Introducing the city
Easily one of the UK's most popular weekend getaway destinations, the industrial, energetic and student-heavy city of Newcastle-upon-Tyne is a magnet for those looking for a lively party vibe.
There are many things the Brits associate with Newcastle: Ant and Dec, great nightlife and Geordie Shore to name a few. Yet despite this city’s media stricken reputation (mostly thanks to the latter of the three), Newcastle-upon-Tyne is a true gem of the north. Although this city is a lot smaller than people think with a population of around 285,000, Newcastle is a thriving metropolis that offers visitors a great taste of north-east England.
A very welcoming city for tourists, Geordies are a proud breed and Newcastle has partnered with neighbouring town Gateshead to form the NewcastleGateshead brand - a scheme that aims to promote the cultural, business and tourist attractions of both places. Within the mix of Georgian, Victorian and contemporary architecture, are prominent landmarks such as St. James Park, Grey's Monument and the picturesque bridges across the river Tyne. And with the city’s thriving nightlife scene considered one of the best in the UK, it’s no surprise that Newcastle and a lively weekend go together just as perfectly as Britain’s most famous TV presenters, Ant and Dec.
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When Should You Visit?
A good night out can be enjoyed in any month but the summer is the best time to visit when the city is at its liveliest and the parks are at their most beautiful.
The north-east of England doesn’t enjoy the country’s best weather but during summer, highs average at nearly 20 degrees Celsius. In contrast, winter nights can drop below freezing. Spring can take a while to warm up and as autumn pushes on, the temperatures drop quite quickly. Rainfall can occur at any time of year although the wettest month is December.
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Travioor top tips
- Hadrian’s Wall is within easy reach and you can visit this historic monument by bus. Head to the Roman fort and museum before hiking along the fascinating trail to Housesteads.
- Newcastle is a very compact city, even though many people assume it to be huge given its national status. In fact, you can easily navigate most of it by foot.
- Every Sunday at Tyneside Bar Café, a free classic movie is shown as part of the Brunch Club. Or enjoy Cult Film Night on Mondays.
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Food and drink
A host of international options catering to all budgets can be found in Newcastle. Grab the northern favourite of chips and gravy if you’re pushed for time or dine in style at upmarket eateries like ‘Six’ or ‘Blackfriar’s Restaurant’ if you've got longer to splurge. North-east delicacies include Pan Haggerty (thinly sliced potatoes with onions and cheese), a Saveloy Dip (a smoked sausage sandwich dipped in gravy accompanied by stuffing, pease pudding and mustard) and a Stotty (also known as a Geordie loaf which is a flat bread used to create a sandwich).
This city is also famous for its drinking culture and even more so, Newcastle Brown Ale which is now sold in over 40 countries. Yet, with plenty of pubs to choose from, you’ll find many other ale varieties if you wish. Typical Geordies prefer their heavier beers and lagers so expect a funny look if you’re drinking a Corona with lime in a traditional Geordie pub. The nightlife in Newcastle is renowned throughout the UK, and with a large student population and various stag and hen dos in the city, there are many areas boasting a lively vibe such as Quayside, Bigg Market and Central Station.
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The history of Newcastle can be traced back to Roman times when it stood as a fort on Hadrian’s Wall in 122 AD but it wasn’t until Norman rule in 1080 when the city was given its current name. In the Middle Ages, Newcastle stood firm against the Scots, largely because of the 25 foot wall which was built in the 13th and 14th centuries. This period also saw the city become a big trader of wool and later when that declined, coal. The city's strategic position on the Tyne River continued to be the main reason why it prospered as a centre for trade. The printing industry boomed in Newcastle during the 18th century before the Industrial Revolution resulted in a significant rise in the population, due to the employment opportunities. Trade and business started to decline in the 20th century, particularly when the economic depression hit. However, in recent years the public and retail sectors have helped pick the city back up and it still remains the business and social hub of the North East.
English is the official language but the dialect spoken by locals can be difficult for even native speakers to understand. The strong Geordie accent is one that is renowned throughout the UK and the people regularly use their own sayings when speaking to each other. If you want to please the locals why not try learning a few Geordie phrases like the ones we’ve listed below:
- Wey aye man/pet: ‘Yes’ – Positive proclamation of agreement.
- Haddaway man: ‘No way’ or ‘You’re joking’ – Proclamation of negativity.
- Canny: ‘Good’, ‘Nice’ or ‘Pretty’ – Can be used as a compliment.
Need to know
Get The Low-Down
- Most people tend to tip around 10-15% in restaurants although this is not expected.
- You can reach Newcastle from London in just under three hours by train.
- Newcastle Airport is around eight miles from the city centre.
- Newcastle has its own Metro rail system that allows you easy access to nearby cities such as Whitley Bay and Sunderland.
Find out about the visa requirements for the UK here.
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Enjoy a night out on the town in the city’s clubs, bars and pubs. Head to the Diamond Strip if you like cocktails, or the Quayside if you like dinner with a view.
2. St James’ Park
Tour or watch a match at one of Britain’s biggest and most atmospheric football grounds St James’ Park, home to Newcastle United Football Club.
3. Jesmond Dene
Wander along the nature trail at one of the nation’s most attractive city parks, Jesmond Dene. It has recently undergone a £6 million regeneration.
4. The Boiler Shop
Check out the Boiler Shop Steamer, a two-day event held on the first Friday and Saturday of every month that brings together street food vendors, hip bands and DJs.
Catch a performance at one of the city’s theatres. The Sage is great for classical music lovers and the Theatre Royal hosts everything from panto to ballet.
See What's On In Newcastle
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