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Difference between revisions of "Newcastle upon Tyne"

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Revision as of 16:32, 8 February 2007

Newcastle upon Tyne [1] is a city in the North East of England.


Haymarket

Contents

Understand

Newcastle upon Tyne is one of England's best kept secrets. A party city that rates alongside New Orleans and Rio de Janeiro. A centre of culture and architecture. The starting point for tours of the Northumberland coast and Hadrian's Wall. Home town of the Geordie culture, with a rich heritage of folk music and dance and its own obscure dialect. Tear yourself away from the traditional tourist spots of London, Cambridge, Oxford and Stratford-upon-Avon and pay a visit to Newcastle.

Newcastle started life as a Roman town at the end of Hadrian's wall, the border between Roman controlled Britain and the unconquered wilds of Scotland. The ruins of one of the forts marking the end of the wall can be seen at Segedunum (A short walk from the Wallsend Metro station). It developed into an important port and during the 19 century was an industrial centre built on the strength of the local coal industry. As heavy industry went into decline, Newcastle's fortunes took a dip. The city has now re-invented itself as a Cultural centre and Science City, and is possibly one of the trendiest places to live or visit in the UK.

Get in

By plane

Newcastle International Airport is located about 5.5 miles north-west of the city. Travel options into the city centre include:

  • Tyne and Wear Metro from the Airport to Monument station takes about 20 minutes and costs roughly £2.
  • Bus services are operated by Stagecoach between the airport and the city centre.
  • Taxis are readily available outside the airport and it costs about £10 to get to the city centre.
  • By car the distance is about 7 miles and takes up to about half an hour to get in. There are several car rental firms with offices in the airport terminal building.

By train

Services to and from London run approximately every 20-40 mins during the day. The journey time is usually about 3 hours. Newcastle also has trains to Oxford, Birmigham, Edinburgh, York and countless other destinations throughout the country.

In the UK, tickets can be bought on the day at the station using cash or debit/credit card, but it is often cheaper to book in advance for journeys to/from other cities. Times and fares information is available from National Rail +44 8457 48 49 50, or the booking office within the station.

If you buy something to eat at the station, you'll have to carry the wrappers with you until you get somewhere else. There are no rubbish bins at the station for security reasons.

At Newcastle Central Station, you will need coins to buy a ticket for the Metro system, the local underground and light rail network. There are snack stalls and newsagents where you can break notes. Buses and taxis are easily accessed just outside the station, the main intercity coach station is 3-4 minutes walk, and bus interchanges are 10-15 minutes walk.

By car

Newcastle upon Tyne is well signposted from both the North, South and West. The city lies at the joining of the A1 (the main East Coast route from London to Edinburgh) and the A69 (a major east-west route to Carlisle and the M6). The A1 bypasses the city to the west.

There are a number of 'park-and-ride' points around the city to avoid the hassle of parking in the city centre. From these points, the Metro or bus will take you into the city for between £1 and £3. Otherwise, there are over 10,000 spaces in the city centre, though for stays of more than a few hours this may prove expensive. Generally, parking in the city centre costs between £1 and £2 per hour, while parking about 10 minutes walk from the centre will set you back about £0.50 per hour.

By bus

Newcastle Coach station is located at the southern end of St James' Boulevard, near to the Centre for Life and is just a short walk from the centre of town. National Express is the main intercity operator, offering regular services to several UK towns and cities. Most National Express tickets include free travel on the Metro system [2], but check this out before you board the Metro.

  • Classic Coaches, +44 (0)1207 282288, [3].
  • Megabus, +44 (0)900 160 0900 (premium rate), [4].
  • National Express, +44 (0)8705 80 80 80, [5].

By boat

North Shields, 7 miles east of the city centre, has daily ferry connections to Ijmuiden and a twice weekly service to Norway (both operated by DFDS Seaways). Special buses run from the Central Station to the ferry terminal, which are free for those travelling on the ferry.

