Are you on the lookout for things to do in Newcastle?
If you are thinking about exploring the city of Newcastle and want free, fun things to do take a read of our guide.
As part of our best places to visit in Northern England series, we are taking a closer look at this city.
Did you know that Newcastle-Upon-Tyne is one of the best cities to visit in the UK?
Simply put, it has all the heart and soul of a northern working-class city as well as the infrastructure to support a huge student community and impressive modern architecture.
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Free Things to do in Newcastle
Not to be confused with Newcastle-Under-Lyme, this northern gem has been the target of many criticisms concerning the overall aesthetics of the city.
For some, the idea of visiting a city with Tyneside flats doesn’t sound appealing.
However, these historic buildings and houses have a charm and an appeal of their own, which are championed by the locals and hailed as being unique.
Here are some reasons why you should visit Newcastle and enjoy what it has to offer for no money at all! Whether you are looking for free things to do in Newcastle for the day or things to do in Newcastle at night we have you covered.
This 20-metre tall steel sculpture designed by Sir Anthony Gormley sits just outside of Newcastle off the A1.
Rivalling the likes of the Liver Building, Blackpool Tower, the Angel of the North is the most iconic landmark in the north of England.
Although it isn’t mentioned as much nowadays, when it was unveiled in 1998, it soon became the Geordie Jesus we know and love today. It’s the largest sculpture in Britain and the largest angel sculpture in the world.
If you’re looking for free things to do in Newcastle whilst getting some fresh air this is a great start.
Walk Along The Tyne And Experience Incredible Bridges
Walk-through the history of the city and the history of the nation by taking a stroll down the iconoclastic Tyne. Tyne by name, Tyne by nature; this a rival for the Thames to say the least.
The amount of historic and traditional, or modern and cosmopolitan architecture is always apparent when it comes to cities such as Newcastle.
However, no exemplary first-hand experience of this phenomenon is as prevalent as the seven bridges of Newcastle. From Gateshead Millennium to High Level, the seven bridges capture the spirit of the city.
Visit The Grainger Market And Grainger Street
Looking to experience some Great British history? Look no further than one of the most historic locations in the city.
The Grainger Market has also been rated in one of the top 10 things to do whilst visiting Newcastle.
Grainger Town itself is made up of classical streets built by Richard Grainger, a builder and developer, between 1835 and 1842.
Some of Newcastle upon Tyne’s finest buildings and streets lie within the Grainger Town area of the City centre including Grainger Market, Theatre Royal, Grey Street, Grainger Street and Clayton Street.
These buildings are mostly four storeys, with vertical dormers, domes, turrets and spikes. The market is still held today, almost two hundred years since its inception.
Walking through the streets will give you a look at the history of the city, see the architect it has to offer, whilst providing something free to do in Newcastle.
This incredible museum is like a monument to the greatest frontier of all: Nature.
This natural history museum is one of the oldest purpose-built museums in the north of England, as it was built by the Natural History Society of Northumbria.
It’s also a free museum in Newcastle you can visit on your day out.
This museum and some of its exhibits are older than Newcastle United Football Club, which shows how much this museum has seen.
The Living Planet gallery spills along the ground and first floor of the museum and tells the story of British and world wildlife and habitats.
The Hadrian’s Wall gallery enables visitors to discover the detailed history of the World Heritage Site as well as finding out about all the forts, mile-castles and associated museums that can be visited today.
The Lit & Phil Library is Newcastle’s exquisite secret library which, incredibly, is open to free entry.
Established in 1825, it’s a beaming hub of learning and enlightenment which existed long before the city’s universities existed.
The Lit and Phil were originally called the “Literature and Philosophy Society of Newcastle” and started as a ‘conversation club’ in 1793 by Reverend William Turner.
It’s the largest independent library outside of London and was earlier than any library opened in London, which they beat by almost 50 years. The collection has over 200,000 pieces including 17th Century tomes.
Jesmond Dene is a unique haven of peace and tranquillity for the people of Newcastle. It is a narrow wooded valley that follows the river Ouseburn between South Gosforth and Jesmond Vale.
This provides an important wildlife corridor right into the centre of Newcastle.
There is a spectacular mix of native and exotic trees, and the Dene is home to a lot of wildlife, notably the Kingfisher, the Red Squirrel and many woodland birds.
The Dene stretches for over three kilometres and has many areas of tranquillity, as well as honey pots of activity.
Jesmond Dene provides strong historical links with 19th Century industrial development and landscape design Lord Armstrong’s influence being very apparent.
There is also a large network of paths and bridges throughout.
Discover The Incredible Artworks Housed At The Laing Gallery
Opened by Alexander Laing in 1901, The Laing has been one of the best art galleries out of the English north.
The gallery today is home to an internationally important collection of art, focusing on British oil paintings, watercolours, ceramics, silver and glassware.
