What you need to know about Newcastle
If you’ve never been to Newcastle upon Tyne before, you’re in for a treat. England’s most northerly city has undergone an extraordinary transformation in recent years, scrubbing off the industrial grit of the past to reveal a new sheen of culture and endless charm.
Add in the hearty and fiercely proud Geordie spirit and you’ll discover a warm and welcoming city that’s packed with fantastic shopping, stunning landmarks, culture and nightlife galore.
Once you’ve taken a stroll along the River Tyne and the gorgeous quayside, packed with outstanding museums, galleries and music venues, you may just find you’ve fallen in love with this unique and delightful city.
Food and drink
Geordies know what they like, so expect their food (or “scran”, as it’s known in this neck of the woods) to be of the highest quality. You’ll find the city offers up a hearty serving of cool and stylish pavement cafes and restaurants, garnished with some tasty home-cooked seafood and contemporary British classics, with a side order of fine international cuisine.
Wash this all down with a classy cocktail or a Newcastle Brown Ale in one of the good old-fashioned pubs, and you have the recipe for a great night out in this vibrant and energetic city.
In August, Newcastle and Gateshead host ‘Eat!’, a world-class food festival that includes street-food markets, a beer and chilli festival, lots of quirky events, imaginative demonstrations and chances to try local delicacies like Craster kippers, Pan Haggerty and Stotty Bread.
Newcastle may be a long way north, but it’s home to some of the best shopping in the UK, so it’s well worth a weekend trip.
In the city itself, Eldon Square has 150 of the biggest high street names under one roof, with plenty of food and drink options too. But if that’s not enough, pop over the river to Gatehead’s Metro Centre, which has over 300 shops including designer stores, handmade gifts and vintage clothes. Royal Quays outlet centre is the best place to bag a bargain and shop for designers and famous brands.
If you want something a little more individual, take a wander around trendy Jesmond or Grainger Market for fashion, books and jewellery.
On the first Friday of the month there’s a farmers’ market here that is packed with regional and international delicacies – definitely not to be missed if you’re in town!
Newcastle has a rich heritage of mining, manufacturing and shipbuilding, and whilst heritage brands like Newcastle Brown Ale are still made in the city, it’s now the home of many service, retail and digital companies like Sage Group, Fenwick, Greggs, Goldsmiths Jewellers and Grainger PLC.
The Newcastle and Gateshead area is also a hub for creative and digital talent – the North East region is home to the UK’s highest number of start-up businesses outside London, particularly in software and digital animation.
Newcastle is a long way north, just off the A1 and three hours from London King’s Cross by train. But once you’re here you definitely won’t want to leave in a hurry, so it’s well worth making the trip.
Newcastle is a lovely city to explore on foot from your serviced apartment; the centre is compact and easy to get around, particularly if you’re taking a wander along the quayside. You can pick up a free walking guide from the Tourist Information centre that gives details of great walks around the city.
If you need to rest your feet, Newcastle’s Metro system is super-efficient and wheelchair and buggy friendly. It covers the whole city area as well as Gateshead, Sunderland, Newcastle Airport and the coast. It’s good value too, with a day ticket that gives you unlimited travel on any public transport across the north east.
Another great way to see the city is on a river cruise or an open top bus, or you can take advantage of Newcastle’s plentiful buses and taxis.
Things to watch out for
Newcastle loves its football, and on match days the area around St James Park gets very busy with traffic and local fans (known as the Toon Army).