Newcastle upon Tyne, England

A Total Guide of Things to do in Newcastle

A visit to the North East capital has more than enough things needed to tick off a cultural and historical list if ever there was one. Newcastle and the surrounding areas are awash with great things to do either solo, as a couple or with the family.

Angel of the North

The Angel of the North is the most viewed Angel sculpture in the world, amassing 34 million views per year. Opening in 1998 it was designed by Anthony Gormley who chose an Angel sculpture to recognise the sacrifice of the miners who had previously worked below the site for more than 200 years.

Visiting the Angel is free and open all year around so you can get up close and personal to this magnificent 20 meter tall statue day or night.

Although situated in Gateshead, getting to the Angel of the North is a breeze. Just head for Go North East bus The Angel (number 21) departs from Newcastle Eldon Square Bus Station and Gateshead Interchange every 8 minutes.

Address: Durham Rd, Low Eighton, Gateshead NE9 7TY
Price: Free
Website

Baltic

The Baltic is a Contemporary Arts museum located on the banks of the River Tyne is the UK’s largest contemporary art institution.

The converted flour mill opened in 2002 to great acclaim and boasts a frequently changing calendar of the finest examples of Contemporary Art in the UK. Such is the status of the museum that in 2011, Baltic was the venue chosen to host The Turner Prize, the first time the event had been held outside of Tate London or Tate Liverpool.

The event which lasted for 3 months attracted more than 149,000 visitors, more than any Turner Prize exhibition held previously.

Address: Gateshead Quays, South Shore Road, Gateshead NE8 3BA
Price: Free
Website

Victoria Tunnel

The Victoria Tunnel is a preserved 19th-century waggonway under Newcastle, stretching from the Town Moor to the Tyne river. It was originally built to transport coal from Spital Tongues (Leazes Main) Colliery to the river Tyne. It operated between 1842 and the 1860s.

Experience life in a Victorian waggonway, learn how it was constructed and listen out for the wagons full of coal heading for the Tyne. Be brave – listen to the story of William Coulson’s death and be aware as you hear the approaching waggons heading towards you through the tunnel in the pitch-black darkness.

As Newcastle’s number one attraction on TripAdvisor, Ouseburn’s Victoria Tunnel is something everyone should experience.

Address: 55 Lime St, Valley, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 2PQ
Price: £9.00 Adults, £4.00 Children
Website

St James’ Park

The home of Newcastle United is in these parts is considered a cathedral in its own right. Home of the Magpies since 1892, this 52,405 capacity football stadium is one of the largest in the UK and boasts the largest cantilever roof in Europe. Although the trophy cabinet is somewhat empty, the stadium is a fantastic way to see behind the scenes of a Premier League football club.

Visit the players changing rooms, the dugouts and executive boxes as well as the media suite. Those with a head for heights should also check out the Rooftop Tours.

Address: Barrack Rd, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 4ST
Price: £15.00 Adults, £8.00 Children
Website

The Quayside

The Quayside area of Newcastle is full of history. This part of the city was once the beating heart of industrial Tyneside with ships littering the river Tyne. Today the impressive Quayside is lively with runners, tourists enjoying a walk and ice cream and of course photographers taking snaps of the bridges. The most famous of these is the Tyne Bridge.

Address:
Price: Free

Sunday Market

The Quayside is also home to the Sunday Market where local Geordies sell their produce. This ranges of anything from Food, CD’s, Clothing, Handmade goods plus many more. It’s a great way to take it the breath-taking architecture surrounding the Quayside whilst eating on the go and finding a bargain.

Address:
Price: Free

Millennium Bridge

Whilst on the Quayside it would be rude not to visit the Millennium Bridge, also called “The Blinking Eye”. As well as being the only bridge built for pedestrians and cyclists across the Tyne it was also the worlds first tilting bridge.

The Bridge tilts daily and you can find times here. It takes just over 4 minutes to tilt

And no, you can’t stand on it when its in motion.

Address:
Price: Free

Hadrian’s Wall

Built to guard the wild northern frontier of the Roman Empire in AD122, Hadrian’s Wall was more than just a barricade; it was a vibrant and multi-cultural occupied military zone of mile-castles, barracks, ramparts, forts and settlements; sprawling almost 80 miles in length from the North Sea to the Irish Sea.

The building of the Wall required vision and an outstanding level of engineering skill. Set amongst the wild beauty of Cumbrian and Northumbrian landscapes, it still impresses today and stands as a testimony to the power and reach of the mighty Roman Empire.

