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The ultimate guide to .........

British Flag



Newcastle/Pons Aurelius/The Toon!


(aka Student City)





Newcastle-upon-Tyne is the capital of the North East of England and important on a national and European level. The population of the city itself is around 400,000, a figure that is rising fairly steadily. Newcastle is renowned for its great nightlife and friendly people as well as the Tyne Bridge, which is the city's landmark. The city centre is a mixture of architectural styles, and a regeneration programme has now been underway for some time. Schemes such as the 'Grainger Town Project' aim to release the potential of Newcastle's beautiful Georgian architecture, and the Quayside has also undergone major changes over the last decade, transforming the riverside into a hub of business activity during the day and one of the trendiest places to be seen at night. The city has been nominated as a candidate for the European City of Culture & Architecture 2008. This guide will give you some basic information on what has come to be known as "Student City".





Newcastle is in the far northeastern corner of England, close to the Scottish border. It is approx. 350miles (565km) away from London, which is approximately 5 to 6hrs by car (depending on who's driving, of course!).
There is an hourly Cross Country Express train which leaves London King's Cross train station arriving in Newcastle just 3 hours later, although this is quite an expensive option. Coaches are available through National Expressat very reasonable prices. Newcastle also has an airport with direct flights to many European cities (there are NO direct flights to Köln-Bonn, Marignane, or Málaga You normally have to change at London, Brussels or Amsterdam), although the airport is small and therefore landing taxes are fairly high! For more details on the airport, check out the website.





People from Newcastle are commonly known as Geordies and are well known everywhere for their outgoing, hospitable nature. The Geordie accent/dialect is extremely distinctive, instantly recognisable and sometimes difficult for even the most intelligent (? - Ed.) English person to understand, so be warned! However, in a recent newspaper survey, the Geordie accent was voted one of the friendliest in Britain!!





The University of Northumbria (UNN) is not to be confused with the University of NewcastleUpon-Tyne, which is a separate institution. There are approx. 25,000 students at UNN, and the university has one of the highest proportions of foreign and mature students in the UK. The Department of Modern Languages has an excellent name and was recently awarded 23/24 points in a higher education inspection report, beating even Oxford and Cambridge, coming in first place and confirming its status as the best department in the UK. The department has excellent resources and there are plenty of computers available throughout the university.



But now onto more important matters....
all British universities have a Student's Union, which is primarily responsible for keeping students entertained.
The Union at UNN (or UNSU) is situated opposite the Library Building and has played host to lots of top bands including Catatonia, and Underworld. Drinks at UNSU are dirt-cheap and plentiful, so get yourselves ready for a lot of full! The Union also offers good meals at cheap prices all day!





There is plenty of student housing in Newcastle. If you are interested in renting privately, then the main student ghettos are the east-end suburbs of Heaton and Jesmond. In Britain, the trend is usually to share a house with up to 5 other people, which can work out fairly cheap. If you are more inclined to live in halls, then this is arranged through tile university directly. The main halls of residence are Lovaine and Claude Gibb, which are on campus, and there are many others scattered around the 'toon'. For further information on halls of residence, check out our info box on the Menu page (on the left frame)





If you end up living in one of the suburbs, then naturally, you will need to travel on a daily basis, and getting around the city is fairly easy, thanks to an effective bus and Metro system. Metros run to and from the city centre every few minutes and the station to get off at for the university is Haymarket. You can get a student pass for both methods of transport, and this can dramatically reduce travelling expenses.





Newcastle is great for shopping and the good thing is that the main shopping area is fairly compact, For most needs, Eldon Square should do the job. This is the shopping centre which spans the north of the city centre and inside it are every type of shop necessary to all cities and a fair few cafes and restaurants too! Northumberland Street is Newcastle's Schildergasse and it gets crrrrrrrrazy on Saturdays! Venture down Grey Street and you'll find a lot of cool designer shops, including Diesel and Union. Another recommendation is Monument Mall, which has a smaller selection of shops and a fab Foodcourt on the third floor!!!





