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Newcastle Castle's Friends and Other Exciting Heritage Venues

While Newcastle Castle is the place that gave the city its name and a key part of where the story of our city began, we are excited to play a big role in the story of our city continuing to be an incredibly exciting one alongside some excellent venues and ventures. Check out the programmes from our wonderful friends.

Newcastle Cathedral (St Nicholas’)

The Cathedral is the gateway to the story of the city and region.  Newcastle’s Cathedral was one of the most significant English medieval parish churches and the 15th century lantern tower is the finest in the country.  The Cathedral retains substantial medieval fabric and has one of the largest monument and ledger stone collections in the North of England.

Entrance is free: tours are available on request.  The Cathedral is living heritage, being the centre of prayer and worship for the diocese, and visitors can join in services, such as choral evensong led by our choir, or just appreciate the peace in this sanctuary. 

Open Sunday to Friday from 7.30am until 6.00pm, Saturdays and Bank Holidays from 8am - 4pm.


Newcastle City Guides

Newcastle City Guides are a group of trained, enthusiastic volunteers who share a pas-sion for the history, heritage and culture of our great city.  Our City Highlights Walking Tour is an ideal introduction to Newcastle, its history and culture and runs daily April until October.  City Highlights tour lasts 90 minutes and ticket price is £5.  Just turn up on the day.

Our programme of heritage walks covers central Newcastle and Gateshead, and sur-rounding areas. Heritage walks are usually on Sunday afternoons and Wednesday evenings from April until October. Most walks are offered on a “just turn up” basis. Most heritage walks last around two hours

Visit their website in the link above or contact:

Heritage Walk ticket prices £5 or £3 for over 60s Free for accompanied children under 16.  Season tickets £35 or £30 for over 60s.


The Lit and Phil

The Lit & Phil is an Independent Library, just next to Central Station. It’s a public build-ing, anyone is welcome to go in and browse the shelves.

The handsome neo-classical building on Westgate Road has been there since 1825, and it’s one of the only historic buildings in Newcastle to retain its original purpose. 

The Lit & Phil houses some 170,000 books as well as CDs, LPs, periodicals and maps. Strengths of the collection include travel and exploration, the history of science, biog-raphy, local history, fiction and poetry.

There is also a thriving events programme throughout the year: lectures, concerts, book launches and poetry. 

23 Westgate Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1SE, 0191 232 0192,


Roman Catholic Cathedral Church of St Mary.

In an increasingly busy city centre, enjoy this sacred space as an oasis of peace. 

Opened in 1844, this Grade 1 listed building was designed by one of the greatest of all Victorian architects, Augustus Welby Pugin, most famous for the interior of the Houses of Parliament.

Notable features include:

· richly carved altars and Lady Statue

· ornate tile work

· magnificent organ and choir gallery

· beautiful stained glass windows 

Entry is free to the Cathedral which is open every day and benefits from the additional facilities of an adjoining cafe and bookshop.

Opening hours: Monday-Thursday: 8.00am – dusk, Friday 8.00am - 2.30pm (early closing to enable cleaning), Saturday: 8.00am – dusk and Sunday: 8.00am - 7.30pm

Tel: 0191 232 6953


The Common Room 

The Common Room is a celebration of Graft and Glory. Telling the stories of the North East, that changed the world, then and now.

We are a new charity, formed to lead the restoration of Neville Hall, formerly known as the Mining Institute, in Newcastle. Our vision is to use our unique heritage to inspire the next generation of innovators and engineers. Through education and engagement activities we will support the region’s future economic growth and provide a range of public spaces for innovation, collaboration, events, lectures, weddings and more.


Tyneside Cinema

Tyneside Cinema is an important piece of history locally and nationally. Originally built as Newcastle’s News Theatre in 1937, today Tyneside Cinema is the only purpose-built newsreel theatre in the UK still operating as a cinema.

The FREE Newsreel shows take a trip into the past every day at 11:15. 


Victoria Tunnel

Go on a journey of discovery to learn how life was during WW2, hear air-raid sirens; the sound of planes dropping bombs and memories of people who lived through this dreadful period in Newcastle's history. 

