While it is not the largest city to visit in the North of England, it is known to be one of the friendliest, although it may take a while to understand the strong Georgie accent.
Voted as one of the best locations in the whole of the U.K. for its nightlife, along with its sister town of Gateshead across the water, there is an energetic buzz about the place.
While in recent years, it has become a foodie’s paradise, with streets rammed full of independent cafes and restaurants to enjoy.
Below is a round-up of amazing things to do in Newcastle upon Tyne, whether you are visiting as a family, a couple, or taking a solo trip.
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The castle is one of the top activities to do in Newcastle. If you are interested in history, this Norman keep is a defensive structure and a reminder of everything that has happened to the area.
It has always been a royal holding where soldiers gathered and criminals imprisoned, some even being executed there.
Today, you can explore more than 2,000 years of history while wandering around. Make sure you look out for the ghosts that are said to still haunt here at the same time.
The Sage Gateshead Millennium Bridge
The Sage Gateshead Millennium Bridge, also known as the ‘Blinking Eye Bridge,’ is a pedestrian and cyclist bridge that spans the River Tyne.
It is a striking piece of modern architecture but is particularly impressive at night when illuminated with a dazzling light display.
The bridge, which renowned architect Norman Foster designed, was completed in 2001 and is the newest of all bridges in the city.
It comprises two arches connected by a central pivot, allowing the bridge to lift and rotate to allow ships to pass through.
The Sage Gateshead Millennium Bridge is a popular tourist attraction in Newcastle, offering stunning views of the river and the city’s skyline.
It is also a popular spot for photographers, who come to capture the bridge’s unique design and the reflections of the city’s lights in the river below.
The Tyne Bridge
With seven bridges across the city, during your trip to Newcastle, chances are you will cross a few of them. The Tyne Bridge is another one not to be missed besides the Sage Gateshead Millennium Bridge.
Spanning the River Tyne and connecting the city centre with the suburb of Gateshead, this bridge is a striking piece of architecture, with two towering pillars supporting a steel arch spanning the river.
Engineering firm Mott, Hay, and Anderson designed the bridge, and it was completed in 1928, making it the first bridge to be built across the River Tyne and was a significant feat of engineering at the time.
In addition to its role as a transportation link and tourist attraction, the Tyne Bridge is a well-recognised city symbol and has become one of its most iconic landmarks.
It is a popular spot for special events and celebrations and has been used as a backdrop for various cultural and sporting events.
The Tyne Bridge is a must-see attraction for any visitor to Newcastle, offering a glimpse into the city’s history and a chance to enjoy its beautiful surroundings.
The River Tyne
It’s not just the bridges that stand out in this city, the River Tyne itself is a tourist attraction in its own right and one not to be overlooked.
It is one of the U.K.’s cleanest rivers running through Newcastle and the surrounding region for approximately 75 miles. It is home to a range of wildlife, with several species of fish, birds, and other animals.
One of the most interesting facts about the River Tyne is that it has played a crucial role in the development and growth of the city of Newcastle. The river has long been an important transportation route, with ships and boats carrying goods and passengers up and down the river.
It has also been an essential power source, with many watermills and other industrial facilities located along its banks.
Since then, the banks have been regenerated. Today, the river is an integral part of the city’s economy and culture, with various recreational activities, such as boat tours and water sports, including kayaking and canoeing, taking place along its banks.
The Life Science Centre
The Life Science Centre is one of the best things to do in Newcastle for families, offering a range of exhibits and activities that showcase the latest developments in science and technology.
Situated in the heart of the city, the centre is home to various interactive exhibits allowing visitors to learn about the world around them in a fun and engaging way.
Explore the Brain Zone, Play memory games, step into an optical illusion and interact with exhibits that require some mind over matter.
The Live Science Theatre hosts a range of demonstrations and shows that explore different scientific concepts, and the Planetarium offers immersive shows about the cosmos. All of this makes the Life Science Centre a fun place to visit for science enthusiasts of all ages.
The Art Galleries of Newcastle
Newcastle is home to a range of art galleries and exhibitions showcasing modern and contemporary works, with the city’s most popular gallery being the Contemporary Art Gallery, the Baltic Centre.