On the ground floor of the Laing is the Northern Spirit gallery which displays outstanding artwork and objects produced locally by people including Thomas Bewick, Ralph Hedley and John Martin.
You can also see Newcastle silver, glass and ceramics on show.
Find Grey’s Monument On Newcastle’s Historic Grey Street
The most iconic street in Grainger Town is home to Grey’s Monument. Commemorating the life of Charles 2nd Earl Grey, it celebrates his life and contributions to the British political landscape.
Without Charles Grey, there wouldn’t have been the Great Reform Act of 1832. It gave the country farmers a voice in the political system and made the UK that little bit more democracy before the suffragettes came to make the British elections totally fair.
The street itself is extremely photogenic and the monument rivals Trafalgar in London.
Places to Eat in Newcastle
After you’ve found plenty of free things to do in Newcastle and explored the city I’m sure you’ll of worked up an appetite. Here are some of the best independent places to eat in Newcastle.
Artisan pizza makers with hearts of gold, Pizza Punks is one of the best eateries in the city. Choose from San Francisco sourdough base or for only an extra £1 a gluten-free base. Ever had a full-English on a pizza?
What about Mexican fajita-style pizza that makes a total mess? If this sounds right up your street, then this affordable and lovable pizzeria is the one for you. Just select a sauce, select a cheese and punk it up!
This is also one of the best restaurants with those seeking vegan options. Go for the ‘ExtraVeganza’, it’s the best vegan food in the city!
Featured in the Good Food Guide for the city, as well as one of the highest recommendations on TripAdvisor, Starks Kitchen is highly rated.
If you’re seeking a fine dining experience during your stay in Newcastle, then Starks Kitchen is the one for you.
One of the best items on the dinner menu is the Seared Salmon with Chorizo Sauté Potatoes. The combination of flavours is unique and to die for.
An up-and-coming chain restaurant with a lot to offer, the Tapas Revolution will not be televised. There are only a couple of these restaurants in the north of England, but they’re growing in numbers.
If you’re a fan of tapas, then this is the best place in Newcastle for it. Try the Paella Valenciana, it’s one of the best Tapas dishes on the menu.
Peace and Loaf
This multi-award winning restaurant has made the Michelin Guide as well as the Waitrose Good Food Guide.
Serving the very best in fine dining, it has a vast array of special dishes including vegetarian dishes. The best plan of action for any customer is to book a tasting menu. They offer vegetarian tasting menus too.
Things to do in Newcastle at Night
As well as exploring the city by day why not make the most of your visit to Newcastle and check out the nightlife it has to offer. Here are some of our recommendations when you visit Newcastle.
Boulevard Show Bar: Join one of the UK’s top cabaret entertainers, Danni Dee and her full cast of Broadway Dancers for a memorable drag night out.
See stunning costumes, hilarious comedy and fabulous dance routines in this spectacular extravaganza that consists of everything from slapstick comedy to brilliantly choreographed dance routines. Check it out!
Crown Posada: The most famous pub in the city is also the second oldest in the city. A grade II listed building with a Victorian-era exterior, it was a regular haunt back in the late 1800s for those who lived in Grainger Town as the Newcastle infrastructure grew day by day.
Today, it’s still a busy pub with many patrons making it their pub of choice in the city.
The Stand Comedy Club: With a ground floor Bistro/bar, the Stand has a world-famous basement stand-up stage. The Stand is owned by Tommy Shephard and is technically one of three Stands in the UK.
Alongside the Edinburgh and Glasgow Stands, the Newcastle iteration is the newest and still holds some famous names in its walls.
Livello: Bar and nightclub Livello has just recently undergone a £1M+ refurbishment in order to cater to its growing customer base.
It is the local favourite in terms of nightlife, and will become the regular haunt for local and world-famous celebrities wants it re-opens.
Where to Stay in Newcastle
Here are some of the top places to stay in Newcastle that we’ve come across.
This amazing historic manor house has a prime location in the city. It is one of the oldest buildings in the city itself and provides excellent quality accommodation.
With breath-taking views of the quayside, the Hotel du Vin is one of the best boutique hotels in the city bar none. The prices may be over some patron’s paygrade, but it does deliver quality accommodation in the best conditions conducive to comfortability.
This landmark of a hotel in the heart of the city, The Vermont offers elegant, timeless and unrivalled quality in the hotel sector. Contemporary quality combined with 1930s grandeur.
Oozing an aura of lifestyle and privacy, the Cairn Hotel Newcastle, part of the Cairn Collection, provides the perfect destination for both business and leisure travellers.
The central Jesmond location is ideal for those seeking a modern hotel in Newcastle that features award-winning dining and world-class cocktails.
Free Things to do in Newcastle
Newcastle-Upon-Tyne is one of the best cities to visit in the UK, for these reasons listed.
It’s difficult for some to look past the Geordie Shore image, but trust us, this is one of the prettiest and historic cities in the country. Visit Newcastle and check it out for yourself!
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