Experience life in a Victorian waggonway, learn how it was constructed and listen for the coal wagons heading for the Tyne. Listen about William Coulson's death and hear the approaching waggons heading towards you in the total darkness.

Find out which Newcastle landmarks you are walking beneath, including the unique chance to walk underneath Hadrian's Roman Wall.

Tickets for two-hour tours are £9 for adults ( £7 for one-hour) and £4 for children aged 6 to 15: our two hour tours are not suitable for younger chil-dren and babies.

0191 230 4210 (Victoria Tunnel)


Bessie Surtees House

In Medieval footprints the Jacobean mansion stands on Newcastle’s quay

Having grown out and up through the ages reaching the heady heights of wealth

That flooded in on the flow of the sparkling Tyne and the sea

Now the last Merchants house left- she stands proud of herself

Former residents have been many, residing within its carved oak panelled rooms 

Gazing from the extensive glazing flaunting all their glory

And its namesake, Bessie, hoping to elope on a dark November night waiting for her Groom

Visit us at Bessie Surtees House to be part of this age old love story. (Exactly 100 words)

A Jacobean home with a romantic history, Bessie Surtees House is best known as the scene of the elopement of Bessie with John Scott, later Lord Chancellor of England.  Now owned by Historic England, it houses their offices, English Heritage offices, an ex-hibition space and splendid period interiors that are open to the public and free to visit.  It is also available for free self-led school visits during standard opening hours. 

Standard opening hours are: 

· Mon-Fri, 10am-4pm 

· Closed on Bank Holidays 

Open for event nights during The LATE Shows in May and Heritage Open Days in Sep-tember.

For enquiries, ring 0191 269 1255. 


St. Mary's Heritage Centre

St. Mary's Heritage Centre is a unique visitor attraction on Gateshead Quays. The medieval grade 1-listed former church is open to the public with FREE entry. Visi-tors can learn the fascinating story of St Mary’s and of Gateshead itself, from its ear-ly days as a Roman settlement to recent times.

The Centre has an exciting events programme including exhibitions, local history talks and performances.  We deliver educational visits to schools about the Great Fire of Gateshead & Newcastle.  St Mary’s Bookshop stocks over 100 titles about North East local history as well as maps and stationery.  This unique building is available to hire for private events including wedding receptions and conferences.

Highlights of the building include:

· displays about the history of Gateshead from its early days as a Roman settle-ment to modern times

· family history records for St Mary's Heritage Centre. Local history resources in-cluding historic maps and images

· a heritage bookshop selling hundreds of local history books about Gateshead and the North East

Wide range of activities, including: 

· local history talks, tours and workshops

· concerts and performances

· exhibitions  

· children's activities

Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 4pm, Sunday, closed 

Oakwellgate, Gateshead NE8 2AU, 0191 433 4699

Find out more about events and book tickets here.


Discovery Museum

Discovery Museum is home to one of the finest collections of scientific and technical material outside of London. Visitors can immerse themselves in the history of Newcas-tle and Tyneside including the area's maritime, social and regimental history, as well as objects of scientific and technological importance to Britain and the rest of the world.  Examples of world firsts on display include Charles Parsons’ Turbinia, Joseph Swan's lightbulb and models of Stephenson's steam engines.  Families can explore the world of science in the interactive Science Maze and enjoy hands-on activities for budding inventors in the PLAY + INVENT space.

Blandford Square, Newcastle NE1 4JA


Laing Art Gallery

The Laing Art Gallery is home to an internationally important collection of art, focusing on British oil paintings, watercolours, ceramics, silver and glassware.  The Laing holds regularly changing exhibitions of historic, modern and contemporary art, and events including artist and curator talks and family activities.  Highlights of the collection in-clude outstanding pictures by William Holman Hunt, Edward Burne-Jones, Paul Gau-guin, and Victor Pasmore, together with an important group of paintings by 19th-century artist John Martin, who was born and brought up in the North East.