The Contemporary Art Gallery, also known as the Baltic, is a leading contemporary art museum located in a former flour mill on the south bank of the River Tyne. The gallery is home to a range of permanent and temporary exhibitions showcasing the work of local, national, and international artists.
The gallery is known for its bold and innovative collections, including works by artists like Tracey Emin and Antony Gormley. The gallery also hosts various events and workshops, making it a hub of cultural activity in the city.
Other art galleries to consider visiting are the Biscuit Factory, housed in a converted former Victorian warehouse. It is the biggest of its kind in the U.K. and presents artwork, jewellery, and other craftwork by more than 250 artists each year.
There is also the Hatton gallery which is home to more than 3,500 pieces of art, some of which date back to the 14th century, and the Laing art gallery on Grey Street, one of the oldest Newcastle attractions and proudly promotes the work of both a historical and contemporary nature.
Grainger Town is the historic area of the city that is home to a range of beautiful Georgian and Victorian architecture.
The area is named after Richard Grainger, a 19th-century developer who played a vital role in the city’s redevelopment in the 1800s.
Grey Street is one of the streets in this historic part of the city. The street was initially laid out in the 18th century as part of the city’s expansion and is named after Charles Grey, the 2nd Earl Grey and former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, who was born in the city.
Known for its stunning architecture, Grey Street has a range of beautiful Georgian and Victorian buildings lining the street.
The street is particularly notable for its Italianate architecture, with several grand buildings featuring Corinthian columns and ornate facades.
It is also home to a range of historic landmarks, including the Theatre Royal and Grey’s Monument, the Great North Museum, and a range of shops, restaurants, and other amenities.
It is a street that has played a crucial role in the city’s cultural and economic life over the years. It continues to be an essential part of Newcastle’s identity today.
Another of the streets in Grainger Town includes a medieval 13th-century Dominican friary, and almost all of Grainger Town is within Newcastle’s Central Conservation Area.
A Taste of Newcastle Food Tour
Newcastle has a range of dining options, including expensive restaurants, relaxed cafes, and budget-friendly Chinese restaurants in Chinatown.
Blackfriars is a popular traditional British restaurant located in a stone building dating back to 1239, offering dishes made with local ingredients.
However, if you are a serious foodie searching for the best in the city, you are sure to enjoy a Newcastle Food Tour, which takes visitors on a culinary journey through the city’s diverse food scene. From traditional fish and chips to modern fusion cuisine, there’s something for everyone on this tasty tour.
Look no further than the A Taste of Newcastle Food Tour for those interested in fully immersing themselves in the local food scene. This private tour allows you to experience the best of what the city offers in terms of culinary offerings and landmark sights.
With a knowledgeable guide to lead the way, you’ll be able to visit some of the top food haunts in the city and get a taste of their wares.
You will get to try oysters and other local specialties while taking the stress out of planning a culinary adventure.
Relax and let your guide introduce you to the city’s top food spots and vendors, ensuring a truly authentic and enjoyable experience.
Ouseburn Food Tour with Tour of Victoria Tunnel
If you prefer a smaller group, the Ouseburn Food Tour with Tour of Victoria Tunnel is a great way to explore the delicious side of Newcastle. The tour starts with a private tour of the historic Victoria Tunnels, a series of underground tunnels used to transport coal back in the 19th century.
The tunnels are a fascinating piece of local history, and the tour is a great way to learn more about the city’s industrial past.
After the tour of the Victoria Tunnels, the tour will take you through the Ouseburn Valley, one of the most creative neighbourhoods in Newcastle. The valley is home to many exciting places to eat and drink, including a Michelin Guide restaurant, a brewery, and a range of independent spots.
You’ll get to sample dishes from some of the best restaurants in the area and dig into local favourites from a range of different cuisines.
The tour also includes a private guide who will highlight a range of hidden places to eat and drink in the Ouseburn Valley. You’ll get to discover some of the best-kept secrets in the area and learn about the local food and drink scene from someone who knows it inside and out.
