How to live in Newcastle on a student budget and have a good time

Moving to Newcastle from elsewhere in the country can be overwhelming. It seems that this city never sleeps, and – bolstered along by the boundless energy of the Geordies – you might have found yourself partying pretty much non-stop for the first few weeks of your stay here.

Now, it’s gotten to the point where your bank balance is looking a little the worse for wear, but you don’t want to spend the rest of the month confined to your bedroom feeling miserable. Don’t fret! There’s still plenty to do on the cheap in Newcastle.

Where’s cheap for going out?

Not to be deterred by an overdrawn bank balance, many students will quickly find the cheapest nights out in Newcastle are some of the liveliest.

Most nights out start out a round of trebles (or “trebs”) – that’s three shots of vodka or gin with a mixer. Get down to local indie bar The Dog & Parrot for the infamous “three trebs for six quid” offering upon viewing of a valid student card. Other popular trebs bars include Bier Keller and Sinners in the city centre, as well as Osborne’s and Spy Bar in Jesmond.

Next up is the infamous “Digi Mondays” – a Monday night soiree hosted by Digital (located down at the Life Centre, near Central Station). To get 80p entry, all you need to do is shove your name on the Facebook wall before 11pm. Once inside, drinks are £1 until midnight.

Other free entry clubs, pubs, and bars include Rusty’s (highly underrated), Flare’s, Gotham Town, The Mile Castle, Popworld, Switch, and Grey’s Club.

Where’s cheap for eating?

Newcastle City Centre is home to a variety of eateries for every budget, with many located inside Grainger Market, or along the side streets branching off Northumberland St, Grey St, and Grainger St.

Try the Little Italy Italian Deli for a lighthearted Italian lunch that won’t break the bank, or Pani’s Cafe on High Bridge St for Sardinian delights all wrapped up in a low-cost package.

And for possibly the most reasonably-priced meal in Newcastle, head over to Eat4Less on Northumberland St. A firm student favourite, they offer paninis, jacket potatoes, pizzas, burgers, chips, sandwiches and drinks – with most meal combos priced at under £2.

Some honourable mentions:

Newcastle is also home to two 24-hour McDonald’s. There’s the Grainger St branch, and then the significantly larger Northumberland St store – which, if you can manage to stagger there from the Bigg Market, is the best place to head for a 4am cheeseburger and nugget binge.

Where’s cheap for coffee and tea?

Finding somewhere to sip your coffee in peace while you work is always difficult in busy metropolitan cities. Thankfully, Newcastle has a variety of coffee and tea houses that cater to both the quick fix needed to make your 9am lecture and the mid-afternoon study session.

Infamous amongst students and young professionals alike is The Quilliam Brothers Tea Room. Located just off Newcastle University campus, this tea room offers over 60 different teas, as well as artisan coffee and delicious bite-sized desserts. It’s not exactly the cheapest place in Newcastle for coffee (you’d be better off at Greggs, McDonald’s, or Costa), but it’s still reasonably priced considering the interior design, atmosphere, and varied menu.

We’d also like to recommend Pink Lane Coffee, especially for a quick caffeine fix. And if you’re looking for somewhere to work in peace, head down to Flat Caps Coffee in the basement of Tru Knit House, Carliol Square. It’s a little walk from the City Centre but is frequented by freelancers and students alike, offering a calm, aesthetic place to work.

Where’s cheap for Shopping?

Technically, nowhere is cheap for shopping, but if you’re looking to get some clothes for less, your best bet is Northumberland Street. Here, popular chain stores like Primark, H&M, and JD Sports offer year-round sales, bargains and discounts to shoppers on a budget.

Across the street is Eldon Square, which offers more of the same. Further down towards Grainger Street, you’ll find charity shops galore, as well as a selection of popular shops offering one-off vintage pieces, like Retro and Flip Vintage. And just across the water (accessible by the 100 Express shuttle bus departing from Blackett St every 10-15 minutes) is intu Metrocentre; the largest shopping centre in Europe.

What else is there to do?

Newcastle is unique in that it’s technically smack-bang in the middle of the countryside, despite the incredible metropolitan city experience. This means that within the city itself there is an abundance of green spaces, parks, and trails to explore. We offer up Jesmond Dene for your consideration, as well as city-centre haunts Leazes Park and the Town Moor.

Looking for a more music-centred night out? Cheap, local gigs take place at a variety of venues, including The Cluny, Bar Loco, both student unions, ThinkTank?, anywhere Sofar Sounds are, and the O2 Academy.

The Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art sits just over the Millennium bridge and offers free daily tours, as well as an ever-changing roster of incredible exhibitions from both renowned and local artists.

So, don’t worry! Whatever your budget, there’s always going to be something to do in Newcastle.