Address:
Price: Free

Segedunum

And if Hadrians Wall isn’t enough Roman history for you, then check out the Segedunum in Wallsend.

Segedunum, which means ‘Strong Fort’, was built to guard the eastern end of the Wall, and housed 600 Roman soldiers. It stood for almost 300 years as a symbol of Roman rule and a bastion against barbarian attack.

It is the most excavated fort along the Wall with surviving foundations of many buildings and part of the Wall itself. There is a large interactive museum plus full-scale reconstructions of a bath house and a section of Wall. The 35 metre high viewing tower provides outstanding views across this World Heritage Site.

Address: Segedunum Roman Fort, Buddle Street, Wallsend, NE28 6HR
Price: £5.95 Adults, Under 15, Free
Website

Arbeia

Standing above the entrance to the River Tyne, Arbeia South Shields’ Roman Fort guarded the main sea route to Hadrian’s Wall. It was a key garrison and military supply base to other forts along the Wall and is an important part of the history of Roman Britain.

Step into the fort and immerse yourself in the world of the Romans right in the heart of South Shields. Explore inside the full-scale reconstructed Roman buildings including the West Gate, Commanding Officer’s house and a soldier’s barrack block, and see one of the finest collections of finds from Roman Britain all found in and around Arbeia.

Stories are brought to life at Arbeia through a variety of events and displays including gladiator battles, falconry displays, Roman re-enactments, storytelling and more.

Address: Baring Street, South Shields, NE33 2BB
Price: Free
Website

Northumberlandia

You’ve heard of the Angel of the North, but what about the Lady of the North?

Northumberlandia is a unique piece of public art set in a 19-hectare community park providing free public access, with four miles of footpaths on and around the landform, along with a café and visitor centre. The park’s centrepiece is ‘The Lady of the North’, a stunning human landform sculpture of a reclining lady, scaling 100 feet in height and spanning a quarter of a mile.

Address: Baring Street, South Shields, NE33 2BB
Price: Free
Website

Saltwell Park

Nestled in the heart of Gateshead, Saltwell Park is one of Britain’s finest examples of a Victorian park and a perfect place for the whole family to enjoy.

Its historical and peaceful grounds have earned many awards such as Green Flag and Britain’s Best Park. Relax and unwind in the beautiful green space; bring the family to enjoy facilities including play areas, a maze and pets’ corner; get active with our walking and jogging routes as well as bowling greens, tennis and basketball facilities or simply enjoy lunch and a hot drink in the stunning surroundings of Saltwell Towers.

Saltwell Park was declared as ‘The People’s Choice’ in 2018 for the second year in a row. The award by Keep Britain Tidy followed a public vote and makes Saltwell Park among the top 10 in the country – and the only park in the north of England to hold this award.

Address: Baring Street, South Shields, NE33 2BB
Price: Free
Website

The Discovery Museum

Discovery Museum started life in Exhibition Park, Newcastle in 1934 as the Municipal Museum of Science and Industry, the first science museum outside of London. It was housed in the temporary pavilion that was built for the 1929 North East Coast Exhibition.

As you enter the museum you’ll come face to face with Turbinia. Charles Parsons’ 34 metre steam powered ship that was once the fastest ship in the world and an iconic part of the history of Tyneside.

Immerse yourself in the history of Newcastle focusing on the area’s maritime, scientific and technological importance to Britain and the rest of the world.

Address: Baring Street, South Shields, NE33 2BB
Price: Free
Website

Newcastle Castle

Steeped in history, this imposing Norman fortress is a rugged reminder of northern England’s turbulent past. Newcastle Castle is where the story of Newcastle began and the reason it got its name.

This was no baron’s stately home. The Castle was a grim symbol of royal authority, where armies gathered and criminals were imprisoned and executed. You will find marvellous views of the River Tyne & Gateshead from the top.

Enjoy exploring the ancient passageways and chambers; discovering the hidden stories of the Castle’s inhabitants over the centuries and take a journey through The Gateway to Old Newcastle.

Address: Baring Street, South Shields, NE33 2BB
Price: Free
Website

Greys Monument

You can’t miss Greys Monument if you’re visiting Newcastle. Situated at the top of one of the country’s most beautiful streets stands a column dedicated to Earl Grey, who served as prime minister between November 1830 to July 1834.

It was built to commemorate Earl Grey and to celebrate the passing of the Reform Act 1832, which attempted to stamp out corruption and increase the number of people eligible to vote.