Newcastle is officially the party city of Britain. In a recent survey by a top U.S. travel magazine, the city was voted the 7th best party city in the world, and was the only British city to even make it into the top ten! Newcastle was also named as one of the favourite destinations in the UK for foreign visitors. Going out in Newcastle is certainly an experience.
There are three main areas of nocturnal activity:


Haymarket - mainly for older locals but pubs like Scruffy Murphy's and Filament & Firkin cater for students too. It's not particularly cheap but a night out there won't break the bank either.

RECOMMENDATION: Try Bar Oz, an Australian theme bar with a great atmosphere.


Bigg Market - this is how Newcastle got it's name as party city!
The Bigg Market is absolutely crazy and you're guaranteed to get totally bladdered without even realising it! We're talking 99p for a triple vodka in certain places! This area is popular with both locals and students alike and is a little scary for some people at first but you soon get used to it !


Pubs to try out are: Yell! with it's fantastic 80's night on a Thursday and some seriously fab cocktails! Robinson's serves cheap drinks and plays good music most nights of the week. Pig & Whistle is a great pre-club place to get you warmed up for later!
There are countless other bars in the Bigg Market that are too numerous to mention here. See for yourselves!


Quayside - the Quayside has recently been completely revamped and has become a pubbers paradise!
The area by the river is particularly popular amongst students and is renowned as being quite chic! That doesn't mean that it's overpriced though as you call have a fairly cheap night out on the Quayside too. Places to look out for are Flynn's, Fog & Firkin, Pitcher & Piano (spot the famous footballers!), and the legendary Chase Bar, with its barbed-wire toilet seats, fantastic music, and good, but expensive, cocktails.
There are of course pubs all over the town and one definitely worthy of a mention is Bierrex, which is a European Café Bar where you can get your hands on a whole range of continental beers (German, Belgian, Dutch, French etc). They also do fantastic food (try the potato wedges with melted cheese!) and the eat-as-much-as-you-like Sunday Brunch for Ł3.50 is a tasty hangover cure! Bierrex is situated behind the Civic Centre, directly between the two universities.

Don't forget that pubs close at 11pm in the UK although that's all set to change (thank goodness!), so most people start at 7-8pm.

Clubbing in Newcastle is also an experience.
Here are a few of the clubs I'd recommend:

Tuxedo Royale - this is one of my personal favourites.
The Tuxedo Royale (or 'the boat' as it's more commonly known) is a floating nightclub which is moored directly underneath the Tyne Bridge, There are four dancefloors, all playing different types of music and Thursday night is cheap drink night, so get yourselves ready for some serious partying (and embarrassing tumbles) on the revolving dancefloor!! Do NOT miss this one!


Ikon - very popular with just about everybody. Ikon is a huge club with all the latest lighting and the music is excellent. Again, Thursday night is a good night. The drinks are a little pricey but there's a good atmosphere and it's near the Uni.


Planet Earth - fairly small but Tuesday night is Carwash, a 70s night complete with dancers so that's one not to be missed!


Powerhouse - this is a gay club but is popular with just about everyone. The music is exactly what you'd expect (techno, house, energy) and there's a great atmosphere, particularly on Saturday nights.

NOTE: all of these clubs have dress codes which means you can't wear trainers and you have too look smart!!!





If you want to get out of Newcastle for the day, there is no end of options. Just a short Metro ride away is the coast, and Whitley Bay and Tynemouth are particular favourites.
The northeast has some of the cleanest, most unspoilt beaches in the country and the fish and chips are good too! Further north is Northumberland and most importantly Hadrian's Wall, which is a major attraction for people from around the world. Northumberland National Park is absolutely beautiful and it is really worth it to hire a car for the day and see villages like Hexham and Corbridge and the many Roman sites, especially Vindolanda.
Kielder Water is a huge lake, which is popular for water-sports and picnics. Also a must-see are Bamburgh Castle and Lindisfarne (aka Holy Island) which are both stunning.
Other important places nearby are Durham, Edinburgh (a must!) and The Lake District.



Conclusion ......


Well, I could go on forever about Newcastle, but time doesn't allow it, so I hope that this short guide will help you a little bit. If you have any further questions on anything to do with the city or the uni or whatever, don't hesitate to ask either myself, Jill, Sally, Elspeth or any of the others who know the city!



© Lee C. Willescroft-Ferris
Aix-en-Provence, FRANCE 1999/2000