Things to do in Newcastle

Alexander Iles

In theNewcworlThe Centre for Life is an award-winning visitor attraction in the heart of Newcastle upon Tyne .The Centre for Life is an award-winning visitor attraction in the heart of Newcastle upon Tyne The Quayside of Newcastle (and its sister town of Gateshead) is a hugely popular location in the city.Cluny 2 is an independent music venue in Newcastle upon Tyne. There is a good choice of food and drink too.delRising up from the River Tyne, Newcastle’s fine medieval buildings – including the castle that gives the city its name – attest to its military and mercantile importance in the middle ages. The galleries and museums in the city centre, including the Great North Museum, the Laing Art Gallery and the Discovery Museum, explore this history, and all form part of the Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums (TWAM). Newcastle today is a creative metropolis, booming with architectural delights, world-class art galleries and renowned theatres. Based on the Quayside, Live Theatre has an international reputation for producing new writing and championing local talent. Northern Stage presents refreshing and dynamic contemporary performance rooted in identity and place. And housed in a stunning Art Deco building, Tyneside Cinema celebrates storytelling from both established and emerging filmmakers alike.

While Newcastle is known for its nightlife, and has regularly been voted one of the best places in Europe for a night out, there is more to the city than the unforgettable social scene. Steeped in engineering history, The Boiler Shop, constructed as the world’s first locomotive works in the 1820s for Robert Stephenson & Company, now hosts live performances, club nights and exhibitions. Additionally, you’ll find Michelin-starred British restaurants, shipping container food markets, and world-class international food throughout the city.

For those who love the outdoors, Newcastle-upon-Tyne also makes a fantastic base camp, being close to both the North East coast and Northumberland National Park, which are named as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Then there’s the imposing Bamburgh Castle, with its beautiful beach below (famous for being the filming location for popular Netflix series The Last Kingdom) as well as the lesser-known beauty of the North Pennines and Weardale in County Durham.

Our top picks

Newcastle Castle

Newcastle Castle, The Black Gate, Castle Garth, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1RQ - Visit now

This is the castle that gave Newcastle its name, a must-see tourist attraction for any visitor. The current building is a 12th-century fortress that has been added to over the centuries. It’s been used as a prison, a pub, and a museum, and it’s steeped in history. The castle provides an entertaining visit for people of all ages, with each room telling you more about the place’s history, and if you have any questions, the knowledgeable staff are on hand to answer any questions gladly.

Newcastle Castle
Courtesy of Newcastle Castle

Great North Museum: Hancock

Great North Museum: Hancock, Barras Bridge, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE2 4PT - Visit now

In the Great North museum, there is something for everyone, from science and history,  to archaeology and ecology, all under one roof. You will go on a journey through time, from stone age hunter-gatherers through to the start of the Iron Age, with amazing artefacts and treasures hidden under the ground for thousands of years.

Great North Museum: Hancock
By Chemical Engineer [CC0], from Wikimedia Commons

Laing Art Gallery

Laing Art Gallery, New Bridge Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8AG - Visit now

In the city centre, not far from Earl Grey’s monument you will find Laing Art Gallery bursting with a large collection of stunning art, from oil and watercolour paintings to a range of ceramics. Also featured is an array of work by brilliant local artists such as Thomas Bewick, Ralph Hedley and John Martin

Laing Art Gallery
Courtesy of Laing Art Gallery

The Discovery Museum

The Discovery Museum, Blandford Square, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE1 4JA - Visit now

Newcastle has been home to an array of world altering inventions, many of which are showcased within the Discovery Museum. Inside, you’ll find exhibitions on Tyneside’s industrial history, from railways to shipbuilding and the world-changing discovery of the electric light bulb. You can find out about Newcastle’s global impact in ways that are engaging and fun for the whole family.

The Discovery Museum
Courtesy of Discovery Museum

Tyneside Cinema

Tyneside Cinema, 10 Pilgrim Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 6QG - Visit now

In the city centre of Newcastle, you can find the Tyneside Cinema. The Tyneside Cinema is one of the best-loved cinemas in the North East of England, known for its iconic Art Deco interior plus its wonderful range of world films and amazing community.

