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 is possibly one of the trendiest places to live or visit in the UK.
Newcastle International Airport is located about 5.5 miles north-west of the city. Travel in to the city centre include:
The Metro line from the airport to Monument station which takes about 20 minutes and costs roughly £3.
Taxis can be ordered from the airport and it costs about £10 to get to the city centre.
The distance by car is about 7 miles and takes up to about half an hour to get in.
Services to and from London run approximately every 20-40mins during the day. The journey time is usually between 3-3.5 hrs. 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.
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. Buses and taxis are easily accessed just outside the station, though the main coach and bus interchanges are 10-20 minutes walk.
Newcastle upon Tyne is at the joining of the A1 (the main East Coast route from London to Edinburgh) and the A69 (the route westwards 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.
The National Express has links from most major cities. The coach station is in Gallowgate, a short walk from the centre of town. Most National Express tickets include free travel on the Metro , but check this out before you board the Metro.
North Shields, 7 miles east of the city centre, has daily ferry connections to Ijmuiden (Amsterdam - DFDS Seaways) and Norway (Fjord Line). Buses connect the ferry terminal to the city centre.
Newcastle is a compact city which is easy to navigate on foot, and 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.
The city has a well-run and efficient Metro system, the Tyne and Wear Metro. Day tickets for under four pounds, depending on the time of day and destination. This is useful to access the suburbs, airport, rail station and coast.
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 Center, near the Monument Metro station.
Remains of the Garth Castle, 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, a short walk away from the Wallsend Metro  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.
The Theatre Royal 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 ). 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 game, at St. James Park near the University of Newcastle. St James's Park is the second largest ground in the country, with a 52, 000 capacity. Only Manchester United's Old Trafford, 68, 000, is bigger.
Attend a concert at the newly finished Sage Music Centre (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 (near the Sage Gateshead), or The Biscuit Factory, Britain's biggest original art store. Here you can even buy your favourite pieces!
Tyne & Wear Museums also manage the Laing Art Gallery, the Discovery Museum (home to Turbinia, the world's first turbine driven vessel) and the Hancock Museum of natural history
There are two universities in Newcastle:
The University of Newcastle upon Tyne 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 is also near the city centre. The Northumbria University Student Union is a popular venue for visiting bands.
Sunderland University and the University of Durham are both nearby.
It is seldom difficult to find bar work in Newcastle's many pubs, clubs and bars.
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'.
There are three department stores - Fenwick, Marks & Spencer and John Lewis (still popularly referred to as Bainbridge's).
The Metro Centre is a 15 minute bus or train ride from the city centre to Gateshead. This was Europe's largest out of town shopping centre for many years after its construction in the 1980s and expansion in the early 1990s. Parking there is plentiful and free but traffic can be heavy, so make use of the frequent public transport links.
Jesmond Dene House:
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.
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 fourth" bar in pink lane is a lengend in itself and easily the coolest real bar left in newcastle and definately the friendliest place in the city center.
for clubbing thrills go to "wise budda" at foundation or the famous "shindig" now at digital. "world headquarters" is ok to
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.
Premier Travel Inn is cheap and pleasant, a few minutes walk from the river.
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.
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 cloths they wear.
Places to visit around Newcastle:
Tynemouth is east of Newcastle, easily accesible by metro, and boasts an impressive Priory, some nice shops and beautiful beaches. Tynemouth long sands even has "Cafe C", a cafe which is actually on the beach! Perfect for a warming hot chocoate in the winter or summer ice creams!