Officially called Newcastle Upon Tyne, Newcastle is the biggest city in North East England. Located on the northern banks of the River Tyne, Newcastle is just over eight miles from the North Sea. Even though it is one of the biggest cities in the region, it is relatively easy to get around Newcastle and use the public transportation system.
Figuring out how to get around Newcastle will not be that hard and even if you have never visited the city before, their transportation systems are straightforward and will get you to where you need to go. Whether you are planning to ride the metro, take the bus, or hail a taxi you will be able to get around town and check out all the attractions.
While out and about exploring Newcastle and learning the ins and outs of traveling by public transportation, travel light and see as much as you can. Drop your belongings with a luggage storage service and see the sights!
How to get around Newcastle by train
Newcastle is home to the Tyne and Wear Metro which is a light rail system and rapid transit system that has 60 metro stations spread throughout the city and runs two lines. This metro system has been called one of the most efficient light rail systems in the United Kingdom. With over 37 million passengers each year, it is an ideal way to move throughout Newcastle. It is second biggest metro in the United Kingdom.
The Tyne and Wear Metro began operation in August of 1980. The train cars are roomy with enough space for wheelchairs and even baby strollers. You can ride the metro throughout Newcastle and you can even hop on public transport and head out to some of the coastal areas along the North Sea.
The metro also connects downtown Newcastle to the airport so you can hop the train and head right into the city center. The Tyne and Wear Metro also takes passengers back and forth between Newcastle and Sunderland. The metro goes by St. James Park, Tynemouth and Monument, and Jesmond making it easy to hop on and off to explore the different areas and landmarks.
The city center is large and there are three stations that service the area: Monument, Haymarket, and Central. With trains leaving these stations approximately every 12 minutes, you can easily move throughout the city center.
If you are planning to travel to Sunderland from the Newcastle city center, it is only about a 55-minute train ride to the Sunderland Metro Station with trains leaving every 15 minutes. It is pretty simple to take a day trip from Newcastle to Sunderland and even to visit the coast for a few hours or an entire day. Just remember, the trains stop running at 11:00 p.m.
Each metro station has elevators and escalators as well as stairs. The metro is split into three zones and you can purchase your ticket based on the zone you are traveling to. Tickets can be bought at any metro station or you can purchase a Metro Daysaver ticket that lets you travel on the metro all day or the Metro Hopper which allows you to travel throughout zone one.
Monument Metro Station
This station services the area between Haymarket and Heworth known as the Monument area of Newcastle and it opened in November of 1981 as the third phase of the Tyne and Wear Metro system. Named after Grey’s Monument which stands guard above the station, the Monument Metro Station has four platforms and tracks to handle the high volume of passengers it sees daily.
Newcastle Airport Metro Station
This station serves the Newcastle International Airport and was originally a terminus station when it opened in November 1991 and was connected to the North East rail network. Passengers can easily travel from anywhere in Newcastle to the airport and back again. With only two platforms and two tracks, this metro station does become crowded quickly.
Newcastle Central Station
This is the biggest station in Newcastle and is a train station as well as where the metro lines meet. Central Station connects directly to the Newcastle Airport Metro Station, it is only about a 25-minute train ride from Central Station to the airport. You will access the metro from the station underneath Central Station and take the green line which takes you directly to the airport.
How to get around Newcastle by bus
Newcastle has plenty of bus routes throughout the city with many buses that also travel throughout the region, making it easy to spend a day exploring the Tyne and Wear region. There are even dedicated buses that will take you to specific neighborhoods (read this guide on where to stay in Newcastle) or attractions such as the city center, the Intu Metrocentre, or even one of the university campuses.
Use your Day Rover card or North East Explorer ticket so you can ride the bus throughout the day without having to purchase single tickets each time you board the bus. You can directly pay your bus driver but you will need exact change. Bus drivers can also sell the North East Explorer ticket but you do have to purchase the Day Rover at a bus or metro station.
Eldon Square Bus Station
This station is located near the Newcastle city centre in the Eldon Square shopping centre. The station is managed by Nexus, but is owned by the Newcastle city council. The Eldon Square bus station is more than just a bus depot, it is also a great shopping place with several great retail outlets.
There is only one exit and one entrance into the station as well as a wide pedestrian platform where you can wait for your bus. Be sure to check the information boards and timetable when you arrive to make sure your bus is running on time.
