10 Free things to do in Newcastle
Sarah Marsh - March 1, 2019
Sarah Marsh - March 1, 2019
You’re a student so – let’s face it – you’re probably sticking to a tight budget. Don’t worry! There are plenty of places to go and things to do in Newcastle which will cost you absolutely nothing.
During your time in Newcastle, one thing you can’t miss is the Gateshead Millennium Bridge. An icon of the Geordie skyline – the bridge has attracted visitors from around the world, and has been featured on a stamp and a pound coin! However, the Millennium Bridge is as much a feat of engineering as it is a landmark. It’s the world’s first – and only – tilting bridge, and will lean to one side to allow boats to pass underneath. Plus, it’s lit up by thousands of LED lights every day and there’s usually a light show at the weekend. Take a walk along Gateshead Quayside to see it for yourself!
Over the last 20 years, the Angel of the North has become one of the most famous pieces of British public art. It’s visited by 150,000 people every year, but is seen by thousands of people every day as they drive up the A1. Made from 200 tonnes of steel and standing at 20m tall – and 54m wide – the Angel has become a face of Newcastle and the North East. It’s an unmissable piece of British art and culture.
The Laing Art Gallery is home to a collection of internationally renowned art. The gallery specialises in showcasing British oil paintings, watercolours, silver and glassware, and ceramics.
On the ground floor of the Laing is the Northern Spirit gallery which displays outstanding artwork and objects produced locally by people including Thomas Bewick, Ralph Hedley and John Martin. You can also see Newcastle silver, glass, and ceramics on show. Also on the ground floor is the shop, café, learning space, and the beautiful Marble Hall, which is occupied by artworks by Henry Moore and Turner Prize nominee Paul Noble.
Temporary exhibitions and workshops are held regularly, showcasing a huge variety of British and international art while events including artist and curator talks are held regularly.
The Laing Art Gallery is located in the heart of the city centre, just a ten minute walk from Newcastle University and a two minute walk from Monument metro station. General entry is free and the gallery offers a 10% discount for students.
The BALTIC Centre prides itself as an institution of contemporary art. It sits on the south bank of the River Tyne, overlooking the Millennium Bridge, in a refurbished flour mill. Art exhibitions span across six floors, all of which intend to inspire and educate viewers about the world around them. To date, BALTIC has showcased the work of nearly 400 artists, including musicians, sculptors, speakers, and designers. Entry, and some guided tours are free – however, some events and workshops may be ticketed.
One of the first science museums opened outside London, the Discovery Museum is now dedicated to the history of Newcastle and Tyneside – and its importance in British scientific, technological, and maritime history. Alongside a selection of permanent displays, temporary exhibitions and interactive workshops are hosted throughout the year. Entry to the museum is free, but tickets to some events may need to be bought online in advance.
The Great North Museum: Hancock is Newcastle’s natural history museum and on campus for Newcastle University students. Permanent exhibitions walk you from pre-historic times (complete with a full-size T-rex replica skeleton), through the Ice Age and the Iron Age, to ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome.
Between May and October this year, the museum is also delighted to host the cast of Dippy – The Natural History Museum’s iconic cast of a diplodocus skeleton. Other displays teach you about the history of the Tyneside region, as well as other places around the world. A highlight of the Great North is the Planetarium. Shows are ticketed, but they’re an experience you won’t want to miss.
As well as exhibiting an art collection spanning hundreds of years, the Hatton Gallery works closely with Newcastle University – and displays student work every year. Permanent and temporary exhibitions include paintings, sculptures, and installations of historical significance, and a huge variety of contemporary art pieces. Films, talks, and workshops are also held throughout the year.
Jesmond Dene is a small area of parkland within Newcastle city centre. The park itself is a great location to spend a day, and any visit can’t be without a trip to Pets Corner. Here you’ll find a small sanctuary of animals to see, including alpacas, pot-bellied pigs, sheep, and goats. Plus, there’s a visitor centre and a cafe nearby.
The Tyneside Bar Cafe, part of the independent Tyneside Cinema, hosts a free film screening every Sunday from 10:30am. Food and drink is available from their Brunch menu throughout the screening. It’s a great, relaxing way to start your Sunday before you go off to explore the city – or head back to the library. While it is a free event, it’s recommended that you book a table to make sure you get a seat. Tyneside Bar Cafe also hosts events throughout the week, but most are ticketed.
Ouseburn Farm is a working farm nestled right in the heart of Newcastle. A trip here will introduce you to lots of animals, including sheep, cows, pigs, and some small reptiles. You can also take a walk through working gardens and orchards – the produce of which is served in the cafe on site.
Tell us how we can help you
Which year are you booking for?