Newcastle upon Tyne with its iconic bridges across the Tyne is a must see for any visitor to the region. Known to many as ‘the Toon’ (‘the Town’ in the local dialect) and home to the ‘Geordies’. Newcastle’s support for the Hanoverian King George I during the Jacobite Rebellion earned this world-renowned sobriquet.
Newcastle is a relatively small city and easily explored in a day. However, if you intend to look around the magnificent Norman Castle and the various galleries or museums, then you’ll need a little longer.
The two main neighbourhoods to check out are the Quayside and Grainger Town. Most of the City’s attractions are found in these areas. The outer town, with much to see if you’ve time, surrounds these and includes the West Walls, Blackfriars, Chinatown and Ouseburn.
Begin this itinerary on the Quayside in the morning when, if you are lucky, the sun will shine on the magnificent bridges from the east. Spend the morning down here and then climb the relatively steep bank (or take the Q bus!) up into Grainger Town. There is plenty of choice for lunch either on the Quayside or up in Grainger Town.
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Start downriver at the magnificent Millenium Bridge. This pedestrianised structure takes you across to the Baltic Centre and the Sage Gateshead on the south side of the River. After visiting these two impressive buildings, retrace your steps across the river and enjoy the iconic Tyne Bridge, the Swing Bridge and the High Level Bridge further upstream.
Continue along the Quayside. As you pass King Street, look up to your right, and at the top of the steps stands the landmark 18th Century All Saints Church. Walk under the Tyne Bridge along Sandhill and on your right is the perfectly preserved Jacobean building known as Bessie Surtees House.
Note: The next part of the itinerary consists of a steep stairway leading up to the Castle. You may visit the Castle more easily later from Grainger Town. If you decide on this option, take the Q1 or Q2 bus from the Quayside into Grainger Town.
Walk a little further along the Close and climb the steep Castle Stairs on your right. At the top on Castle Garth is the impressive Castle Keep from which the City took its name. After looking around the Castle walk up into the main City past the Cathedral of St Nicholas.
Turn right past the Cathedral: you are now in Grainger Town. This area, redeveloped in the Neo-Classical style during the 1830s by Richard Grainger, is unique in the country. Walk along to the next junction and turn left in Grey Street. On your right is Dean Street which leads back down to the Quayside.
Grey Street is the jewel in Newcastle’s crown. The view, leading up to the impressive Grey’s Monument and the magnificent Palladian style Theatre Royal, is renowned throughout the world. From the Monument, walk along Grainger Street and enter the wonderful covered Grainger Market which contains the original Marks & Spencer store. Rejoicing under the name ‘Marks & Spencer’s Original Penny Bazaar‘, you won’t be surprised to learn that today everything is priced at a little more than a penny!
Head west and follow the black street signs for Blackfriars, site of a Medieval Monastery. You will soon reach the West Walls, part of the old City Wall and Chinatown with it’s fabulous Chinese Arch.
Walk back into the City Centre to admire the great architecture and the pleasant Eldon Square. Treat yourself to some retail therapy in the eponymous shopping mall next to the Square.
To book a suitable hotel or other accommodation in Newcastle, you can use the map below, which shows current prices for hotels and apartments. To book further afield, then just enlarge the map (+/-) to see more hotels or if you have somewhere particular in mind, enter your preferred city/town/village in the ‘Where are you going?’ box.
Accommodation sorted? How about renting a car for your visit?