Fun things to do in Newcastle upon Tyne

  • The Tyne Bridge
    The Tyne Bridge
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Most Viewed Things to Do in Newcastle upon Tyne

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    Sunday Markets

    by Getcarlos Written Nov 6, 2011

    There are 2 great markets on in Newcastle every sunday where you can pick up some great art and craft gifts. Firstly the Quayside Market is on the Quayside under the tyne bridge right to the Millenium Bridge, you can pick up anything from tracksuit bottoms to a canvas print of John Lennon.

    For something a little more creative head to the Armstrong Bridge Market where around a dozen stalls sell photographic art, paintings, prints, sculptures and may other things that may brighten up your home.

    Bring your brollies if its raining though!

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    China Town

    by uglyscot Written Jun 18, 2011

    Before reaching Eldon Square, in what was Grainger, is China Town, an area with Chinese restaurants. A traditional Chinese arch and guardian lions marks the entrance. The main road has lanterns hanging from the walls, and the restaurants also have external decor in Chinese style.

    lion lanterns arch, entrance to China town street
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    Bigg Market

    by toonsarah Updated May 1, 2011

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    The Bigg Market is somewhat notorious as a focus for night-time drinking in the city – surrounded by clubs and bars, from whose doors young people, almost always more than a little inebriated, spill out at regular intervals, these days (it seems) to be captured for TV audiences as a sign of the declining values of modern Britain. Always in the flimsiest of garments, even in the depths of winter, and always travelling in packs, they are continually in search of the next cool place, the next meeting with a new best friend or potential romance. They may have given Newcastle something of a tarnished image in some eyes, but they are for the most part far more interested in enjoying themselves than in causing harm or distress to others, so don’t let them put you off visiting.

    By day the Bigg Market is altogether tamer, though never what you might call quiet. Its bars are closed, but there are enough pubs and restaurants to attract the lunch crowd, and its location makes it a thoroughfare for those walking from shopping areas to the Central Station or to the offices in nearby Cathedral Square.

    The name “Bigg Market” has nothing to do with size, but comes instead from bigg, a type of barley formerly sold here. At its eastern end it splits into two smaller streets, also both former markets – Cloth Market and Groat Market (groat = oats without husks) Today these are separated by a modern insurance office built in the 1970s on the site of the Victorian Town Hall. The Cloth Market (to the left as you walk towards them from the Bigg Market) was once home to Balmbra's Music Hall, immortalised in the song, "Blaydon Races".

    Back in the Bigg Market, at its western end, you will probably see the colourful caravan (photo 2) belonging to the resident fortune-teller, who claims to be a descendent of Gipsy Rose Lee. I have never seen anyone take up the suggestion of “crossing her palm with silver” but I suspect plenty must, as she has been stationed here for many years. Nearby is the rather ornate fountain in photo 4 – the sign at its base says that it was moved here from St Nicholas Square in 1901 but I have not been able to find out its actual age. You may also find a few stalls selling an odd assortment of household goods, cheap toys and sweets, but not, despite the name, a proper market.

    Bigg Market, Newcastle Fortune teller's caravan, Bigg Market Hmmm, would you seek advice here? Fountain in the Bigg Market Bigg Market - public toilet and bike park!

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    Blackfriars

    by toonsarah Written May 1, 2011

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    Tucked away behind the popular Gate entertainment complex is this lovely peaceful haven amid the bustle of the city. A grassy square dotted with traces of ruined buildings is surrounded on three sides by the remains of the Black Friars Monastery that gives it its name, and on the remaining side (where once the church stood) by more modern buildings that have been sensitively designed to blend in with the surroundings.

    Today the old monastery buildings house a restaurant (which gets great reviews and claims to be “the oldest dining room in the UK” – we have yet to try this for ourselves) and a small number of interesting shops, including an artisan bakery, glass studio and knitting shop. The modern additions include apartments and space for small, mostly arts/media orientated, businesses.

    The monastery was originally founded in 1239 by a small group of Dominican friars from Spain. They wore black tunics, hence the name “Black Friars”. The city granted them land on which to build a church, the monastery buildings and to grow crops. Their peaceful lives here were disturbed briefly in 1265, when the threat of raids from Scotland led the city council to build a wall around the city – and right through the Dominicans’ garden!

    As the monastery grew, so did its importance, and over the years several kings stayed here, including Edwards the 2nd and 3rd. But in 1539 another king, Henry 8th, famously broke with the Catholic Church and closed down all the religious orders in the country. The church here was destroyed but the remaining monastery buildings remained. They were subsequently bought by the city council and leased to local craft companies: bakers, brewers, butchers, saddlers, tailors and others each took space here. They held their meetings, housed their poor and grew vegetables in the cloister garden.

