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“An amazing place with a great story, plus a few 'spooky' residents”
Review of Victoria Tunnel

Victoria Tunnel
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Advance booking is essential for Newcastle's Hidden Heritage,winner of 2013 NE Tourism Gold Award as Best Small Visitor Attraction. A preserved nineteenth century waggonway dug under the city from The Town Moor 2.5 Miles to the Tyne. Built to transport coal from Spital Tongues (Leazes Main) Colliery to the river. At outbreak of WW2 was converted into an air raid shelter to protect up to 9 thousand Newcastle citizens during deadly bombing raids. Follow your guides underground to discover the tunnel's fascinating history. Advance booking is essential - please contact the Ouseburn Trust or visit the website for tour dates and times and for more information.
Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
64 reviews
29 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
“An amazing place with a great story, plus a few 'spooky' residents”
Reviewed 11 August 2014

What a fantastic hidden away gem this is. Yes it's just a tunnel but when you are there and you hear about its history and stories you will really appreciate it. My first visit was on a ghost hunt. Believe me, there is definitely 'something' down there. I'm not sure if it's the same for normal visits, but on the ghost hunt, if you needed the loo, we had to go to the hotel next door as there are no loos at the tunnel itself.
This place is well worth a visit. I would recommend it. The guides are very knowledgable and informative.

Visited October 2013
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1 Thank thewrighttimes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Darlington, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“History on our doorstep”
Reviewed 10 August 2014 via mobile

From start to finish this was a interesting visit thanks to our guides...our children are 14 and 10 and both enjoyed learning a bit of history . We did the 2 hour trip which was maybe a bit to long for the youngest . Well worth a visit

Visited August 2014
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2 Thank Denise C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 6 Contributor
98 reviews
40 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
“Quirky little piece of history ”
Reviewed 4 August 2014 via mobile

I love discovering exciting and hidden history around our fabulous region and this was a place that I couldn't resist visiting once reading about it.

My husband and I took a tour in early 2013 when less people seemed to have visited and we were treated to a fantastic journey underneath Newcastle city. Our male tour guides were extremely knowledgable and enthusiastic about the place and gave us the full history of this amazing structure from Victorian coal mining to WW2 sheltering.

Since visiting the tunnel, I have met through friends two of the women who lead the tours and they are equally as knowledgeable and keen to share their passion for the tunnel so whoever leads you, you can guarantee your money's worth! (Which is a bargain to be honest!)

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2 Thank Hannahpianaa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Northumberland, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
23 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“A hidden gem in Newcastle”
Reviewed 4 August 2014

My wife had booked this trip online but on the day we were supposed to go they had to alter the date. The communication was superb and the apology was profuse! Our visit was midweek and started around 7.00pm. Kevin and Ian were our guides and were a great double act. Although the tunnel is 2.5 miles long the tour involves a walk of around 1 mile of generally easy walking. There is a short stage which involves a moderate climb and descent but if the prospect of that is too much there is a chair at the bottom to rest on. After a safety briefing and introductions the walk starts "underneath the arches" at Stepney Hill (there are couple of pubs locally for a little light refreshment prior to your trip). Tracing the history of some of the buildings on the banks for the Ouseburn including a lead works (the life expectancy of the workers was around 30 or so years), a brewery and a bottle works you reach the only entrance to the tunnel. There you collect a hard hat, a powerful torch and another safety briefing (the tunnel's not very high and it's actually quite easy to bump your head so wear your hard hat with pride!). Divided into 2 sections covering the tunnel's use as an air raid shelter during the 2nd World War and its original function as a transport route for coal mined 2.5 miles from the Tyne during the late 19th century. Both Ian and Kevin reeled off an amazing amount of statistics and kept their audience's attention throughout. For instance, about 7000 people used the tunnel as a shelter from German bombers. Spending up to 7 hours underground must have been unbelievably trying. It's not hard to imagine what life must have been like for the people involved in constructing the tunnel and in its use as the narration of the story by your guides really brings its history to life. The description of the the construction of the tunnel and the explanations of how it was built were fascinating. And again it was brought to life by the description of a tragic accident in which the only death that happened whilst the tunnel was under construction was related.

At £5 per person for a tour which lasts about two hours it's hard to think of a similar historical monument that gives such great value for money. I thoroughly recommend it and will certainly be taking friends in the coming months.

Visited July 2014
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2 Thank Tandem_Kid
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 5 Contributor
73 reviews
34 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
“Unusual little piece of history that deserves to be explored”
Reviewed 2 August 2014

Booking is in advance via their website. The booking process was very straightforward and quick. You can also choose whether to pay in advance or to pay with correct cash on the day (£5 each, very reasonable).

The tour was split into three sections: the brief walk to the tunnel from the meeting point (covering the use of the Ouseburn and surrounding buildings), walking into the tunnel (one guide covers its use as an air raid shelter during World War II) and the walk back out of the tunnel (the other guide covers its construction and use by the Spital Tongues Colliery).

We joined the tour with Dave, Ian and Lynne (the latter in training). The groups are capped, I think ours was perhaps 15 people, so not too big a party. The tour was presented well. Both guides were engaging and well informed, supplementing their presentation of the facts with plenty of humour. Dave in particular took care to ask regularly whether anyone had any questions and to check that everyone was feeling happy and comfortable. Should you suffer from claustrophobia, I imagine this would be reassuring - you are very much encouraged to speak up, and can be taken out at any time by one of the guides. Ian wasn't so proactive in asking for questions, but he seemed friendly and approachable, so I'm sure he would have received questions/concerns.

As for the content of the tour, it's pretty much what you would expect. The history isn't dramatic or especially fascinating (to me, anyway), but there are a handful of stories about accidents and ingenuity that piqued my interest and drew me back in. At any rate, you certainly learn a lot.

The tunnel is 6'3", so if you're over that height, you should anticipate stooping! It can feel a little crowded when you stop with the group to listen to the guide, but when walking through it's fine. The concrete floor rather wet at many points, so can be slippery, especially towards the farthest part of the tunnel where there's an incline to walk up/down. Obviously wear suitable footwear to account for this, and also a warm layer to account for the temperature (12 degrees regardless of the temperature outside). You stop regularly to listen to the tour, so the walking aspect is far from strenuous.

The facilities are good - hard hats and a large torch for everyone. They had a chair on hand, should you need to rest/sit down. They also have a few props and some sound effects that are put to good use.

All in all, it's an unusual piece of history from Newcastle's past that deserves to be remembered and explored by locals and tourists alike. Especially considering its guides are voluntary, I think they did a great job of making what is essentially an empty brick tunnel feel accessible and interesting. (Also Ouseburn is a cool area, you could easily combine this tour with a visit to Seven Stories, The Cluny, The Star and Shadow or Small Change Vintage shop, depending on your interests).

Visited July 2014
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2 Thank themoonindaylight
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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