New Bridge Street, Newcastle, NE1 8AG 

Admission charge applies 


Great North Museum: Hancock

The Great North Museum: Hancock is North East England’s premier museum of natu-ral history, geology, archaeology and world cultures.  The museum is open daily with free entry and brings together important collections owned by the Natural History So-ciety of Northumbria, the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne and Newcas-tle University.  Visitors can enjoy a life size replica T. rex skeleton, John Hancock’s trail-blazing taxidermy, Egyptian mummies, Ancient Greek art and scores of artefacts found along the length of Hadrian’s Wall.  The museum regularly holds temporary exhibition and boasts the region’s best value planetarium.

Barras Bridge, NE2 4PT


Hatton Gallery 

The Hatton Gallery has been at the heart of cultural life in the North East since the early 20th century. It has a regular programme of modern and contemporary art exhibitions, and events including artist and curator talks and family activities.  It is also home to the iconic Merz Barn Wall by Kurt Schwitters, one of the most significant figures in 20th century art. As the Hatton works closely with students from Newcastle University, visi-tors also have the chance to see students’ work exhibited on an annual basis.

Kings Road, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 7RU

Free entry, donations welcome


Shipley Art Gallery

The Shipley Art Gallery opened in 1917 with a collection of 504 paintings bequeathed by local solicitor Joseph Shipley.  Since then the collection has grown to include nearly 800 paintings and collections of works on paper, decorative art and contemporary craft. 


Tyne Theatre and Opera House

The theatre was built in 1867 by industrialist and politician, Joseph Cowen -at his own cost and with his own bricks. It was a time of heavy industry when life was hard and when the warmth, light and escapism of the theatre answered a major need for the workers. The Tyne Theatre and Opera House was built especially for those people. It is a social hub of entertainment, hosting variety performances, comedy, ballet, musicals and live concerts.

The Grade I listed building is a unique creation of that era. With its lavish auditorium, outstanding acoustics and original Victorian under stage machinery, the one hour tour of the building explores all, with a fascinating history, and highlight tales of its stars, its shows and even its ghosts.



Blackfriars is a restored 13th-century friary in Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear, England. It is in the city centre, close to the city's Chinatown. It is Grade I listed.  

With its origins dating back to 1239 and a long and turbulent history that included a spell as a hostel to accommodate King Henry III, Blackfriars confidently lays claim to be the oldest dining room in the world.  In 1552 the buildings were granted to the most 'ancient trades and mysteries of the town'. Over the centuries the preservation of the Priory is due to these Guilds including the bakers, butchers, brewers, cordwainers, full-ers, dyers, saddlers, skinners, glovers, smiths, tanners and tailors.

As well as housing the restaurant it also has a Parlour Bar, Banquet Hall, Cookery School and Tasting Room.


Newcastle Central Station

Opened in 1850, it is a Grade I listed building [1] and is located in the city centre at the southern edge of Grainger Town and to the west of the Castle Keep.


National Trust -Holy Jesus Hospital

Holy Jesus Hospital is now surrounded by roads, railway bridges and high modern buildings but still survives as a symbol of how the people of Newcastle have cared for each other since the middle ages. For 700 years the buildings on the site have been used to care for communities in the form of an Augustinian friary, the king’s manor, an early care home, a soup kitchen and a museum. Today it is home to the National Trust’s North East hub offices.

Please note - Holy Jesus Hospital is no longer open to the public, except for special events such as Heritage Open Days.

Holy Jesus Hospital, City Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 2AS

0191 2558600


Northumbria University

Northumbria University Gallery

The University Gallery is on the ground floor of the Sandyford Building next to the Students Union. It includes Gallery North, the University Art Collection and the Woon Gallery of Asian Art. The Gallery North exhibition pro-gramme provides a unique opportunity to engage with inno-vative contemporary practice. The University Collection is made up of around 3,000 paintings, drawings and sculptures and has a dedicated study area and exhibition space. The Woon Gallery of Asian Art presents rare and unique items from the collection of the Woon Brothers Art Foundation.

Open – Monday – Tuesday 10.00 – 16.00

Gallery Director – Jean Brown