City Guide

Things to Do in Newcastle

Ben Maples  · Nov 30th 2021
Newcastle upon Tyne bridge, with the city in the background at night

The city of Newcastle was named the friendliest city in the UK in 2019 by a number of various online sites and it is for this reason perhaps, that Newcastle is so popular for university students.

In this guide, we will give you a brief history of the city, show you the various things to do in Newcastle, give you some background on the universities in the city and we will also show you some of the sport in Newcastle too.

Things to do in Newcastle


One of the jewels of the North East is the city of Newcastle, which sits on the northern bank of the River Tyne. The city boasts a population of 1,650,000 according to the very most recent figures and sits roughly 8.5 miles away from the North Sea.

Things to do in Newcastle

The city that you choose to study in often boils down to what the nightlife in the city is like. Luckily for you, we’ve compiled a list of three places that we think will be perfect for you in Newcastle regardless of what it is that you’re looking for. Check them out below and see what you think!

First up we have the retro-modern fusion of Florita’s Miami Bar which offers everything from cocktail competitions and beer pong all the way through to live music and DJ sets. We recommend you check it out as it is one of Newcastle’s hottest nightclubs and the guest list is mighty long! Secondly, we have, Tup Tup Palace, which has a bit of a list regarding notable people that have visited, including 50 Cent, Cheryl Cole and Ed Sheeran and it’s difficult to argue with them! The club has everything from DJ Battles all the way through to themed nights! We recommend you jump on the guest list for this one too! And last, but by no means least we have, Tiger Tiger, which is a jungle-themed nightclub with everything you need from a club, whether it be cocktails or a packed dancefloor, Tiger Tiger has got you covered! Make your way on over to Newgate Street and see what the club is all about first-hand!

The city of Newcastle has long been proud of their history and have immortalised it in some of their many museums including; Discovery Museum, Hatton Gallery, Beamish Museum, Turbinia and Great North Museum: Hancock, all of which are affordable and accessible to all members of the public.

There are a number of cinemas in the city too if you’re looking to see some of the latest and greatest in Hollywood films. Newcastle has plenty of places to offer such as Empire Cinemas, Tyneside Cinemas and Odeon (Which has it’s on IMAX Screen too), the whole cinema experience is also affordable and accessible, we recommend you check them out!

The city has a number of ways to keep the community together including; The Grand Lantern Parade, which is a magical live music event, incorporating light and movement. The procession makes its way through The Alnwick Garden and into Alnwick Town creating a spectacular visual feast for everyone and is run annually, make sure you get your tickets.


The transport in Newcastle is very efficient.

There are three main bus companies in the city, Arriva North East, Go North East and Stagecoach North East. There are also companies like National Express who operate in the city as well and provide easy routes to a number of major cities in the UK.

In terms of trains, Newcastle’s main railway station is the Newcastle Railway Station, which is also known as Newcastle Central Station, the station is one of the busiest train stations in Britain. The stations in the city are all fed through the main hub at Newcastle Central, however, there are also trains that run to major cities such as Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, London, and Manchester.

There is also an airport in the city, Newcastle International Airport, which flies internationally, regionally and commercially.

Things to do with kids in Newcastle

Universities in the City

There are two universities in the city, Newcastle University and Northumbria University.

Newcastle University was established in 1834 as School of Medicine and Surgery, eventually the university became independent from the University of Durham in 1963 and became a university in its own right. The university is also a part of the Russell Group of Universities.

The student body of the university is represented by the Newcastle University Students’ Union (NUSU). The union is somewhat unique in that the union actually owns its own union building! The union building was built in 1924 and was a gift from an anonymous donor and in 2010, the university actually donated £8m towards the redevelopment of the university.

The university has a number of student media outlets, such as The Courier, which is the weekly student newspaper (and won The Guardian’s Student Publication of the Year award twice in a row, in 2012 and 2013), Newcastle Student Radio, which is the university’s student radio station and NUTVm which is the student TV channel and was formerly known as TCTV.

The university is one of the most well-regarded universities in the UK for its sport, and usually ranks very high in the various British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) Leagues. The university also enjoys friendly rivalries with a number of local universities, usually in the Stan Calvert Cup, which is usually competed against Northumbria University. They also compete against Durham University in the Northumbrian Water University Boat Race. The university also has a senior men’s team which competes in the Northern League Division Two.

As for Northumbria University, it was initially established as the Rutherford College of Technology in 1894. It was later rebranded as the Newcastle Polytechnic in 1969 and eventually received university status in 1992 and rebranded a final time to become Northumbria University.

The student body of Northumbria University is represented by the Northumbria Students’ Union. The union represents a number of the clubs and societies in the university but also a number of the student media platforms as well, such as NSUTV, NSURadio, NSULife and NSUSnaps. The union is also part of the National Union of Students (NUS), which means students are able to apply for their NUS Card. In fact, the university won the NUS award for Student Opportunities and runner up for the Education Award in 2016, having previously win the NUS award for best higher education students union. In 2011.


The settlement of Newcastle was previously a Roman settlement, however, when the Romans eventually left Britain, Newcastle became a part of the kingdom of Northumbria and was known across the country as Munucceaster or more colloquially as Monkchester.

William the Conqueror was a big fan of the settlement, owing mainly to its strategic position and in 1080, he erected a large wooden castle in the town. After that, the city was known as Novum Castellum or New Castle. The castle was later rebuilt seven years later, this time with stone.

Newcastle quickly became the country’s northern fortress throughout the Middle Ages and Henry VI would later make it into its own county.

After a while, Newcastle began to do a roaring trade in coal, which helped sustain the city’s economy. In fact, the town’s booming coal trade gave birth to the phrae “Taking the coal to Newcastle”, which essentially means that it is a pointless pursuit.

After a while, the town began to expand beyond just the import of coal, and began to offer a considerable print centre and was the fourth largest printing settlement in the country, behind only London, Oxford and Cambridge. The city also began to produce glass as well.

The city was also subject to the great fire of Newcastle and Gateshead, which saw an awful lot of damage to the city and a number of injuries and deaths.

Newcastle officially received city status on the 3rd June 1882. After this, the city really began to thrive, adding shipbuilding and heavy engineering to its already impressively growing repertoire.

Around the time of the Second World War, the city was heavily bombed by the Luftwaffe. With raids totally in over 140 deaths and 580 injuries and significant damage to a number of the city’s buildings and structures.

Things to do with family in Newcastle


The city of Newcastle has an extremely proud sporting tradition.

The main sporting club in the city is Newcastle United, who are based at St. James’ Park. The team currently plays in the Premier League, having won the Championship in 2017. There is also a Newcastle Women’s Football Club as well, which was established in 1989.

The city’s only Rugby Union team is Newcastle Falcons, who play in the AVIVA Premiership, while Newcastle Thunder (previously known as Gateshead Thunder), are the city’s only professional Rugby League club.

There is also a horse racing course in the city as well, known as Gosforth Park, there is also the Newcastle Eagles, the city’s main Basketball team, who are the most successful team in the history of the British Basketball League (BBL).

Who’s from Newcastle?

There are numerous famous people from the city too including; Alan Shearer, Cheryl Cole, Rowan Atkinson, Sting, Michael Carrick, Anthony McPartlin, Declan Donnelly, Catherine Cookson and Vineeta Rishi.

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