Tyneside Cinema
Courtesy of Tyneside Cinema

The Grainger Market

The Grainger Market, Clayton Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 5QN - Visit now

On Grainger Street, in the heart of Newcastle, can be found the Grainger Market. As well as providing a range of boutique shops, Grainger Market is home to an excellent array of authentic takeaway food shops, much loved by locals. In fact, in October 2020, Grainger Market won the Britain’s Favourite Market award, making it a must visit spot for all visitors.

The Grainger Market
Courtesy of Grainger Market

Centre for Life

Centre for Life, Life Science Centre, Times Square, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 4EP - Visit now

The Centre for Life is an award-winning visitor attraction in the heart of Newcastle upon Tyne . The centre displays an immersive science village in aims of promoting life sciences, a perfect day out for people of all ages.

By Doug Belshaw from England (The Centre for Life, venue for #MozParty Newcastle) [CC BY 2.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons

Quayside

Quayside, The Quayside, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 3DU - Visit now

The Quayside of Newcastle (and its sister town of Gateshead) is a hugely popular location in the city due to the fabulous array of stunning sights combined with a range of eclectic bars and restaurants. If you are feeling more adventurous, you can also book in with CBK adventures and paddleboard or canoe down the Tyne on a tour of this fantastic river.

Quayside
Courtesy of NewcastleGateshead

Cluny 2

Cluny 2, 34 Lime St, Ouseburn, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 2PQ - Visit now

Cluny 2 is an independent music venue, playing host to a wide range of alternative bands perfect for music lovers. Complete with a a range of food and drink , the Cluny is ideal for those looking to enjoy upcoming artists whilst indulging in some delicious comfort food.

By Deadhell (Taken from camera phone) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons

BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art

BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead Quays, Gateshead, Newcastle on Tyne, NE8 3BA - Visit now

The Baltic is a key location for culture vultures, with five levels of exhibits, four galleries, a library, artist’s studios and a regionally famous restaurant. The Baltic is a truly magnificent and must visit location for contemporary art in the North East of England.

Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art
Image courtesy of the Baltic.

Where to go in North East

North East
Shop
Bookwyrm

This LGBTQ+ bookshop, nestled in the heart of Durham’s city centre, is more than a business but rather is a community hub.

North East
Museum
Museum of Archaeology

Durham University’s specialist museum showcases an exhibition which ranges from the prehistory to modern times, charting the history of Durham.

North East
Museum
Oriental Museum

Durham University displays a devoted exhibition, looking at the art and archaeology of the great cultures of Northern Africa and Asia.

North East
Theatre
The Durham

A home for theatre in Durham, showcasing many talents such as those of the Durham Dramatic Society at greatly affordable prices.

North East
Restaurant
Boquerones Tapas and Cocktails

Beautifully rustic Mediterranean interiors, animated atmosphere and mouth watering food all work in happy unison to make a visit to Boquerones Tapas and Cocktails always agreeable.

North East
Bar or Pub
Think Tank?

This live-music venue in Newcastle fundamentally was born out of a desire to host local talent.

North East
Restaurant
Little Buildings

One of Newcastle’s most well loved gig venues, Little Buildings is open 7 days a week and remains a local favourite.

North East
Gallery
Hatton Gallery

The diverse collection includes over 3,000 works from the 14th – 20th centuries, available through Newcastle University grounds.

North East
Gallery
The Biscuit Factory

A converted Victorian warehouse, with over 250 collections of work on display at any given time, as well as The Factory Kitchen Café.

North East Visitor Guides

Walks in Sunderland
Walks in Sunderland

A cultivated array of walks and cultural spaces to visit, with nods to local history, sporting events, landmarks and heritage.

Walks in Durham
Walks in Durham

A curated guide on where to walk in Durham, featuring riverside routes, easy ambles, sought-out hikes and marked cultural stopping points.

Walks in Newcastle
Walks in Newcastle

A guide to the most attractive, rewarding and beautiful walks in central Newcastle and the landscape beyond.

The Kingslodge Inn
Hotels in the North East

To make life easy when it comes to booking your stay, here’s our guide to the best hotels in the North East of England.

The Grainger Market
Shopping in the North East

Our guide to the best shops in the North East of England, including independents, boutiques and markets in Durham, Newcastle and Sunderland.

Pillock at Contact
Spotlight on

Fringe Theatre in Manchester and the North

Check out our top picks of shows previewing in the North West before heading to Edinburgh Fringe Festival later in the summer.

Take me there

Culture Guides