Top 10 must sees in NewcastleGateshead

Newcastle and Gateshead are such diverse places to visit that you'll never find yourself short of things to do in the North East. With so much to see, it's easy to see why it was voted favourite UK city by the Guardian and Observer Travel Awards. With its unique culture, modern attractions and countless historic sights, both Newcastle and Gateshead have a number of must-see attractions for first time tourists or seasoned residents alike.

We've highlighted our favourite 'Must See' sights and locations in Newcastle and Gateshead so that you don't miss a trick when it comes to exploring the North East. From a world renowned modern art gallery to a cosmopolitan shopping mall, our region has something for everybody. Whether you're travelling in NewcastleGateshead on foot, by Metro, bus, or bike, there are so many ways you can see the city's must-see attractions using our easily accessible transport system - who knows, you might even manage a few of our favourite 'Must Sees' in one day....

BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead

1. BALTIC Centre For Contemporary Art

BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art is often referred to as one of the cultural jewels in the Quayside's crown. Located on the Gateshead side of the River Tyne, overlooking the picturesque Quayside itself, BALTIC is the largest contemporary art institution of its kind in the world.

Located inside a re-purposed flour mill, BALTIC has an ever-changing calendar of exhibitions and activities created by a number of the world's most prominent figures in art, design and architecture. From hosting the Turner Prize exhibition in 2011 to a 2015 exhibition devoted to film star Bill Murray, BALTIC is a must-visit attraction for visitors and locals who want to inject a little culture into their trip.

You'll also find quirky and unique souvenirs in BALTIC gift shop, or you can enjoy a slice of cake with a cuppa at the BALTIC Kitchen, overlooking the Gateshead Millenium Bridge. For those looking to get a true view of North East foodie culture, head up to the top floor where you'll find the award-winning SIX Bar and Restaurant which provides stunning panoramic views across the Tyne and one of the finest a'la carte dining experiences in Gateshead.

Newcastle Castle

2. Newcastle Castle Keep

It wouldn't be a visit to Newcastle without catching a glimpse of the castle to which Newcastle owes its name. Newcastle Castle and Keep dates back to 1178 and is one of the finest examples of Norman stone in Britain. Originally, the site was occupied by a Roman fort and settlement known as Pons Aelius.

The 'New' stone Castle Keep we see today was built in the early 12th century by William II with the black gate later added. Many city tours will take you to the Keep and allow you access to its turrets where you can admire views across the city. There's also a wide-ranging event programme to suit all ages which includes everything from guided visits, re-enactments and exhibitions to film screenings, theatre performances and murder mystery plays.

Best of all, this fascinating relic of Newcastle's namesake and history is located in the heart of the city centre, a mere 10-minute walk from Central Station.

Life Science Centre, Planetarium experience

3. Life Science Centre

The award-winning Life Science Centre in Newcastle is perfect for a fun, family day out.

Life Science Centre is located a short walk from Newcastle Central Station and boasts excellent seasonal exhibitions, a 4D motion simulator ride, live science shows and the North East's biggest planetarium, all under one roof. Life Science Centre is great for kids of all ages and is a popular school trip destination thanks to the spectacular way it brings science to life.

Better still, visit Life Science Centre during winter and you'll find the largest outdoor ice rink in NewcastleGateshead situated just outside in Times Square. The ice rink is ideal for celebrating Christmas and is sure to get you in the festive spirit. Be sure to check our site for upcoming special exhibitions and events which take place all year round.

intu Metrocentre, Gateshead

4. intu Metrocentre

Taking inspiration from America's popular shopping malls is intu Metrocentre, which has remained Europe's largest indoor shopping and leisure centre since it was opened in 1986. intu Metrocentre is simply retail heaven for those hunting for luxury goods, high street deals or a fashion bargain. Host to everything from high street store favourites such as Topshop and H&M to unique one-off shops and boutiques, intu Metrocentre is also equipped with three department stores and a nearby retail park to meet all of your shopping needs.

Once you've shopped 'til you've dropped, you can also enjoy the luxury of one of the region's largest IMAX cinemas and over 50 recently refurbished eateries which serve up almost every type of cuisine. You can even let the kids loose in intu Metrocentre's games arcade while you indulge in a spot of retail therapy.

Angel of the North, Gateshead

5. Angel Of The North

When many people think of NewcastleGateshead, one of the sights that springs to mind is the iconic Angel Of The North. Standing at 20 metres high and 54 metres wide, this striking work of public art by Sir Antony Gormley was completed in 1998 on the hill in Birtley to overlook the scenic Gateshead landscape. Constructed in Hartlepool using weather-resistant steel, the statue is admired by over 150,000 visitors a year and is said to signify the transition from an industrial to an information age.

