City Guide



Introduction to Newcastle

Newcastle was established as a defensive settlement along Hadrian’s Wall, built to guard England against the Scots more than 2,000 years ago. The city takes its name from a ‘new’ kind of castle that was constructed as part of the fortifications in the 1200s. Newcastle grew into a busy trading area for exports like wool and coal through its coastal connections and became the home of several Christian monasteries and nunneries.

Its bridges have come to symbolise the city, which stretch across the River Tyne to connect to Gateshead in the south. The most famous of which is the Tyne Bridge, which was opened by King George V in 1928. Although the city is one of the coldest in England - with an average low of seven Degrees Celsius - the 270,000 Geordie people of Newcastle are renowned for their hospitality as well as their baffling regional accent. The warmth and friendliness of this city could be one of the reasons why 42,000 students choose Newcastle as their home from home.

The City

The heart of the city or ‘the toon’, as it is commonly known by the Geordies, stretches inland a square mile from St Nicholas Cathedral near the Tyne Bridge to the university complexes on the outskirts. Eldon Shopping Centre is the major mall in the city and there is a busy train station and quayside.


Newcastle and Northumbria universities are beacons for the city’s cheap pubs, restaurants and clubs. Although it is mainly a business area, Haymarket is home to some of the city’s cultural attractions, such as the Northern Stage gallery and theatre, as well as to the city bus station, pool and civic centre. The Church of St Thomas the Martyr is a prominent landmark in the area.


International students can find out more about Newcastle’s industry and many bridges that cross the River Tyne by visiting the Quayside. The up-market restaurants and bars provide stunning panoramas of the waterway as well as much of the city’s evening entertainment. A cycle route along the river takes bikers as far as Tynemouth and North Shields in the east to Hexham in the west.

Central Station

The Central Station area harbours the rail and coach connections in the city. It is also home to the entertainment venues that form part of Newcastle’s gay scene. Central Station attractions merge the old and the new, with Newcastle Cathedral reverberating from the Metro Radio Arena’s big gigs. Visitors can find the Discovery Museum and Journal Tyne Theatre here.

Grainger Town

International students will find bargains galore at Grainger Market, which was the largest under-cover market in Europe when it was opened in the 1830s. It mainly sells food, but hosts an arts and crafts fair once and month and is the new home of Newcastle fish market. Come here to stare at neo-classical architecture, which includes the Theatre Royal and Grey’s Monument.


Much of the low-cost accommodation is located here, at St James Metro Station by Newcastle United Football Club ground. Some pubs and cafes are scattered around the vicinity, but it’s mainly a place for wholesome pursuits like tennis, bowling and basketball in Leazes Park that hosts Newcastle’s annual Green Festival.