The tour also comes with a backdrop of Newcastle’s incredible graffiti art, ensuring a feast for all the senses along the way. This is one of the best things to do in Newcastle for couples looking for something completely different.
Guided Walking Tour of Newcastle
For those looking to learn more about the city’s rich history, a walking tour is a great way to explore the city’s many landmarks and historical sites.
The Tyne Bridge, Roman Fort, and Grey Street are just a few highlights of any walking tour around Newcastle.
The Guided City Walking Tour of Newcastle is a great way to learn about the city’s rich history and explore its many landmarks and cultural attractions.
During this tour, you’ll have the opportunity to discover the city’s history from the Iron Age to the present day, learning about the people and events that have shaped it.
As you walk through the city, you’ll be guided by a knowledgeable local who will share interesting stories and anecdotes about the sights you see.
You’ll get to explore the city’s bridges, monuments, religious buildings, and historic markets and see the old town wall and castle. During the tour, there will be plenty of photo opportunities to capture the stunning sights of Newcastle.
Newcastle True Crime Walking Tour
One of the things to do in Newcastle at night is to take a True Crime Walking Tour. A unique tour that takes you on a journey through the city’s dark and gruesome past.
The tour is led by a local expert who will bring the city’s true crimes to life, taking you past some of the best-known places in the city and diverting to take you through some of the most hidden streets full of wonderful stories to tell.
Newcastle United Football Club
If you’re a fan of sports, especially football, the Newcastle United F.C. Stadium Tour is a must-do during your visit to Newcastle.
This 1.5-hour tour allows you to go behind the scenes at St. James Park, the home stadium of Premier League side Newcastle United F.C.
During the tour, you’ll have access to areas of the stadium that are usually only open to players, coaches, and officials. You’ll get to see where the real matches take place and visit the media suite, where players and managers are interviewed before and after games.
You’ll also have the chance to see the home changing room and sit in your favourite player’s seat.
One of the best things about this tour is that it is wheelchair accessible, making it an enjoyable experience for everyone.
You’ll also have the choice of three different departure times: morning, early afternoon, or late afternoon. This allows you to plan your tour around your other activities and schedule.
The Roman Fort near the city
The Arbeia South Shields’ Roman Fort is a well-preserved military base that the Roman Empire built in the 2nd century A.D.
Located just outside the city centre, the Fort was a crucial part in the Roman occupation of Britain and played a vital role in the defence of the region and is rumoured to be the birthplace of the Northumbrian King Oswin.
The Fort was initially built to house a garrison of around 600 soldiers responsible for maintaining order in the region and protecting the Roman Empire’s interests.
Today, the Fort is a popular tourist attraction in Newcastle, offering visitors the opportunity to learn about the city’s Roman past. The site has been extensively excavated over the years, and a range of exhibits and displays are on hand for people to explore the history of the Fort.
Visitors can see the remains of the Fort’s walls, gates, and buildings and various artifacts found on the site.
The Fort also has a range of educational activities and events, including gladiator battles, falconry displays, Roman reenactments, storytelling, and more, making it an excellent place for families and children to learn about history in a hands-on and interactive way.
Overall, this city has something for everyone, with a wide range of activities in Newcastle and attractions reaching out to the surrounding area to suit all interests and ages.
Whether you’re interested in history, art, or science or want to enjoy the city’s bustling nightlife, there’s something for you in Newcastle.
For couples, you can experience romantic dinners and drinks at the city’s many bars and restaurants or participate in cultural activities and attractions. The city is also home to many spas and wellness centres, making it the perfect place for a romantic getaway.
While for families, you will find various activities and attractions suitable for all ages. From the Life Science Centre and food tours to the city’s many parks and green spaces, there’s something for everyone in Newcastle.
Recommended Tours in Newcastle
- Vera Tour of Northumberland TV locations
- Hadrians Wall Tour (Full Day)
- Bamburgh and Lindsfarne (Full Day)
- Beer Bike Tour of Newcastle
- Newcastle Cycling Tour
- The Farne Islands Longstone Lighthouse
- Seabird and Seal Farne Islands Cruise
- Private, self-guided Sherlock Holmes City Game