Newcastle tours and excursions

Newcastle tours

Boat tours

Visitors can enjoy sightseeing and/or party cruises along the River Tyne with River Escapes. Take in key landmarks such as the Gateshead Millennium Bridge, Tyne Bridge, the Sage Gateshead and the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art.

Telephone: (01670) 785 666.
Bus tours

The City Sightseeing Tour Bus begins at Central Station and takes passengers on an open-top tour of the city. The tour includes commentary and passengers are able to hop on and off at a number of points along the route.

Telephone: (0191) 228 8900.
Tunnel tours

The Victoria Tunnel is an old waggon-way which runs under the city from the Town Moor down to the River Tyne. Visitors can descend beneath Newcastle's streets to experience the sounds of a wartime air raid and discover the Tunnel's role as a colliery waggon-way. There are five regular tunnel tours each week on Thursdays at 6.30pm, Fridays and Saturdays at 10am and 1pm.

Walking tours

Newcastle Association of City Guides offer 90-minute walking tours of the city at 1100 daily (except Sunday) during July and August, and on Wednesday and Saturday during June and September. There is also a programme of special walks on Sunday afternoons at 1430 and Wednesday evenings between April and October.

Excursions from Newcastle

Alnwick Castle

Further afield, 53km (33 miles) north of Newcastle is Alnwick Castle, an impressive border fortress that was built in the 11th century and made famous recently as a filming location for Hogwarts School in the Harry Potter films. It also boasts a wonderful garden with Britain’s largest tree house, opulent state rooms and a magnificent art collection.

Telephone: (01665) 510 777 or 511 100.

The brilliantly re-created working museum-village of Beamish, staffed by costumed actors, shows how the people of the north of England lived and worked in the early 1800s and 1900s. Standing in 300 acres of beautiful countryside, visitors can check out Pockerley Old Hall, The Town, Rowley Station, The Fairground, Home Farm and The Pit Village. It is just 12km (8 miles) southwest, easily reached by bus from the city centre.

Telephone: (0191) 370 4000.

A mere 10-minute train journey south of Newcastle is the historic city of Durham, famed for its magnificent 12th-century cathedral and castle. Seated high on a peninsula overlooking the River Wear, Durham's castle and cathedral have been the first sight to greet visitors to this historic city for hundreds of years and were jointly designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1986. Construction on the castle began in 1072, just after the Norman Conquest, under the orders of William the Conqueror. From the 11th century onwards it was used as the seat of power of the Prince Bishops appointed by the British Crown to rule the Palatinate of Durham, the remote area of northern England vulnerable to attack from the Scots. In 1837, the last Prince Bishop, Bishop Van Mildert, helped found the University of Durham and donated the castle as its first home. It still houses students of University College, the oldest of the 14 university colleges, who live in the keep and dine in the wood-panelled Great Hall, containing portraits of the Prince Bishops. Across the lawned area, known as Palace Green, stands the Cathedral Church of Christ and Blessed Mary the Virgin, the best example of Norman-style architecture in England.

Telephone: (0191) 384 3720.
Hadrian's Wall

Sections of Britain’s greatest Roman monument can easily be visited on a half-day or full-day trip from Newcastle. Stretching for 241km (150 miles) from South Shields on the east coast to Cumbria on the west coast via rugged moorland and unspoilt countryside, the wall is a mecca for history buffs, walkers and cyclists and is today a UNESCO World Heritage site. Constructed on the orders of the Emperor Hadrian in AD122, Hadrian's Wall was built to mark the northern boundary of the Roman Empire in the British Isles and to keep out the barbarians to the north. After the Empire receded in the fifth century AD, the wall was left to decay, and many of its stones were used in the construction of nearby buildings.

Vast sections of the wall still remain and there are many different sites to be visited along the wall. Housesteads Roman Fort and Museum is an excavated fort located amidst spectacular scenery, and contains the only visible example of a Roman hospital in Britain. Vindolanda Fort and Museum is an open-air museum containing authentic reconstructions of the wall, as well as a Roman temple, house and shop. The Roman Army Museum at Carvoran provides an insight into the life of a Roman soldier, through models, reconstructions and artefacts. Chesters Roman Fort and Museum is an extensively excavated cavalry fort with impressive Roman bathhouse remains.

Telephone: (01434) 609 700.