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Fly to Newcastle and enjoy its world-class culture, vibrant nightlife, eclectic restaurant scene, inspiring heritage, fantastic shopping and acclaimed architecture.
- City Guide
- City Guide
Newcastle City Guide
Newcastle is a city that sits in the heart of North East England on the north bank of the River Tyne. Its neighbour, Gateshead, sits on the south bank of the Tyne, and collectively the destination is known as Newcastle Gateshead. It’s a place that is packed with culture, heritage (thanks to 2,000 years of history) and stunning architecture. It is also well-known for a great night out, with a vibrant mix of traditional pubs, cocktail bars, nightclubs and restaurants.
The locals, known as ‘Geordies’, offer a famously friendly welcome to visitors and will help to make your trip to Newcastle memorable. You’ll also come across their distinct and appealing Geordie accent, with the locals using some fantastic local phrases.
Newcastle has a great selection of shops and boutiques, including all of the high-street favourites as well as independent retailers. One of the biggest shopping centres in the UK is located right in the centre of Newcastle, intu Eldon Square. The area is also home to Europe’s largest shopping centre, intu Metrocentre, making it a shoppers’ paradise.
For sports fans, Newcastle United’s home ground, St. James’ Park, sits in the heart of the city centre and can be seen from most vantage points as you walk around the destination. It is often considered the city’s ‘third cathedral’, with many passionate fans making the pilgrimage there to watch their heroes in black and white every match day.
If you like galleries and museums, there are many to explore in Newcastle. The iconic BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art sits on the Gateshead Quayside, and has featured exhibitions from artists like Damien Hirst and Yoko Ono, while the nearby Biscuit Factory is the UK’s biggest commercial gallery. The Discovery Museum is the place to go to find out about Tyneside’s history and innovations in science, technology and industry, while the Great North Museum: Hancock has an impressive Roman collection and is the perfect place to learn about Hadrian’s Wall and the Roman history of the region.
Make sure you take a stroll around the Quayside area of the city, which is an iconic setting where the River Tyne is crossed by seven bridges including the famous Tyne and Gateshead Millennium bridges – it makes a picture-perfect photo stop. Here you’ll find a buzzing atmosphere, cultural icons including Sage Gateshead, great pubs and restaurants and the popular Sunday market. The view from the level five viewing deck at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art is also unmissable (and free!).
The Grainger Town area is the historic centre of Newcastle, where you can take in the elegant Georgian architecture and Grey’s Monument, which sits at the top of the winding Grey Street. This area has lots of restaurants and cocktail bars, many with outdoor seating so you can take in the city centre atmosphere.
Grainger Town is also home to the Grainger Market, which was built in the early 19th century and was once the largest indoor market in Europe. It’s packed with street food vendors, bakeries, butchers and greengrocers, as well as a great spread of boutique businesses. You can find locally-roasted coffee in the market at Pumphrey’s, which has been around since the 18th century, and the ‘Marks and Spencer Original Penny Bazaar’, the world’s smallest Marks and Spencer store.
For more information on Newcastle and the surrounding area, visit www.newcastlegateshead.com
When it’s time to take a break from the bustle of the city centre, escape north beyond the Town Moor to the leafy suburb, Jesmond. As well as a range of boutiques, restaurants and cafes, centred around Osbourne Road, you’ll find the tranquil Jesmond Dene, where you can get lost in the woods, giving you the feel of a being in the countryside while just a couple of miles from the city.
Tynemouth is a pretty seaside town that’s a popular day out for tourists and locals alike. It can be reached quickly and easily by public transport on the Tyne and Wear Metro system. Stroll down to the pier and along to the lighthouse that guards the mouth of the River Tyne. The ruins of the Benedictine priory standing high above on the headland provide a ghostly but picturesque backdrop. The beaches at Tynemouth have attracted visitors since the 18th century. Nowadays, the broad sweep of fine dunes and sea swells at Longsands lure top surfers from across the country, and you can even take a surfing lesson here.
Newcastle sits at the easternmost end of Hadrian’s Wall, the famous Roman frontier that crosses the country from coast to coast. Take a short journey west from Newcastle to reach the most iconic Hadrian’s Wall sites in Northumberland – Housesteads Roman Fort – which is the most well-preserved of all the forts along the Wall, while just a short walk away from here you’ll find to reach the famous ‘Sycamore Gap’ where you will see both the highest remains of the Wall and the solitary tree immortalised in the film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.
The North East is also home to many castles – in fact Northumberland has more castles and fortified buildings than any other county in England. Just a 40 minute drive from Newcastle, is Alnwick Castle, which starred as Hogwarts in the Harry Potter movies, as well as featuring in Downton Abbey. Other striking castles include Bamburgh, which sits on a dramatic coastline with vast sand dunes and Lindisfarne Castle, which sits on a tiny island reached by road causeway at low tide.
