When you think of a city trip to the United Kingdom, you might not immediately think of Newcastle. Neither did we! But when we were looking for a quick and cheap trip abroad, we found a good offer and went for it anyway.
Where is Newcastle, and how do you get there?
You’ll find Newcastle Upon Tyre as the place is fully called in the northeast of England, about 4.5 hours drive from London.
From most European countries you can drive to this city, but it is a lot faster to go by plane. There are several direct flights from all major European cities daily. Prefer to see the English landscape from the ground? Then you can travel to Newcastle on the fast Eurostar train. This takes longer than flying, but is a more scenic experience.
There is also a ferry boat from the Netherlands to Newcastle. This is a two-day, all-inclusive cruise. Many people use this to visit the annual Christmas market in this place. A great way to combine visiting both countries.
What to see and do in Newcastle
Newcastle is a typical English city with lots of history, cosy pubs, and many stores. You can easily spend a few days here. There are several things you definitely do not want to miss during your visit.
Visit the famous bridge
The Tyne Bridge is one of the most popular attractions in Newcastle. I didn’t find it very spectacular, but you have to have been there once. It is surely the most famous structure in the city.
You can visit the bridge on foot for an excellent overview of the water. You can see the ships sailing by below you. It is also possible to visit the towers of the bridge, but this is only on very select days in the year. Usually only in September. So when we were there, you could only walk across the bridge itself,
The best photos of the bridge are not taken on the bridge itself, but on the smaller sister bridge next to it. And what is also nice is to take a break at the restaurant with a terrace on the water at the foot of the bridge. You then have a beautiful view of the bridge and the boats.
Visit St. James’ Park
Are you going to Newcastle with a football/soccer fan? Then a visit to St James Park should definitely be on your list. This is the stadium of the football club Newcastle United.
Even if you are not a supporter of this club, it is still fun to do a stadium tour. We chose the tour where you go on the roof. Pretty scary and high, but you have a beautiful view over the stadium and the surroundings.
The guide tells you more about the history of the stadium and the football club. You can book this and other tours here.
Visit the Centre For Life
The next activity is really something for young children. Newcastle is also great fun to visit as a family. A few hours at the Centre For Live science museum should therefore be on your list.
Here there are several exhibitions that introduce children to science fun and interactive. They can entertain themselves in the many exhibits and learn something along the way.
A large part of the exhibits has something to do with space. There is a planetarium and a section where they have built a replica of the ISS.
It is best to buy tickets online. Then also look at the available exhibitions and whether they match your interests.
Go on a ghost tour
Newcastle is famous for its ghost stories and haunted history. If you want to explore the spooky side of the city, you should go on a ghost tour.
You’ll get to see the city from a completely different perspective and learn about its history and past, as well as myths and legends. You visit famous landmarks, cemeteries, and buildings and hear their spooky stories. For example, you’ll also visit places where people have been hanged or murdered.
It sounds pretty creepy, but it’s actually fun to do. There are several ghost tours you can book. The most fun one, called Till Death Do Us Part, is held every last Sunday of the month. So plan your visit well if you don’t want to miss this tour.
Go shopping in Eldon Square
What’s a city trip without shopping? The best place to do that in Newcastle is the Eldon Square mall and the surrounding streets.
The mall consists of two floors with all the major brands. There are also several restaurants here. Perfect for spending a rainy day in. The mall is open every day until 6 pm. On Sunday until 5 pm and Thursday evening, and on Thursday it’s open to 8 pm.
You’ll find the stores and the mall about a 15-minute walk from Tyne Bridge.
Book a Food Tour
I found this one of the best things to do in Newcastle; I love good food! There are several providers of food tours in Newcastle, where they take you on a walk to several local restaurants. The price for the food is included in the tour. One of the providers of such a tour is Triple A which takes you to 5 or 6 locations in the city.
These tours are held from Thursday to Saturday, and it is best to book well in advance.
Visit the Christmas markets
Are you going to Newscastle around the holidays? Then be sure to visit the Christmas markets in town. There are 3 of them:
- At the Grey’s Monument
- The Grainger Market
- Quayside by the Tyrne Bridge
At the Christmas markets, you will find dozens of stalls selling food, souvenirs and local products. You do want to grab something to eat here, so make sure to come with an empty stomach.
The Christmas markets are a nice place to buy souvenirs for home. And to even buy some Christmas gifts.
All three Christmas markets are easy to reach on foot. They open from the beginning of December. You can read more about the Christmas Markets here.
Good to know when you go to Newcastle
The most important tip I can give you is to bring an umbrella! It rains quite often in Newcastle. I also found it quite cold. But I’m not very good with the cold. Just bring a warm jacket, and you will be fine.
Otherwise, I found it a lovely destination where you should have been once. Especially if you have already seen the famous cities. If you combine it with a cruise, you can explore other European countries as well.
And are you looking for the best time to visit this city? Then I say December, when the Christmas markets take place.