Newcastle upon Tyne is a university city on the River Tyne in northeast England. Newcastle is a lively and diverse city, known for its nightlife, art, music and sports. It is one of England’s core cities and is a centre of culture, architecture and business. Newcastle is also a starting point for tours of the Northumberland coast and Hadrian’s Wall.
Before visiting any town or city make sure you know the basics. General details and important information.
- Emergency Services: 999
- Language: English
- Currency: British Pound
- Country Code: GB
- Travel Visa: None required
- Population: 268,000
Researching various official sources, we perceive the risk to holiday makers and travellers are as follows;
Top travel advice and interesting tip bits of information from experienced travellers.
For the Emergency services just dial 999 from any phone, for not so serious situations please dial 101.
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The Tyne and Wear Metro system is great-value and has been rated as one of the country’s most efficient modes of transport. It’s an ideal way to get around Newcastle and Gateshead as there are regular trains to and from the Airport, Gateshead, the Coast and the nearby city of Sunderland.
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Which areas should I take extra care?
Like any large city, Newcastle has its rough areas which are best avoided.
The city centre is a compact, well defined area that is generally safe, though it does get rougher towards the west side and in Chinatown.
The majority of the city’s bad areas are along the side of the River Tyne both to the east and west of the city centre, with the large estates to the west having the worst reputation.
Where can I keep up with the local news?
Improve Your Personal Safety
Knowledge – the more you have the better equipped you are.
Awareness – the more you see the safer you become.
Response – the right reaction can change a situation.
Annual events allow a city come together for some amazing experiences. If visiting at this time, make sure you have your accommodation booked and are always aware of your surroundings when travelling around.
Gateshead International Jazz Festival
This annual event under the curved glass roof of the Sage Gateshead live music venue is the UK’s largest Jazz festival outside London. Featuring top Jazz musicians from around the world, across 3 nights and 3 stages in this exciting venue.
A 2 day festival of invention and creativity of people who love to make stuff and who want to share their passion with the public. Held in the Life Science Centre in Newcastle, you can explore and create with the Makers and enjoy playful installations, drop-in workshops and fascinating speakers.
North East England’s most prominent chamber music festival takes place over 5 days and sees more than 100 international musicians performing works in spectacular concerts at venues across Newcastle including, The Sage Gateshead, Durham Cathedral, Newcastle Cathedral and St Andrew’s in Corbridge.
A weekend of events in the city centre from the local lesbian, gay and bisexual community. With a 5k run, stage acts, fun fair, stalls, a parade, candle lit vigil and more it’s the biggest party to hit Newcastle and it’s free.
Chinese New Year
Join the new year party in Newcastle’s Chinatown, with a spectacular dragon, lion and unicorn with dances under Newcastle’s ornate Ceremonial Arch, while you taste delicious Oriental foods, and join in the excitement of this event.
A festival held over 3 days annually in May at the grounds of Gateshead Rugby Club. With over a 100 different beers and many more ciders to try in the company of live bands, playing either outside in good weather or in a heated marquee if turns bad.
The second largest half marathon in the world, with over 54000 runners in total and including top athletes from around the world. Beginning in Newcastle city centre, the run crosses to Gateshead over the Tyne Bridge to eventually finish at the Coast in South Sheilds. There is live music and thousands of cheering supporters lining the route and every year the event helps participants raise millions of pounds for charities and worthy causes.
Do you recommend any museums?
Yes! Here are our favourites.
A living museum that is a jewel of the north east. This 1.5 mile long piece of countryside contains a preserved world: life in the north east during the beginning of the 20th century. Stroll into town and witness local actors going about their normal turn-of-the-century day in the vintage garage (featured in the 2019 Downton Abby film), the dentist office and the bank (made exciting by the pneumatic tubes zooming overhead). Jump on a period appropriate tram or bus and visit another of the 6 separate locations. There’s even an authentic pit village and colliery, you can visit the mine to have a real northern experience.
An ambitious £26 million project completed in 2009, the Great North Museum houses collections from two older Newcastle museums and more, in the Georgian splendour of the grand neo classical Hancock Building. There is an interactive model of Hadrians Wall, a full size T-Rex, Roman, Egyptian and Greek collections, large animal taxidermy specimens, live animal tanks,hands on kids activities and a planetarium. Admission is free.