    But in the 20th century the guilds moved out and the buildings fell into decline. In the 1960s much of the city centre was redeveloped following the rather brash pattern of that decade, paying little heed to history or tradition. Blackfriars was scheduled to go the way of many other old buildings, but escaped the bulldozers. In the 1970s the council had a change of heart, and with the help of various interested bodies saved and restored the complex. It was reopened by the Queen in 1981. Today the Freemen of the crafts companies continue to meet here, as they have for over 400 years.

    Blackfriars, Newcastle Local resident, Blackfriars
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    LAING Art Gallery

    by spidermiss Updated Apr 26, 2011

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    Ruth and I visited this art gallery in Newcastle when we met up. I thoroughly enjoyed looking around and we checked out two exhibitions that were taking place:

    Great British Art Debate: Turners versus Martin (13 March to 2 May 2010)
    Japanese Wave (1 May to 5 September 2010)

    There is also a permanent collection with a numbered trail to find the Laing's top ten attractions at the gallery along with a gift shop and cafe.

    At the art gallery you can to do a self guided tour of Laing's top ten attractions which includes sculptures, stained glass windows and pictures.

    Laing Art Gallery
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    Bridges

    by iaint Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    I haven't come across anywhere else with such a concentration and variety of bridges. I think there are 7 within the space of 1km.

    You have 2 rail bridges. You have one rail and road. You have one which is pedestrian only.

    One of them swings (wow) and another tilts - all intentional, to allow river traffic to pass.

    One is modern and very, very ugly - the Redheugh - a high level concrete road bridge. The Gateshead Millennium is modern and beautiful (the tilting one).

    The others are all interesting and make you want to know their history.

    The Gateshead Millennium has scheduled "tilts" because its spectacular (apparently) - check the website below for details.

    Gateshead Millennium, framed by 2 others! iconic Tyne bridge, and the swing bridge Gateshead Millennium
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    Ice skating at center for life, winter only!

    by originalribenababy Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    10th November - 24th February the outdoor ice rink returns to times square at the center for life in Newcastle.

    The ice rink is a decent size but does get quite busy. It stays open quite late (till 8pm Mon-Sat) which means that the cafe is open there too. We took advantage of this and got hot chocolate there before we went to the metro radio arena :)

    Prices are available on the website (combined prices if you want to visit the museum as well).

    Just thought I would mention this as its quite a novelty to have an open air ice rink and its a welcome relief from christmas shopping :)

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  • Chinatown

    by sabsi Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Chinatown in Newcastle looked more like a Chinastreet to me. Most of it obviously is located in Stowell Street. This street is full of Chinese take aways and Buffet places.

    It's located near St. James' Park (Newcastle United's stadium) quite in the city centre. It seems to be a popular place to go for a meal after a match, it was really busy when we were there and full of Newcastle supporters.

    Stowell Street

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    Concerts

    by steventilly Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Newcastle is a great concert venue. These days the really big concerts take place at The Arena, a huge venue by the river on the western side of the city centre. In the city centre itself is the City Hall. Once this was the North East's premier venue for concerts and it is still a good venue for bands who perhaps don't yet have the following to fill The Arena. I used to go here often as a kid to see The Stranglers, Boomtown Rats, Buzzcocks and so on.

    City Hall, Newcastle

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    Ever-Changing

    by suvanki Written Mar 6, 2011

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    I spotted this stainless steel 'cone' from outside the Journal Tyne Theatre, the previous night, but it was too dark to capture a decent pic. Also there were skateboarders whizzing around it, being videoed (I saw a sign later, forbidding skateboarding etc in this area)!

    This Stainless Steel sculpture is by Eilis O'Connell, and is titled "Ever-Changing" It was created in 2004. Located in a circular paved area, this piece of art reflects "The continual change in the surrounding environment, which is caught on the surface of the sculpture"
    People passing by, the changing sky, moving traffic and architecture of the nearby buildings are reflected in the mirror-like polished stainless steel, thereby ever changing its appearance!

    From this modern 21st Century piece of Newcastle, we are a few steps away from some of the oldest remains of Newcastle......

    Ever-Changing Ever-Changing Ever-Changing - Info plaque
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    Basil Hume Memorial Garden

    by suvanki Written Mar 6, 2011

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    This small garden in front of St Marys Cathedral Church is dedicated to Cardinal Basil Hume (1923-1999), and was opened by Queen Elizabeth 2nd in 2002, the year of her Golden Jubilee. The statue was unveiled at the same ceremony.


