17 Reasons Newcastle is the Best Place in the UK
Whether it’s because of our industrial heritage, football teams or even Geordie Shore - there’s a multitude of reasons why you might think you know all there is to know about Newcastle upon Tyne. But there’s nothing quite like seeing things with your own eyes, and the North East’s got a few surprising tricks up its sleeve. Newcastle is famed for its friendly folk - all of whom are in-the-know when it comes to the region's hidden treasures. So, let’s see what locals and visitors alike are shouting about - and why Newcastle is one of the best places in the UK to live, work and play.
Natural beauty and the North East go hand-in-hand. From our dramatic coastline to rolling country hills - Tyne & Wear and Northumberland are an outdoor enthusiast's paradise.
1. Beach life
No, you’re not looking at a picture of Cornwall. In fact, most visitors are shocked to discover that the North East is home to some of the most stunning beaches in the country (if not the world!) - and the North East’s numerous stretches of coastline are no strangers to winning awards. Longsands beach (pictured) is just a short Metro ride away from the city centre and is a local favourite - but to discover the region's most stunning coastal scenery, head north to find miles of untouched golden sand.
2. Stunning scenery
One of the best things about Newcastle is being able to leave. Unlike other cities which are surrounded by miles of concrete suburbs, you’ll find stunning scenery right on Newcastle’s doorstep. From Hadrian's Wall (pictured) to Northumberland's rolling hills and historic market towns, the North East is a treat for the eyes - making it incredibly popular among outdoor enthusiasts, walkers, cyclists and adventure sports fans.
3. The garden of Eden
While it may be man-made, the world famous Alnwick Garden is a triumph of nature and nurture combined. A pleasant 40 minute drive north of Newcastle, the Northumberland town of Alnwick is always worth a visit when you’re in the area. Home to Hogwarts (Alnwick Castle) and this stunning contemporary garden, it’s the ideal place to get lost and relax among the flowers on a sunny day.
The North East is a melting pot of cuisine and culture - with restaurants, food markets and cafes galore. For the foodie in you, we’re touching on a couple of Newcastle’s favourites eateries, but the list goes on.
4. Burger heaven
Think you’ve already sampled the best burger there is? Think again. Unless you’ve been to Newcastle’s Fat Hippo (aka burger heaven), you’ve not lived. Serving up a succulent selection of handmade burgers using only the finest ingredients, we challenge any burger fan not to be blown away.
5. Haute cuisine
From local legend and top restaurateur of the region comes Newcastle’s premier eatery. The Michelin Starred Cafe 21 is the brainchild of top local chef Terry Laybourne and combines the best of fine dining and bistro food into this chic yet unpretentious city centre restaurant. Whether it's a special occasion or you just want a taste of the good life, Cafe 21 is the place to see and be seen.
6. Afternoon treats
If you think afternoon tea is a preserve of the south, you can’t have indulged in the decadent delights of Newcastle’s sumptuous Jesmond Dene House. Located just a few minutes outside of the city, the hotel provides welcome respite from the bustling streets. This ultra-luxe eatery serves up some of the best afternoon tea around - making it a local staple for ladies that lunch.
With some of the county’s finest art galleries, theatres and cinemas - it’s no wonder that the North East boasts a big slice of the UK’s best cultural experiences.
7. A little dramatic
Newcastle’s Theatre Royal is one of the North East’s best known landmarks. The recently renovated Grade 1 listed building is one of the most beautiful theatres in the country - regularly playing host to major dramatic and musical productions. The West End’s got nothing on this.
8. Full steam ahead
The Boiler Shop Steamer: this local monthly event brings together the best of the North East’s street food, drink and music - all under one roof. Offering everything from exotic Asian delights to gourmet pub grub to the region's best local ales, it’s a celebration of the best of the North East and should be a fixture on every local’s calendar.
9. A creative capital
Sitting pretty on the south bank of the River Tyne, the historic Baltic Flour Mill is now home to one of the country’s most important centres for contemporary art. Featuring an ever-changing array of immersive and dynamic exhibitions from the world’s leading contemporary artists, as well as rising local talent, the Baltic leads the pack when it comes to art galleries.