Get around

By bicycle

Newcastle is a reasonably cycle-friendly city. There are a number of places to lock a bike up in the city centre and a number of cycle lanes (though these are often shared with buses or taxis). Most Metro stations also provide secure storage for bicycles, as only fold-away bicycles are permitted on Metro trains. Unless you're touring the UK on pedal power, the best use for a bike is to explore the Quayside, Ouseburn and Jesmond Dene areas, travel to out-of-town attractions or head off to more distant places such as Whitley Bay and Seaton Sluice on the coast.

The Sustrans National Cycle Network Route 1 (East Coast) passes through Newcastle from the North to the South.

Bicyle hire:

  • Tyne Bridge Bike Hire, The Guildhall (Quayside), NE1 3AF, +44 (0) 191 2772441, (info@tynebridgebikehire.co.uk), [6] 10AM-5PM (7 days in summer, weekends only in winter).
  • Tyne Cycles, 19-20 Rudyerd Street, North Shields, NE29 6RR, +44 (0) 191 2562266, (tynecycles@aol.com), [7].

By bus

The city has an efficient bus network that is co-ordinated by Nexus. Journey details are available from Traveline, +44 (0)870 6082608. A new electric bus service called Quaylink runs between the Haymarket bus interchange, central station, quayside and Gateshead. The single fare is 70p or £1 for an hours unlimited travel. Buses run every few minutes, from early morning until midnight, or after midnight on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Operators include:

By foot

Newcastle city centre is relatively compact and is therefore easy to navigate on foot. Many areas are pedestrianised. Being on the banks of the River Tyne, some areas slope quite steeply. Buses and taxis are cheap and plentiful should this pose a problem.

By metro

The city has a well-run and efficient Metro system, the Tyne and Wear Metro. Day tickets cost anything up to £4, depending on the time of day and destination. This is useful to access the suburbs, airport, rail station and coast.

By train

Regional rail services are regular and offer quicker access to nearby towns such as Durham, Sunderland, Hexham and Corbridge. Details are available from National Rail Enquiries or Northern Rail.

See

  • The Tyne River is a short walk from the station, and has a pedestrian path on the near side reminiscent of the Queen's Walk in London. There are also city walks along the river, running from May to November. Information can be found at the Tourist Information Centre, near the Monument Metro station.
  • Remains of the Garth Castle (The Castle Keep) [8], the "new castle" of the city's name. Parts of it were built in the 13th century.
  • The remains of the Roman fort at Segedunum [9], a short walk away from the Wallsend Metro [10] stations. In fact many of the signs at the metro station have been translated into Latin, including the aptly named Vomitorium.
  • Central Arcade, a beautifully preserved traditional shopping arcade, which houses the Tourist Information Bureau and Windows of the Arcade, one of Newcastle's oldest music shops.

Do

  • The Theatre Royal [11] is an easy walk from the city centre or the train station (it is closest to the Monument station on the Tyne and Wear Metro [12]). It is the third home (after London and Stratford-upon-Avon) of the Royal Shakespeare Company, which usually does several shows there in the autumn. In November of 2005, they performed A Midsummer Night's Dream, Twelfth Night, and The Comedy of Errors.
  • Attend a Newcastle United [13] game, at St. James Park near the University of Newcastle. St James's Park is the third largest ground in the country, with a 52,000 capacity. Only Manchester United's Old Trafford and Arsenal's Emirares Stadium are bigger.
  • Attend a concert at the newly finished Sage Music Centre [14] (in Gateshead, a short walk to the other side of the Tyne)If you can't go to concert, just go in as it is certainly worth seeing.
  • Take in some modern art and sculpture at BALTIC [15] (near the Sage Gateshead), or The Biscuit Factory [16], Britain's biggest original art store. Here you can even buy your favourite pieces!
  • Tyne & Wear Museums [17] also manage the Laing Art Gallery [18], the Discovery Museum [19] (home to Turbinia, the world's first turbine driven vessel) and the Hancock Museum Of Natural History [20], which closed in April 2006 for refurbishment - reopening in 2009.
  • Visit the Centre For Life [21], a 'science city' in the centre of Newcastle that includes a state of the art research facility (Scientists at The Centre for Life are the first people in Europe - and only the second in the world - to get a licence for stem cell research on human embryos). It also includes the Life Science Cente, a visitors centre and interactive museum that looks at DNA, the human body and the origins of life. The visitors centre/museum is a must see.