The Angel has long dominated the Gateshead skyline and has over time become an awe-inspiring symbol of North East pride and culture. Stand at its feet and admire the surrounding views of Gateshead, or be sure to get a snap of yourself with this legendary Northern giant.

St James' Park stadium, home of Newcastle United Football Club

6. St James' Park

Football is one of Newcastle and Gateshead's greatest passions, so it's no surprise that St. James' Park is a mecca for soccer fans and Newcastle United F.C. supporters alike.

St James' Park is of course home to Newcastle's very own football club, Newcastle United and it stands as one of the most popular and visited monuments in the region. With an atmosphere that is second to none on a match day, with cheers and chants ringing out across the city, a day out at St. James' Park is a must for any footie lover.

If you miss a match, why not join a behind the scenes tour of St James' Park which will allow you to see the pitch, changing rooms and trophy cabinets as well as the chance to spot some of the teams locally based football stars.

Theatre Royal Newcastle

7. Theatre Royal

You can't beat a night at the theatre in NewcastleGateshead. Newcastle's Theatre Royal is the central attraction of the beautiful Georgian Grey Street and is one of only nine Grade I listed theatre halls in the country. Often regarded as one of the finest theatres in England, Theatre Royal hosts over 300 shows each year, which are enjoyed by over 300,000 visitors.

Home to the National Theatre, Opera North and the Rambert Dance Company and with regular visits from the Royal Shakespeare Company, a varied and fantastic array of productions take place on the historic stage. Theatre Royal's acclaimed pantomime is a guaranteed sell out each year, delighting younger audiences and children around Christmas-time. Musicals, comedy, plays, dance and performances pull huge crowds of theatre-goers and first-timers alike.

For an extra thrill, ask any of the staff to regale you with the Theatre Royal's ghost stories and hear about the alleged haunting of The Grey Lady or the fire which took place in 1899 after a performance of the supposedly cursed 'Scottish Play'.

Tyneside Cinema Newcastle

8. Tyneside Cinema

Tyneside Cinema is Newcastle's finest independent cinema which was conceived, designed and built by Dixon Scott; the great uncle of world-famous directors Sir Ridley and Tony Scott.

Opened in 1937 as a newsreel theatre, the Grade II listed building was restored in the late 2000s to preserve the grand decor which is heavily influenced by the 1920s Art Deco style. Ever since, it has been a huge part of Newcastle's culture and nightlife, hosting everything from exclusive screenings and director Q&A's to all-night film festivals, weddings and industry events.

From Hollywood silver screen offerings, Oscar-nominated movies, independent films and the best of world cinema, the Tyneside Cinema provides a beautiful setting to enjoy the best films that the industry has to offer. Cinema-goers can now also enjoy a drink or two at Tyneside Cafe or grab a coffee at Vicolo next door. 

Sage Gateshead, image by Rich Kenworthy

9. Sage Gateshead

It's hard to miss Sage Gateshead when walking along the Quayside as this unique building dominates the Gateshead skyline. Opened in 2004, this music venue has been named as one of the top five concert halls on the planet and showcases music and performances of almost every genre; from world-renowned classical and jazz artists to indie and folk acts.

The curved glass and stainless steel design is fantastic to look at from a distance, but inside you will find three performance spaces which are built and modified to improve the acoustics of whatever music is playing.

Sage Gateshead also hosts a number of the North East's most popular events and boasts a luxurious brasserie which is great for catching dinner and a drink before a concert. Why not check out who is performing at Sage Gateshead while you're in town, as past acts have included Blondie, Nick Cave, Nancy Sinatra and Grace Jones, to name a few.

Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle

10. Great North Museum: Hancock

Great North Museum: Hancock, previously known as the Hancock Museum, was established in 1884 and is Newcastle's museum of natural history. Featuring pieces from Newcastle University's Museum of Antiquities, the Shefton Museum and the Hatton Gallery, the Great North Museum boasts key exhibits such as a replica model of Hadrian's Wall, a collection of plants and animals, artifacts of the Ancient Greeks and even an Ancient Egyptian mummy.

There's also a number of art works, a life-size replica of a T-Rex and a planetarium for both children and adults to enjoy. Many of the exhibitions are interactive making the Great North Museum a brilliant family day out and thanks to its free entry, an ideal spot for school trips.

This Victorian style building is located right next to Newcastle University and visitors can find the entrance to one of the air raid shelter openings which leads to the Victoria Tunnels, making it a must-see spot in the North East.

These are just a handful of the best must-see sights in NewcastleGateshead as there are countless things to do in the North East. If you're looking for tourist attractions in Newcastle and Gateshead, or planning your visit, why not explore our dedicated section on Things To Do in NewcastleGateshead for more activities and attractions or try our What's On for up-to-date events taking place in the area.

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