FACT – The head of the statue was knocked off by a bolt of lightening in in 1941 and was replaced with a new head (using some fragmented parts) in 1947.

Address: Baring Street, South Shields, NE33 2BB
Price: Free
Website

Great North Museum

The Great North Museum: Hancock was purpose built in Newcastle as a natural history museum in 1884 to house the growing collections of the Natural History Society of Northumbria.

Newcastle born ornithologist and trailblazing taxidermist John Hancock was instrumental in securing funds for the museum. When he died in 1890 he donated his prolific collection of British birds to the museum, many of which are in the museum today.

Other areas of the museum include The Living Planet gallery which tells the story of wildlife and habitats. Discover the world of the Ancient Egyptians – including two mummies – and marvel at important collections of Greek and Etruscan art and archaeology.

Address: Baring Street, South Shields, NE33 2BB
Price: Free
Website

Vera Tour

Discover the world of Detective Chief Inspector Vera Stanhope on a 4-hour tour around Northumberland. Fans of the television series Vera will definitely spot locations on their visit to Newcastle. Take a tour and listen to live commentary on board the coach as you visit shooting locations from the iconic television series including Gateshead, North Shields, and Whitley Bay.

Tours start from £35.00, click here for more details

Beamish Museum

Beamish Museum is an open air museum showcasing life in North East England specific to the late Victorian and Edwardian eras. The museum opened its doors in 1972 and attracts over 700,000 visitors annually.

Popular attractions at Beamish include the 1930’s town including Sweet Shop, Bakery, Pub, Coal Mine and Farm. Visitors to Beamish Museum can also ride Victorian trams on it’s very own 1.5 mile long tramway.

Address: Baring Street, South Shields, NE33 2BB
Price: Free
Website

Northumberland Street

Northumberland street is Newcastle’s shopping district.

Keen shoppers will find an array of shops from high end fashion to national retail chains. It is the most expensive location in the UK outside of London to own a shop

Address: Baring Street, South Shields, NE33 2BB
Price: Free
Website

Life Science Centre

Hitch a ride to the stars and beyond at the Life Science Centre. Here your kids can learn loads about the weird world of science and even conduct their own experiments! Sound good?

At Life Science Centre curious explorers of all ages are welcome to get hands-on and have fun with lots of interactive activities on offer. Have a question? Ask one of the friendly Science Explainers – you’ll recognise them by the Life-branded blue polo shirts.

You can also journey to the North’s biggest planetarium. It’s a family favourite and quite an education in recognising planets and distant constellations. Education is, in fact, at the heart of everything they do: with scientific experiments, a 4D motion ride and a Young Explorers’ Zone for under 7s, brains will be well and truly supersized!

Address: Baring Street, South Shields, NE33 2BB
Price: Free
Website

Nightlife

You may think that Newcastle is all about beer swilling Geordies and girls in short skirts but what makes Newcastle’s nightlife different is the way it appeals to 18 to 80 year olds with different parts of the city offering up different drinking experiences. From the carnage of the diamond strip to the sophistication of Grey Street, Newcastle really is the place to let your drinking do the talking.

A “Night on the Toon” is one way to destress and with more drinking licensed premises within a square mile of any other city in the country, you can guarantee a good night out is waiting for you.

For a comprehensive list of Newcastle’s best night spots and to get the lowdown on prices, times and dress code, head over to our Newcastle Nightlife Guide

Ouseburn Farm

The Ouseburn Farm is a registered charity and working farm nestled in a vibrant green space in the heart of the city.

Visitors and especially the kids will enjoy spending time with the pigs, sheep, goats, chickens, rabbits, guinea pigs, lizards, tortoises, meadows, ponds and woodlands.

Address: Baring Street, South Shields, NE33 2BB
Price: Free
Website

The Literary & Philosophical Society

The Lit & Phil Library is Newcastle’s exquisite secret library, open to all and free to explore and browse. Established in 1825 on Westgate Road, just yards from Central Station, It became a hub of learning and enlightenment long before the city’s universities existed and today continue to inspire minds, stimulate imaginations and confer a wealth of knowledge to young and old alike.

It is the largest independent library outside of London.

Address: Baring Street, South Shields, NE33 2BB
Price: Free
Website

Tynemouth

Tynemouth is a vibrant seaside town located 10 miles east of Newcastle city centre. Easily accessed by Metro, bus and car, Tynemouth has always been a great place for an alternative to the hustle and bustle of the city centre.