10. A film buff’s paradise
Screening everything from old classics to arthouse to Hollywood blockbusters, the Tyneside Cinema is a film buff's paradise. This historic independent cinema is housed in a listed building and has been fully restored to its art deco roots. With excellent food and drink on offer, and a splash of quirkiness - it’s one of the best places in the UK to catch your favourite flick.
With a rich history dating back nearly 2000 years, the North East’s epicentre - Newcastle upon Tyne - has its roots firmly planted in the Roman empire. Starting as an outpost along Hadrian's wall, the city grew and developed through the industrial revolution into the thriving cosmopolitan Newcastle we know today. With its story stretching back centuries, it’s no wonder you’ll find some of the UK’s best historic sites and architecture in the North East.
11. Britain’s best street
Newcastle’s historic Grey Street is regularly voted Britain’s most beautiful street - and with it’s stunning historic architecture it’s easy to see why. With listed buildings are far as the eye can see - Grey Street is the jewel in the city centre’s crown.
12. Newcastle’s Castle
Wondering where Newcastle got it’s name? You’re looking right at it. The ‘New Castle’ was built on a defensive site established in Roman times and is widely considered one of the finest Norman stone castles in existence. Having been carefully restored by the Old Newcastle Project, Newcastle Castle and the Black Gate are now open as a year round public visitor attraction, offering stunning panoramic views of the city from its rooftop.
No list of Newcastle’s biggest pulling points would be complete without mentioning its world-famous nightlife. And whether you want to ‘get on it like a car bonnet’ or just fancy a quiet afternoon sampling our famous local ales, nowhere does it better than the North East.
13. A pint with a view
Newcastle’s Free Trade Inn is the stuff of local legend. Serving up local craft beers and ales, and sporting what is arguably one of best views from any pub in the UK, you can head down at sunset to watch Newcastle’s glittering quayside come to life.
14. Glitzy nightlife
If you want to party in true Newcastle style - no visit to the glitzy metropolis would be complete without a trip down Newcastle’s ‘Diamond Strip’. Home to Geordie Shore, this is where you’ll find all the action - with locals, students and visitors alike donning their finest and hitting some of the UK’s best bars and clubs. End your night at BONBAR, Newcastle’s newest party venue - where the local glitterati go to party up a storm. This elegant art-deco inspired bar is set in a stunning historic ballroom and is the ultimate place to see and be seen - putting on parties that put the Great Gatsby to shame.
15. Off-beat beverages
Not everyone likes to march to the beat of the same drum - and if Newcastle’s notorious Bigg Market doesn’t appeal, we weren’t kidding when we said this city has something for everyone! Take a stroll to Newcastle’s wonderfully hip Pilgrim street and sample the country’s best cocktails among a lively crowd at Alvinos Bar.
The North East has a thriving live music scene, with its buzzing metropolis offering countless live music events any night of the week. From soaking up local talent in its numerous pubs and independent music venues, to dancing the night away to the world’s biggest pop stars in its arenas and stadiums - there’s something for everyone.
16. An audiophiles paradise
Rising from Gateshead’s quayside, this metal and glass marvel of modern construction is home to some of the country’s most acoustically perfect music venues. Regularly playing host to live music of all genres - the Sage is the ideal place to experience music at its finest. Visit the Sage Gateshead’s website to find out what’s on.
17. Intimate gigs
The Cluny is something of local legend in the North East. Situated in Newcastle’s creative capital - the Ouseburn Valley - this intimate venue regularly hosts live music from both local and international talent. If music isn't your thing, fear not - the Cluny has plenty more to offer. With an unfathomable selection of real ales and lagers, many of which are from independent breweries, it’s a beer lover's paradise - and it’s regularly voted as one of the best bars in the country!
Still not convinced?
It would take us a lifetime to list of all of Newcastle’s treats and hidden treasures, so why not come and see first-hand what makes this city so great? Whether you want to sample Newcastle’s buzzing nightlife or drink in some of Northumberland’s stunning scenery - you’ll find the perfect place to stay with Cottages in Northumberland. Our wide range of self-catering Northumberland and Tyne & Wear holiday homes, cottages and apartments cater to all tastes. From Newcastle city breaks to coastal cottages - your Northern escape is just a few clicks away.