Newcastle upon Tyne

Tyne Bridge and The Sage

Newcastle upon Tyne is a port city in the North East of England. It has a population of 250,000 but including the surrounding urban area its population is almost 1 million. It has arguably the best nightlife in all of Britain, and has a distinct Geordie vernacular.

Understand

Newcastle is a lively and diverse city, known for its nightlife, art, music and sports. Compact, attractive and friendly, it is one of England's core cities and is a centre of culture, architecture and business. Newcastle is a starting point for tours of the Northumberland coast and Hadrian's Wall. The city is also home to the Geordie culture, with a rich heritage of folk music and dance and its own dialect.

History

Newcastle was founded around 2,000 years ago as a Roman fort called Pons Aelius along Hadrian's Wall, a ruin of which still exists at Segedunum, a short walk from Wallsend Metro station. The city developed into an important port and was at the centre of the Industrial Revolution during the 18th and 19th centuries. As heavy industry declined, Newcastle's fortunes took a dip. The city has now re-invented itself as a cultural centre and Science City, and is possibly one of the trendiest places in the UK.

Climate

 Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
 
Daily highs (°C) 6 7 9 11 15 17 20 20 17 13 9 7
Nightly lows (°C) 1 1 2 3 6 9 11 11 9 6 3 2
Precipitation (mm) 56 39 51 52 50 55 45 61 58 57 62 59

See the 5 day forecast for Newcastle at the Met Office

Tourist information

As of July 2015, all tourist information centres had been, yes, closed down, including the one in The Guildhall and the one in The Central Arcade. The empty office of the latter still existed, with a poster asking tourists to do research online instead. If you are not a smartphone or tablet owner, internet access is not easy to come by. At the central library, they will create a guest account for you so you can go online, Another possibility would be Castle Computer Repairs in Benwell (133 Adelaide Terrace, Benwell, Newcastle, NE4 9JP), who offer internet access at about ₤2 an hour. (They do not advertise this service.)

There is also a tourist information kiosk near the check-in hall at Newcastle Airport.

Get in

By plane

Newcastle International Airport (IATA: NCL), is located 9.7 km (about 6 miles) north-west of the city. Flights are available to the interchange hubs of Heathrow-British Airways, Stansted-FlyBe, Amsterdam-KLM and EasyJet, Paris-Air France/CityJet, Dubai-Emirates and a lesser extent Brussels-Brussels Airlines/FlyBe and Copenhagen-SAS. There are domestic services operated by FlyBe, easyJet and Eastern, as well as low-cost carrier flights to Ireland and many European cities such as Nice, Barcelona and Rome. Travel options into the city centre include:

By train

Wikivoyage has a guide to Rail travel in the United Kingdom

Newcastle is served by three long-distance rail operators:

The local rail network is operated by Northern Rail, with relatively frequent services to destinations such as Carlisle, Middlesbrough, Hexham and Morpeth.

Newcastle Central Station is also served by the Tyne and Wear Metro system, for frequent services into the Newcastle suburbs, and other destinations in Tyne and Wear.

In the UK, tickets can be bought on the day at the station using cash or debit/credit card, but it is invariably cheaper to book in advance. Times and fares information is available from National Rail, +44 8457 484950, or the station booking office.

By car

Newcastle upon Tyne is well signposted from the north, south and west. The city lies at the joining of the A1 (the main East Coast route from London to Edinburgh) and the A69 (a major east-west route to Carlisle and the M6). The A1 bypasses the city to the west.

There are a number of 'park-and-ride' National Park and Ride Directory points around the city to avoid the hassle of parking in the city centre. From these points, the Metro or bus will take you into the city for between £1 and £3. Otherwise, there are over 10,000 spaces in the city centre, though for stays of more than a few hours this may prove expensive. Generally, parking in the city centre costs between £1 and £2 per hour, while parking about 10 minutes walk from the centre will set you back about £0.50 per hour.

By bus

Newcastle Coach Station is located at the southern end of St James' Boulevard, near the Centre for Life and is just a short walk from the centre of town. National Express is the main intercity operator, offering regular services to several UK towns and cities. Most National Express tickets include free travel on the Metro system , but check this before you board the Metro.

By boat

North Shields, 7 miles east of the city centre, has a daily ferry service to Amsterdam in Holland. Special buses run from the Central Station to the ferry terminal and are charged at £3.50 (one way). Much cheaper are local stopping buses to the Royal Quays shopping outlet down the road or the Metro (15 min walk to Meadow Well station).

