Must-Visit Attractions in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

Millennium Bridge soars over the Quayside area of Newcastle, known for its nightlife
Millennium Bridge soars over the Quayside area of Newcastle, known for its nightlife | © eye35 / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Bryony Hatherley
25 August 2020
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Whether you’re in Newcastle for a day, a week, or even if you’re a bona fide local, there are plenty of top attractions that you can’t afford to miss out on in this vibrant and exciting city. From history and culture to some utterly modern treats, let us take you through some of the top places to visit next time you find yourself up in the North of England.

Quayside

Shop, Architectural Landmark
Newcastle Quayside market with Millennium Bridge and Baltic Gallery in background
© Scott Hortop Travel / Alamy Stock Photo
The place to go for pubs, clubs and restaurants, the Quayside is now also a modernised hub of arts, music and culture in the city. Check out the Quayside market on Sundays and the area’s party atmosphere on Saturday nights.

Newcastle Castle

Building, Historical Landmark
Not that new anymore, this Medieval structure is what gives Newcastle its name. First built by the son of William the Conqueror, the castle is now open to visitors from 10am to 5pm. Take the kids down at the weekend to make the most of the educational offerings.

The Biscuit Factory

Art Gallery, Building, Shop, Theater

The Biscuit Factory has been a contemporary art gallery and events space for nearly two decades, however its past lies in much more industrious pursuits. In its history, the building has been a warehouse and carpet shop but now offers some of the best art in the area.

St Nicholas Cathedral

Cathedral, Church
The most northern Cathedral in the country, St Nicholas dates back to the same Norman period as the Newcastle Castle. St Nicholas is the patron saint of boats and sailors, which suits Newcastle with its huge river and numerous docks.

Tyne Bridge

Bridge
Newcastle upon Tyne skyline gateshead the Tyne bridge over River Tyne Tyne and Wear Tyneside England UK GB EU Europe
© eye35 / Alamy Stock Photo
Over 7,000 tonnes of steel went into this 389m (1,276ft) bridge. One of the city’s most iconic structures, the bridge is often decorated throughout the year to celebrate key events.

Victoria Tunnel

Museum
Originally built for transportation of coal, the 3,900m (12,795ft) Victoria Tunnel is open to tour groups interested in the history of the once-forgotten tunnel. The tour includes sonic and visual effects to create an immersive experience.

Theatre Royal

Theatre
Winner of the UK Theatre Awards’ Most Welcoming North East Theatre four years in a row, the Theatre Royal is located on Grey Street in the city centre. It is said that Newcastle’s Theatre Royal is Sir Ian McKellen’s favourite theatre.

Centre for Life

Museum
The Centre for Life (formerly the Life Science Centre) is a part of the larger International Centre for Life complex. The patron of the site is none other than co-discoverer of DNA, Dr James Watson.

Grey’s Monument

Memorial
Greys Monument and shoppers in Grey Street, regularly voted one of the best streets in England architecturally, Newcastle-upon-T
© travellinglight / Alamy Stock Photo
Atop a 40m (131ft) column looms a statue of Charles Grey, the UK Prime Minister from 1830-1834. There is a viewing platform at the top, offering guests an excellent look at the beautiful cityscape.

Seven Stories

Museum, Art Gallery
The National Centre for Children’s Books is the place to go for families interested in children’s authors and illustrators. With exhibits, readings and interactive experiences, it’s the perfect day out for young bookworms.

North East Art Collective

Art Gallery
An art gallery that’s dedicated to championing talented artists from the North East, the North East Art Collective showcases art in every style and medium from the region.

Whitley Bay

Natural Feature
Just (16km) 10 miles from Newcastle, at the mouth of the Tyne, is the seaside town of Whitley Bay. As well as the beach, attractions include the Blue Reef Aquarium, the Stephenson Railway Museum and Hadrian’s Wall.

Jesmond Dene Park

Park
Jesmond Dene
© Peter Atkinson / Alamy Stock Photo
A wooded valley that’s teeming with wildlife, including the endangered red squirrel, kingfisher and a wide array of local birds. The park is a strong example of 19th-century landscape design, offering visitors an excellent space to escape the urban sights and experience some of the area’s nature.

Great North Museum

Museum
Formerly known as the Hancock Museum, the Great North Museum showcases collections primarily from the Natural History Society of Northumbria and Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne.

Grainger Market

Market, European
Once the largest covered market in Europe, the Grainger Market is now a Grade I-listed building that houses a bustling, modern trading experience nearly two centuries after it first opened.

Literary and Philosophical Society

Library
Literary and Philosophical Society of Newcastle
© Gordon Bell / Alamy Stock Photo
Claiming to be “so much more than a library” is bold, but the Literary & Philosophical Society has many roles. They have an events programme, a music library and 160,000 books.

Washington Old Hall

Historical Landmark, Building
The ancestral home of the first President of the United States, Washington Old Hall is now operated by the National Trust. Visitors can explore the inside of the Old Hall or the orchard of heritage apple trees in the gardens.

High Level Bridge

Bridge
The oldest and most striking of Newcastle’s bridges, High Level Bridge is just slightly upriver from the Tyne Bridge. Today, the High Level still serves pedestrian, road and rail traffic – and it’s viewed as the most important historical work of engineering in Newcastle.

Live Theatre

Theatre

Based in the Quayside area, Live Theatre brings an excellent schedule of performances to the city, including live comedy, new plays and other interesting events.

Central Arcade

Art Gallery, Shopping Mall
Central Arcade Newcastle upon Tyne
© Clearview / Alamy Stock Photo
Originally an Edwardian shopping arcade, the Central Arcade has served many different purposes in its history, from newsroom to art gallery.

Tyneside Cinema

Cinema
One of the top independent cinemas in the country, Tyneside Cinema offers its guests a whole host of interesting titles to sink their cinephile teeth into. With specialised seasons running throughout the year as well as some of Hollywood’s biggest titles, this is a must-visit for film fans.

Beamish

Museum
Taking what you expect of a museum and turning it on its head, Beamish is a living, breathing experience. Giving its guests the opportunity to experience an authentic taste of what life would have been like in a Victorian village, as well as in the 1940s and 1950s, it’s an excellent way of learning about some of the local history.

St James' Park

Stadium
Home to one of the best-known football teams in the country, St James’ Park is a local treasure in Newcastle. As one of the biggest stadiums in the country, it’s an excellent destination, even on non-match days, with an excellent tour available for visitors.

Angel of the North

Architectural Landmark
Angel of the North statue, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, England, UK
© Brian Lawrence / Alamy Stock Photo
A beacon of the North, the synonymous sculpture has become a local treasure – located just outside Newcastle in Gateshead. Originally built in 1998 by artist Antony Gormley, the towering Angel of the North has been a landmark for the region ever since.

Additional reporting by Nicholas Grantham

These recommendations were updated on August 25, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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