Whether you’re checking into a Newcastle hotel for a big event or a big day out, it’s worth taking time to sample some of the city’s many cultural hotspots while you’re here. From museums and galleries to one-off exhibitions, the Toon has more than its fair share of high-brow highlights. And, with a huge population of students, the cultural scene is always kept fresh and interesting.
Culture in Newcastle
With a wealth of both public and commercial galleries large and small, you’ll find artists from the classical to the contemporary on display in Newcastle.
Although it only opened in 2002, the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art has a history that goes back centuries - it’s housed in a beautiful old flour mill. The biggest gallery of its kind in the world, the BALTIC is a world-class cultural attraction right on the River Tyne, holding exhibitions from the likes of Damien Hirst and Yoko Ono.
Since it was founded in 1901, the Laing Art Gallery has boasted an internationally important collection of British paintings, ceramics, silver and glassware. Its ornate vaulted galleries are the perfect setting for everything from pre-Raphaelite masterpieces to twentieth century classics.
Housed in a former Victorian warehouse in the heart of Newcastle’s cultural quarter, The Biscuit Factory is a commercial art gallery. Over two floors, you’ll find exciting displays of fine art, sculpture, original prints and jewellery, quality craftsmanship and beautifully designed homeware - and if you fall in love with something, you can buy it to take home.
Newcastle’s museums are packed with natural history, industrial heritage and scientific discoveries. But they’re also fabulously hands-on, with plenty of storytelling and historical reconstructions to bring the past to life. Staying at our Newcastle City Centre (The Gate) hotel? You’ll find you’re in the perfect location to see them all.
Explore the maritime, scientific and industrial history of the North East at the Discovery Museum. Wander around the Turbinia steam boat, watch a science show or crack the enigma code; there’s lots here for the whole family to discover.
In 1884, Newcastle-born ornithologist and trailblazing taxidermist, John Hancock, founded the Great North Museum: Hancock. Take a trip to the stars in the planetarium or around the natural world with everything from live animal tanks and an aquarium, to fossils and archaeological finds.
From picture books to teen fiction, Seven Stories celebrates the best-loved books for children. With unique displays of artwork and manuscripts, as well as talks and storytelling events, old and young bookworms will find lots to inspire them.
Got a passion for science? Join the 250,000 visitors that head to the Life Science Centre each year. Find out what’s going on inside your brain, discover how real science experiments are done, explore the stars and take a 4D motion ride. You have all the scientific elements for a great day out!
Time to explore a different aspect of Newcastle culture - the student side! With students flocking here from all over the country, the city’s cultural scene is kept fresh and diverse. They’re drawn here by the city’s rich history, sporting passion and diverse nightlife. Is it any wonder that one in every six people in Newcastle is a student?
Thinking of studying at Newcastle University? You’ll be following in the footsteps of journalist Kate Adie, Rowan Atkinson and politician Mo Mowlam, while Dr Martin Luther King Jr received an honorary degree from the University in 1967. Even if you’re just paying a visit for a graduation or open day, you’ll find a warm welcome, buzzing nightlife and a campus that attracts students from all over the country.
With one buzzing city campus and one that’s out in the leafy suburbs, Northumbria University offers the best of both worlds. Previous students have included musician Sting and rugby hero Jonny Wilkinson. With an excellent Students’ Union, some buzzing bars and music venues, and a great range of sports facilities, expect a vibrant and varied student life.
One of the UK’s largest vocational training facilities, Newcastle College was formed in 1972, but can trace its roots right back to 1894. Offering mainly vocational courses, you can’t help but be blown away with its facilities - its Lifestyle Academy has its own gym, spa and award-winning restaurant, while its Performance Academy has its own theatre and record label.
With plenty of large and smaller spaces, it’s no wonder Newcastle’s exhibition calendar is packed to the brim with conventions and events.
From tourism awards to entrepreneur forums, you’ll find a range of events at Sage Gateshead. Its two halls offer great acoustics and state-of-the-art technical facilities, sitting alongside other smaller rooms, as well as a café, bars and a restaurant with stunning views.
Located at the heart of Newcastle’s leafy High Gosforth Park, Newcastle Racecourse is a tranquil spot that hosts everything from motor shows to antique fairs.
For a conference with a difference, take a trip to the Centre for Life. The centre’s planetarium and exhibitions are the backdrop for everything from conventions and product launches to fashion shows. Some events even give you the chance to take a 4D motion ride!