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On top of giving the world Sting, Jimmy Nail and Cheryl Cole, Newcastle’s musical pedigree has been bolstered recently with the arrival of ~Flow – a floating watermill that uses the tides on the River Tyne to create music.

Conceived as part of the Cultural Olympiad, ~Flow’s millhouse contains a madcap array of acoustic and electric instruments, which visitors on board are at liberty to tinker with. These include the Bubble Synth, which uses sounds from resonating bubbles in the river, and the bafflingly named Turbidatron, which varies its output according to the muddiness of the water. Visit between 18–19 May to coincide with Newcastle’s Late Shows, in which the city’s museums, galleries and cultural institutes, including ~Flow, keep their doors open late into the night.

~Flow will be moored on the River Tyne until autumn (admission free; 11am–5pm, Wed–Sun). Direct trains run to Newcastle from Leeds (from £22) and Manchester (from £30), and London King’s Cross (from £34). Stay at the Newcastle Malmaison, housed in a former warehouse near the landmark Gateshead Millennium Bridge (from £100).

This article was published in partnership with Lonely Planet Magazine.

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