Are you considering studying in the land of Geordie hospitality, Greggs sausage rolls, vibrant nightlife and cultural delights galore? You should be!
From the delights of craft beer bars and chilled out coffee shops to a walk through a city bustling with commerce, there’s something for everyone in the jewel of the North East.
Newcastle vs Northumbria
The two universities that dominate the city are Newcastle and Northumbria. Newcastle is the older of the two and is part of the Russell group, widely regarded for its scientific research. Northumbria is a former polytechnic and is a real up and comer, with a world-famous business school.
Whichever uni you’re aiming for, know that your experience probably won’t be too different. Both have campuses located in the city centre, both have large libraries and both have plenty of student accommodation developments in place to house you for your initial year. However, you’ll have to take sides in the ‘Poly vs Posh’ debate and competition that takes place between sports teams.
The first year of any student’s life is generally spent in halls of residence. Both Northumbria and Newcastle have halls across the region, but few are further than a 20 minute walk away from the centre of ‘toon.’
After your first year, you’ll probably be house-hunting for a flat share. Lets Live Here, an agent in the city centre, recommends the following popular suburbs.
- Jesmond: This is a beautiful, student-dominated area to the east of Newcastle. A fifteen minute walk or five minute cycle ride from the city, Jesmond is home to the infamous ‘Osborne road’ – a strip of bars and restaurants that offers plenty of drinks deals to tempt your pockets.
- Heaton: An up and coming area that is home to lots of student property, Heaton has a long road dominated by pubs and takeaways. Slightly further away from the city, Heaton is best cycled to and from.
- Byker: Slightly further south than Heaton, Byker has the advantage of being located near the Ouseburn Valley – Newcastle’s creative hub and home to some of its best pubs. (The Cluny, Cumberland arms and Tyne bar.)
Shopaholics who have their student loan burning in their pocket can rejoice in Newcastle. The Intu Eldon Square indoor shopping centre is a fantastic development full of all the latest shops and also hosts student lock-ins and discounts aplenty. A short bus ride away in neighbouring Gateshead is the Metro Centre, the UK’s largest indoor shopping mall.
Aside from indoor shopping, the bustling Northumberland Street hosts many large stores such as Fenwicks. Further down, Grey Street hides a few specialist boutique retailers like End clothing and Vivienne Westwood.
If you’re looking for something else to spend your time doing, Newcastle will have you spoilt for choice. The city has two free museums, the Hancock and Discovery museum, as well as the well-priced centre for life. It has numerous cinemas (the Tyneside is a real art-deco, charity funded beauty of a venue.) It has multiple leisure centres and gyms, an indoor climbing wall hosted within Eldon Square and with a little bus ride or metro trip, one of the finest coastlines in the UK (Northumberland and Whitley bay.)
Newcastle is also home to some of the most beautiful Georgian-era architecture in the UK. Grey Street, a popular strip for slightly posher nights out, houses the Theatre Royale and is a masterpiece of design.
Food and drink
As well as the usual sports bars, popular chain restaurants and lots of Wetherspoons, Newcastle is home to a surging craft beer, real ale and street food scene. Trendy, unusual bars such as the Town Wall, No.28, The Tyne Bar, Newcastle Arms, Bridge Tavern and more are all tucked away in the city, waiting to be discovered.
Foodwise, Newcastle has some amazing eateries. All tastes are catered for and there are some real gems, from all you can eat Indian buffets to the amazing line-up of Chinese eateries in Chinatown to the street food on offer inside the Grainger market, or the weekly Quayside market.
Like all students, nightlife is an inexorable call that will draw you away from revision week after week. Thankfully, the city is alive at night and offers some of the best clubs in the UK. From Digital to Tup Tup Palace, there’s something for everyone. Student nights and drinks discounts are on offer at practically every club in town. Gotham, a typical pre-drink bar near Digital, sells trebles as cheaply as £3 a pop.
Tip: Powerhouse, Newcastle’s biggest LGBT club, stays open until 5am. It’s situated in the ‘Pink triangle’ – home to lots of gay, lesbian and trans friendly bars and clubs, but welcomes everyone through its doors for late night/early morning partying.
The centre of Newcastle can be enjoyed on foot. However, if you’re living in an area that is a little removed from the centre, cycling is always a good option.
The Tyne and Wear Metro service serves the city and surrounding areas and you can ride it from many locations. The metro trip from Jesmond to Northumberland Street takes around five minutes. Fares start from £1.80 per single journey, but student passes can be purchased (the same applies to bus services.)
Newcastle is a city rightly crowned as one of the UK’s best. The locals are friendly and welcoming, the nightlife is incredible and the new cultural scene of artists, craft beer and creativity means there’s never been a better time to start three years on the Tyne.