Newcastle upon Tyne Guide

About Newcastle

Newcastle-Upon-Tyne received its funny name way back in the 2nd century, when it was a Roman settlement. They called it Pons Aelius, which translated into Latin as Novum Castrum super Tynum, or Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. Most locals prefer to shorten it to Newcastle.

In the Middle Ages Newcastle was considered a stronghold and northern England’s prime fortress. It defended itself well and never came under foreign rule again. By 1530 a royal act gave Newcastle monopoly on the coal trade. Newcastle expanded rapidly because of it and continued to defend their king and grow economically by way of coal, glass, shipbuilding and print. By the 19th century, the area was an Industrial Revolution powerhouse that thrived due to new engineering technology in the shipbuilding field. Even as industries declined in the 20th century, Newcastle held on by way of office business and retail and the later addition of tourism.

The city, which was an epicenter during the Middle Ages, still retains much of the medieval nature. It has many narrow alley ways that give way to major pedestrian areas. Much of the ancient 14th century stairwells and the Castle Keep are still in their original spots. The area largely developed during the Industrial Revolution, and maintains a good mix of medieval and neoclassic beauty throughout.

Today the city is continually demolishing the old in favor of the new. There have been many renovations and new projects in recent years and the city’s Byker Wall was recently named on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. The city is also well known for its thriving Chinatown district and has some of the best modern Chinese culture in Europe.

When to go

Newcastle has a typical temperate English climate that is influenced by the Gulf Stream. It is also one of the driest cities in the UK. In January temps are around 5C while in July they reach about 18C.

Any time of year is great to go since Newcastle has such mild weather. Chinatown hosts a huge New Year’s bash called EAST08 while February brings the AV Festival, the largets UK festival of electronic arts. Spring gives way to the Newcastle Beer Festival and EAT!, a huge food and drink fest .in the summer there is also The Hoppings, Europe’s largest traveling fair as well as the Carnival Day in July.

Getting there

By Rail: Newcastle Central Station is right at the city centre with direct links to many main stations like London King’s Cross, Carlisle, Teesside, Liverpool, and Yorkshire.

By Air: The Newcastle International Airport provides direct connects to many of the top international and UK airports. It is also a quick 8 miles from the city center.

By Sea: The North Shields International Ferry Terminal links Newcastle with Scandinavia and the rest of Northern Europe.

By Road: The A1 motorway leads directly from London, the South, Scotland, and other major areas into Newcastle.

Getting around

Walk: Most of the city centre is compact and pedestrian zoned so walking is one of the best ways to get around Newcastle.

Board: The metro also provides quick city access and goes to many areas including the airport, Jesmond’s bar scene, and the coast. Bus services are also frequent in Newcastle. The new Quaylink is also low emission and state of the art; therefore by riding your doing your part to help the environment. This line links to the Haymarket, Monument, Gateshead Interchange, Central Station, Newcastle Quayside, and the Gateshead Quays.

Ride: There are hundreds of taxis that participate in the ambassador programme in Newcastle. There are also plenty of car hires by way of companies like Avis, Europcar, and Hertz.

Bike: Tynebikes provides ample equipment and services for cycle routes around Newcastle. It is a very bike oriented destination.


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