Newcastle-upon-Tyne is a city in the North East of England close to the eastern coast of the UK in the county of Tyne and Wear. Its most popular sights are the seven bridges that connect the two sides of River Tyne (Newcastle on the north, Gateshead on the south). Read this Newcastle itinerary to see how to spend four days in the area, where to stay and what to see and do. The itinerary covers Sunderland, Newcastle, Gateshead and Tynemouth. All places are well connected by public transport so the itinerary below assumes no use of a car. Each day can be easily followed independently, so the routes below can form great day-trips if you are already in the area.
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For day trip suggestions around the UK see Empnefsys & Travel Day Trips page.
Newcastle Itinerary: The Basics
Why go on a trip around Newcastle?
Newcastle is a well connected to both Edinburgh and London, so it is very easy to reach the city from either the north or south of the UK. As it is close to the Nort Sea it makes for a nice summer excursion trip with the option of spending time by the sea.
On a more personal note, we chose Newcastle as it is close to both Edinburgh (where I was based) and London (where Christos was based). The motivating factor behind our decision was the amazing views from the Edinburgh to London train as it passes from Newcastle. Then we added Sunderland on the itinerary because hotels in Newcastle for Saturday stays were very expensive, so we were looking for alternative options. Tynemouth was added last minute, as Christos’ chosen destination to spend his birthday (after I gave him a few options) and then the last day was more or less decided on the spot based on the travel brochures we found at the hotel which all mentioned Angel of the North which means that it may worth it to get there (up to that time I had only briefly spotted it a couple of times from the train).
Where to stay?
During this trip, we spent one night in Sunderland and 2 nights in Newcastle. We had a budget of £100 per night including breakfast and the following hotels satisfied our requirements.
In Sunderland, we stayed at the Roker Hotel BW Premier Collection [AD]. It has a great location opposite Roker Beach and you may be able to request a sea view room. I mostly liked the vintage vibes of the rooms and the feeling they created. On-site you can find two restaurants and a cafe, which is very convenient considering the limited options in the immediate area.
In Newcastle, we stayed at the Maldron Hotel Newcastle [AD]. We chose this hotel because of its location close to the city centre and the train/metro station. The rooms were modern and spacious, and in addition to the breakfast, we had a very good stay overall.
How to get to Newcastle?
It easy to reach Newcastle from different parts of the UK including London and Edinburgh. There are frequent trains from London King’s Cross and Edinburgh Waverly stations and the trip should last approximately 3 hours and 1 hour and 30 minutes respectively. There are also direct trains from York, Leeds, Manchester and Sheffield (this is not an exhaustive list).
Newcastle has an airport as well with connections to London and other European destinations. To get to the city centre by metro, take the Green Line to one of the stations around Newcastle city centre (Haymarket, Monument or Central Station). From the airport, you can also get directly to Sunderland. For any of the above, you will need a zone A-C ticket.
- Newcastle’s Official Tourism Website
- Sunderland Official Tourism Website
- North Tyneside Official Tourism Website
- Public Transport in Newcastle
Newcastle Itinerary: The Details
This 4-day itinerary to Tyne and Wear covers Sunderland, Newcastle, Gateshead and Tynemouth. Each day is focused on a different location and includes directions for the day walk and how to get from one city/town to another.
Day 1: Sunderland
Day 1 starts at Sunderland city centre and ends with a nice evening stroll at the Roker Lighthouse.
Note that if you choose to stay at the Roker hotel and don’t have a car you will need to carry your luggage the whole day. So pack lightly!
11:00 Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens
Allow some time to get to Sunderland in the morning and then start your trip with a visit to Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens. The museum has exhibits about the history of the area. It mostly attracts families and schools, so don’t worry if you finish early. Attached to the museum is a glasshouse with tropical plants, where there is also a tree top walkway for a different perpsective to the garden.
Find out more about Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens here.
12:30 Mowbray Park
Behind the Sunderland Museum, you can find the Mowbray Park, a large green space with a lake in the middle of the city. Have a stroll around the park before returning to the city centre to have lunch.
