10 reasons to live in Newcastle and Gateshead

Our Local editor for Newcastle and Gateshead, Annis, has compiled a list of 10 reasons to live in Newcastle and Gateshead. Once a destination for less fortunate fictional characters, Newcastle upon Tyne and neighbouring Gateshead are now some of the most culturally vibrant destinations in the UK. 

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1. Thing about the area

Newcastle/Gateshead was once a place where fictitious characters like Mr and Mrs Wickham (Pride and Prejudice) were banished or suffered cruel and harsh conditions like poor Jane Eyre.

But now with an iconic Angel watching over us, the area has been reinvented through cultural innovations and transformed from a place of literary scorn. It’s a wonderful area of contrasts: you are never too far away from busy city life, rural countryside or the beautiful North East coastline.

Newcastle and Gateshead are separated by the River Tyne, but share close cultural interests. Together they offer a fantastic calendar of activities and events – there is so much going on that you are often spoilt for choice. There are numerous family-friendly festivals, which take place throughout the year. We are just about to have the Juice Festival starting in October half-term, which celebrates the creativity of children and young people.

2. Child-friendly café

Geordies are known for their general friendliness, so you'll find plenty of lovely cafés that are very child-friendly and welcoming. Teasy Does It has lovely cakes. Laing Art Gallery Cafe has highchairs and helpful staff and The Sage has lots of space and a great little play area right beside the café, to entertain those who have grown bored with the chat.

"The Sage café is quite child-friendly and the Sage itself offers music groups for under-fives" juneybean Angel of the North

3. Child-free night out

There's an amazing array of choices for nightlife in Newcastle. If you don't fancy sampling the delights of the many bars, pubs and clubs that Newcastle has to offer, then there is an abundance of different cuisines available in the various restaurants. Fat Buddha Asian Bar and Kitchen serves delicious Asian cuisine in very stylish surroundings.

If you are vegetarian, then there's the wonderful Sky Apple Cafe which glams up an evening. If your fancy takes you to more cultural pursuits, then there are several theatres, such as the Theatre Royal – a beautiful, elegant theatre in the heart of the city centre. You can also have a laugh at The Stand Comedy Club or indulge your musical side at The Sage.

4. Outside space

We are very lucky to have lots of fantastic outside spaces. Saltwell Park is a beautiful Victorian park, with duck pond, rose gardens, woodland walks, pets’ corner and play areas. Leazes Park is a lovely city centre park, perfect for getting away from the bustle of the city on a sunny day. Thornley Woods have wonderful carved wooden creatures waiting to be discovered as you stroll along the woodland paths.

5. Hidden gem

There is a beautiful, tranquil stretch of green space for the city, known as The Ouseburn Parks. These are five linked parks starting just a mile from the city centre and running for two miles along the Ouseburn Valley. You can almost forget you are in a city as you walk along wooded pathways, stroll beside a river, pause for a moment beside a waterfall and pose on many a scenic bridge. There are listed buildings and scheduled monuments dotted throughout and the parks are a haven for wildlife. Jesmond Dene, the former picturesque garden of Lord and Lady Armstrong of Cragside, Heaton Park, Armstrong Park, Paddy Freeman’s Park and Jesmond Vale are other great finds.

6. Community venue

Both Bill Quay Community Farm in Gateshead and Ouseburn Farm in Newcastle are run by the local community. They are free to visit and make a lovely day out, with the chance for children to learn about farm animals and their care. Both farms run activities and events, have great child-friendly cafés and sell a range of local produce at the farm.

At a glance

Average semi-detached house price
Newcastle/Gateshead: £158,988
UK: £201,427

Average class size for primary schools
Newcastle/Gateshead: 26 pupils 
UK: 25.9 pupils

Average salary
Newcastle/Gateshead: £23,400
UK: £26,461

Unemployment rate
Newcastle/Gateshead: 10.3%
UK: 7.3%

7. Free visitor attraction

The Discovery Museum has hands-on exhibitions and displays covering social history, science, technology,costume, maritime and regimental history. They also run activities for children at weekends and school holidays.

Great North Museum is full of fascinating objects and displays covering natural sciences, geology, archaeology and world cultures with interactive exhibitions, including Hadrian's Wall. The Laing Art Gallery and The Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art are very child-friendly and have play areas designed especially for younger visitors.

"I find Bill Quay Farm and Ouesburn farm make great days out" CatsInCustard
"Gateshead Library for Storytime at 2.15pm on a Wednesday (free!)" juneybean 

8. Day out

Well worth a visit is The Centre for Life – a bright and inviting science museum. With interactive exhibitions bringing scientific topics to life, there is also a Planetarium and 4D Motion Ride. Gibside, a beautiful 18th century pleasure gardens and estate on the outskirts of Gateshead, is run by the National Trust. It’s a wonderful place to visit, with woodland walks, play areas and lots of events taking place. They even have a child-friendly beer garden on a Friday evening.

Seven Stories National Centre for Children's Books is a fantastic place to visit with children. Lots of exhibitions, activities, story times and dressing up opportunities celebrating all things book-related.

9. Places to live

If you like living close to the city centre, with good local amenities and near some wonderful parks, then Gosforth, Heaton, Jesmond or Low Fell would fit the bill. If you prefer a semi-rural location, with good transport links, easy distance to the Metrocentre or Newcastle city centre but not too far away from countryside, then Rowlands Gill, Winlaton and Ryton would give you the best of both worlds. 

Newcastle's bridge at night

10. Places to shop

We aren't short of places to shop in Newcastle/Gateshead. The Metrocentre in Gateshead is Europe's largest indoor shopping complex and with Eldon Square, right in the heart of Newcastle city centre, you're never too far from being able to indulge any shopping cravings you might have.

About the editor

My name is Annis, I was born in Newcastle but I moved away to live abroad and then in London for a number of years. I moved back to the area after I had my first baby, because I wanted to raise our family in the North East, as it's a fantastic place to bring up children.

I enjoy being the Local Editor for Newcastle/Gateshead as it gives me the chance to tell everyone about the wonderful things in our area and hopefully help build up a support/friendship network for local Mumsnetters and give something back to the Mumsnet community. Through Mumsnet I've laughed, cried, acquired knowledge I could have done without, sympathised, and also been very grateful for the support I've received when I've found things hard to cope with, plus I've met some lovely Mumsnetters along the way.



Last updated: about 3 years ago