Learn

There are two universities in Newcastle:

  • Newcastle University [22] is near the city centre, an easy walk from the Haymarket metro station. Their small Museum of Antiquities is open to the public.
  • Northumbria University [23] is also near the city centre. The Northumbria University Student Union is a popular venue for visiting bands.
  • Sunderland University[24] and the University of Durham[25] are both nearby.

Work

It is seldom difficult to find bar work in Newcastle's many pubs, clubs and bars.

Buy

  • Newcastle has the typical range of UK high street shops, Northumberland Street being its pedestrianised 'high street'. More varied and specialised shops can be found on Grey Street and High Bridge.
  • The indoor Grainger Market dates from 1835 and has recently been restored. It is a lively working market that includes the Victorian Marks & Spencer 'Penny Bazaar'[26].
  • There are three department stores - Fenwick[27], Marks & Spencer and John Lewis (still popularly referred to as Bainbridge's)[28].
  • The Metro Centre[29] is a 15 minute bus or train ride from the city centre to Gateshead. This is Europe's largest out of town shopping centre and leisure complex having been constructed in the 1980s and expanded in the early 1990s and in 2004/5. Parking there is plentiful and free, but traffic can be heavy, so make use of the frequent public transport links.
  • Royal Quays is an outdoor complex consisting of outlet stores in nearby North Shields with a range of shops. It is accessible by the Tyne and Wear Metro, and is next to the largest water park in the UK, Wet'n'Wild [30].

Eat

Budget

  • Wetherspoons Union Rooms, near Central Station
  • Giafranco's (Italian food with student prices!)

Mid-range

  • Pizza Express
  • Cafe Royal (Meditteranean - Nelson Street)
  • Zizzi (Italian - Grey Street)
  • La Vina (Spanish - Grey Street)
  • Blue Coyote (TexMex - Pilgrim Street)
  • Marco Polo (Italian - Grey Street)

Splurge

  • Blackfriars
  • Jesmond Dene House
  • Treacle Moon
  • Apartment
  • Heartbreak Soup

Drink

Newcastle is (in)famous for its culture of social drinking, and is a popular destination for hen and stag parties. The Bigg Market and the Quayside and now the Central Station area with its "Diamond Strip" of new upmarket bars, are the centres of nocturnal activity in Newcastle, though the city has a wealth of bars and pubs. Some of the more interesting include

  • The Crown Posada - dating from 1880 and well preserved, this is an unusually narrow pub with stained glass windows. This is one of the best places in central Newcastle to try 'real ales' from local breweries
  • The Trent House - a 'soul bar' with a wide clientele who appreciate the free jukebox
  • Centurion - bar and restaurant based in the restored Victorian waiting room of the Central Station
  • Popolo - a fairly new, stylish bar offering quality cocktails and continental beers
  • The Cooperage - one of the oldest buildings in town, this 14th century timber-framed building is a lively pub on the quayside
  • The Forth Bar in Pink Lane is a legend in itself and easily the coolest real bar left in Newcastle and definitely the friendliest place in the city centre.

Newcastle is home to Newcastle Brown Ale, called by the locals Broon. There are a significant number of local breweries producing real ale that is widely available and of good quality. Brewers to look out for include Mordue, Wylam and Big Lamp.

The city's gay district, The Pink Triangle, is built up around The Centre for Life, and includes a range of bars and nightclubs.

Sleep

Budget

  • Premier Travel Inn is cheap and pleasant, a few minutes walk from the river.
  • YHA Jesmond is 5 minutes walk from Jesmond metro station and is easily accessed from the city centre.

Mid-range

  • Novotel (near airport)
  • Travelodge

Splurge

  • Mal Maison
  • Grey Street Hotel
  • Hilton

Contact

Stay safe

Newcastle is a generally safe city to stay in. Beware of the usual nuisance of petty theft. The Bigg Market and the Quayside can get pretty rowdy on Fridays and Saturdays, are nevertheless still safe. Take care after a big derby match (Newcastle United vs Sunderland) - though there has been no significant violence for some years, emotions tend to run high amongst supporters.