Boasting some of the best beaches in the North East as well as upscale bars and restaurants, the coastal town is a hit with locals and visitors alike. Don’t forget the fish and chips either.

Tynemouth Priory is also an English Heritage visitor attraction.

FACT – The priory is also where rocker Sting lost his virginity.

Address: Baring Street, South Shields, NE33 2BB
Price: Free
Website

 

Whitley Bay

Whitley Bay is also another coastal Town next to Tynemouth famous for its golden sandy beaches, amusements and the Spanish City.

The Spanish City originally opened in 1910 but fell into disrepair until it was restored in 2018. Now this impressive building hosts everything from Christmas markets, weddings and special interest exhibitions to high-quality steak and seafood restaurants, tearooms and a champagne.

FACT – Dire Straits made reference the The Spanish City in their 1981 hit “Tunnel of Love

Address: Baring Street, South Shields, NE33 2BB
Price: Free
Website

Laing Art Gallery

Laing was founded in 1901 by Alexander Laing, a Newcastle businessman who had made his money from his wine and spirit shop and beer bottling business.

Alexander Laing didn’t leave any paintings or other art to the Gallery. He said that he was confident “…that by the liberality of the inhabitants [of Newcastle] it would soon be supplied with pictures and statuary for the encouragement and development of British Art”.

The gallery today is home to an internationally important collection of art, focusing on British oil paintings, watercolours, ceramics, silver and glassware.

The Laing Art Gallery holds regularly changing exhibitions of historic, modern and contemporary art, and events including artist and curator talks and family activities.

Address: Baring Street, South Shields, NE33 2BB
Price: Free
Website

Metrocentre

Metrocentre is one the UK’s largest shopping centre. Based in Gateshead, the centre is a top destination for you to enjoy shopping, dining and leisure all under one roof! With over 300 stores, leisure and restaurants, there is something for everyone to enjoy a great day out.

Metrocentre has 6 car parks and almost 10,000 parking spaces available including disabled bays. The best part is that it’s free to park. Metrocentre is easy to access with direct bus and train routes from Newcastle City Centre. Click here for more information

Address: Baring Street, South Shields, NE33 2BB
Price: Free
Website

Barbour Factory Store

 

Address: Baring Street, South Shields, NE33 2BB
Price: Free
Website

Stephenson Railway

Re-live the glorious days of the steam railway at Stephenson Steam Railway in North Shields. George and Robert Stephenson spent 20 years in North Tyneside developing their pioneering ideas which helped spread railways and locomotives around the world. Today the museum celebrates their achievement. A range of fascinating locomotives are on display including George Stephenson’s ‘Billy’, a forerunner of the world-famous Rocket. Animated film and displays explore how trains work and the impact on peoples’ lives of coal and electricity, crucial in the development of railway power.

On scheduled days, visitors can take a ride on a 1950s passenger train pulled by steam or heritage diesel locomotives.

Address: Baring Street, South Shields, NE33 2BB
Price: Free
Website

Central Arcade

The Central Arcade is a beautiful Edwardian shopping arcade situated in the city centre.

For those visitors with a love of fine architecture then a simple walk through Central Arcade should not be missed. It provides a cut-through from Newcastle’s famous Grey Street to Market Street and Grainger Street.

Keep your camera handy for this one

Address: Baring Street, South Shields, NE33 2BB
Price: Free
Website

Bessie Surtees House

These two five-storey 16th and 17th century merchants’ houses are fine examples of Jacobean domestic architecture. The Surtees house is best known as the scene of the elopement of Bessie with John Scott, later Lord Chancellor of England.

The earliest reference to a house on the site of Surtees House is from 1465. The property was recorded as being owned by Robert Rhodes, a rich lawyer. Carvings on the fireplace in the principal first-floor room of the house record a wedding in 1657. The groom was Thomas Davison and the bride a daughter of Ralph Cock, mayor of Newcastle in 1634. The couple’s family owned the house until 1770, when it was sold to Snow Clayton, a merchant.

Address: Baring Street, South Shields, NE33 2BB
Price: Free
Website

Pets Corner

Jesmond Dene’s Pets’ Corner is a popular, family-friendly visitor attraction. You’ll find animals of all shapes and sizes, including pigs, goats and sheep alongside rabbits and colourful birds, including peacocks.

Check out Pets corner here

Hatton Gallery

Newcastle University’s Hatton Gallery has been at the heart of cultural life in the North East since the early 20th century.

