FRIDAY, 10am Arrive at Newcastle Central Station after a scenic 90-minute train ride from Edinburgh.
10:30am Check in at The Malmaison Hotel (0845 365 4247, www.malmaison.com, doubles from £145) on the Quayside. Right outside is the Millennium Bridge, which “blinks” like a giant eyelid.
Noon Cross the bridge to Gateshead, where you’ll find the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Arts (www.balticmill.com, free). Work from a range of international artists is on display over four floors.
1pm Have lunch in the Baltic’s affordable cafe. Or try nearby Pan Haggerty (21 Queen Street, www.panhaggerty.com).
3pm Take your Christmas list to Fenwick (39 Northumberland Street, www.fenwick.co.uk). Highlights include menswear and a huge beauty floor.
7pm Back to the Malmaison Brasserie for a mean fillet steak.
Saturday, 10am Rise early and try some pull-ups, courtesy of the outdoor gym outside the hotel.
11am Take a ten-minute walk to The Biscuit Factory (Stoddart Street, www.thebiscuitfactory.com, free), which has craft exhibitions.
12.30pm Eat next door, at David Kennedy’s Food Social (www.foodsocial.co.uk), where Christmas menu dishes include pheasant with choucroute.
3pm Wander back into “toon” via the Laing Art Gallery (New Bridge Street, www.twmuseums.org.uk), where you’ll find 18th and 19th-century paintings.
5pm Visit Chinatown, while inhaling the smell of Peking duck.
7pm Ouseburn is the equivalent of Edinburgh’s Leith, with cool hang-outs such as Cluny Kitchen (36 Lime Street, www.clunykitchen.com).
Sunday, 10am Hop on a Quaylink bus outside the Baltic. It’ll take you directly to the train station.
We travelled to Newcastle by East Coast train (08457 225225); standard advance returns, booked online via www.eastcoast.co.uk, from Edinburgh to Newcastle start from £18.