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Introduction

Tucked away in the cold northeastern corner of England, the North Sea port city of Newcastle might not be the first name on every traveller's itinerary. However, the many historic buildings and bridges together with the recently revamped quayside area make Newcastle an interesting and atmospheric place to visit.

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Sights and Activities

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Events and Festivals

Evolution Music Festival is held on the bank holiday weekend at the end of May. It is a weekend long music festival on the Newcastle/Gateshead Quayside, which boasts dozens of high end music stars from Dizzy Rascal to Iggy Pop. You can purchase tickets which cost around £35 for the full weekend, but you can also just go down to the Quayside and enjoy the music for free without getting close to the stage.

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Weather

Likely to be cold, even by English standards, however not as wet as the west coast. Summers are from June to August, when temperatures are around 20 °C. Frost and snow during winter are not uncommon, but mostly it is well above zero with some showers. Most of the precipitation falls during the autumn and winter months.

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Getting There

By Plane

Newcastle International Airport (NCL) handles both flights within United Kingdom and to several international destinations in Europe, Africa and North America. The airport can easily be reached from the Newcastle Central Railway station by a direct service and journey takes around 30 minutes.

To/from the airport

  • Rail: Airport station on the Tyne and Wear Metro is directly connected to the terminal through an indoor walkway. The station is the northern terminus of the green line with frequent, direct services to Newcastle (22 minutes) and Sunderland (55 minutes) city centres.
  • Road: The Airport is connected to the A1 trunk road by the A696 dual carriageway. A regular bus service also runs from the airport to Newcastle and southeast Northumberland. A half-hourly service links the Airport to the nearby villages of Ponteland and Darras Hall, as well as Newcastle City Centre, on Monday to Saturday only, with the last journeys around 6:00pm. Service 74A operates a limited service to the city centre at other times.

By Train

On the East Coast main line, direct train services link the city to London, York, Durham, Edinburgh and Aberdeen. A branch line runs across Northumberland as far as Carlisle. Train fares, availability of seats, timings and onward connections can be checked at the official National Rail Enquiries website

By Car

Newcastle upon Tyne is well signposted from 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' National Park and Ride Directory 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

Direct bus services are available to London and across England with National Express and Megabus.

By Boat

Direct ferries to the Netherlands and to Scandinavia, including IJmuiden near Amsterdam and several places in Norway, like Bergen.

Netherlands
DFDS Seaways between IJmuiden (Netherlands) and Newcastle.

Norway

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Getting Around

By Public Transport

Quaylink services run every few minutes between the city centre and the Newcastle/Gateshead quayside. Single fares are 80p and the distinctive yellow livery makes the service easy to recognise.

There are 2 bus stations in the city, Haymarket with services to the north of the city and Northumberland. Eldon Square Bus Station mainly serves Gateshead, County Durham and Teeside. An extensive and efficient network of bus routes radiate out of Newcastle into the surrounding towns and suburbs. Though the services are operated by several different operators they are coordinated by Nexus, Tyne and Wear's transport authority. Maps and timetables can be found on the Nexus website, though it may be easier to use a personalised journey planner such as Traveline.

The Tyne & Wear Metro is a fast, safe and reasonably cheap way of getting around the city and also to outlying suburbs and surrounding towns including Whitley Bay, Tynemouth, North and South Shields, Sunderland and Newcastle International Airport.

There are two lines: the Green Line runs from Newcastle Airport to South Hylton (in Sunderland) and the Yellow Line runs from St James Park to South Shields via a lengthy loop via the coastal towns of North Shields, Whitley Bay and Tynemouth. Note that the east-west and north-south sections of the Yellow Line cross at Monument Station, so if, for example, you are travelling from St James Park to South Shields, it is much quicker to transfer to the southbound Yellow Line at Monument rather than riding along the entire route. The Green Line shares tracks with the Yellow Line for the majority of the section through central Newcastle and Gateshead.

Services run approximately every 6-10 minutes between 6:00 and 23:00. Single tickets range from £1.80 to £3.40 depending on the distance travelled, return fares and day passes are also available. The DaySaver allows for unlimited travel on one day and costs £2.70 (one zone), £3.70 (two zones) and £4.60 (all zones). Note that some ticket machines only accept coins (10p, 20p, 50p, £1 and £2) although change is given; most stations have been fitted with new ticket machines that accept notes and credit/debit cards. Although there are no ticket barriers at many stations and hopping (riding without paying) is widespread, it is advisable to keep your ticket handy as trains and stations are patrolled by ticket inspectors. Major stations have automatic ticket gates, but these may be left open at quiet times.

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 fairly cheap and plentiful should this pose a problem.

