The history of Metroland and the memories it made.

Metrocentre is a shopping centre and an entertainment complex in the Dunston area of Gateshead. It is located on the former site of Dunston Power Station, near the River Tyne. The opening of Metrocentre was opened in phases with the first phase opening on 28 April 1986 and the official opening being held on 14 October that year. 

It has more than 300 shops occupying it and making it the second-largest shopping centre but it had one specific leisure facility that may release your inner child called Metroland. 

Metroland was an entirely enclosed theme park and it was renamed The New Metroland following its refurbishment by operators Arlington Leisure in 1996. It was Europe’s largest indoor amusement park and opened in February 1988 at £20 million. It featured a roller coaster, Ferris Wheel, pirate ship, waltzers, a miniature railway and dodgem cars alongside all the other rides they had. 

This was the most iconic place and jewel of the region and let me recap some memories you may when you were at the place. Birthday parties… if you had a birthday party in the 80s, 90s or early 00s then you most likely had a birthday party at Metroland where you enjoyed the whole place and having a possible visit from the Metro Gnomes. Furthermore, as part of the birthday package, you got to go into the play area! Making your way through a series of climbing frames, nets and slides until you ended up in the hall of mirrors. 

As mentioned before, they had rollercoasters and even a pirate ship that most of you would have stood up on as it got higher (even though you were not supposed to) as well as you might remember the rollercoaster changing colours during the rebranding, it went from red to purple. 

However, all those positive times at Metroland are now only distant memories with no new ones ever again. The park closed at 8 pm on 20 April 2008 despite strong local opposition, and petitions raising around 4,000 signatures against its closure. On the final weekend of operation (19-20 April 2008), the park held ‘The Last Ride Weekend’, where the admission [price was £5 for the whole day, with unlimited access to all the rides. 

Its closure made way for the redevelopment of the Yellow Mall, including the Odeon Cinema as well as Namco Funscape which still stands. For some, Odeon and Namco are all they know but for others, Metroland was their jewel that they will always remember.