Cope

Newcastle folk are very safe, even if they wear next to nothing in the middle of winter, just go with the flow - tourists are spotted by how much clothing they wear.

Get out

Places to visit around Newcastle:

  • Alnmouth and Alnwick

The historic town of Alnwick is about a one hour drive north of Newcastle. Alnwick Castle, used in the filming of the Harry Potter films, is worth a visit. The castle is also home to the Alnwick Gardens. Bus services to Alnwick depart from Haymarket and are operated by Arriva. The train can also be used from Newcastle central station, but only as far as Alnmouth station, where a connecting shuttle bus is provided to Alnwick town centre. The shuttle departs shortly after a train arrives, but if you've time to spare, you could take a look at the picturesque village of Alnmouth, which is home to several traditional British pubs and small arts and gift shops.

  • Beamish Open Air Museum

About 25 minutes by car, or 50 minutes by bus, is the Beamish museum. Beamish tries to show what life was like in a typical northern town in the early 20th century — much of the restoration and interpretation is specific to 1913. Aside from the main town however there is also the manor house and the railway which are based on 1825. Tram and bus services operate around the museum, and there are a number of interactive displays and tours such as a dentist surgery and coal mine.

  • Bede's World

Bede's World offers an insight in to the extraordinary life of the Venerable Bede (who lived from 673-735AD). There is an interactive Age of Bede exhibition in the a newly constructed museum building, the Anglo-Saxon monastery of St Paul, medieval monastic ruins, an Anglo-Saxon herb garden, rare breeds of animals and recreated timber buildings on Gyrwe, an Anglo-Saxon demonstration farm, a café within the historic Jarrow Hall as well as a museum gift and book shop. [31]

  • Rothbury and Cragside

The attractive village of Rothbury and the historic house and grounds at Cragside are also worth a visit. Cragside was the first house in the world to be powered completely by electricity. A special bus service operates from Newcastle city centre during the summer, details are normally posted on the Northumberland County Council website. Otherwise, either can be reached in about 40 minutes from Newcastle by car.

  • Hadrian's Wall

There are many sites along Hadrian's Wall which are easily accessible from Newcastle. A special bus (number AD122) runs from Newcastle along the length of the Wall's path. The bus service runs year-round, with a tour guide on Sundays and Public Holidays during summer months. A reduced service operates during the winter, check with the operator, Nexus, before travelling.

  • Hexham and Corbridge

The historic town of Hexham is about 30 minutes by car or train, and 40 minutes by bus. The smaller village of Corbridge is slightly further, but can be used an intermediary stop on the way to Hadrian's Wall sites such as Vindolanda and Housteads. Both Hexham and Corbridge sit on a section of the River Tyne.

  • Kielder Water

Sitting within the Northumberland National Park, about 1 hour 45 minutes drive from Newcastle is Kielder resevoir and forest. A number of activites are possible here such as abseiling, canoeing, hiking and mountain biking. A special bus service operates from Newcastle city centre during the summer, details are normally posted on the Northumberland County Council website.

  • Northumberland Coast

There are several beautiful villages and coastlines along the Northumberland coast which are well worth a visit. Warkworth and Bamburgh are particular noteworthy for their castles and tea rooms. Both are easily accesible by car, or by bus from Newcastle Haymarket. Druridge Bay country park offers one of the most outstanding beaches in the country, and includes a lake, which is often used for watersports. The holy island of Lindisfarne is easily accesible from Bamburgh.

  • Tynemouth

East of Newcastle, Tynemouth easily accesible by Metro, and boasts an impressive Priory, some nice shops and beautiful beaches. Tynemouth long sands even has a cafe which on the beach! Perfect for a warming hot chocolate in the winter, or summer ice creams!

  • Wet-n-Wild Water Park

Located in nearby North Shields, near the International Ferry Terminal, is the UK's largest water park, Wet-n-Wild. The park is indoors so there's no need to worry about bad weather!

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!





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