13:00 City Centre
On your way to the next stop, find a place for a quick lunch break. There are some fast food places and some cafes around the stations and in the Bridges shopping centre. Next, continue your way to the next stop via Keel Square, where you may find some art installations. Then, cross the bridge above River Wear and turn left towards Sunderland University. If you want, you can make a short stop at St Peter’s Church.
14:30 National Glass Centre
Sunderland has a close relation to glassmaking. Although the glass industry in the area is declining, the National Glass Centre aims to continue this heritage. There, you can find more information about the history of glass and some marvellous glass exhibits. Some of those are made by students at the University of Sunderland, that runs the place. In addition, there are daily glassmaking demonstrations of the glassblowing (at 12 pm, 1:30 pm and 3 pm) and flameworking (at 11 am and 3:45 pm excluding Tuesdays) techniques free of charge. Note that the times are based on the latest information online and they are subject to change. In the end, you will have the option to take home beautiful glass items from the shop.
Find out more about Sunderland Glass Centre here.
17:00 Roker Beach and Roker Pier
Last stop of the day is Roker Beach. To get there continue along the coast. On your way there, you can have a look at Sunderland Marina. If you are staying at the Roker Hotel, allow your self some time to get your room and have a short break. Then, return to the beach for an evening stroll and walk along the pier to the Roker Lighthouse. Depending on how much time you have before sunset you may want to have a walk around Roker Park. We didn’t have time, so instead, we visited it the following morning before leaving Sunderland.
Bonus: Roker Pier and Lighthouse runs some underground tours of the pier and the lighthouse. Unfortunately, we only found out about them once we arrived there and all the tours were already booked. Since this is something which sounds interesting, I am putting a link here if you want to check it out. I am sure it can fit somewhere in this itinerary with a few readjustments if you want to include it as well.
If you are staying in the area, there are not many restaurants open in the evening. We had dinner at the Antico Restuarant Roker. It is an Italian restaurant by the Roker Hotel. The food and interiors were nice. However, as we hadn’t booked a table we had to wait for around half an hour before given one. So, I would recommend booking a table if you are visiting at peak times or during the summer holidays.
Here are the walking route directions to follow the above itinerary. To get to Sunderland from Newcastle you need to take the Metro Green Line and get off at Sunderland (make sure that your ticket covers zones A-C). Otherwise, you may want to check if there is a direct train from your departure location to Sunderland.
Day 2: Newcastle and Gateshead
After leaving Sunderland, the day continues in Newcastle and Gateshead. If you want, before leaving Sunderland you can go for a walk by the beach or to Roker Park. Once you arrive at Newcastle, allow some time to pass by your accommodation to leave your luggage.
11:00 Grey’s Monument and City Centre
Start with a short walk at the city to see the Grey’s Monument and the interesting architecture of the buildings. This should give you an idea of the place. On the last day, there will be more time to browse the shops.
11:30 Cathedral Church of St Nicholas
The Cathedral Church of St Nicholas also known as Newcastle Cathedral. The current church dates to the 14th century with some newer additions. Inside the cathedral, visitors can see the architecture of the Choir, the large organ and the many stained glass pieces of art.
Find out more about the Newcastle Cathedral here.
12:30 Newcastle Castle
Next stop of the day is the place where Newcastle was given its name. There is not much of the original structure, but what remains now is still enough to keep you occupied for a couple of hours. To enter the castle, you will need to buy a ticket from the Black Gate. There you will find some ruins of the medieval fortifications and a small museum displaying the history of the place. Next, you should visit the Newcastle Castle Keep which is two minutes away underneath the train bridge. There you will come across the King’s Hall and a terrace with panoramic views of the River Tyene and the seven bridges of Newcastle. Note that currently the Newcastle castle is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Find out more about the Newcastle Castle here.
The Seven Tyne Bridges
River Tyne is famous for the seven bridges that connect Newcastle and Gateshead on its two sides. The bridges were built over several years and each has a different purpose (for cars, trains, pedestrians or a mixture). The oldest bridge is the High-Level Bridge (the fourth one starting from the left side and facing Gateshead) dating to 1850. On its left, you will find a lower bridge with red arches. This is the Swing Bridge and dates to 1876.
