One of the best attributes of the United Kingdom is the interconnectedness of its cities. For travelers, this can be extremely advantageous. Even the relatively remote Newcastle-Upon-Tyne is very accessible to other cities and has a variety of world-class travel destinations. With amazing and informative museums, great restaurants and pubs, and rich historical landmarks, this northern city has everything you’d ever want within city limits. But after you’ve explored all the neighborhoods and beaches in Newcastle, it’s fun to hit the country for an afternoon or visit a neighboring city.
The best day trips from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne are more than worth the effort; just remember to drop your bags off at a Bounce luggage storage location so you can move around more easily. Here are the best day trips from Newcastle:
How to Get Out of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne
The best way to leave Newcastle depends entirely on where you’re going. Doing research on how to get around Newcastle will certainly help navigate the city, which has plenty of public transit options as well as being incredibly walkable.
Day trips from Newcastle that involve driving are simple. If you rent a car, the rental agencies are generally located near the airport, which is a 15-minute taxi ride from the city centre, with numerous buses and train routes. The Metro Station in the city center also has a terminal where you can find car rental agencies.
The Newcastle Central Railway Station is situated in the city center just outside the historic parts of the city and only a few minutes on foot from the River Tyne. This is the central hub for getting around Newcastle and the rest of England. Numerous train lines from London, Glasgow, Birmingham, and Manchester all run from this train station, and multiple bus lines can get you to the suburbs or various neighborhoods. Make sure to stop at Bounce’s Central Station luggage storage location to store your bags while you take a day trip from Newcastle.
The Tyne and Wear Metro operates out of Central Station and is a convenient and affordable way to book travel around Newcastle. There are buses, trains, and ferries included in this network, and investing in a prepaid Pop Card can make things very convenient when booking a bus or ferry for a day trip.
From Newcastle to Alnwick Castle and Gardens
The UK’s second biggest inhabited castle (can you guess the largest?) is located just outside of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. Alnwick Castle is one of the most popular tourist destinations around Newcastle, and it’s the perfect activity for families. The castle grounds are expansive, with large swaths of English gardens, including the famous Poison Garden. One of the most fun features, especially for kids, has to be the enormous maze made with lush greenery.
Adults (especially young parents) and children alike will love the numerous callbacks to Harry Potter movies. Alnwick Castle was a prominent setting for filming, and there are loads of installations that detail specific areas of the castle that were featured in the movie.
The actual town of Alnwick is as charming as any in England. While larger cities like Newcastle and London are obvious destinations for a reason, smaller English villages like Albwick provide a wonderful atmosphere, and travelers will learn what country life is like.
How to Get to Alnwick
Driving is the best way to reach Alnwick Castle from Newcastle. The castle grounds are less than a mile from the A1, and the whole journey ranges from 45 minutes to an hour. Parking at the Castle is only £3 for an entire day, and street spots are available if you stop in the village to poke around. You can also take the more scenic route via the A189 and stop in the coastal towns of Ellington and Ashington. There is a beautiful country between Newcastle and Alnwick Castle, and driving allows for flexibility. If you can't rent a car, the X15, 18, and 20 buses all depart from Newcastle’s Haymarket bus station and will land you less than a 5-minute walk to Alnwick Castle.
From Newcastle to Hadrian’s Wall
This is one of the most important remnants of the Roman Empire that you can visit in the UK. The farthest northern reaches of the Roman Empire were once the stretch of land north of Newcastle along the Scottish border. The wall was used to keep Scottish raiders out of the more fertile land of Roman-occupied England.
While Hadrian’s Wall might not be the most beautiful structure in the world, the sheer scope of this 84-mile is incredibly impressive, especially given the point in history that the Romans constructed it. Outdoorsy travelers treat Hadrian’s Wall as a hiking pilgrimage, as the span of the wall is one of the most photogenic hikes near Newcastle. Stop by the well-reserved Corbridge Roman Town, which was used to house a garrison.
Hadrian’s Wall was also the inspiration for the fictional Wall in the Game of Thrones books and television series. Hadrian’s Wall, though nowhere near as mythically huge as the Wall in the books, was large enough that Roman legionnaires could police the border. It’s one of the great historical marvels and one of the best day trips you can take from Newcastle.
How to get to Hadrian’s Wall
The best way to get to Hadrian’s Wall is by renting a car. From Newcastle City Centre, it only takes about one hour by car. You can also take the train from Newcastle to Hexham before getting on the AD122 bus, which will drop you off right by the visitor center. This is convenient, but the country near Hadrian’s Wall is gorgeous, and being able to travel by car at your own pace is certainly worthwhile.
From Newcastle to The Cheviots
The border of Scotland and England is dotted with hilly terrain, and the most beautiful range is the Cheviot Hills. This is the largest mountain range in Northumberland and one of the best day trips from Newcastle for outdoor enthusiasts to take. The two main peaks are Hedgehope and the Cheviot, they are the highest mountains, but the relatively gentle incline allows for moderate hikers to navigate the terrain. The views from either of these are staggering, and hikers will be rewarded with some outstanding vantage points for photos of the whole mountain range. If you’re traveling with kids, the Linhope Spout is a beautiful stretch of the Cheviots, with waterfalls and bogs to explore.
How to get to The Cheviots
The only truly convenient way to get to the Cheviots is by renting a car and driving. The trip from Newcastle City Centre is only about 90 minutes. With driving, groups or individual travelers will have more time to explore the different peaks and even travel between different ranges.
