March 27, 2019
Thinking about moving to Newcastle or Gateshead? Find out everything you need to know about life in these thriving areas, which are joined by seven bridges across the Tyne. We take a look at everything from the culture and nightlife to the best schools in the region to help you decide if this is the right place for you to buy a new home.
Both Gateshead and Newcastle are well-known for their industrial pasts, but the history of this area stretches back much further. Hadrian’s Wall, the largest Roman archaeological feature in Britain, stretches for 73 miles across northern England from Carlisle in the west to Newcastle in the east, and there are still significant portions of the wall visible in Newcastle.
During the Middle Ages, Newcastle was the northern fortress of England, and it separated from Northumberland in 1400 to become a county in its own right. In the 13th century, a stone wall was built around the city as a defence against Scottish invaders during the Border wall, and Newcastle successfully defended itself against the Scots several times over the next two centuries.
Both Gateshead and Newcastle expanded rapidly during the Industrial Revolution. The population of Gateshead increased by over 100,000 people between 1801 and 1901, and Newcastle became a key city during the revolution, thanks to its shipbuilding and heavy engineering industries.
Both places saw mass unemployment with the demise of the coal mines in the area, but over the last few years, regeneration has been ongoing, transforming Gateshead and Newcastle into the thriving, modern places they are today.
There’s plenty for culture lovers to see and do in both Newcastle and its smaller sister across the Tyne. There are numerous festivals throughout the year in Newcastle, from Lunar New Year Celebrations in Newcastle’s Chinatown in January, to the SAMA Festival of East Asian culture in early October. There’s also the Newcastle Beer Festival in April, the North East Art Expo in May, The Hoppings (the largest annual collection of travelling fairs in Europe) which happens every June, and the Northern Pride Festival which is also held in June. The Newcastle Mela is held in August, a celebration of Punjabi, Pakistani, Bengali and Hindu cultures, and there’s also the Great North Run, a half marathon between Newcastle and South Shields which is held annually in September or October.
There are several museums and galleries in both Newcastle and Gateshead. The Centre for Life in Newcastle is a science village, loved by adults and children alike, and the Discovery Museum highlights what life on Tyneside was like in years gone by. Seven Stories is the National Centre for Children’s Books – the first and only museum in the UK that’s entirely dedicated to kids’ books – and the Laing Art Gallery has an extensive collection from both local and international artists, including work by J. M. W. Turner. Over in Gateshead, the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art is situated in a converted flour mill on the south bank of the Tyne. It has an ever-changing roster of exhibitions, with no permanent exhibitions.
The Angel of the North in Gateshead was completed in 1998 and is the largest sculpture in England, towering over the A1 and the East Coast Main Line.
Newcastle is famed for its nightlife, with a high number of pubs, bars and clubs in and around the city, including the Bigg Market and Quayside areas of the city. Collingwood Street is often called the ‘Diamond Strip’ thanks to the high-end bars lining the street. There’s also a thriving gay scene in the Toon, known as the ‘pink triangle’.
Both Newcastle and Gateshead are great for foodies. There’s a wide variety of cuisines on offer, from the East Asian restaurants of Newcastle’s Chinatown to the street food stalls at STACK Newcastle. If you buy a house in one of these twin towns, you’ll soon become well acquainted with the area’s local delicacies, including pease pudding, a comforting savoury dish, and stottie cake, a type of bread that’s often served alongside pease pudding.
And of course, don’t forget that Newcastle is the home of Greggs, the UK’s largest bakery chain. The city has the highest number of Greggs stores per capita in the world.
Gateshead is home to the Metrocentre, the second-largest shopping centre in the UK behind Westfield London, with more than 300 shops over 2,000,000 square feet. The main pedestrianised shopping street in Newcastle is Northumberland Street, where you’ll find all your favourite high-street shops. Nearby Grey Street is home to lots of lovely independent shops, and just a stone’s throw away is Grainger Market, Newcastle’s first supermarket, which is still thriving over 185 years after it first opened. This covered market is a Grade I Listed Market and includes lots of hidden gems, including the world’s smallest Marks and Spencer store, the Original Penny Bazaar which opened in 1895.
Further out, you’ll also find boutique clothing shops and bookstores in leafy Jesmond – make sure to check out Jesmond’s Antique Village for some bargains! Head out to the coastal towns of Whitley Bay and Tynemouth for even more independent shopping options.
There’s a strong selection of schools in both Newcastle and Gateshead, so there are plenty of options wherever you choose to buy a house. Newcastle has 74 primary schools and 20 secondary schools. Of these, 13 are LEA-funded and 7 are independent schools. Many of the state schools are critically acclaimed, including Walker Riverside Academy, Jesmond Park Academy, St Cuthbert’s High School and Excelsior Academy, all of which are highly rated.
The Royal Grammar School in Jesmond is the largest co-educational independent school in the area and has twice been awarded the title of top-performing school in the North of England by the Sunday Times School Guide.
The Real Schools Guide, which ranks schools based on 51 different criteria, put Tynemouth’s Kings Priory School as the top-rated school in North East England in 2020, followed by Gateshead’s Emmanuel College.
Newcastle and Gateshead are both very well-connected. Newcastle Central Station is a key stop on both the East Coast Main Line and Cross Country Route, and LNER has a train to London King’s Cross every two hours, with journeys taking between two and three hours. LNER also goes north to Edinburgh, with train times taking roughly an hour and a half.
Gateshead Interchange is the busiest bus station in Tyne and Wear, used by millions of passengers every year to get around the county and beyond.
The Metro makes it quick and easy to get around Newcastle and the surrounding areas, with underground and overground lines taking passengers to the airport, Gateshead, Whitley Bay, Tynemouth and Sunderland, as well as Newcastle city centre.
Both Newcastle and Gateshead are well-served by major roads including the A1 which runs from Edinburgh to London, and Newcastle International Airport which is a 20-minute Metro journey from the city centre, is the busiest in North East England and the second-largest in Northern England, behind Manchester, with a wide range of flights for those looking to travel a little further afield.
If you need advice for first-time buying in Newcastle or Gateshead – or if you’re looking for a reliable mortgage broker in the North East – don’t hesitate to contact us today.
We’re experts on all things mortgage-related (and our services are always 100% free).
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