Planning a trip to North East England

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During a semester of study abroad in North East England, I got the opportunity to explore the region through many trips. I thought I would share what I learned with you to help you plan the logistics of a trip to this charming area of England.

Highlights of Newcastle upon Tyne

I lived in Newcastle upon Tyne, which is the eighth largest urban area in the United Kingdom. The city is in North East England and is often referred to as Newcastle. It is named for a castle built in the 11th century that sits on River Tyne. A Geordie is a local dialect and historically also a nickname for inhabitants of North East England.

Explore the Quayside and its famous bridges

One of the best spots to hang out in Newcastle is the Quayside along the River Tyne. It is a great spot to enjoy local pubs and restaurants. Walk along the river and take a closer look at the four most famous bridges: Gateshead Millennium Bridge, Tyne Bridge, Swing Bridge, and High-Level Bridge. On Sundays, you can stop by the Quayside Market. The market sells local produce, crafts, and street food.

Bridges in Newcastle Upon Tyne in North East England

Sample the arts

Art fans should visit the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art. It features constantly rotating exhibits, none of them permanent, so you are guaranteed to never get bored. For music fans, the Sage Gateshead music center by the River Tyne houses concerts and festivals throughout the year.

Visit the castle that gave the city its name

For a bit of history, stop by the medieval Newcastle Castle. Explore the chambers. Climb the tower to overlook the city. After all, this is the place that gave the city its name! You might also enjoy seeing the Newcastle city walls, which were built in the 13th and 14th centuries. The best-preserved part is the West Walls by Chinatown.

Stroll through town to Grey’s Monument

From the Quayside, make your way to Grey Street. At the end of the street stands Grey’s Monument. Charles Grey was the UK’s Prime Minister in the 19th century. He is known as a leader who contributed to making the election system fairer and abolishing slavery in the UK. A fun fact: Earl Grey tea is named for Charles Grey. The monument offers a cityscape view of Newcastle.

From there, take a stroll through Northumberland Street. It is one of the busiest streets in town. Browse one of the boutiques or stop by a cafe.

If you would like to read about other attractions in North East England, you may enjoy North East England and beyond: 10 day trip ideas. For now, let’s dive into the considerations for your trip-planning!

Accommodation in North East England

Depending on your budget and the experience you want, there are many options for accommodations in North East England.

For a truly English experience for your trip, consider bed and breakfast inns. These are typically run by families. They feature cozy rooms and English breakfast.

For a more independent and budget-friendly experience, consider cottage rentals. You might even get lucky and stay at one of the castles or other historic locations in North East England available through the National Trust. If you prefer a hotel, a range of options is available. There are some familiar international chains as well.

To explore the countryside of North East England, check out Canopy and Stars. They offer vintage caravans. I would opt for glamping (luxurious camping). It provides more comfort, and you don’t have to worry about rainy weather. You might even consider renting a campervan.

Durham Castle in North East England

Food in North East England

English cuisine has been influenced from other nations that occupied its land over the centuries, including Romans and Vikings. Other foods were introduced during colonialism through trade. For example, tea made its way to England from China and India.

Here are some traditional foods to try on your trip to North East England.

  • Start your day with a full English breakfast: eggs, bacon, sausages, beans, tomatoes, mushrooms, and black pudding. Black pudding is a sausage made of congealed blood, pork fat, onions, and oats.
  • Have your meal with hot tea with milk and sugar. This is a classic English beverage.
  • Try Scotch eggs. These are hard-boiled eggs wrapped in sausage meat and breadcrumbs. They are baked or deep-fried.
  • Have a toad in the hole, which is sausages in Yorkshire pudding served with gravy and vegetables. Yorkshire pudding is a dish made with eggs, milk, and water. When a meal on its own, it is served with gravy.
  • Don’t forget about fish and chips served with a side of mushy peas.
  • For dinner, have a steak and kidney pie. This is a pastry crust filled with pieces of steak, kidney, fried onions, and gravy.
  • You might also enjoy shepherd’s pie or cottage pie. It is made from minced lamb or beef and vegetables, topped with mashed potatoes.
  • For dessert, have a trifle: layers of sponge cake, fruit jams, and egg custard served in a glass and topped with whipped cream and fruit.
English breakfast

Transportation in North East England

There are also many options for transportation depending on your budget and what you want to do on your trip. England has a well-developed system of trains and buses. They can take you anywhere from big cities to remote small towns. Or you can rent a car instead.

Car rentals

If you want to explore the countryside of North East England, it might be a good idea to rent a car for your trip. Car rentals are available at airports and train stations. Book in advance for a cheaper price. A few things to keep in mind if you decide to rent a car:

  • In England, you drive on the left side of the road.
  • Cars come with manual transmission.
  • If you’re used to driving automatic cars, make sure you request one in advance.
  • Gas prices are expensive, and gas is priced per liter not gallon.

Public transportation

The train network in England is quite extensive. The best way to start exploring connections and to purchase tickets is through National Rail.

To save money on train tickets during your trip, I recommend booking weeks in advance and avoiding peak hours. If you or anyone traveling with you is aged 16-25, get the 16-25 Railcard. It provides a discount of 1/3 off rail fares. If you’re a mature, full-time student, you will also qualify to apply. You just need an international passport and a passport-style photo, and you are ready to apply online.

Coach buses can take you all over England. They are one of the cheapest ways to travel but also the slowest. Booking early helps save money and reserves you a spot on a bus. For full time students 26 and younger, have your student ID ready to present for student discounts.

Bus in Heaton district in Newcastle Upon Tyne in North East England

Best time to visit North East England

Due to the mild climate in England, there is never a bad time to visit. Temperatures stay pretty steady throughout the year. The coldest months of the year are December to February. Then, temperatures stay in the low 30s and 40s F (0-5 C). The warmest are July and August with temperatures in the 50s and 60s F (15-20 C).

I consider spring to be one the prettiest seasons to visit North East England. Nature comes to life and paints everything in color. Alternatively, consider choosing autumn months. Summers get crowded, but the grass in England is always green.

You can expect a lot of rainfall year-round, so waterproof clothes and gear will come in handy. Snow is unusual, but winters are cloudy, rainy, and windy.

Castle in Newastle upon Tyne in Nort East England


England is a charming country with beautiful countryside and rich history. There is something in North East England for everyone’s interest.

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