Taxis are available from outside the Ferry Terminal operated by BlueLine Taxis and EastCoast Taxis. A taxi from the Terminal direct into Newcastle city centre is £11.50 for up to 4 passengers.

Get around

Chained up near Newcastle Civic Centre.

By bicycle

Newcastle is a reasonably cycle-friendly city. There are a number of places to lock a bike up in the city centre and cycle lanes exist (though these are often shared with buses or taxis). A few Metro stations also provide secure storage for bicycles, but note that only fold-away bicycles are permitted on Metro trains. Unless you're touring the UK on pedal power, the best use for a bike is to explore the Quayside, Ouseburn and Jesmond Dene areas, travel to out-of-town attractions or head off to more distant places such as Whitley Bay and Seaton Sluice on the coast.

The Sustrans National Cycle Network Route 1 (East Coast) passes through Newcastle from the North to the South.

Bicycle hire:

By bus

City Centre

Quaylink services run every few minutes between the city centre and the Newcastle/Gateshead quayside. Single fares are 80p and the distinctive yellow livery makes the service easy to recognise.

Suburbs

There are 2 bus stations in the city, Haymarket with services to the north of the city and Northumberland. Eldon Square Bus Station mainly serves Gateshead, County Durham and Teeside. An extensive and efficient network of bus routes radiate out of Newcastle into the surrounding towns and suburbs. Though the services are operated by several different operators they are coordinated by Nexus, Tyne and Wear's transport authority. Maps and timetables can be found on the Nexus website, though it may be easier to use a personalised journey planner such as Traveline.

Bus operators include:

The participating bus operators for the PLUSBUS ticket are: Stagecoach, Go-North East and Arriva.

On foot

Newcastle city centre is relatively compact and is therefore easy to navigate on foot. Many areas are pedestrianised. Being on the banks of the River Tyne, some areas slope quite steeply. Buses and taxis are fairly cheap and plentiful should this pose a problem.

Newcastle and Gateshead walking directions can be planned online with walkit.com walking route planner.

By Metro

The Tyne & Wear Metro is a fast, safe and reasonably cheap way of getting around the city and also to outlying suburbs and surrounding towns including Whitley Bay, Tynemouth, North and South Shields, Sunderland and Newcastle International Airport.

There are two lines: the Green Line runs from Newcastle Airport to South Hylton (in Sunderland) and the Yellow Line runs from St James Park to South Shields via a lengthy loop via the coastal towns of North Shields, Whitley Bay and Tynemouth. Note that the east-west and north-south sections of the Yellow Line cross at Monument Station, so if, for example, you are travelling from St James Park to South Shields, it is much quicker to transfer to the southbound Yellow Line at Monument rather than riding along the entire route. The Green Line shares tracks with the Yellow Line for the majority of the section through central Newcastle and Gateshead.

Services run approximately every 6–10 minutes between 6:00 and 23:00. Single tickets range from £1.80 to £3.40 depending on the distance travelled, return fares and day passes are also available. The DaySaver allows for unlimited travel on one day and costs £2.70 (one zone), £3.70 (two zones) and £4.60 (all zones). Note that some ticket machines only accept coins (10p, 20p, 50p, £1 and £2) although change is given; most stations have been fitted with new ticket machines that accept notes and credit/debit cards. Although there are no ticket barriers at many stations and hopping (riding without paying) is widespread, it is advisable to keep your ticket handy as trains and stations are patrolled by ticket inspectors. Major stations have automatic ticket gates, but these may be left open at quiet times.

Smoking is banned on the entire system, including open-air stations. However, this rule is often overlooked and it's not uncommon to see people smoking on the trains, particularly late at night, despite the CCTV surveillance cameras.

The PLUSBUS ticket is not valid on the Metro.

By train

Regional rail services are regular and offer quicker access to nearby towns such as Durham, Sunderland, Hexham and Corbridge. Details are available from National Rail Enquiries or Northern Rail.

See

North East England has established a reputation as one of the most beautiful regions in Britain. And Newcastle is currently becoming more and more of a popular tourist destination thanks to regeneration within the city and also its close proximity to areas of outstanding natural beauty such as the Northumberland coastline and the Pennine hills.

The Central Arcade.
St. Nicholas Cathedral Chancel

Galleries & Museums

Vases by Jon Lewis on display at the Biscuit Factory.

Further Afield

Do

A very good source of information on what is currently going on in and around Newcastle seems to be The Crack magazine (http://www.thecrackmagazine.com/), It is free and can be found lying around in cafes and bars.

