A day in Newcastle

Nature
The wow factor for nature - does it show nature at its best? Doesn't need to be the wilder-beast migration or diving with hundreds of hammerheads. Rather make you pause as you realise just how awesome the natural world can be
3
Culture
How much does this experience showcase some of the better and finer things that us humans can offer? Sure, it can be ancient ruins and renaissance churches, but it can also be festivals or soaking up some of the great modern cities of the world
5
Fun factor/activity
Very simple - was it fun? This is usually linked in with doing some kind of activity - i mean, walking along some cliffs is nice, but paragliding from them, now that is fun. Its a vastly underrated factor in a truly great experience
7
Avoid the crowds
Big tour groups and being surrounded by loud fellow tourists can sap the life out of even the greatest of travel experiences. This score is to reflect just how much you can avoid this. But. . . The score also takes into account if the crowds actually add to the experience, such as with a party town or a bustling food market
7
World famous
How world famous is the experience?
4
unique
How hard is it to have a similar experience in other places round the world?
4
Overall Score
The highest score of nature or culture, + fun factor, + avoid the crowds, + the highest score of world famous or unique. Then turned into a score out of 100. More details at the bottom of the page
57 *What the scores mean and where do they come from
continent
Europe
country
UK
Length of time
1 day or less
Rough cost
Obviously people have different tastes, so this will depend on those tastes, but this is a rough idea of price of the whole experience based on 2 people able to split the accommodation costs and excluding travel there and back
$ 100
Time of year visited
July
Primary Tags
Click on any of the tags to see all travel experiences with the same tag
RANKING
How this travel experience ranks compared to all the other experiences on this site
223rd/334 This travel experience's ranking compared to all the other experiences on this site
Top 70% SUMMARY RATING: Worth doing

Summary

Newcastle has a great reputation for its friendly locals (and, let’s face it, the accent everyone loves to imitate) and its world-class partying / lash that comes from both the locals and its giant student population (locals, aka “Geordies” will often like to quote how many top 10 lists Newcastle appears in for a night out).  But it also has a surprisingly elegant city centre with a riverfront that rivals anything else in the UK outside of London, and 4 places to visit nearby that are equally surprising in just how gorgeous they are

If you’ve got only a day (in summer!), I’d recommend the below itinerary for the best of Newcastle and the surrounding area

highlights

#1 The Quayside and the 7 iconic bridges that cross the River Tyne. A wander along the waterfront has a superb combination of glimpses into Newcastle's industrial past and how it has rejuvenated itself

#2 The architecture of Grey Street. This beautiful Georgian street is one of the most instagrammed streets in the UK and is an elegant walk down to the river

#3 The Lash. The beautiful setting of the Quayside, the leafy student magnet of Jesmond, or the sheer mental Big Market in the centre of town. All help give Newcastle its reputation as one of the best party towns

Optional trip nearby #1 - the Northumberland Coastline. Beautiful sand, picturesque local villages, stunning castle backdrops, and very few fellow tourists

Optional trip nearby #2 - Durham. The magnificent view of Durham Cathedral and Durham Castle in the loop of the River Wear has led many to see Durham as one of the highlights of any trip to the UK

Optional trip nearby #3 - Tynemouth. Have some food on the beach in this lively port suburb

Optional trip nearby #4 - Hadrians Wall. Imagine what it must have been like nearly 2000 years ago to be stationed on the extreme limit of the Roman Empire and with the beautiful surrounding Northumberland countryside

Rough itinerary

If you’ve got only a day (in summer!), I’d recommend:

  • Morning – explore the City Centre and Quayside.  Start by Grey’s Monument and walk down the wonderful Georgian architecture of Grey Street, via Dean Street, to the Quayside.  From there, walk along the River Tyne in a loop by crossing the Millennium Bridge and then Swing Bridge, stopping at the Baltic Art Gallery for views of the 7 bridges and food from the top
  • Afternoon – head outside of Newcastle to either of the 4 options below.  All are within 45mins of Newcastle City Centre:
    • Durham – check out the majestic setting of Durham Cathedral and Durham Castle in the loop of the river, and wander through the pretty streets of the town (see here for travel entry – Durham’s Cathedral, Castle and village)
    • Tynemouth – check out the nice beaches of Cullercoats and King Edwards Bay, wander along the bars and restaurants of Front Street, and grab some food on the beach at Riley’s Fish Shack
    • Hadrian’s Wall – whilst the full walk across the wall takes many days (and you can see the full details for the walk here –Hiking along Hadrian’s Wall), you can still get a feel for the wall by visiting the famous Sycamore Gap (the place from the Robin Hood movie) and the nearby former fort of Vindolanda.  You’ve also got the benefit of seeing the beautiful surrounding countryside of Northumberland
    • The Northumberland Coast – you may laugh, but I’d put the Northumberland Coastline and, in particular, Bamburgh Beach and Embleton Bay, as some of the top beaches in the world.  May not be tropical, but the beaches themselves have the perfect sand that is so fine it squeaks, the castle backdrops are some of the most stunning in Europe, there are beautiful villages right on the water, and there are hardly any fellow tourists.  Don’t believe me?  Give it a try and I’ve written more details here – The Northumberland Coast (in summer!)
  • Evening – start off your evening in Jesmond on Osbourne Road.  It’s a road full of bars and restaurants in Newcastle’s most leafy and studenty neighbourhood.  From there then head into the Quayside to see why Newcastle has a reputation for being such a fun place to go out in

Travel Tips

  • Go in summer!   You can still have a great night out all year round, but you really want the North England summer to enjoy the trips to Tynemouth / Hadrian’s Wall / The Northumberland Coast
  • Chat to some locals – there is a reason they have such a friendly reputation and are usually delighted to speak with people not from the area, especially if have a foreign accent
  • Ouseburn Valley – the Quayside itself is nicely contained but, if fancy a walk, continue upriver to the Ouseburn Valley for a nice inlet of bars, restaurants and more river vibe
  • The Angel of the North – if driving up, be sure to keep an eye out for the Angel of the North giant statue
  • Newcastle United – if the timing works, go and see a Newcastle United Premier League Football game as it gives you an insight into the soul of the city.  Have drinks in the Big Market (the traditional going out area) and then walk up the hill with thousands of Newcastle fans to the cathedral on the hill aka St James Park

Experiences nearby

The below map shows experiences nearby with a colour that reflect the Overall Score of those experiences

Score Detail

Background - how many times have you asked someone what a travel experience was like and the response was "amazing" or "awesome"?  That response is nice to know, but it makes it hard to differentiate that experience compared to others.  That is exactly what these scores are trying to do - differentiate the experience by giving a score out of 10 based on 6 categories and then giving an overall experience score

This overall experience score is calculated by:  take the highest of the "Culture" or "Nature" score (1-10) + "Fun factor" (1-10) + "Avoiding the crowds" (1-10) + highest of the "Unique" or "World Famous score" (1-10).  Then convert into a score out of 100

Extra detail - the logic being that I find all of the 6 individual scores important, but I don't want to mark an experience down just because it doesn't cover both "Culture" and "Nature", or because it isn't both "World Famous" and "Unique".  Take the examples of Safari in The Serengeti and walking through Rome - they both appeal at opposite ends of the nature / culture spectrum, and you can have a fantastic time without needing to appeal to both sides.  So, their overall scores aren't penalized for their lack of one or the other, and I've done the same for "World Famous" vs "Unique".  But . . . I do think that the "Fun factor" of an experience is important, irrelevant of other factors, and so is "Avoiding the Crowds" (or where there are crowds that add to the experience).  So, both of these scores are standalone