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Cityscape: The Scents of Newcastle Upon Tyne

I grew up in Northeast England and spent much of my teenage years going to Newcastle Upon Tyne to shop and hang out with friends. I’m old enough that I remember the shipping industry, but young enough to have not been in Newcastle until it was dying out. My memories of Newcastle are perhaps different from others. I remember Newgate Market and Grainger Market, as well as the hippy stalls and goth shops. Newcastle, to me, is lazy summer afternoons on the “Hippy Green,” and the scents reflect that.

Newcastle Frankincense and Wine (Well, Beer!)

When I was in Newcastle Upon Tyne during my teenage years, I spent my pocket money on incense sticks with fruity, pleasant smells. Because of this, frankincense will always evoke memories of the city to me. As you walk through the markets, you’ll find that you’re overpowered by the scent of frankincense in incense form or oil form. Even the scarves, ponchos and sarees hanging up outside had the scent embedded into them. Frankincense is quite a powerful scent, so it’s a good thing that it’s a pleasant and relaxing one.

There are some that believe the body has strong intuition, and that we find appealing the scents that we need the most. I believe that theory. Certainly, around exam time, I was drawn to those markets and geeky stores. There is a lot of evidence that frankincense helps alleviate worry without making you drowsy, and I certainly needed that.

Frankincense is the ultimate aromatherapy base: it goes well with almost anything. I no longer use incense, but I do still love diffusers, and I keep my home smelling of frankincense and minty-fresh aromas, depending on the time of day and my mood . Mint wakes me up, and Frankincense clears my head and helps me to stay relaxed.

Newcastle A City That Knows How to Party

Of course, there’s another scent that will always be familiar to former Geordies, too: that of the hops from the Newcastle Brown Ale factory. Sadly, Newcastle Brown Ale is no longer made in the city proper, but over the water in neighboring Gateshead. There’s no shortage of other breweries though, so you don’t have to go far to find that hoppy scent. The railway arches on the old Pottery Lane host independent brewers, and you’ll find that there’s plenty of other brewers and micro-pubs in the area.

Newcastle is known for being a great place to go out. As an adult, I’ve enjoyed the specialist pubs, the party scene, and the fine dining of the French Quarter. There’s something for everyone, and if you know where to look, you’ll wonder if the old “Fog on the Tyne” song ever had any truth to it because the Newcastle you’ll see is so very different: vibrant, lively, and fun. The days of it being a smoggy, smelly, and dark city are long gone.

Newcastle is also multicultural, and that is reflected in the sheer diversity of the individuals you will meet there and the things you will see. Chinatown has a different look, aroma, and atmosphere than the Bigg Market, which is once again different from Quayside.

Decades on, the Hippy Green has been tidied and renovated, but it is still very much the Hippy Green. There are some things that do change with time, but some things that will forever be the same. I for one appreciate the idea of the city frozen in time and hope that if you visit, you'll pick up the same youthful vibe that is so close to my heart and remember it by the scents of hops and frankincense that I tie so closely to the city.

We hope you enjoyed this personal account by a fellow essential oil lover, Lauren Y. Check out more Cityscape stories here !

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