Planning a solo trip to Newcastle, England? Here’s everything you need to know for your visit:
- The northernmost city of England, with a metro population of about 820,000.
- Officially known as Newcastle Upon Tyne, the city blossomed in the 16th century as a major hub for shipbuilding.
- The city is known in England for its eclectic culture, art, sports, and nightlife.
- Nickname: Locally known as “The Toon.” Locals are called Geordies.
- Currency: British Pound (GBP).
- Spoken languages: English.
- Best time to visit: from May to August (when weather is mildest and driest).
- Arriving from the airport (Newcastle International Airport): the Metro system can take you directly from the airport into the city centre for 3.40 GBP. A taxi ride costs around 20 GBP.
WHERE TO STAY
- Best hostel for solo travelers in Newcastle: Albatross. Located right in the city centre (perfect for exploring the city). Clean, safe, comfortable, friendly staff, big kitchen and great facilities. Overall, great value – as long as you book ahead!
- The majority of the more upscale hotels are centered around Central Station or Grainger Town, while budget options can be found throughout the city.
- Walking is perhaps the best option of them all, as Newcastle is a compact city – unless you want to visit an out-of-town attraction, you can walk pretty much everywhere.
- The Metro is one of the favorite options of getting around Newcastle. Quick and convenient. A day pass costs 3.60 GBP (one zone). See zone map here.
- Distinctive yellow buses run from the city centre to the quayside to save you from the hilly walk (a ride is 80p).
- Drinking age is 18, and last call is 4 AM.
- The Bigg Market has a large selection of clubs – if you’re looking for cheap drink over culture this is the place to head to.
- An area known as the ‘diamond strip’ near Newcastle’s Central Station is where the upmarket hotspots are.
- If you’re seeking a more alternative night out, try some of the bars in Ouseburn. Jesmond is home to many trendy bars.
- Great bars for solo travelers: The Dog & Parrot (gets crowded on weekends), The Town Mouse, Mean-Eyed Cat (people watching), and The Black and White Bull.
- Need to go clubbing? Head to Digital (younger crowd).
UNIQUE LANDMARKS TO VISIT
- The ruins of the Castle Keep built in 1067 are an interesting visit – it is the keep that gave the city its name! The oldest structure in the city, it is not to be missed.
- The Angel of the North is a signature monument by artist Anthony Gormley. Standing 20 meters tall, it is a distinctive structure (located in Gateshead, 3 miles south of Newcastle).
- Newcastle has an abundance of free museums, including the Laing and Baltic Art Museums, the Discovery Science Museum, and the Hancock Museum.
- Day trip idea: visit Hadrian’s Wall, built by the infamous Roman emperor. There are also remains of Roman forts to visit at Segedunum (in Wallsend) and Arbeia (in South Shields).
- The quayside makes for a fantastic walk. Walk along the River Tyne, and inspect the city’s famous bridges, the Sage music center, the Baltic Art Museum, and many quayside cafes and restaurants.
- Make sure you go for a walk at night – the city’s charm comes out as the bridges are lit up.
- The locals in Newcastle are very friendly, and may shatter the stereotype of all Brits being reserved!
- Newcastle has a subtle rivalry between its home football team and that of Sunderland – be careful not to confuse a Geordie (from Newcastle) with a Mackem (from Sunderland).
- Nearby Whitley Bay and Tynemouth have sandy beaches on offer. If you’re feeling adventurous, this could be a place to try out surfing.
- Great restaurants to try: Chilli Padi (Malaysian), The Bake One (Lebanese), Peace & Loaf ($$$ – Modern British), Thai House Cafe, Las Iguanas, and My Delhi Newcastle.
- Where to find good cheap food: good food can be found all over the city. There are many different ethnic cuisines to choose from – look around for small restaurants and cafes.
- Dangerous areas: Newcastle is a safe city. Use common sense, and try to stay in well-lit areas at night.
Recommended trip duration: 1-2 days