From Newcastle to Durham Castle and Durham Cathedral
At only 20 miles from central Newcastle, this quiet little village is essentially a suburb and definitely worth a day trip. This popular tourist destination is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is famous for its impeccably-preserved castle and town. Durham Cathedral is a gorgeous site that’s surrounded on three sides by the River Wear. While you can tour the inside of Durham Cathedral, the best photo opportunities and most gorgeous sights are from across the river. Durham Castle is absolutely worth the short walk on the charming cobbled streets.
The Botanic Garden in town is absolutely gorgeous, with an expansive array of indigenous and exotic flora. The lush and humid greenhouse will be refreshing to anyone traveling through Durham during the fall or winter. Durham is one of the filming sites of the Harry Potter series, which explains why this town is a pilgrimage for so many fans looking to transport themselves to fictional locations like Hogwarts and Diagon Alley.
How to get to Durham
It only takes about 15 minutes to travel to Durham Castle and town from Newcastle Central, with some express lines even transporting you to Durham even faster. There are almost 80 direct trains to Durham every day, so this is easily one of the most accessible day trips from Newcastle. There’s no real benefit to traveling by car, given the town’s size and proximity.
From Newcastle to Holy Island and Bamburgh Castle
Holy Island, also known as Lindisfarne, is one of the most iconic travel destinations in the north of England. The island, which is more of a craggy outcrop of land, is joined with the mainland by a causeway. During low tide, the causeway can be navigated, and that’s how visitors arrive at Lindisfarne to tour the giant castle and town. Once on Holy Island, you can enjoy the pristine beaches, tour the castle, and even stop at the local winery that operates on the island. The settlement is centuries old, and because it’s located in such a remote place, its historic charm has been preserved. If you want a combination of history and nature, Holy Island is one of the best Newcastle day trips.
On the other side of the causeway is Bamburgh Castle, one of the most formidable fortresses in northern England and a great place for history nerds and fantasy fans to explore. Bamburgh Castle is located on the mainland, where you will arrive to visit Holy Island. It only takes about an hour to experience the whole castle, so it’s worthwhile to stop by during your day trip.
How to get to Holy Island and Bamburgh Castle
Being only 60 miles from Newcastle, the island is extremely easy to drive to from Newcastle and is a regular stop on travelers' way to/from Edinburgh. There is also the X15 Bus from Newcastle Central Station. Because there is so much to do on Holy Island, a visit there could last anywhere from 2 hours to an entire day, so the flexibility of driving is advantageous.
From Newcastle to Simonside Hills
Another incredible hiking area around Newcastle, the Simonside Hills, is located just north of the city in the Northumberland National Park. The rolling hills, bogs, heather, and outcrops of stone make for an iconic picture of north east England. There are winding rivers running through the hills that make for an easy dip, especially if you’re hiking during the summer. The town of Rothbury is the closest village to the hills and is a charming little town with cute cafes and pubs to stop at for lunch. Cragside Manor, with vast and beautiful gardens, is another historical landmark you can visit that’s near the hills.
How to get to Simonside
The best way to get to the hills is by renting a car and driving. The trip takes about one hour, but with a few stops in the area (Cragside and Rothbury really are recommended), it makes sense to travel by car. The X14 bus travels to Rothbury, but to get from there to the Simonside Hills, you’ll need a car anyway.
From Newcastle to the Beaches of Tynemouth
Located just 10 miles down the river from Newcastle, the beach town of Tynemouth is really more of an excursion than a day trip. The gorgeous beaches and charming seaside town are all a fun afternoon activity. The North Pier is a bustling little stretch that will appeal to anyone, and the ruins of Tynemouth Priory and Castle are perfect for history enthusiasts.
How to get to Tynemouth
It takes less than 40 minutes to get to the beach from Newcastle's train station. The Yellow Line Metro goes from the city centre directly to Tynemouth. If you’ve already rented a car for other day trips, the trip is less than 20 minutes. With limited parking spaces, the trip to Tynemouth alone might not be worth renting a car for.
From Newcastle to York
York is one of the best-preserved medieval cities in the world. This historic settlement has been kept largely intact, with a number of influences that are visible even today, most notably the Vikings. Although it’s been burnt to the ground by Vikings, Scots, and everyone in between, there are no noticeable battle scars on the remnants of the ancient city. As it’s been rebuilt several times, there are multiple styles of architecture on display in York. The Gothic-style design is the most prominent in York’s current state.
Some of the best landmarks to visit are the Millennium Bridge, York Minster, York Dungeon, Clifford’s Tower, and the banks of the River Ouse. The Yorvik Viking Center is a great educational activity for the kids to learn how these Norse settlers have shaped the England of today. The Roman Walls run around the ancient city centre, and are fun to walk along (the walls are also lined with traditional English pubs). There are also plenty of river cruises that operate out of York, but depending on how much time you spend in town, that might be tough to schedule.
How to get from Newcastle to York
The trip to York from Newcastle Central Station is only an hour, and there are direct trains throughout the day. Driving is only about 90 minutes, but parking can be tricky in York, and the pubs and restaurants are one of the biggest draws, so traveling by car isn’t the ideal method for one of the best day trips from Newcastle.
Breaking up a visit to a city with a day trip is one of the best ways to keep a vacation interesting. With so many surrounding destinations, Newcastle is one of the best cities in England to act as a base to take a day trip. Whether it’s majestic island castles, gorgeous mountain ranges, or quaint English villages, there are so many exciting adventures to take from Newcastle. Because you don’t want to hike through the Cheviot Hills or explore Hadrian’s Wall with your luggage, stop by a Bounce storage location first to lighten your load!