Hotels in Newcastle
Newcastle offers hotels and accommodation options to suit all budgets, from big-name to boutique. The city centre is packed with options including big-name 3 and 4-star hotels like Crowne Plaza, Hilton and Jurys Inn, independently owned hotels including the art-deco Vermont, serviced apartments and quality hostels for the budget-conscious traveller.
Just outside the city, there are many luxury country house hotels such as the grand Rockliffe Hall or Slaley Hall, which have impressive spa and golf facilities.
To view a full list of accommodation options, visit: www.newcastlegateshead.com/accommodation
Eat/Drink in Newcastle
Visit Newcastle and one thing’s for certain – you’ll have a great night out! Several areas of the city have lots of trendy bars, traditional pubs and nightclubs to choose from, as well as live music venues all within easy reach of one another. For iconic views, the perfect place to enjoy a sunset drink is the Quayside area. The Pitcher & Piano has one of the best positions right by the Gateshead Millennium Bridge. You’ll also find The Bridge Tavern here, which has its own micro-brewery. For a lively night out, head to the Central Station and Collingwood Street area, known as ‘The Diamond Strip’, which has lots of chic cocktail bars and clubs. Grainger Town is also packed with sophisticated bars and restaurants, centered around Grey Street, where you can enjoy drinks in one of the many cocktail bars, including The Botanist, a popular horticulture-themed bar.
You may associate pie and peas with the football terraces of Newcastle United’s home ground, but The Redhouse, on Newcastle’s Quayside specialises in delicious, quality versions of this traditional meal and is one of the city’s oldest pubs. Also on the Quayside, The Broad Chare specialises in upmarket traditional British pub grub, while the Crown Posada is a tiny, Victorian, real-ale pub which gives a sense of the Newcastle of the past.
There’s something for everyone’s tastes in Newcastle, from Latin American fare at Las Iguanas, to contemporary Indian cuisine at Sachins, or traditional English dishes at Blackfriars Restaurant. Newcastle also has its own Chinatown on Stowell Street, which has the city’s best selection of oriental food.
For a full list of places to eat and drink in Newcastle, visit www.newcastlegateshead.com/food-and-drink
Built in the early 19th century and once the largest indoor market in Europe, the Grainger Market hasn’t strayed too far from its roots as a crowded Victorian shopping experience. There are endless blocks of butchers and fresh veg stalls, as well as a great spread of boutique businesses. Pumphrey’s is a big part of Newcastle’s growing independent coffee scene (pumphreys-coffee.co.uk) and has been around since the 18th century. Its double-sided stall not only serves the perfect drop of coffee but sells dozens of beans and blends.
Newcastle Quayside near the Tyne Bridge has interesting places nearby: shopping, markets, streets & arcades with stalls displaying jewellery, photographic prints and art set up along the quays around the Tyne Bridge every Sunday. Buskers and food stalls add to the street-party atmosphere.
Try the Newcastle City Guide Walk where trained volunteer guides offer a range of walks through the summer months. The “City Highlights” walk covers the places of interest in the city centre and runs from Sat 1st June to Sept 30th and each Saturday in October. The walk leaves the Visitor Information Centre on Market Street daily at 10.30am and finishes around mid-day. Details can be found on the Guides’ website www.newcastlecityguides.org.uk or from the Visitor Information Centre, Market Street, Newcastle.
For something really different, take a guided tour of the Victoria Tunnel. Its a preserved 19th century railway tunner under the city from the Town Moor to the Tyne, built to transport coal from Spital Tongues Colliery to the river and operated between 1842 and the 1860s. The Tunnel was converted in 1939 into an air raid shelter to protect thousands of Newcastle citizens during World War 2. It is both an interesting and educational visit with a Guide who makes the trip fun. Ticket prices for tours are £6 for adults and £3 for children.
For art lovers, there’s the BALTIC – Centre for Contemporary Art (www.balticmill.com) . Originally a grain store, BALTIC is now a huge mustard-coloured art gallery along the lines of London’s Tate Modern. There are no permanent exhibitions; instead, rotating shows feature the work and installations of some of contemporary art’s biggest show-stoppers. The complex has artists in residence, a performance space, a cinema, a bar, a spectacular rooftop restaurant (bookings essential) and a ground-floor restaurant with riverside tables. A fourth-floor outdoor platform and fifth-floor viewing box offer fabulous panoramas of the Tyne.
Getting to and from Newcastle Airport
Newcastle International Airport is only eight miles from the city centre. It’s quick and easy to get to the city center using the Tyne & Wear Metro, which connects the city center directly to the airport. The journey takes around 20 minute, with trains running regularly throughout the day. There are also buses, car hire companies and taxis available at the airport.