbours to join. Visit the Newcastle City Council website for details of local reading groups run by the library service.

The Reading Agency provides information on suggested reading for people with dementia and their carers, and you can search for local reading groups on their website.

Wideopen Library also runs a reading group on the second Monday of the month at 10.30am.

Chain Reaction run a dementia friendly reading group for over 55s with memory issues at Gosforth Library. Each session focuses on reading a short story, with breaks to talk about the plot and character development and the story. It’s free and includes an opportunity to chat, have a cuppa and socialise with others in the group at the end of the session. Places are limited.

Read aloud groups

Shared reading groups take place every week at the libraries. The small groups meet up to read aloud and talk about short stories, poems and novels. There’s no pressure to read aloud if you don’t want to, and there’s no reading to do in preparation for meetings. Contact Newcastle Libraries for more information.

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Reminiscence

Silverline Memories provide Community Based Reminiscence Activities for older people and those living with Dementia in the North East of England. They visit individuals and groups in family or shared accommodation and deliver Reminiscence sessions, bringing with them a range of items of Memorabilia to spark memories and story telling. These anecdotes can also be captured into a Scrapbook which forms an individual’s Life Story work.

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Singing

North East Gospel Choir are a mixed age choir singing mainly, but not exclusively, Gospel music. Singing for pleasure and to perform.

Search run a ‘Singing for the Brain’ club fortnightly on Wednesdays at Riverview lodge on Armstrong Road, everyone over 50 is warmly invited to attend.

Please see the Music – Get Involved page on Information Now for more ideas.

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Theatre and Amateur Dramatics

Joining an amateur dramatics group is an excellent way of getting involved in the theatre. You don’t have to be on the stage to participate; there are many other opportunities for helping out behind the scenes, such as making costumes, designing sets or helping with administration and advertising. Why not check out your local community centre or volunteer ran theatres who put on regular performances such as

If you prefer to watch you can find out more about the range of local Theatres on Information Now.

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Woodwork and Metalwork

Craftworks is part of the Percy Hedley Foundation. It has a fully accessible community based workshop where you can develop your confidence and skills in both woodwork and metal crafting. They have a specialist team who can support you and provide a range of recreational and learning opportunities for disabled adults and older people.

Craftworks also offer a Men’s shed project. This is an accessible a work space where older people of all abilities can come together socially to access a fully equipped workshop to work on practical projects. There is a cost to access the workshop depending upon the chosen activity. You can book a a free taster session if you would like to find out more. Booking is essential. Evening and weekend sessions are also available.

Key Enterprises provide opportunites to learn practical skills and make new friends through a range of hands on activities including:

  • DIY training
  • The ‘Men’s Shed’ project: have a go at woodwork, making, repairing, finishing or restorating items or craft and hobby activities.
  • Bike repairs and maintenance
  • Physical and recreational activities such as cycling
  • Artistic projects

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Other Useful Information

You may also find it useful to look for more ideas to fill your leisure time in the Information Now sections below;

If you already have a hobby that you think other people might be interested in, please Contact Information Now and let us know about it so that we can add it to the website!

Last updated: August 7, 2019

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