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Our Visitor's Guide to NewcastleGateshead

NewcastleGateshead is one of the most exciting places to visit in the UK thanks to its rich history, bustling nightlife, cultural hot spots and plenty of shops, bars and restaurants to while away the hours.

Whether you're visiting for the first time, returning to your favourite tourist attractions in Newcastle and Gateshead, or even if you're a local Geordie who wants to find something new, our whistle-stop guide to NewcastleGateshead will tell you everything you need to know about visiting the Toon.

Angel of the North, Gateshead. Image by Graeme Peacock 

Why is Newcastle called 'The Toon'?

Newcastle is often called 'The Toon' by locals as this is usually how 'Town' would be pronounced in the Geordie accent. The origins of the word 'town' is rooted in Anglo Saxon Old English, with 'tun' meaning 'enclosure, estate, farm or village' and is phonetically pronounced as 'toon'.

As language elsewhere in the country developed, The Great Vowel Shift meant that many words with the 'oo' vowel sound became an 'ow' sound elsewhere in the country. The Geordie dialect is one of the only regional accents in the country that still uses many of the phrases and pronunciations found in Old English.

What are some helpful Geordie phrases?

The Geordie dialect is a unique one and there are a few words and phrases that are helpful to know when visiting the area. Should you ever find yourself baffled by some of the terminology, here's a few basics to get you started.

  • To Gan Yem - To Go Home
  • Canny - Good, Nice or Pleasant
  • Nee - No
  • Aye - Yes
  • Gannin' Doon The Quayside - Going Down To The Quayside
  • Howay Man - Hurry Up

St James' Park, home to Newcastle United Football Club

Things You Should Know About NewcastleGateshead

  • Football is much like a religion for Geordies and St. James' Park is their place of worship. Most people living in Newcastle and Gateshead support Newcastle United however, there is a long-standing rivalry between Newcastle's football club and Sunderland F.C so make sure that the only colours you wear into town on a match day are black and white!
  • Geordie people are some of the most friendly in the world. If you're lost and in need of directions, all you need to do is ask and the locals will gladly point you in the right direction
  • One popular tidbit of local legend is that Jimi Hendrix himself visited Newcastle during his hey-day in the 1960s. Newcastle-born music producer Chas Chandler brought Hendrix to the North East in 1966, where he busked on Chillingham Road in Heaton.
  • Tonnes of famous people hail from the North East or have significant ties to the region. Newcastle's most well-known celebrities Ant and Dec were born and raised in Newcastle, starting their career on Byker Grove while Sir Ridley Scott and director Tony Scott are both associated with the region as their Great Uncle Dixon Scott built and designed the Tyneside Cinema. Musicians Brian Ferry, The Animals, Sting and Neil Tennant of The Pet Shop Boys also have strong ties to Newcastle as of course does Girls' Aloud star, Cheryl. Lee Hall, the writer of Billy Elliot was also born in Newcastle as were the actors Charlie Hunnam, Rowan Atkinson, Jimmy Nail and comedian Ross Noble. Among Newcastle's most famous celebrities, you will also find sporting stars such as Sir Bobby Robson, Alan Shearer, Kevin Keegan, Peter Beardsley and Paul Gascoigne who are, arguably, some of the biggest names in football.
  • Newcastle Town Moor is annually home to one of the largest fun-fairs in Europe. The Town Moor Hoppings visits every June, marking the beginning of summer for many local children.
  • The annual Great North Run which takes place across Newcastle and Gateshead is the largest half marathon in the world.
  • The Blaydon Race is an annual 5.9 mile race from Newcastle city centre to Blaydon and always begins with the singing of Geordie folk song 'The Blaydon Races'; the unofficial anthem of the region.
  • Much of Newcastle and Gateshead's more modern architecture was part of experimental development plans in the '60s and '70s to make Newcastle a 'vertical city'. This was heavily influenced by Brutalism and was designed by T Dan Smith. Remains of suspended walkways and high rise buildings can still be seen in Newcastle today while the Trinity Centre Car Park used in Get Carter, was recently demolished despite its place in pop culture.

Traditional Geordie Food

Finding good restaurants in NewcastleGateshead is incredibly easy as there are so many great places to eat. From fine dining experiences to street food, the NewcastleGateshead food and drink scene is eclectic, varied and one that excites and inspires. You can start your day at any one of our best breakfast spots in Newcastle or pick up a working lunch in any of the independent eateries in Newcastle or Gateshead.

