A Guide To Visiting Newcastle For The First Time

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Newcastle upon Tyne is the biggest city in North East England and serves as the regional hub for Northern England. It’s located on the banks of the River Tyne, close to where it meets up with its sister river, the North Sea, and is around a 30-minute train ride from the border with Scotland.

A Quick Overview Of Newcastle

As well as being quite large geographically, Newcastle also has a big reputation to match. It’s often called the unofficial Northern Capital because of its close ties to music, football, and nightlife. There are also universities close to the centre of town, which brings a young and trendy crowd, and it’s one of very few cities in England with the greatest number of professional football teams.

Newcastle is a happening place where you’re sure to find plenty of things to do. There’s the traditional nightlife scene with its spectacular bridges and arches, pubs and clubs full almost every night, as well as big concerts by some of the world’s famous artists. If you need a break from walking around in the urban jungle, there are also green spaces and tours, art galleries, and museums, enabling you to witness its history and rich cultural heritage.

Newcastle has a history that dates back to Roman times, and it’s easy to see why so many tourists are drawn here by its rich cultural heritage and booming city life. If this sounds like your sort of place, feel free to read on for a more detailed guide to the best places to eat, drink, party, and ways to explore Newcastle:

  1. Getting Around

Once you’re in Newcastle, you’ll probably end up using either the metro or the bus to get around the place. General advice on which one to use is the same as with every major city: metro for short trips and buses on long journeys requiring two or more changes.

Newcastle metro runs on a combination of track and ‘guided bus,’ where the train has tracks but follows white lines painted on the road.

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  1. Party Newcastle’s Style

People from Newcastle love drinking beer and dancing. You can’t go wrong with this party combination in Newcastle. Many bars and clubs are dotted around the city centre, but the main nightlife area is concentrated around Collingwood Street and Bigg Market.

If you’re into rock music, head for Central Station, where there are a bunch of live music venues. If you want to go somewhere quiet for a drink, try The Central bar in the station itself.

Don’t miss getting a taste of the authentic local beer, too. The local ale is usually served in traditional pubs passed from generation to generation over the centuries. The oldest pub within Newcastle Gates is The New Bridge Inn. It’s a great spot to try some classic local beers.

  1. Shopping

Newcastle’s main shopping street is Northumberland St, near the Central station. It has a bunch of high-street shops, mainly aimed at tourists.

If you want some trendy clothes and vinyl, the main place to head for is the Ouseburn Valley. It’s one of the most modern places in Newcastle and is where most students live. There are also a few nice cafes down there that make for a good day out, as well as good pictures for your Instagram.

Also, you can’t waste a visit to Newcastle without discovering the Quayside Markets. This award-winning market is open every day and offers plenty of local produce and artisan crafts. If you’re in search of that perfect souvenir or just want to treat yourself, this is the ideal place to be.

  1. Places To Visit

You’ll never run out of places to visit in Newcastle, so here’s a breakdown of the activities you can do and where to enjoy them:

  • Pleasure Cruises And Bridges: NewcastleGateshead has the most extensive collection of bridges in Europe, and this is the perfect opportunity to see them from a different perspective. Many operators offer pleasure cruises up and down the river, including Captain Cook Cruises.

If you’re into bridges, head out to Swing Bridge, which is also on the Town Moor. For more old-fashioned-looking ones, try High Level Bridge, which has a lovely pub at the top.

  • Castles: Newcastle Castle is also a go-to attraction in the area. It’s the most complete medieval castle in the North East and is a major tourist attraction for visitors. Newcastle Castle is open to visitors and offers excellent views over the city and plenty of activities throughout the year, including jousting tournaments.

If you want something out of the usual, then a visit to Dunston Rocket is perfect for you. It’s an 85-metre (280ft) high rocket and is the tallest freestanding structure in Tyneside.  

  • Museums: If you’re into museums, try visiting the Battlefield Line Railway Museum. It’s a local attraction situated in South Gosforth and was the first railway opened in Newcastle. The museum is full of fascinating items from the history of railways. It’s an ideal location for families to visit, with plenty of events throughout the year, including Santa Specials.   

Lastly, you should visit the Laing Art Gallery situated in South Gosforth. There are free exhibitions that change regularly and a selection of art classes for anyone interested in developing their skills further.

  • Leisure And Entertainment

Newcastle has an impressive theatre heritage, and The Sage Gateshead was built as part of this legacy. The theatre is within the historic Theatre Royal building. It serves as the home for Northern Stage, which puts together some fantastic theatrical productions with a real focus on alternative and innovative performance.

  • Getting Out Into Nature

If you’re a runner, the Town Moor is arguably the best place in Newcastle to get some exercise. It’s a grassland that extends from the city centre out to the business district and beyond. You can visit it anytime for free, and there are a lot of different paths suitable for all levels of fitness. It’s a great spot to try out some interval training and burn off all the extra calories from your night on the tiles.

You can also try relaxing in Heaton Park. It offers many facilities, including an outdoor gym, a bowling green, and tennis courts. There are also many different paths suitable for walking your dog or just enjoying nature at its finest.

Finally, your day can’t end up any more pleasurable than watching the sunset from Walker Park. This park offers impressive views over the River Tyne. It’s a perfect location for a picnic or just sitting down with a glass of wine and admiring the view.

Final Thoughts

Newcastle has it all, whatever activity you desire to experience—from partying all night, quiet nature, and architecture trip to a peaceful relaxation at the end of the day. It’s the perfect location for a break from your busy routine. If you’re looking for ideas on what to do in Newcastle, this should offer you a good starting point.

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