Things to Do in Newcastle
Fill your weekend in Newcastle with unique experiences and get the low down of the top Newcastle attractions!
If you’re popping into Geordie central soon then you’re going to want to know everything worth doing during your stay. Filled with plenty to tell of its past and huge innovations looking towards the future, there’s something for everyone in Newcastle. Whether you’re staying for one day or an entire weekend with a group of friends or family, browse our top 12 attractions found scattered along the River Tyne.
1. Newcastle Castle
It’s why the city got its name after all- visit the castle standing proudly at the centre of everything. The castle isn’t a “New” castle by any means but was built way back in the year 1080 by the son of William the Conqueror of all people! Constructed as a symbol of Royal strength in the North, the two key buildings to look out for, The Black Gate and the Castle Keep, are the two oldest buildings in the modern city and are today a popular attraction. Here are a list of the best hotels in Newcastle for during your weekend stay.
Castle Garth | Website
2. City Highlights Tour
If you’re in the area during the gorgeous summer months, then making most of the outdoors is a top priority. From June to September you should be able to book in a lovely tour that goes from one end of the Geordie home to the other. Along the way, you can see some wonderful buildings in areas like Grainger Town mixed with the modern quayside along the River Tyne. The tours last around an hour and a half which makes it flexible if you want to fit other things in during the day. There is also a list of the best pubs in Newcastle that you can try out.
Central Arcade | Website
3. The Angel of the North
Perhaps one of the most iconic structures in not just the North of England, but the whole of the UK! Although located a fair way outside the city centre, the trip through Gateshead and down into the countryside is a pleasant one and rewards your travels with magnificent view found nowhere else in the world. Standing tall at 20 metres and even wider at 54 metres, it’s been welcoming people into the true North since 1998. It’s perfect for taking a group selfie together!
Durham Rd | Website
4. The Biscuit Factory
This top-notch art gallery is a contemporary masterpiece housed in an old Victorian biscuit warehouse and factory built in 1870. Actually, it’s the largest commercial art, craft and design gallery in the country and even has a brilliant café ‘The Factory Kitchen’ which is worth a visit alone. The works are showcased over two floors of airy and modern spaces which makes it the go-to venue if you’re a group of creatives. Speaking of food here are the best breakfasts in Newcastle.
16 Stoddart St | Website
5. Victoria Tunnel
Delve beneath the city with a hardhat and torch and explore the secretive yet eerie passageways with your friends. Built way back in the mid-1800s, this old Victorian coal transportation tunnel has since served as Newcastle’s air-raid shelter during the Blitz and remains largely intact. Safe to say it’s had a long history and you’ll learn all about it during this two-hour experience. It’s a dark and damp but a totally adventurous experience you can’t miss if you can’t stay away from a teeny-weeny bit of history.
55 Lime St | Website
6. Discovery Museum
Opening up to the city in 1934 with many local exhibits, this place tells the story of Newcastle’s fascinating history in full but also includes plenty of science and interactive pieces. The huge and iconic Turbinia ship housed in the centre is the first ship to ever have a steam turbine and manages to attract 450,000 visitors a year. The exhibits are educational and are regularly updated to keep things ever moving. It’s free entry and easy to get to which makes Discovery Museum a top city centre attraction.
Blandford Sq | Website
7. The Great North Museum
Explore the world through the ages from the prehistoric times to modern space marvels. Originally called the Hancock Museum, you can view a huge collection of oddities from across history from a huge T-Rex model and an interactive Hadrian’s Wall to The Living Planet exhibition filled with species of beasts from all over the globe. Yet another free museum to explore and enjoy, there’s no reason to say no!
Barras Bridge | Website
8. Sage Gateshead
There’s no way you won’t notice the huge Sage building over on the other side of the River Tyne within the neighbouring town of Gateshead. Encased within this mini Sydney Opera House are two huge live music venues- Sage One which has the capacity for 1,700 people and Sage Two which is slightly smaller and can hold up to 600 viewers. So, muster the music enthusiasts amongst you and prepare to be entertained by world-class jazz, blues and classical music to name a few.
St Marys Sq | Website
9. St James' Park
Are you footy mad? If so, then you’ll be happy to know you can take a tour around St James Park, home to Newcastle United (also known as the Magpies). Even if you’re not a fan of this football club (get out the city while you still can, we jest) this place is of the UK’s largest stadiums. Tours regularly run to provide groups with behind-the-scenes access from sitting in the dressing rooms to walking out the iconic tunnel and onto the grounds.
Barrack Rd | Website
10. The Quayside
One of the most iconic places in Newcastle is where it sits within the natural world… alongside the River Tyne, hence it’s full name Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. Stroll along the Quayside waterfront and soak in all the best views in the city from gazing at the seven bridges that lean over the river to peering over into nearby Gateshead. The Quayside isn’t just a place to get nice views though, there’s dozens of bars, restaurants, shops and attractions to get involved in but it’s the best place in the city to do it all.
35-37 Close | Website
Fancy a bite to eat but strive for something extra quirky? Then pay a visit to this 13th century, Grade-1 listed building and tuck into some delicious grub at the oldest dining room in the UK. Once a monastery and hostel for King Henry III, Blackfriars now serves traditional British meals faithfully recreated to how it was way back when with all ingredients supplied by local farms and markets. Stained glass windows, chandeliers and authentic wall coverings completes the historic banquet hall feel and its even available to hire out for parties.
Frairs St | Website
12. For the Love of the North
Described by many as a shop filled with treasures, this little independent store in Whitely Bay stocks lots of unique North East gifts you can browse through. The special thing about this place is that all the products are sourced by North East artists, so you’d be supporting local businesses with your purchases. Forget Primark for just a second and come and see the one-of-a-kind pieces this shop has in store for you.
266 Whitley Rd | Website