An Insider’s Guide to Newcastle

Thursday 07th March 2019

We invited ITV Weather’s Ross Hutchinson to give his tips on the best things to do in Newcastle, whether you’re there for the day or making a weekend of it.

As soon as you arrive in Newcastle you know it is a city with life. It’s exciting and always evolving with new attractions, bars, restaurants and events popping up constantly.

A real bonus is it’s easy to get around. Arriving at Central Station you can simply jump on the Metro – the “Toon’s” version of the Tube (and much easier to navigate). Just £3 will get you a day pass for the city centre. Although I would recommend walking – it really is a beautiful place.

To many, Newcastle has become synonymous with stag and hen parties and, if that’s what you’re coming for, you’re more than welcome. But if inflatable body parts aren’t really your thing, don’t be fooled into thinking that’s all this city has to offer.

It has all the areas you’d expect from a major city; grand shopping streets, cinemas, arts districts, a Chinatown, places you can buy an organic chai latte and a vegan gluten-free blueberry tart…

Grey Street Theatre Royal - © Newcastle Gateshead Initiative

© Newcastle Gateshead Initiative

If it’s culture you’re after there are concert venues, theatres, art galleries, and even a world-renowned science park at the Centre for Life.

History buffs get museums, there’s a castle, Victorian shopping arcades, and, if even that is too modern for you, parts of the Roman Hadrian’s Wall.

The bonus – all of this can be found within a very manageable few square miles. Perfect for a day trip. But my advice is definitely to stay for the evening. Newcastle is famous for its nights out for a reason.

Newcastle’s Nightlife

Here, everyone (over a certain age) goes out. And I mean that. There’s such an inclusive atmosphere. You can’t be too dressed up or too casual. It is handily zoned. You can avoid the, shall we say, ‘rowdier’ crowds quite easily if that’s not your idea of a fun evening!

There are too many places to list. As they say “Throw a Greggs pasty in Newcastle and you’ll hit a bar” (to be clear – no-one actually says that but the sentiment is correct). Also, FYI there are Greggs in Newcastle that are open 24 hours. You’re welcome.

Newcastle's Nightlife © Visit Britain

© Visit Britain

A good starting point for a new arrival would be The Botanist. Right next to the Monument Metro Station it involves a lift to get up to (or you could attempt what feels like hundreds of steps). Live music, botanical-themed cocktails and a unique interior that includes a life-size fake tree can only be topped by the view. From its high vantage point you can see some of the city’s finest Georgian architecture. Just a quick look down onto Grey Street will make you realise why it’s often voted one of the most picturesque streets in the country.

Stack – Newcastle’s Trendy Creative Hub

If you’re after something with a more contemporary vista – one of the city’s newest additions is Stack.

Stack - Newcastle's Trendy Creative Hub © Newcastle City Council

© Newcastle City Council

Located at the bottom of Northumberland Street (the one with all the big shops on it) it describes itself as “a creative social hub for entertainment, culture, work and play” – quite the mission statement. It very much lives up to its name. A literal stack of shipping containers converted into shops, bars and restaurants. You can easily lose hours within the metal Lego-esque development. Although much of it is open air, there are heaters and waterproof covers to guard against some of the harsher elements of North East weather.

Spend a Day on the Quayside

On brighter days a walk down to the Quayside is a must. You can sit outside one of the many bars and restaurants dotted along the river. It’s the area that will give you arguably the most iconic view in the city; The Tyne Bridge.

Spend a day on the Quayside © Newcastle Gateshead Initiative

© Newcastle Gateshead Initiative

There are actually seven bridges crossing the Tyne in the space of just a mile and crossing one of them will take you into Gateshead, a different town altogether. But I think the delights of Gateshead’s Sage, the Baltic and the By The River Brew Co. container community will have to wait for another blog…

Why not follow in Ross’ footsteps and book your trip away to Newcastle? If you book in advance you could save over 50%!