How to get around Newcastle by car
Newcastle has an ambassador program that taxi drivers can choose to take part in and become certified ambassadors of the city. There are about 400 taxi drivers that are ambassadors so when you see the sign on their cab, you know they are able to help you and give you advice on places to visit, things to do, and places to stay. You want your taxi driver to be knowledgeable of the city so you can get to where you need to go.
It may seem a bit odd that not all taxi drivers are ambassadors but these representatives have been trained to recommend safe places to visit and give insight into what other tourists have found fun and interesting. Many of the ambassadors are part of Blueline Taxis and La Taxis.
There are several taxi services available in Newcastle, so you should have no problems finding a taxi no matter where you are in the city. Find 24-hour taxi services at Grey Street, Central Station, and the Gateshead Bus interchange. While it can be pricey to take a taxi everywhere you want to go in Newcastle, it is a safe alternative to riding the metro or bus.
When traditional taxi services are not an option, Uber is a fantastic alternative. It is not difficult to order an Uber and you can be certain the vehicle is clean and your driver has been thoroughly checked to ensure they are qualified and have a clean driving record. It can be pricey to use an Uber, especially when the demand is higher, but the personalized service may be worth it to you.
Even if you are not used to driving in Newcastle, it is sometimes better to have a vehicle at your disposal rather than wait on a car service or public transportation. Parking in some areas of the city can be tricky, sometimes even non-existent, making it tricky to drive yourself around Newcastle. But there are plenty of rental car options throughout the city.
There are some places in Newcastle that have excellent car parks but other areas such as the city centre that have limited car parks. Before you spend money on a rental make sure there are places you can park where you plan to stay.
Newcastle has been working toward becoming a more bike-friendly city with bike paths and wider sidewalks. Before you hop on your bike and start exploring the city drop by The Cycle Hub, an information center for cyclists including local clubs, training, guided rides, and bike rentals.
If you do not own your own bike or you are just visiting Newcastle, you can enjoy a bike rental service such as Mobike which uses an app that allows you to rent a bike directly from the app. Dock-less locking and unlocking is available, just use your phone to unlock the bike and head out. When you are done, use your phone to securely lock the bike until the next person unlocks it.
Can I get around Newcastle by foot?
You definitely can explore much of Newcastle on foot. Whether you are taking a self-guided walking tour or you join a tour guide and meander through the streets learning more about this amazing city, walking is good! The city centre is especially pedestrian friendly with its wide, well-maintained sidewalks. There are even plenty of street lights to light your way if you are exploring at night.
With plenty of shops, restaurants, and attractions throughout the city you can pick a neighborhood and spend a day walking about discovering all the great things about that particular place. If you are feeling especially adventurous explore a few neighborhoods, grab a bite to eat from a street food vendor, and check out some of the shops along the way.
Hello Newcastle! Walking Tours
The Hello Newcastle! Private Walking Tour is a wonderful experience for visitors and locals. Spend about two-hour following an experienced guide through the streets of Newcastle and even Gateshead. You will meet your tour and group on Neville Street or you can even choose to be picked up at your hotel.
While on the walking tour you will see several great attractions including St James Park, Grey’s Monument, Newcastle United FC football stadium, Central Arcade, Monument of Earl Grey, Grainger Market, Quayside Market, Newcastle Castle, Tyne Bridge, Gateshead Millennium Bridge, Gateshead Philharmonic Concert Hall, and the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art.
Newcastle City Guides
From heritage walks to hitting the highlights, this group of fantastic and knowledgeable volunteers will lead you through the streets of Newcastle and showcase the amazing history of this unique city. It may be one of the biggest cities in the region but the small-town feel is still there and your guide will show you why this city is so special. Start your tour at the Newcastle city centre.
You can even sign up for tours that take you outside Newcastle to Gateshead and other nearby cities and towns. Pick which walking tour best fits your needs, some last a few hours while others will take half a day. When you complete your tour, don’t forget to leave a tip for your guide to show your appreciation; these are volunteers so they rely on the tips they earn.
Navigate Newcastle City Centre
Getting around Newcastle is actually not as difficult as you would first think. The metro stations are clean and easily accessible and the bus stations have electronic information boards that keep you up-to-date on any changes to the bus schedule. Once you have spent some time navigating the public transport system of Newcastle, you will be a pro in no time.