The sun made a floating appearance to welcome the return of The Hoppings on Friday and while it proved elusive over the rest of the opening afternoon, the weather remained warm and mostly dry for its first arrivals – save for a, very brief, spot of rain in the air.
The long-running fair is back on Newcastle Town Moor under a different manager, fairground operator Crow Events, which has added major new attraction – a first bar and street food village, called Feast Street – which takes up space at the center of the site near where The Hoppings was officially launched on Friday after by the Lord Mayor of Newcastle.
Coun Karen Robinson welcomed its comeback, following the two years of cancellations due to the pandemic, and pointed out that this is its 140-year anniversary. And returning visitors will find a new car parking system as well as more than 450 rides, stalls and attractions. The new food area – which is in addition to the range of other food outlets across the fairground site – includes gourmet street food stalls such as Acropolis Greek cuisine, fish and chips and a dessert options including churros and doughnuts.
Read more: The Hoppings new parking system
Alongside it is a sitting area covered by a stretch tent and the adjacent bar which will serve drinks only to those who are eating. It has staff at the entrance monitoring over-18 access and organizers say it will be operating a Challenge 25 policy so photo ID may be required. Ryan Crow, of Crow Events, said: “There is so much for everyone to enjoy this time round and we are very proud to have some of Europe’s top attractions to make it a year to remember.”
The Hoppings is here until June 25 and those planning a visit during its run will want an idea of what to expect. Here is some information about prices and below is an idea of the cost of the main rides and the Feast Street refreshments.. Not all food outlets or rides had prices on display on its opening day, including for instance the Mach 5 – one of The Hoppings’ high-octane aerial attractions – which explained it was still debating whether it would be £5 or £6 this year, given that £5 was its price back in 2019 and its need to cover current costs.
Families are advised to take along some cash if they can as notices on some rides and stalls say that they prefer money. Most, although not all, will still accept cards however. One food outlet on Friday was heard to ask for cash-only.
White knuckle rides
The high-thrill rides include the 200ft Star Flyer and the Mach 5 Bomber with its amazing G4 force. Here is an idea of the cost of some.
Air – £5
excite – £4
Atmos Fear – £5
Star Flyer – £5
Mach 5 – to be confirmed at £5 or £6
Among the regular bit-hitters is the Big Wheel which seems to get bigger each year. Now known as the Giant Observation Wheel, it’s in the center of the site – so would be a good meet-up point if you get separated from your group – and it boasts unique views from the top.
Waltzer the Ultimate Buzz – £3
Clarks Waltzer – £3
athas waltz £3
Big Wheel – £5; £4 small children or £14 family
Horne Dodgems – £4 car
RunawayTrain – £2.50. This one is one of those which prefers cash but will accept card
Monster – £2.50
Feast Street food village
chipstix – offering a range of flavours, such as salt and vinegar; Pizza; garlic butter; cheese and fried chicken, these are said to be suitable for vegans too – £4
hatch 76 – wraps, with fries, include crispy duck, grilled hallumi and a ‘vegan duck’ with jackfruit – £9. Loaded fries include bacon and cheese – £6; loaded duck – £7.50 and Vietamese fries, with crushed peanuts – £4.50. Seasoned fries in the ‘light eats’ section are £3.
Whitley Bay Pizza Co – serving 10-inch fresh pizzas: Margarita – £8.50; Nduja; Pepperoni; Chicken kyiv or Atichoke – £9.50.
churros love – vegan-friendly churros with sugar or cinnamon – £5; churros with Nutella – £6. Sprinkles and marshmallows can be added for 50p each.
Billie Jo’s Fish and Chips – £10; scampi and chips – £8. Other options include chip butties; cheesey chips and chips with curry sauce or mushy peas.
The Donkey Box – serving loaded desserts; waffles, crepes – with toppings to choose from – plus donuts and coffee. Options include four donuts with sugar – £5 and four donuts with Nutella – £5.
Lucky Boat Chinese Noodles – £6 or £7 with meat.
Other outlets include Sugar Nut and Sin City Desserts which had yet to display prices. Also in the food court area is a Caddy Shack Golf outlet.
Feast Street Bar
Peroni – £3.50 for half; £7 to pint
Krombach – £3.60; £7 to pint
Birra Moretti – £3.50; £7 to pint
Ale and Lager – £3; £6 to pint
cider – £3.50; £6 to pint
Draft Guinness – £3.50; £6.50 a pint
spirits – £5 for vodka, gin; whiskey and rum
jack daniels and mixer – £5.50
Southern Comfort – £5
schnapps – £5
Brandy – £5.50
Hot Gluwein – 20cl – £6; Cherry Gluwein – £6.50. Amaretto Shots are also available.
Pimm’s – £6.80. Pitcher – £20
Bleeding – £6.80; Pitcher £20
Bailey’s Hot Chocolate – £5.50