Travel writter Marianne Holt shares her experiences in Newcastle

Images by Marianne Holt

We need to talk about Newcastle – the city that has everything a student could possibly want without breaking the bank. It has so much more to offer than just Ant ‘n’ Dec and Newcastle Brown Ale. As your resident Angel of the North, let me tell you why you should say whey aye to Newcastle.

Go see live music

The Sage in Newcastle is my favourite venue in the world. As well as being the showpiece of the cityscape, it is also the heart of Geordie culture. World class artists have graced this stage. This venue caters for fans of every genre of music, reflected in their listings that span from classical to techno.

Newcastle is a city that especially shines at Christmas

Newcastle is a city that especially shines at Christmas- and the Sage are running a Classical Christmas series. Christmas movies such as Home Alone are being shown on the big screen with the score performed live by Royal Northern Sinfonia. My pick for this series is The Snowman, which is shown annually. The live rendition made me cry from start to finish. Christmas in Newcastle is defined by Fenwick’s Christmas display, it is one of the largest Christmas showcases in Europe, this alone is worth a pilgrimage to the North.


Although us northerners are famed for our wild nights out, and maybe even a potential lack of culture thanks to Geordie Shore, Newcastle is actually a cultural dark horse. The Baltic is a central space for contemporary art hosting a variety of up and coming and well-established creatives.

Newcastle is famous for its nightlife for a very good reason

The exhibitions on display are always as captivatingly weird as they are profound and intellectually engaging.

Alongside the cities permanent galleries, it also hosts a plethora of cultural festivals. Newcastle is an ever-changing and expanding hub for cultural diversity. Last summer the city celebrated “the pioneering spirit of the North East” with the Great Exhibition of The North – a programme that spanned 80 days. Millions enjoyed exhibits, live performances and innovative new artworks.

Hit the toon

Newcastle is famous for its nightlife for a very good reason. In Bijoux, one of the city’s infamous treble bars, you can get 3 treble spirit and mixers for £5.50. The most prestigious club in Newcastle is Digital – it has been coined ‘The Fabric of The North’. Digital has won the award for the UK best club Sound System and ranked 11th Best Club in The World by a DJ Mag poll of 1000 of the world’s best DJ’s. Digital hosts the most esteemed names in dance, and is also home to Newcastle’s most popular student night ‘Digital Mondays’. Who can resist when entry is only 80p and the drinks are only £1.

Get fit

To finish, last month saw 43,000 runners descend onto Newcastle for the world’s largest half-marathon event: The Great North Run. Geordies are renowned for their friendliness, resulting in an encouraging and welcoming atmosphere that easily rivals the London marathon.

As you can see, Newcastle is an undeniable touristic underdog. The city is often left off the radar for reasons that I cannot understand. Being just a train journey from all major cities, why not make a voyage to the North East?