Founded in 1925 and named in honour of Professor Richard George Hatton, professor of what was then the King Edward VII School of Art, Armstrong College, Durham University. He subsequently became Head of the Department of Fine Art at Newcastle University.

The Hatton’s diverse collection includes over 3,000 works from the 14th – 20th centuries. Key pieces include work by Francis Bacon, Richard Hamilton, Palma Giovane, Thomas Bewick, Eduardo Paolozzi, Camillo Procaccini, Patrick Heron, William Roberts, Victor Pasmore and Richard Ansdell. Watercolours by Wyndham Lewis, Thomas Hair and Robert Jobling are also held.

Address: Baring Street, South Shields, NE33 2BB
Price: Free
Website

Side Gallery

 

Address: Baring Street, South Shields, NE33 2BB
Price: Free
Website

Blackfriars Medieval Friary

 

Address: Baring Street, South Shields, NE33 2BB
Price: Free
Website

Gibside

Gibside is one of the North East’s most visited National Trust locations. Coal baron, George Bowes designed Gibside estate to impress his wealthy guests but after years of decay and ruin the estate was given a new lease of life in the 1990’s.

Today visitors to Gibside can enjoy some of the best rural landscaping in the Newcastle area. Take a stroll to the stunning Palladian Chapel for a step back in time. When you’re ready to venture elsewhere, the views out across the Avenue and to the Column of Liberty are quite something and are sure to stop you in your tracks – It was here that George Bowes would have exercised his Derby winning horses.

Address: Baring Street, South Shields, NE33 2BB
Price: Free
Website

Newburn Motor Museum

Car enthusiatsts will love this small museum located just west of Newcasle city centre. Bursting with some rare and classic restorations the museum offers up some glimpses of rare models including Invicta a Jenson bodied drophead Coupe built in 1948, it is one of only two cars with this body shape (the other being in Paris)

Address: Baring Street, South Shields, NE33 2BB
Price: Free
Website

Town Wall

The Newcastle town wall is a medieval defensive wall, and Scheduled Ancient Monument.  It was built during the 13th and 14th centuries, and helped protect the town from attack and occupation during times of conflict. It was approximately 3 kilometres (2 mi) long, at least 2 metres (6.5 ft) thick, up to 7.6 metres (25 ft) high, and had six main gates.

The town wall was kept in good repair whilst there was a threat of invasion from Scottish armies, and the town was successfully defended on at least two occasions; but with the decline of the border wars between England and Scotland, the wall was allowed to deteriorate.

Large amounts of the wall were demolished during the 18th and 19th centuries; the most substantial remains are on the western side of the city. The longest continuous section runs the length of Back Stowell Street, in the Chinatown area of the city. It includes three towers: Herber Tower, Morden Tower and Ever Tower; since 1964, Morden Tower has been used as a venue for poetry readings.

Address: Baring Street, South Shields, NE33 2BB
Price: Free
Website

Sage Gateshead

Sage Gateshead is an international music centre opened in 2004, welcoming more than two million visitors every year.

More than 400 concerts featuring all kinds of local, regional and international music, take place all year round. Music-making and learning activity takes place not only in the building but across the region, with 190,000 people of all ages taking part in over 10,000 music classes and workshops.

The iconic building, designed by renowned architects Foster + Partners, is home to Royal Northern Sinfonia and is a place where emerging artists are nurtured through dedicated programmes and festivals.

You can find the events calendar here.

Green Space

Newcastle isn’t just all about drinking, history and cultural sites to feast your eyes on. It is also home to some of the best parks in the country. If you want to take a stroll away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre or have a few drinks in the sun then check out Leazes Park and Exhibition Park both only a short walk from the city.

You could also take the metro to Jesmond and head for the tranquillity of Jesmond Dene. There is also a market there on Sunday.

Causey Arch

The Causey Arch is a bridge in Stanley (7 miles south) of Newcastle. It is the oldest surviving single-arch railway bridge in the world, and a key element of the industrial heritage of England.

When the bridge was completed in 1726, it was the longest single-span bridge in the country with an arch span of 31 metres (102 ft), a record it held for thirty years until 1756 when the Old Bridge was built in Pontypridd, Wales. After he designed the bridge, Ralph Wood was so afraid that his arch would collapse that he committed suicide, but the bridge still stands today.

If you are visiting Causey Arch with children then we suggest taking a ride on the worlds oldest railway at Tanfield Railway.

Address: Baring Street, South Shields, NE33 2BB
Price: Free
Website

 

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