You’ve braved the chill of the North and are hopefully settling into your year at uni in Newcastle upon Tyne – the mythical city full of fabled “Geordies”.
So far though, everyone’s been quite agreeable (or ‘canny’, as the Geordies say), you’re attending lectures and happy you’ve made Newcastle your home. What’s next?
Well, Newcastle may be relatively small compared to other UK cities (think the endless streets of Manchester, Birmingham, and London) but it’s bustling with people, culture, activities, and great new places to explore.
Read on to find out our top five things to do as a student in Newcastle!
1. “Gan doon the toon”
Newcastle is renowned for its nightlife. For a small city, the Geordies are prolific partiers, attracting hen and stag do’s every weekend from as far afield as you can imagine. For a classier night out (read: dresses, heels, shirts, and slacks), get down to the Diamond Strip by Central Station.
There, you’ll find clubs like Bijoux, House of Smith, Perdu, and Tup Tup Palace – all considered more ‘upmarket’ by locals. Try getting into any of these in anything less than your best chinos and polo and you’ll have a disappointing evening, pet!
For a more student-friendly environment (and admittedly, a younger crowd), consider Digital, a 2,200 capacity club heralded as ‘the Fabric of the North’. Ranked 11th best nightclub in the world, Digital (affectionately referred to as “Digi” by locals) is the place to go for all-night dancers and fans of big-name DJs.
And, for a more rave-centred experience, check out World Headquarters. Tucked away on Carliol Street, WHQ (or “Worldies”) is home to a constantly changing lineup of themed parties, raves, and DJ residencies.
2. See Fenwick’s Christmas Window
Every Christmas, world-famous department store Fenwick’s boards up their window for a few weeks. Behind the shroud of mystery, talented window dressers put together a magical display that’s been enchanting youngsters and their parents alike for years now.
Each year brings with it a brand new theme, with moving parts, music, and a wholesome story interwoven across the series of window panels. The queue is usually long, but if you time it right you could be standing face-to-face with whichever magical creation Fenwick’s has deemed an appropriate Christmas mascot.
3. Let’s go to the beach, beach…
Newcastle isn’t a coastal town, per se, but it is only a half hour drive from the East Coast. There, you’ll find seaside towns and resorts like Tynemouth, South Shields, and North Shields – all of which are located along the Metro line conveniently available to catch from the Newcastle city centre.
We’re not going to pretend the North Sea is your ideal sunbathing destination – although it gets remarkably temperate during Summer – but the East Coast is a fantastic destination for a walk along the beach, a packet of traditional fish and chips, or a 99 with a flake.
4. Go to a gig!
Whether you’re into comedy, live jazz, theatre, or heavy metal – Newcastle is a popular tour destination for musicians, comedians, and shows alike. Check out venues like the Metro Radio Arena; which has hosted the likes of Take That, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Oasis, and One Direction over the years.
For a smaller, more intimate venue that still packs a punch with its max 2,000 capacity, take a look at the O2 Academy Newcastle event page. For tickets, your go-to site is Ticketmaster, where fans have secured tix to see artists like Bugzy Malone, The Prodigy, Adele, and The Libertines.
For comedy, Newcastle is home to popular indie venue The Stand. This High Bridge comedy venue has hosted headliners like Frankie Boyle and Jason Cook in the last year alone and theatre lovers will be spoilt for choice, with big-name shows on at both the Theatre Royal and Northern Stage all year round.
5. Go shopping
Now, we aren’t encouraging reckless spending of your student loan by any means, but if you are partial to a spot of retail therapy every now and again then Newcastle is the place to be.
The town centre is home to Intu Eldon Square – a shiny, modern looking retail palace that boasts big-name shops like Debenhams, John Lewis, and Next, as well as newer additions like Lush, Topshop, and Schuh.
The rest of the town offers plenty alternative shopping experiences; from JD Sports on Northumberland Street to the charity shops scattered on and around the length of Grainger Street.
For stylish students on the lookout for bargains and unique pieces, vintage stores like Flip Vintage and Retro are easily accessible on foot (all you need is Google Maps and a knack for finding your way around various nooks and crannies).
Plus, the town centre offers an express bus link to Gateshead’s Metro Centre – a five mall shopping emporium that until recently was the largest in Europe. There, you’ll find every chain store imaginable; a recently renovated food court, the Odeon cinema, and NAMCO’s funscape (situated conveniently opposite a McDonald’s).
If we were to list everything that’s available to do in Newcastle it would take all day. Instead, we recommend that you go out there and explore for yourselves! Still, there are a few honourable mentions we’d like to put down as suggestions:
- Drink a bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale
- Attend a Newcastle United match
- Go to the Sunday Quayside market
- Go ice skating at the Centre for Life
We hope you enjoy your time in one of the North’s most iconic cities.