Theatre

The Journal Tyne Theatre.

Music Venues

The Sage Music Centre.

Festivals

Sport

Cinema

Hadrian's Wall

Learn

There are two universities and a college in Newcastle:

Work

As with the rest of the UK, European Union nationals have the right to work without a UK work permit, but most other nationalities require one. Newcastle's economy is buoyant at the moment and supports most types of businesses, so it is possible to find a job in a reasonably short period of time. There are a lot of call centres in and around Newcastle which provide an easy supply of short term work. It is seldom difficult to find employment in Newcastle's many pubs, clubs and bars.

Buy

Newcastle is the top shopping destination in the North East with a multitude of shops ranging from high-street department stores to designer boutiques.

Eat

Newcastle is home to a thriving and creative dining scene that has something to offer to just about any budget.

Budget

Newcastle has plenty of restaurants to suit those with a tighter budget. Look in the Quayside or near Central Station for a good deal. There are also many takeaways in Newcastle upon Tyne which will offer a meal for even less money, usually of the same quality standards. Expect to pay around £8-£15.

There are lots of cheap and cheerful restaurants around the Bigg Market, most doing happy hours for around £6.50 for a three course meal. Mostly Italian and Indian cuisine, but also Greek, Vietnamese and Lebanese options available.

Mid-range

Splurge

Drink

A pint of beer.

Newcastle is (in)famous for its culture of social drinking, and is a popular destination for hen and stag parties, hence all the friendly-mad people dressed-up in fancy dress in the middle of Winter. No trip to Nukie would be complete with a night out on the Toon.

The Bigg Market, the Quayside and, more recently, the Central Station area with its "Diamond Strip" of new upmarket bars, are the centres of nocturnal activity in Newcastle, though you'll find a wealth of bars and pubs all around the city. Popular clubs include Digital in Times Square, Liquid/Envy near Northumberland Street and Tiger Tiger in The Gate leisure complex.

Newcastle is home to rather commercialised Newcastle Brown Ale, called by the locals Broon, Nukie or 'Dog'. There are a significant number of less well-known breweries producing real ale that is widely available and of good quality. Local bewers to look out for include Mordue, Wylam and Big Lamp.

Bigg Market

A no-holds-barred area where you won't find much in the way of culture, but you will find a lot in the way of drink. A selection of bars are as follows:

Central Station

Central Station is the central stop to start out a night of drinking.

Quayside

A pub crawl favorite among young revellers, Quayside is packed full of bars, including:

Ouseburn

A few laid-back alternative bars are based here:

Jesmond

A trendy area, with many bars connected to hotels and what tends to be a more upmarket local clientele.

Centre for Life/Pink Triangle

Newcastle has a thriving gay scene, centred around the Centre for Life and the Metro Radio Arena. The pubs and clubs in this area are generally lively, colourful and friendly to all persuasions.

Other assorted bars

Beyond the main pub crawl destinations, there are plenty of bars and pubs all over Newcastle, including:

Sleep

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Connect

Telephone

Newcastle's local telephone code is 0191, the telephone code for the UK is +44.

Stay safe

Newcastle is generally quite a safe city to stay in. As with all other cities around the world, one needs only to use one's common sense and to keep a low profile. Beware of the usual nuisance of petty theft in crowded places. The whole city can get rowdy on Fridays and Saturdays but is still quite safe. Take care after a big football match; though there has been no significant violence for some years, emotions tend to run high amongst supporters. It is a good idea not to wear the colours of Sunderland football club when in central Newcastle, and vice-versa so as not to attract any unwanted attention. Also, confusing a Geordie and a Mackem (a Sunderlander) could potentially lead to some abuse and is easily done.

Still, the crime in this city is generally lower than other cities the same size in Britain, but some inner-city areas in the west and east ends are best avoided at night, but those areas are far from any tourist attractions.

Cope

Newcastle folk are generally very friendly and safe. In fact, Newcastle is renowned throughout Great Britain for its 'family-like atmosphere' and can totally shatter the classic stereotype of 'reserved English' . A peculiarity among Geordies is that they can be found to wear t-shirts and mini-skirts in the middle of freezing winter, so just go with the flow - tourists are spotted by how much clothing they wear but will probably be most welcomed with a big smile or a kiss.

Go next

Newcastle is located in the heart of the North East region, renowned for its natural beauty and historical monuments. Popular tourist destination outside the city include:

Cathedral in Durham
This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Monday, March 28, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.