If you are planning a city break oozing with culture and heritage, then look no further than Newcastle and Gateshead.

England’s most northerly city is a vibrant destination for a weekend away in the UK. Whether you're exploring by foot or escooter and need some prompts for where to start or heading out on a guided tour, make sure to see Newcastle and Gateshead's iconic cultural landmarks.

There are many cultural activities in Newcastle and Gateshead to tick off while you explore so, to get you started, we've created a round up of 13 cultural hotspots and venues you must include in your weekend’s itinerary.

Grey’s Monument

Greys Monument

Earl Grey sits atop Grey’s Monument in the centre of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. The iconic cultural landmark dates back to 1838 and commemorates the local politician’s involvement in passing the Reform Act of 1832. For a bird’s eye view, head to local bar and restaurant The Botanist and sip an imaginative cocktail as you marvel at the 134ft column.

Don't miss some great places to eat near Grey's Monument.

Watch Gateshead Millennium Bridge Tilt

Wandering along the Quayside is a great way to soak up the culture in Newcastle and Gateshead. The River Tyne is flanked on both sides by vibrant restaurants and bars as well as art galleries, music venues and not to mention the seven iconic bridges which span this section of the river. Gateshead Millennium Bridge is a feat of engineering and well worth of a visit when you are in the North East of England. Watch the bridge tilt from the Quayside or better still, from Sage Gateshead’s concourse – home of music - or BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art’s viewing platform which a Gateshead cultural venue which is very deserving of a mention within this list.

Angel of the North

Angelofthe North

Take a photo at the feet of the Angel of the North which has cut a dramatic figure on the Gateshead horizon since 1998 and continues to survey the North East landscape. A symbol of home and pride for many Geordies, the Angel is as spectacular up-close when you get a real sense of its impressive scale. 

Discovery Museum

There are many free museums in Newcastle to explore including Discovery Museum which is bursting with the North East’s history through the years. One of the most popular exhibits tells the story of Turbinia - the first ship to be powered by a steam turbine.

Central Arcade, Newcastle

Central Arcade Newcastle

Newcastle’s Central Arcade is a beautiful example of Victorian architecture in Newcastle and showcases a stylish domed glass roof and ornate finishes. Take a stroll through from Grainger Street to Newcastle’s famous and equally striking Grey Street.

Bessie Surtees House

Bessie Surtees House on Newcastle’s Quayside is a fine example of Jacobean architecture and dates back to the 16th century. Browse the dark wood paneling and intricate ceilings of the historic interiors as well as explore the changing exhibitions that are on display. The building is also home to English Heritage’s offices so you will be able to find out lots of things to do along Hadrian’s Wall and at their nearby stately homes, priories and gardens.

Grainger Market

Newcastle’s city centre undercover market is a hive of activity six days a week and offers a different cultural experience for visitors to the toon. Bargain hunters looking to visit Newcastle will love a browse of the many stalls in Grainger Market. Pick up locally sourced produce, crafts and clothing. Tuck into street food or simply admire the light and airy architecture of the Grade 1 Listed indoor market.

Blackfriars Restaurant and Parlour Bar

Blackfriars Restaurant Newcastle

Newcastle and Gateshead are becoming well known destinations for foodies. Try local and independent restaurant Blackfriars which has a mouth-watering and award-winning menu as well as being a must-see cultural hot spot. Housed in one of Newcastle’s oldest buildings, Blackfriars has a very interesting and often gruesome history so why not ask the friendly staff for the lowdown on the medieval friary turned restaurant.

Victoria Tunnel

Once a means of transporting coal to the River Tyne and a World War 2 air raid shelter, Victoria Tunnel has had many uses over the years. Now it is a must-see cultural attraction – visitors looking for cultural activities in Newcastle will enjoy hearing more about the history of the unique heritage hot spot in Ouseburn. Aside from regular tours, the tunnel also hosts a diverse and creative event programme throughout the year which includes live music gigs, family activities and even Tipple in the Tunnel with the expert sommeliers from neighbouring Hotel Du Vin.

Step into another world at the theatre

Experience vibrant contemporary culture at the theatre in Newcastle with a diverse, provocative and heart-stopping programme whether that’s at the two oldest theatres in the city – Tyne Theatre and Opera House or Theatre Royal Newcastle, or part of the thought-provoking and cutting edge performances which make up the packed programmes at Live Theatre and Northern Stage

Tyne Theatre and Opera House also host a monthly behind-the-scenes tour where their guides will share the venue's fascinating history and take you below stage to discover the original mechanics which date back to the late 1800s.

Newcastle Castle

Newcastle Castle

Newcastle Castle is a must-visit cultural attraction in Newcastle. It is one of the oldest buildings in Newcastle and the very reason the city has its name. You might be surprised to find out some gruesome facts about Newcastle Castle.

Newcastle Cathedral

Beside the castle is Newcastle Cathedral - one of the city’s cathedrals which is another spectacular example of Newcastle’s medieval history.

The Lit and Phil

You will feel very cultured after a visit to The Lit and Phil which is not far from Newcastle Central Station. For nearly 200 years, The Lit and Phil has been a cultural hub for book lovers and people passionate about literature and is home to over 160,000 books. The Lit & Phil is fast becoming a cultural centre for the North East, a writers’ paradise and literary destination; hosting regular events, book launches, poetry readings and lectures.

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