By Bike

Newcastle is a reasonably cycle-friendly city. There are a number of places to lock a bike up in the city centre and cycle lanes exist (though these are often shared with buses or taxis). A few Metro stations also provide secure storage for bicycles, but note that 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.

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Eat

There are places to eat in pretty much every street in Newcastle. If you are looking for something on a budget then you have several fast food restaurants around the city centre. However, if you are looking for a little more classy places then you truly are spoilt for choice. A fine Italian on Dean Street called Marco Polo or a little further down the street (towards the quayside) is a place called Roscos, which not only has an amazing selection of food but a pretty cool interior as well.

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Drink

Newcastle is (in)famous for its culture of social drinking, and is a popular destination for hen and stag parties, hence all the friendly-mad people dressed-up in fancy dress in the middle of Winter. No trip to Nukie would be complete with a night out on the Toon.

The Bigg Market, the Quayside and, more recently, the Central Station area with its "Diamond Strip" of new upmarket bars, are the centres of nocturnal activity in Newcastle, though you'll find a wealth of bars and pubs all around the city. Popular clubs include Digital in Times Square, Liquid/Envy near Northumberland Street and Tiger Tiger in The Gate leisure complex.

Newcastle is home to rather commercialised Newcastle Brown Ale, called by the locals Broon, Nukie or 'Dog'. There are a significant number of less well-known breweries producing real ale that is widely available and of good quality. Local bewers to look out for include Mordue, Wylam and Big Lamp.

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Sleep

Budget

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
Albatross51 Grainger StreetHostel84
Britannia Hotel Newcastle AirportPonteland WoolsingtonHotel-
Euro Hostel Newcastle HallsGarth Heads Off Melbourne StreetHostel-
Grainger Hotel1-3 Graingerville North Westgate RoadHotel75
Roselodge HouseBenwell Lane BenwellGuesthouse-
The George Hotel88 Osborne Road, Jesmond, NE2 2APHotel-
YHA Newcastle upon Tyne107 Jesmond Road Tyne & Wear, NE2 1NJHostel-

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Work

As with the rest of the UK, European Union nationals have the right to work without a UK work permit, but most other nationalities require one. Newcastle's economy is buoyant at the moment and supports most types of businesses, so it is possible to find a job in a reasonably short period of time. There are a lot of call centres in and around Newcastle which provide an easy supply of short term work. It is seldom difficult to find employment in Newcastle's many pubs, clubs and bars.

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet cafés can be found in many cities and towns. All UK public libraries provide access, often branded as "People's Network", usually at no or little charge, though there is usually a time limit. Some hotels/hostels also offer internet access, including wifi, but most times at a cost. Using the internet on your personal phone can become expensive very quickly, with carriers charging 100's of times the local rate for data. To avoid these expensive roaming charges, you can hunt for wifi at a local cafe or hotel, or rent a mobile hotspot via several providers including DATAPiXY, and XCOM Global.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

The country calling code to the United Kingdom is: 44. To make an international call from the United Kingdom, the code is: 00

In case of emergency, call 999 or 112 from any phone. Such calls are free and will be answered by an emergency services operator who will ask you for your location, and the service(s) you need (police, fire, ambulance, coastguard or mountain rescue). You can call this number from any mobile telephone as well, even if you do not have roaming.

Although the number is declining, you can still find payphones in many public areas, especially stations, airports etc. You can usually pay with cash and sometimes by creditcard or, for international calls, special phonecards are still available.

Mobile phones are heavily used. The main networks are T-Mobile, Vodafone, Orange and O2. 3G data services are available, usually priced per megabyte and coverage is usually very good in the UK, however it may lack in rural areas. Roaming on your personal phone plan can be expensive. To manage costs, consider purchasing a local UK SIM card for your phone. Several companies offer local SIM cards including Telestial, and CellularAbroad.

Post

The Royal Mail provides postal services in the United Kingdom. The Royal Mail's store fronts are called Post Office and offer services ranging from sending letters and packages to foreign currency exchange. Use the branch locator to find the nearest Post Office branch. There will be at least one post office in any town/city and there are quite often post offices in larger villages. It's common for a post office to be incorporated into a grocery store, where there will be a small counter located at the back of the store for dealing with post related matters. All post offices are marked with signs that say 'post office' in red lettering. Post boxes can be found at any post office and standalone large red post boxes on the streets or red boxes in the sides of public buildings.
For sending packages overseas, it might be a good idea to check prices and services with international companies like TNT, UPS or DHL.

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Newcastle Travel Helpers

This is version 20. Last edited at 9:51 on Jun 21, 17 by Utrecht. 33 articles link to this page.

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