The North East is also known for its traditional British grub and has adapted a number of classic British dishes over time. Whether it's including the scrunchy bits on your fish and chips or honing classic Sunday Roast to perfection, comfort food is the order of the day. You can even find more traditional Geordie foods such as stottie cakes, ham and pease pudding sarnies and Savaloy dips in the Grainger Market while Pan Haggerty is considered a local delicacy and a favourite among stodge lovers. Collectively Newcastle and Gateshead are also home to at least 49 Greggs bakeries, so you'll never be far from a cream cake or sausage roll on your visit.

If you're wild about sea-food, the Northumberland Coast is truly the place to be. Here you'll find the famous Riley's Fish Shack in Tynemouth, while further North, you can unwind by a roaring fire while enjoying fresh Northumbrian mussels, smoked salmon and Craster Kippers.

Lane7, Newcastle

Drinking in NewcastleGateshead

Some of the best nights out in Newcastle start with a drink in hand and if there's one thing the North East does well, it's providing thirsty folk with a drink at the end of a long day. Newcastle's drinking culture is one of the most fun and friendly in the country and our locals will think nothing of chatting to you at the bar to give you recommendations on how to have the best night in town.

You'll find a myriad of great pubs and bars in Newcastle; the only hard part is choosing where to go. Lovers of craft beer are in for a treat in Ouseburn Valley, where you can chug frosty pints from local breweries in the beer garden to the sounds of live music while dog lovers should also be sure to head to Newcastle and Gateshead's dog friendly pubs or to some of Newcastle's most famous bars for colourful cocktails.

The good news for travellers is that the average price of a pint in Newcastle is £3.00 and our signature brew is of course Newcastle Brown Ale, which has been served in the region since 1927.

Famous Places To Visit In Newcastle

There are plenty of historic and cultural sites in NewcastleGateshead and beyond. Why not take your own alternative tour of Newcastle and Gateshead's most famous spots which have featured in film, literature and television. Here's a couple of North East 'Hollywood' hot-spots we'd recommend...

  • Get Carter famously used many parts of Gateshead for filming. The iconic multi-storey car park used in key scenes of the film was sadly demolished in 2008.
  • Crime is rife in NewcastleGateshead... on film. ITV drama series Vera has shot on Town Moor, Duston Staiths, Swan Hunter Shipyard and Hoults Yard.
  • The Angel Of The NorthSt. James' Park and the Theatre Royal also appeared in Ken Loach's award winning 2016 film I, Daniel Blake.
  • Newcastle has had quite the dalliance with Transformers as in 2016, several scenes for The Last Knight were also filmed on Grey Street.
  • Alnwick Castle in Northumberland - This ancient Norman castle has been used for a number of films and TV shows since the 1950s. The most notable are Robin Hood: The Prince Of Thieves, Downton Abbey, Elizabeth, the Harry Potter series and Transformers: The Last Knight.
  • The nearby city of Durham has also seen its fair share of stars. In early 2017, scenes for The Avengers: Infinity Wars were filmed at Durham Cathedral, where lucky fans could spot Chris Hemsworth, Tom Holland and Scarlett Johansson.
  • In 2012, Holy Island in Northumberland was the backdrop for scenes in The Railway Man starring Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman.
  • The Mitre Pub in Benwell has seen episodes of both Byker Grove and Auf Wiedersehen, Pet filmed inside.
  • The beautiful Bamburgh Beach in Northumberland was used for scenes in the 2015 version of Macbeth starring Michael Fassbender and Marrion Cottillard.

Beamish Living Museum, County Durham

Exploring outside NewcastleGateshead

NewcastleGateshead has plenty to see and do within the city, but there's also a world of experiences beyond in nearby Northumberland as well as the Coast. Did you know, that over half of Gateshead is made up of Countryside? If you're visiting NewcastleGateshead for more than one day, pick up a travel pass and use the Metro and bus service to venture to some of the best tourist sites in the North East.

The North East is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the UK with miles of sandy coastline and scenic views; perfect for a day out with the kids, building sandcastles and splashing in the cool North Sea.

The Northumberland countryside also provides the perfect day out thanks to its quaint English villages, National Trust sites and luscious green nature reserves. Whether you want to walk along Hadrian's Wall, discover our Victorian heritage at Beamish Outdoor Museum, go on a nature walk in Kielder or explore the castles and stately homes hidden among the scenery, you'll find a number of surprises outside NewcastleGateshead.

When visiting NewcastleGateshead to spend time as a couple, travelling with friends or looking for places to go with your family, you're guaranteed to find things to do. Check out our Visitor's Guide for more information and plan your visit today.

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