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  • Newcastle's raised Millennium bridge at sunrise

Newcastle City Guide

Newcastle History

The history of Newcastle upon Tyne dates back almost 2,000 years, during which it has been controlled by the Romans, the Saxons and the Danes amongst others. Originally known by its Roman name Pons Aelius, the name "Newcastle" has been used since the Norman conquest of England. Due to its prime location on the River Tyne, the town developed greatly during the Middle Ages and it was to play a major role in the Industrial Revolution, being granted city status in 1882.

Newcastle Today

Officially its Newcastle Upon Tyne, the Tyne being the famous river spanned by its 7 famous bridges, but its also Newcastle, The "Toon", home to the lovliest accent in all of Britain, and the most welcoming people, the Geordies! It is today a big university town and Newcastle's economy includes corporate headquarters, learning, digital technology, retail, tourism and cultural centres.

Newcastle Leisure

The new and now wonderfully iconic Millennium Bridge and the older majestic Tyne Bridge are just 2 of the bridges that demand attention whilst the eye-catching Sage Gateshead and Baltic Centre are both must-sees too. Located in the Quayside area of Newcastle City Centre, Premier Apartments Newcastle offer a mix of one and two bedroom service apartments and may well be the perfect location from which to sail forth on your exploration of the City of Newcastle.  Alternatively if you want to venture across the river to Gateshead then we can suggest Curzon Place serviced apartments with its selection of one and two bedroom self catering flats.

The Grey Street area and its surrounding shops and restaurants as well as the Theatre Royal and the Centre for Life are best accessed by using Staybridge Suites Newcastle or Grey Street Apartments as a base.

If like so many Geordies, you absolutely positively need to take in a match, The Toon Army faithful congregate on Saturday afternoons at St James Park, home to the famous black and white striped Newcastle United FC, (aka the Magpies) and a visit to the stadium on match day followed by a few beers in a local "boozer" is almost certain to prove an unforgettable experience. Our recommendation...if you can get a ticket that is!

Newcastle top 5 restaurants

A city centre restaurant with a city centre buzz. In the heart of Newcastle's Quayside, 21 has an excitement and warmth all of its own. Smart but not stuffy, sleek but not pretentious, fun but not gimmicky - It's about eating good food in comfortably stylish surroundings.

21's food is big on flavour, short on fussiness. Fresh, seasonal ingredients are treated with flair and passion. classic bistro dishes, a little comfort food and still room for pudding. 21 is famous for welcoming guests with excellent value and warm hospitality.

Blackfriars Restaurant
Blackfriars was voted the best restaurant in the North East England Tourism Awards held in 2013. Originating back in 1239 when it was built as a medieval friary, the restaurant served as the refectory for the friars making it one of the oldest purpose-built dining rooms in the UK, steeped in history.

The 72 seat restaurant serves a classic, gutsy British menu sourcing seasonal produce from local farms and markets accompanied by a large award-winning wine list. It also has an adjoining 50 seat Banquet Hall and 12 seat Workshop running a range of courses.

Sohe is sure to offer an experience like no other, traditionally trained chefs create dishes demonstrating their culinary flair, unique methods and individual expertise, showcasing foods from all over the world that are sure to tantalise and tease the senses.
Set within Jesmond’s quintessentially English and stunning Victorian period properties the mix of Northumbrian history, Asian inspiration and cosmopolitan vibe allow you to unwind in a whole new type of culture.
SoHe’s sure to invigorate and excite with its blend of fine foods from throughout the world in fusion with the Asian inspiration behind this exciting new dining experience.
Sohe has a cocktail menu to mesmerise and enchant any patron whilst all set within a building of character and elegance situated right in the heart of the city.

Nestled between the city’s shopping district and the riverfront in the heart of the quayside, Babucho is a New York style Italian brasserie and bar. A menu full of fantastic home-style rustic dishes using traditional Italian recipes, fused with some splendid local favourites.

An International team who remember your name, cocktails just the way you like them, food you go on holiday to find and a soundtrack you will want to buy. A bustling crowd during the day, a hip restaurant and lounge by night and a late night playground for the city’s movers and shakers to enjoy till the early hours.

Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill
From the youngest chef ever to hold 3 Michelin stars, Marco Pierre White Steakhouse & Grill Newcastle is a cornerstone of modern British dining. An on-trend dining room features a retro bar, and funky 1960’s-style furnishings.

Blending nostalgic British flavours and the chef’s celebrated culinary flair, the Marco Pierre White menu offers a classic steakhouse selection. As well as perfected signature dishes like Marco’s fish pie or fish of the day sourced fresh from the market, chunky cuts of native breed steaks are served with sumptuous garnishes.

The restaurant serves a classic but gutsy traditional British menu using local and seasonal ingredients and uses an abundance of great produce all around the North East such as mouth-watering aged beef, old breeds of pork and lamb, delicious award-winning cheeses and ice creams, fragrant heather honey, organic vegetables, super-fresh fish and a host of award-winning beers. - See more at: http://www.getintonewcastle.co.uk/get-into-ne1/places/blackfriars-restaurant/#sthash.HlA8WmMN.dpuf
The restaurant serves a classic but gutsy traditional British menu using local and seasonal ingredients and uses an abundance of great produce all around the North East such as mouth-watering aged beef, old breeds of pork and lamb, delicious award-winning cheeses and ice creams, fragrant heather honey, organic vegetables, super-fresh fish and a host of award-winning beers. - See more at: http://www.getintonewcastle.co.uk/get-into-ne1/places/blackfriars-restaurant/#sthash.HlA8WmMN.dpuf

Newcastle Transport Tips

  • By plane

    The nearest airport to Newcastle is Newcastle Airport from where you can cath flights to other parts of Europe such as Paris, Barcelona, Brussels and Copenhagen.
  • By train

    The main train station is Newcastle station from where you can head down south to London or up north to Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh.
  • By car

    If you are travelling to Newcastle by car you have a couple of options in terms of parking from car parks to on street parking. If you need info about parking permits or finding the nearest car park to where you will be staying have a look at Newcastle's City Councils parking page.
  • By bike

    The Newcastle City Counil has put in motion an attemtp of extending the cycle network in the city for the next coming years and to try to make it easier for cyclists to get around. For more information about this movemnet, or helpful cycle routes and cycle parkings have a look at the council's Cycle page.
  • By bus

    Buses in and around Newcastle are oparated by Nexus, have a look at their Bus site for ticket prices, timetables and updates.

What to do in Newcastle

Listed below are some of the great places to visit in Newcastle. Click one to find out more.

Getting around - Newcastle upon Tyne transport tips

Getting to NewcastleGateshead is very easy.  Direct rail services run from many UK cities to Newcastle Central Station and the East Coast mainline runs from London King's Cross to Scotland via Newcastle.  Newcastle International Airport is just 8 miles from the city centre and the Metro link means a quick 20 mins transfer to the city centre. 

Once you arrive in the central district of NewcastleGateshead you'll find it's very compact and a great city to walk around.  The tourist office provides maps for 8 self guided walks around Newcastle.  However if you don't have much time to explore you can jump on the quick and efficient Metro system or one of the frequent buses. 

The Tyne and Wear Metro is a light rail system with over 60 stations covering the North East region linking you to shops, stunning beaches, museums, music venues and the airport. 

The frequent bus service reaches all parts of Tyne and Wear with a wide variety of tickets available.  If you're visiting the Angel of the North why not take the unique Angel bus(Go North East Services 21 & 22) from Eldon Square Bus Station.  There are also the Quaylink buses which offer a low-emission, accessible service around the city centre. 

For more informaiton on the the routes, timetables, tickets and travel information click here.