Dedicated to Newcastle and Tynesides industrial and scientific history, the Discovery Museum has abundant large and interesting exhibits. There is the first steam turbine ship, the 30m Turbinia of 1836, an exhibit about Joseph Swann who invented the lightbulb, a life-size display of shipbuilding which previously dominated Tyneside, interactive activities and Newcastle’s history from the Romans up to Cheryl Cole. The museum is spread throughout three floors of the large, historic, Newcastle Co-Operative warehouse. Entrance is free.
What other places are great to visit?
In the centre of Newcastle and close to the train station you can visit what remains of the Norman Castle for which Newcastle was named. The stone keep from 1170 and the Black Gate of 1250 still stand on this site of the original wooden castle built by William the Conqueror in 1080. Grade I listed building, it is one of the finest Norman keeps surviving in the UK and boasts panoramic views of Newcastle, the river and its 7 bridges from atop its battlements.
Located in Newcastle’s pioneering Science Village focused on genetic research, the Centre for Life is host to a series of hands on & hi tech exhibits designed for you to discover the secrets of life. It features the Motion Ride, a thrilling 4D simulator, children’s arcade style science games, a science theatre for dramatic science demonstrations, the UK’s premier planetarium, an outdoor ice rink and regularly changing main exhibits, such as Body Worlds and Game On 2.0.
Located on the South Bank of the Tyne, this contemporary art centre is housed in the old Baltic Flour Mill, a large and striking local landmark.
As the largest gallery of its kind, it hosts an ever changing calendar of exhibitions and activities, which display and provide insight into contemporary art and the process of its creation.
In 2011 Baltic hosted the Turner prize, the UK’s premier art award, associated with contemporary art.
Also in the complex are artists in residence, a performance space, a cinema, a bar, a spectacular rooftop restaurant and a ground-floor riverside restaurant. There is also a viewing box for a fine Tyne vista.
What are the highlight attractions?
Built by British artits Antony Gormely in 1998, the Angel of the North stands 20m high on a hill top overlooking the railway and main roads into Tynside. She spreads her horizontal 54m, red brown wings of rusted steel in a wide embrace of the area.
This statue is the UK’s largest sculpture and is a popular and iconic symbol of the area, built to mark its transition from industrial to information age.
Built by the Romans in AD 122-30 and commissioned for the Emperor Hadrian’s visit, this ancient defensive wall stretches across 84 miles of northern England. Running from Cumbria’s Bowness on the west coast, to north Sheild’s Wallsend on the east, it passes right through Newcastle city centre and along the banks of the river Tyne.
Quayside and Bridges
The Tyne’s Quayside is famous for a series of dramatic bridges, crossing the Tyne.
Largest of these is the Tyne Bridge, the tenth tallest structure in Newcastle. Built in 1928, it has imposing stone towers on each bank, joined by a single metal span of 161m long and 55m high. It is a defining symbol of Tyneside.
The High Level Bridge spans the valley a little further upriver, carrying both rail and road on split levels. Built in 1849, it has six 38m iron spans between masonry piers up to 40m high and is the worlds first major wrought iron tied bridge and the first road and rail split level bridge. Between the taller Tyne and High Level Bridges is the elegant, long single span of the hydraulic Swing Bridge of 1876. Crossing the Tyne with its 85m steel span, it can rotate through 360° on a central axis to allow boats to pass either side.
The wooded gorge of the Ouseburn Valley was the cradle of industrial development in this area. Initially in the 17th century this was based on ships ballast, river transport, local coal and water power. It was a precursor to the later mass industrialisation of Newcastle and Tyneside, in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Victoria’s Tunnel Guided Tour, a tour of the 2.4 mile subterranean wagonway built under the city in 1842, to transport coal from collieries to the river side. (Awarded gold for small visitor attractions)
Guided walks and talks exploring the heritage of the area.
Local pubs with live music and real ales. Ouseburn trust provide a range of free and low-cost activities for the public.