    The three metre high bronze cast sculpture, by Nigel Boonham, shows Cardinal Hume in his Benedictine monk's habit wearing a Cardinal's skull cap and he's holding the cross of St. Cuthbert.

    The statue is set in a garden that "reflects his love of the Holy landscape of Northumbria and of the Northern Saints and stands on a sandstone platform, carved in the shape of Holy Island (Lindisfarne)."

    More info to follow soon...

    Basil Hume Sculpture Basil Hume Memorial Garden Basil Hume Sculpture Basil Hume Memorial Garden Basil Hume Memorial Garden
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    Catholic Cathedral Church of St Mary

    by suvanki Updated Mar 6, 2011

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    Exiting Newcastle Central Station, this Cathedral Church, can be seen opposite.

    St. Mary's Cathedral Church is one of the major Gothic Revival churches designed by Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin (1812-1852) Pugin was responsible for much of the decoration of The Houses of Parliament.
    I was pleased that this building was open - the entrance is on the opposite side.

    Well worth a visit, especially for the stunning Stained Glass Windows (Which I'll cover in a separate tip)

    More info coming soon!

    Catholic  Cathedral Church of St Mary Catholic  Cathedral Church of St Mary Catholic  Cathedral Church of St Mary Catholic  Cathedral Church of St Mary Catholic  Cathedral Church of St Mary
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    Man with Potential Selves

    by suvanki Written Mar 6, 2011

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    By the end of my day exploring Newcastle, I'd come across many pieces of 'Public Art', statues, sculptures and Monuments - many of them quite memorable.

    Getting off of the No 10 bus, and heading for Newcastle Central Station, this was the first 'piece' that I came across on Lower Grainger Street.

    Located near the entrance to Central Station Metro Station entrance, I spotted a bronze statue of a man, then noticed another a few metres away-a third was laying horizontally.
    Apparently they are the work of Sean Henry, and they show the same 2.5 metre high man in 3 views - standing, walking and floating - The Man with Potential Selves.

    It was a shame that there was scaffolding and tarpaulins obliterating the view of all three figures together

    Man with Potential Selves Man with Potential Selves Man with Potential Selves Man with Potential Selves Man with Potential Selves - Walking and Standing
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    Old Eldon Square

    by toonsarah Written Mar 4, 2009

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    Mention Eldon Square to most Geordies and their first thought is likely to be of shopping, as this is the name of the city centre’s main shopping mall (see my shopping tips for more about this). But there has been an Eldon Square in Newcastle for far longer than the shopping centre has existed, even if, sadly, some of the original was demolished to make way for the new.

    Eldon Square was built as part of the 1825-40 reconstruction of Newcastle city centre, and was designed by John Dobson. The design consisted of terraces on three sides of a central square, with Blackett Street forming the fourth, southern, side. The terrace on the east side remains to this day but the other two were lost as a result of 1960s and 70s planning decisions when plans for the then new shopping centre were being drawn up. It’s hard to imagine such a decision being made today – indeed an extension to the shopping centre is currently under construction and has a much more sympathetic design, with facades featuring natural stone in keeping with surrounding historic buildings.

    Old Eldon Square was recently refurbished as part of the same programme of city centre improvements. The grass has been re-laid, new paths built, the war memorial cleaned up and new restaurants opened on the western side (Strada and Wagamama among them). Even this was considered controversial by some, as local Goths who have in recent years used the square as a gathering place saw themselves being driven out by the shoppers using the new paths and amenities.

    At the centre of the square is a bronze statue of St. George and the dragon, a duplicate of one designed to commemorate the men of Marylebone killed in the Great War, to be found close to Lords Cricket Ground. Here in Newcastle the statue forms the city’s main War Memorial and is the focal point for Remembrance Day commemorations.

    Old Eldon Square

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    Sightseeing bus

    by toonsarah Updated Mar 2, 2009

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    Like most cities these days, Newcastle has a “Hop on, hop off” sightseeing bus tour available, and although I’ve never done this I imagine it would be a good way to see the city for anyone in a hurry. The tour starts at the Central Station and to do the complete loop takes one hour (if you don’t hop off at all, that is!) There’s a pre-recorded English-only commentary.

    Stops include St James’ Park Football Stadium, Haymarket, the Quayside (including Baltic and the Sage music centre) and the Tyne Bridge.

    The cost is £ 7.00 for adults, £ 3.50 for children (5-15) and £ 6.00 for OAPs and students – or you can get a family ticket (2 adults plus up to 3 children) for £17.50. These prices also include the 30 minute Ouseburn tour.

    Sightseeing bus on the Quayside

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