Newcastle City Tours
There are few better ways to get to know a city (one you’re visiting or even your own) than by going on a guided tour, and as you’d expect for such a historical and fascinating city, Newcastle has plenty to offer. From gastronomic delights to the gleefully macabre, Newcastle’s tours have something for everyone, and here is our guide to some of the best.
This super-spooky tour has been running for 15 years and while some of the other tours offered by Newcastle Ghost Walks are on hold post-COVID, Til’ Death Do Us Part is still going strong. It takes place on the last Sunday of the month and the route changes regularly, although always within the heart of the old city around Newcastle Castle. Tens of thousands of people have taken part (many claiming to have actually witnessed a ghost) and it has won numerous awards. The walks always start at the Castle Keep but start times vary so do check the website, where you can also book and find out more details about prices. Private walks and corporate tours are also available.
The Lit & Phil (The Literary & Philosophical Society to its mum) has been a much-loved institution since it was founded in 1793, providing an independent library but also a focal point for learning and community in the city. After a COVID-induced hiatus its much-loved Behind The Books Tour is back and as popular as ever. The tour gives you a chance to learn about the history of the building and the institution, exploring the various fascinating rooms with experts guiding you through the collections and some of the notable personalities who’ve played their part in its history. The tour is free – although donations are welcome – and take place at various times on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Booking is absolutely essential – these tours are really popular!
NewcastleGateshead offer a range of walking tours around Newcastle and other parts of the city, conducted by well-informed and entertaining guides who definitely know their stuff. The most famous is the City Highlights Tour which takes place every day from May 1st to October 31st (with a single day off for The Great North Run, September 11th this year). The 90-minute tour starts in the Central Arcade (outside JG Windows) and finishes on the Quayside. The tour is open to everyone but please bear in mind the steep descent to the Quayside from Newcastle Castle (people with restricted mobility might find it easier to end at the Castle itself). Pre-booking is recommended although walk-ups can sometimes be accommodated. There is also a range of one-off heritage tours available, covering a wide range of subjects such as The Great War, anti-slavery, ghosts and the city wall. Check the website for a full list of tours and the prices.
Iles Tours offer a range of tours of Newcastle (as well as Northumberland and Durham) that cater to a variety of interests. Ranging from £8 for a two hour Newcastle Castle Tour to several 4-hour tours looking at Roman Newcastle that cost £70, their tours run all year round and cover many aspects of the city’s rich history. The Half-Day Sightseeing Tour – costing £60 – seems like a particularly interesting way to really get stuck into the past. Full details of the tours can be found on their website.
Newcastle United is without doubt one of the main reasons people know about the city and as you’d expect, their home at St James Park hosts a number of tours that will be of interest to football fans – Magpie fans or not – but also to people with an interest in the city. The Classic Tour runs at least five times a day (except match days) and takes you right behind the scenes from the pitch to the changing rooms to the media centre. The Rooftop Tour takes you 150ft above the stadium – with the stunning views you’d expect – as well as a visit pitch-side. This tour runs at midday on Saturday and Sunday (except matchdays). There’s also an autism-friendly tour which pays special attention to individual needs. The tours cost from £18 (with concession and childrens tickets available) and there are also group and private tour options - full details online.
If your interests tend more to the gastronomic than the sporty, Triple A Food Tours have you covered. The two tours they offer in the city centre are A Taste Of Newcastle, a food tour that takes in five highly regarded restaurants from £65. The ticket includes food samples and drinks and the tour starts at 1pm at Grey’s Monument. Alternatively, there’s the Ultimate Cheese & Wine Tour, starting at £60, where a professional guide shows you around some of the best places to buy cheese and wine in the city. Again, all food and wine is included, with tours starting daily at 1pm outside the Royal Station Hotel. Check the website for full details (including their private tours offer).
The very heart of Newcastle’s history, Newcastle Castle offers a variety of tours, with special event tours complementing the year-round Medieval Newcastle Tour. The tour runs at weekends (at 10.30am and 1.30pm), meeting at St Andrews Church, and runs for around 90 minutes, after which you can roam the castle. The walking tour takes in the medieval sites around the city centre, led by costumed and informed tour guides. Adult tickets are £20 but there’s a range of concessions and offers available. Others to look out for include the Kids Castle Adventure Tour (next taking place on August 23rd) and an All Hallow’s Eve Tour on October 31st.
The Victoria Tunnel is one of the most fascinating slices of Newcastle history. The site of a Victorian wagonway that ran from Spital Tongues to the Quayside to transport coal, it was also an air-raid shelter in the second world war and is home to any number of spooky or alarming stories. The Ouseburn Trust currently run 15 tours per week (for up to 12 tourists), with 1 ¼ hour tours costing £10 and 2 hour tours costing £12. There are also special events – musical performances, drinks in conjunction with the Hotel du Vin, and specialist visits for photographers – and you can even visit without leaving home with the Virtual Victoria Tunnel tour.
Finally, if you’d rather tour the city on an open-top tour bus, there’s Toon Tours, provided by Go North East, which offers a hop-on / hop-off route that runs on weekends and holidays from April until May, every day from June to September 4th and a handful more times during September, with buses running from 10am to 5pm. The full tour takes around one hour to complete a circuit that passes Central Station, St James Park, Ouseburn and Gateshead, with chances to stop off at landmarks like Discovery Museum, Baltic, Newcastle Castle and more. Adult tickets are £12.50, with child and concession tickets available, and the tickets also entitle you to some discounts at affiliated attractions such as Newcastle Castle, St James Park and Royal Station Hotel.