attractions newcastle gateshead

Things to Do and Attractions in Newcastle and Gateshead, United Kingdom

North East England cities like Newcastle upon Tyne (or just Newcastle) is well-known for its stag dos and cheap booze catered for university students but there is more to the city than just a university town. Newcastle is a good starting point for exploration of North East countryside and Scotland. In this post, we explore things to do and attractions in Newcastle and its adjacent town, Gateshead.

things to do newcastle gateshead
Newcastle International Airport

Newcastle International Airport is located about 6 miles from the city centre. If you are travelling alone or with a partner, the metro station (commuter train station) is connected to the airport and the metro provides a cheap way of getting into the city centre. If you are travelling as a family, there is a taxi rank in front of the airport. 

In terms of accommodation, we have stayed at the following hotels:

  1. Sandman Signature Hotel (about GBP 100 for a deluxe twin room without breakfast). It is conveniently located next to St James Park and features modern clean rooms. 
  2. The Caledonian Hotel (about GBP 80 for a double room with breakfast). Located right in the heart of Jesmond (an upscale neighbourhood with boutiques and cafes), the hotel is generally clean though the rooms are a bit dated.
  3. Crowne Plaza Newcastle – Stephenson Quarter (about GBP 100 for a standard room with breakfast). A good option for travellers with clean rooms and relatively modern decor – 5-10 mins walk to the city centre. Apparently this is the go-to hotel for visiting sportspersons (e.g. footballers, rubgy players, etc) competing in sporting events in Newcastle – we met some of them while staying at this hotel. 

For tourists merely stopping by Newcastle for a day trip, there is a Half Day Tour of Newcastle operated by Viator which might be a good option to consider. 


1. St James' Park

St James‘ Park is the home of the Premier League club Newcastle United FC. It is conveniently located next to the Sandman Signature Hotel and Chinatown. 

things to do newcastle gateshead
St James' Park
Things to do newcastle gateshead
St James' Park

2. Tyne Bridge

Tyne Bridge is an iconic bridge which links Newcastle and Gateshead over the River Tyne. It was built by the same team (Dorman Long and Co. of Middlesbrough) that later went to construct the Sydney Harbour Bridge in Sydney, Australia.  

things to do newcastle gateshead
Tyne Bridge

3. Newcastle City Centre (Northumberland Street)

Northumberland Street is Newcastle’s High Street located right in the city centre. Newcastle’s well-known department stores Fenwick as well as Eldon Square have entrances located along Northumberland Street. There are plenty of buskers and local traders plying their trades along the busy street

things to do newcastle gateshead
Northumberland Street
Newcastle city centre

4. Grey's Monument & Grey Street

Grey’s Monument column (134 ft) was named after Earl Grey, a former Prime Minister from 1830 to 1834. The monument is a famous landmark which is located at the end of Grey Street, recognised as one of the most Instagrammed streets in the UK. The street is well-known for its exquisite Georgian architecture and the Theatre Royal is located along the street. If you are interested in learning more about the monument and the surrounding area, Viator offers a History Tour (USD 53) which might be of interest. 

things to do newcastle gateshead
Grey's Monument
things to do newcastle gateshead
Grey Street

5. Newcastle University

Newcastle University is a well-known and reputable public research university. On campus, there are many art pieces / sculptures, picturesque gardens as well as iconic buildings (e.g. The Arches) which are worth visiting. 

things to do newcastle gateshead
Newcastle University
things to do newcastle gateshead
St Thomas' Newcastle (Church) - opposite Newcastle University

6. Grainger Market

Grainger Market is a busy market hall operating since 1835 that features vendors selling numerous types of goods including meat and food. There are also many local bakery cafes in the Market including French Oven and Pet Lamb Patisserie

things to do newcastle gateshead
Grainger Market
things to do newcastle gateshead
Grainger Market

7. Chinatown

The Chinatown in Newcastle is one of the only five main Chinatowns in the UK – the others are located in Manchester, London, Birmingham and Liverpool. It is conveniently located beside St James Park and the Sandman Signature Hotel. A list of chinese restaurants in Chinatown can be found here

things to do newcastle gateshead

8. Central Arcade

Newcastle’s Central Arcade boasts elegant architecture in a building that houses upscale retailers as well as a Deli. It features unique tilework, stained glass and mosaic flooring which make for good Instagram backdrop. 

Central Arcade

9. Life Science Centre

The Life Science Centre in Newcastle is one of the biggest science centres in the UK and located just a short walk from the Central Station. There is a big planetarium in the Centre and visitors can look forward to its outdoor ice rink during Christmas seasons.

things to do newcastle gateshead
Life Centre


Gateshead is a town which is connected to Newcastle via Tyne Bridge. It makes for a good day trip from Newcastle due to its well-known landmarks such as Angel of the North and Sage Gateshead. 

1. Angel of the North

Angel of the North is one of the most famous UK landmarks and certainly worth a visit (even though it is not well-known outside England). It stands at a height of 20 m and believed to be the biggest angel sculpture in the world. It is located at about 4 miles from the Tyne Bridge along the A167. 

things to do newcastle gateshead
Angel of the North

2. Gateshead / Newcastle Quayside

Visitors to Newcastle / Gateshead should not miss the Quayside area as it is a great place for sightseeing. It provides a good vantage point for views of the Tyne Bridge, the modern Gateshead Millennium Bridge and Sage Gateshead. There are plenty of cafes, restaurants and pubs on both sides including the popular By The River Brew Co and Pitcher & Piano. Tourists can also visit the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art beside the Millennium Bridge to view the latest exhibitions. On Sundays, vendors gather on the Newcastle side (Quayside Market) to sell trinkets, clothes, crafts and street food. 

things to do newcastle gateshead
Sage Gateshead and Tyne Bridge
Gateshead Millennium Bridge
Gateshead Millennium Bridge

3. Saltwell Park

Saltwell Park is a Victorian Park located just 2 miles south of the Tyne Bridge. It is a large swath of area that features gardens, sports facilities, lake, education centre, maze and a prominent Gothic mansion. Every winter, the park is turned into a winter wonderland with sculptures, installations, performances and interactive works

Saltwell Park - Gothic Mansion

4. Metrocentre

Metrocentre is claimed to be Europe’s largest indoor mall-style shopping centres. It is located next to the A1 in Gateshead and features more than 300 shops  shops spread over 5 “sections” differentiated by colours.

Metrocentre Gateshead

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