Winding its way along the banks of the River Tyne, Newcastle – or The Toon as it’s affectionately known by locals – is one of England’s most northerly and vibrant cities.
Famous for its collection of bridges and rich industrial heritage, regeneration has helped make Newcastle a hub for arts and culture, with an eclectic combination of new and old landmarks that give it an atmosphere quite unlike anywhere else in the UK. And while some of the city’s top attractions like the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art and Life Science Centre can be enjoyed undercover, some of the best Newcastle has to offer can be experienced in the open air – and in many cases – free of charge!
With plenty to get you started with, here are some of our favourite outdoor attractions in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
Suitable for: couples’ weekend breaks and parties
How to get there: head for the HUB Cycle Café at the Quayside, around 10 minutes’ walk east past the Millennium Bridge, on the Newcastle side of the Tyne
Price: £21.00 per person, including cycle hire
See the best of the city from two wheels with a Newcastle Cycle Tour. Lasting just over two hours and taking in all the city’s most famous vistas, there’s no better way to cover central Newcastle if you’re stopping by on a weekend break.
The tours begin at 11:00 am or 1:30 pm on Monday to Saturday, and at 10:00 am and 1:30 pm on a Sunday. The route starts by crossing a selection of Newcastle’s seven iconic bridges, which your guide will delve into the history of the city. From there, you’ll also get a chance to explore the castle keep and black gate, before stopping by statues of Newcastle’s most important sons and daughters. s.
Suitable for: culture lovers and foodies
How to get there: 10 minutes’ walk eastwards and downhill from Newcastle Central Station, and along the banks of the Tyne
Stretching the banks of the Tyne, Newcastle’s famous Quayside is the heart of this northern city, and has been the main focus of its regeneration since the turn of the millennium. Home to a selection of landmarks both old and new, and running beneath many of the city’s famous bridges, the Quayside today is a colourful hub of arts and culture.
Those looking to get some Instagram-worthy snaps on their stay in Newcastle won’t be disappointed, with the best of the city’s architecture lining up here for the perfect shot. A real highlight is the Gateshead Millennium Bridge, a striking modern pedestrian bridge that – if you’re lucky – you may get to see its famous tilt into the sky which allows boats to pass beneath it. No matter what time of year you visit, there’s almost always something happening at the Quayside, so head down to the Tyne and see what you find.
Suitable for: anyone who loves the outdoors
How to get there: begin by following Ouseburn Road through Heaton Park, which starts in Shieldfield close to the university buildings and approximately 30 minutes’ walk from Newcastle Central Station
A short distance north of the city’s main thoroughfares, Jesmond Dene Park is an intriguing post-industrial landscape and something of a hidden gem. Following the course of the River Ouseburn uphill from Heaton Park, this series of trails wind their way through an urban oasis, revealing the ruins of former mills and factories as you go.
Despite being very much in the heart of the city, you can expect to see plenty of wildlife on your visit to Jesmond Dene, including a beautiful mixture of both native and exotic trees. Animals you should be able to spot in the area include the Kingfisher, rare Red Squirrel and a selection of woodland birds. And, when you’re not crossing cobbled bridges and spotting waterfalls, there’s a children’s playground and on-site café to keep all members of the family refreshed and entertained.
Suitable for: active families or sports fanatics
How to get there: head just beyond the North Gosforth area of the city, to the very northern outskirts around 7km from the city centre – the 43 Sapphire, 44 Sapphire and 45 Sapphire bus routes all call outside
Price: £4.50 adults and £3.50 children for the mini-golf, prices start at £1.00 for 10 balls at the driving range
Whether you’re practically a pro with your putt, or can’t tell your woods from your wedges, Parklands Golf Club offers a golfing experience for all ages and abilities. Located in the city’s leafy northern suburbs, this sprawling golf complex is an ideal way to spend a day in the open air.
If you’re a confident golfer, you may wish to take to the fully-sized 18 hole course, while the dedicated driving range is an excellent place to work on your swing. If you’re visiting with the family in tow, the fun and colourful 18-hole mini golf course is an excellent way to pass an hour or two, and is sure to bring out the competitive side in everyone.
Suitable for: something all ages will love
How to get there: if you’re coming from the city centre, take the number 54 bus from Haymarket Bus Station and hop off close to The Promenade
Price: day saver bus tickets start from £4.50 per adult
Who doesn’t love a trip to the seaside? And though many may think of it as a landlocked city, Newcastle does in fact sprawl its way out to England’s dramatic North Sea coast.
If you do like to be beside the sea, Whitley Bay must be among the North East’s most loved coastal spots. With a sweeping golden beach, it’s the perfect place to take the family for a walk, and if you’re fortunate enough to visit on a day where temperatures are kind, you might even be tempted by a paddle in the shallow waters. With a colourful Promenade running the length of the bay, you’ll also spot all your seaside favourites like arcades, ice creams and fish & chips.
If you’re looking to enjoy these al fresco attractions in the great northeastern city of Newcastle, you’ll want somewhere warm and cosy to call base. Jurys Inn Newcastle and Jurys Inn Newcastle Quayside are two hotels which put you right in the thick of the action, with stylish rooms that are accompanied by on-site facilities like a bar, restaurant and room service.
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