For the more active visitor a cycle route map of the city centre is available from the tourist office, and NewcastleGateshead is also an ideal base for a cycling journey across some of the North East's beauty spots.  Several scenic cycle routes which pass through or near the city taking in coastal views on the Coast to Coast and Coasts and Castles routes, beautiful countryside on the Three Rivers Route and historical sites including Hadrians Wall on the Hadrians Route.  There are many places to hire cycles and cycling equipment in Newcastle - for more information click here

Beamish Museum, Co Durham

Take a tram ride into the past at Beamish, an open air museum vividly recreating life in the North East in Edwardian, Victorian and Georgian times. Stroll around the shops and houses of the Edwardian Town or go underground at a real drift mine in the Pit Village. Visit the miners' cottages, pop into the Co-op shops, see the animals at Home Farm and relax in the cosy farmhouse kitchen.

Explore Pockerley Old Hall, set in the beautiful Georgian landscape, and ride on a recreation of an early steam train at Pockerley Waggonway. Enjoy the fun of the fair with a ride on the newest attraction, the Steam Gallopers, a beautiful steam carousel.

Beamish is in County Durham, some 12 miles north west of historic Durham City and 8 miles south west of Newcastle upon Tyne.

For more information visit: www.beamish.org.uk

Blue Reef Aquarium Newcastle

Blue Reef is part of an exciting new generation of aquarium attractions designed to inspire deeper understanding and appreciation of the natural world.  They want to show you all the fantastic creatures that live in our seas and oceans. The displays take you on an undersea tour from the British coastline to faraway tropical reefs and lots more in between.

You can now also step into the incredible world of the tropical rainforest with the stunning new Amazonian feature.  Meet a colony of adorable miniature monkeys; including tiny pygmy marmosets and comical-looking cotton topped tamarins.

The new display is also home to a variety of brightly coloured exotic rainforest fish, a waterfall and a selection of living tropical plants.

For more information visit: http://www.bluereefaquarium.co.uk/tynemouth/ 

BALTIC Centre Newcastle

Housed in a landmark industrial building on the south bank of the River Tyne in Gateshead, BALTIC is the biggest gallery of its kind in the world - presenting a dynamic, diverse and international programme of contemporary visual art.

BALTIC provides an ever-changing calendar of exhibitions and activities that give a unique and compelling insight into contemporary artistic practice. BALTIC's programme ranges from blockbuster exhibitions to innovative new work and projects created by artists working within the local community. Visitors can experience innovative and provocative new art, relax, have fun, learn and discover, and complete their visit with a relaxing coffee overlooking the magnificent quayside.

For more information visit: www.balticmill.com

Metrocentre Shopping and Leisure Centre, Gateshead

Metrocentre, a large shopping and leisure centre in Gateshead, near Newcastle, is the second largest shopping mall in the UK with over 340 shops and covering over 175,000 of retail space. The centre's leisure facilities consist of a 12 screen cinema opened in 2010, with VIP lounge and an IMAX screen, and the Namco Funscape, which is an indoor amusement arcarde including a dodgem ride and 18 lane 10-pin bowling alley.

In 1980 few people realised that, when a power station's waterlogged ash dump on the outskirts of Gateshead was chosen for development, the North East of England would be pioneering a retail revolution. The concept, planning and design of Metrocentre were essentially very simple. The aim was to provide a shopping and leisure centre that combined the best of North American innovation with all the lessons learnt from centuries of European shopping tradition.

The centre was funded by the Church Commissioners of England and it's origins, Metrocentre is one of the few European shopping centres to have its own chapel and resident full-time chaplain!

For more information visit: http://www.intumetrocentre.co.uk/

Coastline of the North East

Even in the middle of winter it's worth taking time to visit the dramatic coastline of this region.  Only minutes from Newcastle Gateshead you’ll be delighted to discover miles of good old-fashioned seaside towns and a coastline stretching out with award-winning beaches, coves and cliffs to explore.

With winding cliff-top walks, rugged grassland and spectacular views, the Leas - a National Trust site which you may recognise as the Great North Run’s finishing point – is an area of outstanding natural beauty not to mention special scientific interest.  The coastline is a surfers paradise in the summer but with hundreds of miles of cycle and walking paths it's easy to enjoy all year round.

Image courtesy of imagelibrary.newcastlegateshead.com: Coastline near the Collingwood Monument at Tynemouth

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