Moving along the timeline, we have King Edward Bridge (the second one starting from the right side facing Gateshead) completed in 1906. The Tyne Bridge with its distinctive green arch (and now sometimes displaying an ad) was the next one to be built in 1928. In 1981 the Queen Elizabeth II Metro Bridge (the blue one) was completed, two years later, in 1983 the Redheugh Bridge (the rightmost one) opens. On the far left side, you can see the newest addition to the bridges the Gateshead Millennium Bridge, which opened shortly after the turn of the millennium, in 2001.
14:00 Newcastle Quayside
Head towards the Quayside to find something quick for lunch. If you are visiting on a Sunday, you will come across a food market with trucks serving food from around the world.
14:30 Gateshead Millenium Bridge
The second half of the day will be spent across the River Tyne at the town of Gateshead. To get there, you need to cross the Gateshead Millenium Bridge, the newest of the seven bridges. The bridge is only used by pedestrians and bicycles and it is known of its unique design. The shape of the bride also allows it to tilt when small boats need to pass underneath. In about 5 minutes the lower side of the bridge rotates 40o upwards to make space for the boats.
Find out more about Gateshead Millennium Bridge including titling times here.
15:00 Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art
At the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, you will find rotating contemporary exhibitions from a variety of artists. The centre is housed a former mill industrial building (you can still see the sign of the Baltic Flour Mill on the side of the building) by the River Tyne. At the Baltic, you will also find a panoramic viewpoint of the River Tyne and a shop for modern art inspired buys. Entry to the gallery is free of charge.
Find out more about the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art here.
17:30 Gateshead Quayside
After finishing from the Baltic centre, walk along the other side of the River Tyne. Don’t forget to have a look at Sage Gateshead, a live music venue with unique architecture. The largest hall sits 1700 people and its design is for optimal acoustics. If you are visiting on a Friday or during the weekend in the summer months, you may want to have a stop at the HWKR Food Market. A place full of street food sellers from around the world with a hip vibe. Nearby you can also find a brewery and a restaurant operated by the same company.
18:00 Swing Bridge
Cross the Swing Bridge to return to Newcastle. The bridge has a pedestrian side and if you stay on the right-hand side you will be able to see a panorama of the nearby Tyne Bridge. At Newcastle, take some time to return to your accommodation before heading for dinner.
To get some dinner you can head to the intu Eldon Square, behind Gray’s Monument. Although, most of the places are chain restaurants there are some good options. We tried the Tapas Revolution for a less casual dinner and George’s for some British food. Both of them were good value for money.
Here are the walking route directions to follow the above itinerary. To get to Newcastle from Sunderland take the metro (green line) from either The Stadium of Light, St. Peter’s (most convenient for the Roker Hotel) or Sunderland to Newcastle Central Station (closer to the Maldron Hotel), Monument or Haymarket.
Day 3: Tynemouth
A great day trip from Newcastle is the nearby town of Tynemouth. It has Blue Flag beaches, a lighthouse and the ruins of a priory and castle. This is meant to be a relaxing day trip, so take your time in the morning! Equally, the times are for guidance only. You can spend as much time at the beach as you want! 😉
11:00 Green Ginger Shopping Arcade
On your way to the beach, make a short stop at this small shopping centre created inside a former church. Inside you will find small shops selling unique items, some bakeries and more.
Find out more about the Green Ginger Shopping Arcade here.
11:30 Tynemouth Priory and Castle
The main sight of the day is the Tynemouth Priory and Castle. On-site you will find the ruins of 1000-year-old fortifications, although the origin of the place is said to be even older. In addition to the historical element of your visit, you will also be able to enjoy excellent views over the Pier and the sea.
Find out more about the Tynemouth Priory and Castle here.
13:30 Town centre
Before continuing your walk towards the pier, make a short stop at the town centre for a quick snack. There are numerous restaurants and cafes to have a short break. When we visited we had ice cream at Mister Woods.
