Newcastle Upon Tyne is a vibrant city in the North-East of England. The area dates to a Roman settlement in 1080 so it has a fascinating history, told through the many impressive landmarks in Newcastle.
The city has a unique culture and is known for its cheerful locals who have a strong accent, called “Geordie”. Newcastle landmarks reflect its past as an industrial city, centered around shipbuilding and mining.
Today, Newcastle is known for its tourism, nightlife, and incredible architecture. If you’re planning a visit, here are 10 famous landmarks in Newcastle that you won’t want to miss!
Visiting Newcastle – Useful City Passes
Newcastle has an excellent public transport system, whether you’re traveling by plane, train, ferry, or bus. It’s a small city so generally walkable.
However, if you’re hoping to visit a lot of Newcastle landmarks in a couple of days, here are some handy city passes to help you get around quickly and make the most of the city’s attractions.
- Network One – The Anytime Ticket: This is one of the best value transport pass if you’ll be in Newcastle for a week.
From just £20.10 per person, you’ll get unlimited access to the Metro, Shields Ferry, and Blaydon to Sunderland train for a week. You can purchase this ticket online, or from any Metro ticket machine around the city.
- Newcastle Gateshead Toon Tour: A great way to sightsee in Newcastle is the hop-on hop-off open-top bus. The bus leaves every 15-30 minutes from Central Station, passing most Newcastle landmarks. It runs from early April until late September. Newcastle is very rainy during the winter months, so this option is best for summer visits.
- Arrow Cars Airport Transfer: Newcastle Airport has its own taxi service, taking you from the airport directly into the city center. The booking office is in the airport arrivals lounge.
- Skip-the-Line Newcastle Castle Admission Ticket: If you’re planning on visiting Newcastle Castle, book a skip-the-line ticket in advance to head straight to the front of the queue!
Most Famous Landmarks In Newcastle
The Tyne Bridge
The Tyne Bridge is undoubtedly one of the most recognizable landmarks in Newcastle. It was built in 1928 and is the city’s 10th tallest structure. It is one of seven bridges that cross the River Tyne and connect Newcastle to the neighboring town of Gateshead.
The famous green bridge is Grade II listed because of its architectural and historic significance. Two large, five-story towers built from Cornish granite stand at either side of the bridge. They were planned to be warehouses but they were never completed inside and have stood empty since construction.
In 2016 on New Year’s Eve, hundreds of people broke into the disused towers and held an illegal rave.
Natural Landmarks In Newcastle
If you need a break from the busy city during your trip, there are plenty of natural landmarks in Newcastle. Take a scenic stroll around the beautiful woodland at Jesmond Dene, between Jesmond Vale and South Gosforth.
There are plenty of gorgeous spots to stop for a picnic as you admire the natural landscape and local wildlife. The valley follows the trail of the River Ouseburn and the star landmark is a lovely little waterfall.
The park also has a petting zoo, a boating lake, a play area, and a café. Jesmond Dene leads into Paddy Freeman’s Park, another peaceful natural landmark.
Historic Landmarks In Newcastle
The city of Newcastle takes its name from a medieval castle. The original motte-and-bailey castle was built by the Normans in 1080, although none of it remains now.
In 1168, King Henry II replaced the castle with a new stone version. This castle was used to defend a small settlement which eventually grew to become Newcastle city.
The castle keep and gatehouse are still intact and are open to the public, the rooftops provide incredible far-reaching views across the city. They are separated by a railway viaduct. The keep is a Grade I listed building.
The Swing Bridge
The Tyne Bridge isn’t the only Grade II listed bridge. Another of the famous Newcastle landmarks on the River Tyne is the Swing Bridge.
It was built in 1868, replacing an old Roman bridge that was demolished to allow bigger ships to pass through. At the time, it was the biggest-ever swing bridge.
Hydraulic power and electric pumps are used to move the iconic red bridge. It rotates 360 degrees so ships can pass on either side, hence the name. It now only swings occasionally as this section of the Tyne isn’t a busy trade route anymore, but at its peak, it rotated up to 16 times a day.
There are many hidden landmarks in Newcastle. One of the most interesting is the Victoria Tunnel – an old wagonway that runs across 3.9 kilometers underneath the city. The tunnel was built in 1839 and was used to bring coal to the River Tyne from Leazes Main Colliery, in the North-West of the city.
Newcastle was an important mining city during the revolution, and coal was exported across the country by boat. The tunnel was built at a slight decline so that the heavy wagons of coal could easily roll down to the river, before being rope-hauled back.
After Leazes Colliery closed in 1860, the tunnel fell into disuse. However, it made the perfect air raid shelter in WWII. Taking a guided tour of the tunnel is a fascinating way to learn about the city’s history.
Famous Landmarks In Newcastle – Museums and Galleries
The Life Science Centre
One of the first landmarks in Newcastle you’ll see as you enter the city by train is the Life Science Centre, in Times Square.
This museum, gallery, clinic, and research center opened to the public in 1998. It aims to inspire both adults and children to learn more about science through a range of interactive exhibits and events.
Some of the most popular exhibits are the planetarium, weather presenting studio, and science lab experiments. If you’re visiting Newcastle with children, this is a great place to add to your itinerary.
The Discovery Museum
A fabulous free landmark in Newcastle is the Discovery Museum. This three-story museum is the best way to learn about Newcastle’s history, including its Roman origins and its role in the industrial revolution.
It’s open daily to the public and is fascinating, whether you have children or not. Some of the most exciting sections are the RAF Red Arrows flight simulator ride, the WWII exhibit, and Turbinia – the first-ever steam turbine-powered ship.
The museum also holds regular events, such as silent discos, craft workshops, and interesting talks.
Famous Buildings In Landmarks
One of the more modern landmarks in Newcastle is the famous Metrocentre, a sprawling shopping mall in the Gateshead area. The Metrocentre is so popular that it has its own railway station – the Metro Shuttle takes you right into the mall from the city center in 15 minutes.
The mall opened in 1986 and has over 300 shops, across 190,000 square meters. It is the UK’s second-biggest shopping center, following Westfield in London.
In addition to the many high-street shops and chain restaurants, there’s an IMAX cinema and a bowling alley. If you fancy a spot of shopping during your trip to Newcastle, you’ll find everything you could need here.
Grainger Town is the most architecturally beautiful part of Newcastle city center – housing 244 listed buildings. The area is named after its designer, Richard Grainger, who helped to transform it in the early 1800s.
Most of the Georgian stone buildings are four stories tall, with stunning turrets and domes. Many of the famous landmarks and monuments in Newcastle can be found here, including Grainger Market, Grey Street, Theatre Royal, and Grey’s Monument.
In addition, you will also find lots of cool independent shops, bars, restaurants, and art galleries to explore.
Other Famous Landmarks In Newcastle
St. James’ Park Stadium
One of the most important Newcastle landmarks to football fans is St. James Park. This major football stadium is the home ground of Newcastle United – a premier league club. It seats 52,305 and is England’s eighth-biggest football stadium. Newcastle United has been based at St. James’ Park since 1892.
The stadium has a unique appearance as its stands are much taller on one side. The highest stands have a fantastic view across the city. As well as football matches, the stadium has been used for the Rugby Union World Cup, the 2012 Olympics, and music concerts.
Discovering Famous Landmarks In Newcastle
Newcastle is one of Northern England’s most interesting cities to visit. From its friendly “Geordie” people and its thriving culture to its fascinating old buildings, statues, and bridges.
There’s so much to see and do in this exciting city and the best way to explore some famous Newcastle landmarks is to book a trip yourself. You will need a long weekend at least to explore these landmarks in Newcastle, and many others!