Gosforth Park

Gosforth Park is a park north of Gosforth in the city of Newcastle upon Tyne, England. It houses Newcastle Racecourse, Virgin Money Unity Arena, a Britannia hotel, two golf courses, a garden centre and a football centre. It is also home to Gosforth Nature Reserve, a private SSSI managed by the Natural History Society of Northumbria, consisting of a lake and woodland.

High Gosforth Park
Newcastle rc.jpg
Newcastle Racecourse
Gosforth Park is located in Tyne and Wear
Gosforth Park
Nearest cityNewcastle upon Tyne
Coordinates55°01′52″N 1°36′43″W / 55.0311°N 1.6119°W / 55.0311; -1.6119Coordinates: 55°01′52″N 1°36′43″W / 55.0311°N 1.6119°W / 55.0311; -1.6119
Createdc. 1760

The park was laid out by Charles Brandling (1733–1802), a wealthy coal-mine owner and local politician, to adorn his new mansion, Gosforth House (now Brandling House, the racecourse hospitality and conference centre), built 1755–64.

Up to the 1950s tramcars came into the park on race days through a special gate from what was then the A1 Great North Road.

Between 2016 and 2019 the two walled gardens and icehouse at Gosforth Park were the subject of archaeological investigations by AAG Archaeology.


The Gosforth Park Hotel, now in the Britannia Hotels chain, was originally built in 1965 and opened by the Duke of Northumberland, and by 1986 was owned by Scottish & Newcastle and run by Thistle Hotels.[1] Between being in the Thistle and Britannia portfolios it had been operated as a Marriott.

Virgin Money Unity ArenaEdit

Virgin Money Unity Arena is the UK's first purpose built socially distanced outdoor entertainment venue constructed in the grounds of Gosforth Park.[2] During 2020 the COVID-19 pandemic caused all concert and stand-up comedy events in the country to be cancelled.[3] As the country came out of lockdown a number of efforts were made to re-start entertainment events including some drive-in venues.[4]

The temporary outdoor venue site is 45,000 square metres (480,000 sq ft) and consists of 500 viewing spaces.[5] Each socially distanced viewing space can occupy up to 5 people bringing the maximum capacity of the venue to 2500.[6] The first two concerts on 11 and 13 August by North Tyneside singer Sam Fender sold out in minutes.[5]

The venue is operated by SSD Concerts and Engine No.4.[7] The event's title sponsor is the Virgin Money bank who have their headquarters in the nearby Regent Centre business park.[8]


  1. ^ "Gosforth Park Hotel". BBC Domesday Reloaded. 1986. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
  2. ^ Kreps, Daniel (4 July 2020). "U.K. Racetrack to Become First 'Dedicated Socially Distanced Venue'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 12 August 2020.
  3. ^ "Coronavirus: Will I get a refund on my ticket if events are cancelled?". BBC News. 18 March 2020. Retrieved 12 August 2020.
  4. ^ "Brit winner headlines first socially-distanced gig". BBC News. 12 August 2020. Retrieved 12 August 2020.
  5. ^ a b "Brit winner to headline socially-distanced gig". BBC News. 11 August 2020. Retrieved 11 August 2020.
  6. ^ Meechan, Simon (12 August 2020). "Live music returns with Sam Fender gig at Virgin Money Unity Arena". The Evening Chronicle. Retrieved 12 August 2020.
  7. ^ Hanley, James (11 August 2020). "Inside the UK's only major concert series of the summer". Music Week. Retrieved 11 August 2020.
  8. ^ Vizard, Sarah (7 July 2020). "Inside Virgin Money's plan to build a consumer, not just a bank, brand". Marketing Week. Retrieved 12 August 2020.

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