The capital of northeast England, Newcastle is world famous for its brown ale (ask for “a bottle of dog” if you want to make friends), bridges over the river Tyne (there are seven of them if you’re counting), and is the friendliest city in the country – just ask any local.
There are plenty of reasons to visit, too. St James’s Park, the football ground of Newcastle United, is slap bang in the city centre, and you can hear the roar of 50,000 fans bouncing around the city on any given match day. Newcastle is also the gateway to Hadrian’s Wall and the beaches of Northumberland, a certified Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. And of course, its nightlife is legendary (although sometimes not for all the right reasons).
Whether you’re after a city centre crash pad close to the bars, a chic townhouse stay on the quayside close to the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art or a countryside hotel just outside of the town centre, Newcastle has got you covered. Just make sure you can find you way back to it at the end of the night…
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Best for art lovers: Malmaison
A boxy townhouse facing the sleek white curve of the Gateshead Millennium Bridge, the Malmaison has been one of the most stylish stays in the city for a while now. Inside, Art Deco chandeliers and houndstooth carpets decorate the lobby; watching boats glide past on the River Tyne from the brasserie restaurant before hitting the subterranean spa means you don’t even need to leave. Location-wise, you’re just a 10-minute walk from Newcastle city centre, and across the bridge, the Baltic Centre for contemporary art, which has hosted the Turner Prize.
Rooms from £75
Best for foodies: Jesmond Dene House
You could be in a remote woodland at this elegant Victorian house hotel, but instead you’re just a six-minute taxi from the town centre in Jesmond Dene, a valley packed with fir trees, with the River Ouse babbling past. It used to be the residence of the mayor of Newcastle in the 1800s, but these days you’ll find a wholesome country pile with sink-in beds and fuss-free service. Locals go out of their way for Jesmond Dene’s AA-rosette-rated restaurant, with refined northern classics like Yorkshire pork belly and North Sea cod – sure to warm your cockles. Rooms in the old house have sloped ceilings, oak panelling and plenty of nooks and crannies to explore, though you’ll want to go walking in the Dene outside with its crumbling water mill, or make the hike up to Jesmond’s well-heeled bar scene come evening.
Rooms from £139
Best for being in the heart of the action: Hotel Indigo
Neighbourhood: Grainger Town
Hotel Indigo was a game changer when it launched on the Newcastle scene in 2014, bringing with it the region’s first Marco Pierre White Steakhouse. It’s also one of the few boutique hotels in the city, and although not much of a looker from the outside (it used to be an old office block), rooms are packed full of character with yellow brick bathroom tiles, jewel-coloured throws, mini fridges stocked with complimentary snacks – plus a dinky succulent on bedside tables. Some rooms have terraces with pinstripe deck chairs and there’s also a ground floor terrace where you can bag a £20 bottle of prosecco on Fridays when the northeast weather is at its best.
Rooms from £73
Best for larger groups: The Vermont Hotel
Sitting like a symmetrical tiered wedding cake at the top of the quayside right next to the medieval Castle Keep (that gives Newcastle its name), The Vermont is a grande dame of a hotel. You’re equidistant from the buzz of the city and the river here, and the hotel is built on the steep slope down to the quayside, right next to a dramatic sandstone railway arch. If you’re in town with a group, the hotel also has 11 stylish serviced apartments over the road. Rooms are cosy with quilted headboards and tartan carpets in washed-out golds. Have a night in at The Maven restaurant, which serves everything from seafood tempura to Vietnamese shaking beef.
Rooms from £75
Best for architecture nerds: Grey Street Hotel
Neighbourhood: Grainger Town
Geordies are very proud of the fact that Grey Street often tops “the most beautiful street in the UK” lists. This tiny Georgian boutique hotel in a converted bank sits at the bottom of the street’s curve of sandstone townhouses with Grey’s monument proudly at the top, marking the city centre. The architecture is a focal point of the monochrome rooms, too, with Newcastle’s monuments immortalised in cameos on statement wallpaper. Grey Street makes the ideal crash pad – you’re on the doorstep of some of the best spots to eat in town, and the hotel has no restaurant, so even more excuse to get out and about.
Rooms from £60
Best for grown ups: Hotel du Vin
Neighbourhood: Ouseburn Valley
The polished Hotel du Vin, on the edge of the city centre in the creative Ouseburn Valley is the smooth-talking Don Draper of Newcastle hotels and just a 10-minute walk along the quayside. In a burnished redbrick warehouse with spacious rooms decorated in chocolatey oak panelling, roll-top baths and wrinkled leather armchairs, it’s ideal for couples who want to stay slightly outside of the action. As the name suggests, the hotel takes its food and drink very seriously, so stay in for a meal at the French brasserie. If you’re keen to explore, make a beeline for twin pubs The Tyne Bar and The Free Trade for a pint with the best views in town.
Rooms from £79
Best for river views: Hilton Newcastle Gateshead
Though purists will argue that it’s technically on the Gateshead side, this hotel has the best views of the emerald-ironwork of the Tyne Bridge, shown off to full advantage through floor-to-ceiling lobby windows. Ask for a bedroom on the middle fourth or fifth floors for peak bridge-watching. There’s also a large swimming pool and spa. You’re just steps from the swing bridge at quayside level and there’s a buzz about nearby shipping container bar complex By the River Brew Co – make sure you have at least one meal at Trakol, where all dishes are cooked on an open fire.
Rooms from £81
Best for nature lovers: Grand Hotel
If you’re visiting the windswept beaches of Northumberland, staying in the pretty seaside town of Tynemouth – located just a 20-minute metro ride east from Newcastle – makes sense. The Victorian Grand Hotel harks back to the town’s beachside glamour, sitting on a cliff at the top of Longsands beach, where surfers slice ice-cold waves. Inside, the hotel lives up to its name, with a sweeping central staircase and traditional rooms, some of which come with four-poster beds. Make sure you grab a lunch of kippers and smoky potatoes at Riley’s Fish Shack, which has had critics raving.
Rooms from £99
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