14:00 Collingwood Monument
Collingwood Monument is a large monument visible from land and sea (you can see it from the Priory) in memory of Lord Collingwood. It is located at the Spanish Battery in Tynemouth, close to North Shields to honour Collingwood’s family connections with the place. The area around the monument offers a great view over South Shields.
Optional: You may want to check out if the Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade Museum next to the monument is open and have a quick look around. When we visited it was closed, so I cannot comment here.
15:00 Tynemouth Pier and Lighthouse
Follow the Tynemouth Pier to the Lighthouse. It may seem to be quite far but is only about 20 minutes away. The Lighthouse dates to the Victorian times. On your way there you will enjoy great views of the Tynemouth Priory and Castle at the back and the South Shields Lighthouse across the sea.
15:30 Short Sands Beach
It’s time for a relaxing break by the sea. Even if you do not want to get your feet wet you can easily avoid the sand and stay on the nearby road. The views from there are amazing. To my surprise, Short Sands Beach has a Blue Flag.
16:15 Long Sands Beach
Continue walking along the coast (via the road) to reach Long Sands Beach. A large stretch of sandy beach, extending all the way to Cullercoats. Similarly to Short Sands Beach, this one also holds a Blue Flag.
16:45 Tynemouth Park / Tynemouth Aquarium
If you don’t want to spend a lot of time at the beach, you can head to Tynemouth Park. Apart from the green space, you will find many outdoor activities for kids such as a mini-golf court and a maze (closes at 5:30 pm). Alternatively, if you prefer something indoors you can check out the Tynemouth Aquarium (closes at 6 pm). Once, you are done head back to the station to take the metro and return to Newcastle.
Here are the walking route directions to follow the above itinerary. To get to Tynemouth from Newcastle you need to take the Metro Yellow Line to Tynemouth. You will need to purchase a zone A-C ticket.
Day 4: Angel of the North and Newcastle
Spend the last day in Newcastle by visiting a great monument of the north and then explore one of the museums of the city or do some shopping.
10:00 Angel of of the North
The Angel of the North is a 20-meter tall sculpture of an angel lookalike. It is located in Gateshead and it is one of the main sights of the area. The wings of the angel span for over 50 m (54 m to be exact) and it is said to be the largest structure of this kind in the world. It was completed in 1998 and many steps were taken so that the structure withstands high winds and other phenomena. You will see that the sculpture of the angel touches the ground and although this contradicts angel’s floating form, the creator of the sculpture wanted to achieve three things. Firstly, to connect the angel with the work of miners at the coal mines underneath; show the move from an industrial ear to the information period, and lastly, represent the ever-present hopes and fears of humans.
How to get there?
To get to the Angel of the North from Newcastle, take bus 21 and get off at the Angel of the North stop. The journey should last approximately 40 minutes. You can get bus 21 from various locations in Newcastle, including opposite the Maldron Hotel and next to the Newcastle Cathderal (towards the Newcastle Castle).
13:00 City Centre
Return to the city centre to have lunch and walk around. You can pass by the Grainger Market, a Victorian covered market selling vintage items and local produce. Another covered passage worth checking out is the Central Arcade just across the road. For more high street brands head to the Newcastle Shopping Centre, intu Eldon Square or Eldon Garden Shopping Centre. Another spot worth checking out is the entrance gate to the Chinatown.
14:00 Discovery Museum
If you have more time in Newcastle, you can visit one of its museums. We chose the Discover Museum (closes at 4 pm) as it is close to the city centre and has a variety of exhibits. Expect to find things related to the history of Newcastle, technology, maritime, science and more. At the end of your visit, return to your accommodation to collect your luggage and head to the train station.
Find out more about the Discovery Museum here.
Alternative: You can visit the Life Science Centre or book a tour at the Victoria Tunnel.
Return to Newcastle from the Angel of the North, the same way as you went and then you can follow the walk below.
Have a nice trip!
P.S. This is going to be my last post for a while. I still have lots of content to create, but I will work at a slower pace from now on as I found a full-time job. Wish me luck!
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