Newcastle Cruise Port Guide, UK | 10 Best Things To Do In Port

Newcastle upon Tyne, often referred to just as Newcastle, lies on the River Tyne’s northern bank on the eastern coast of England. Newcastle cruise port is located 8 miles/13 km (a 20-minute drive) northeast of Newcastle city center and is easily reached by metro.

The city is renowned for its lively cultural scene with numerous art galleries, theaters, and music venues. Newcastle is a blend of old and modern, best reflected in two major city landmarks: the medieval Newcastle Castle and the modern Gateshead Millennium Bridge, both located in the city center within a short walk from each other.

In this Newcastle cruise port guide, I share practical information on the Newcastle cruise terminal and the 10 best things to do in Newcastle on a cruise.

Visit also our cruise port guides to KirkwallCork/Cobh, Belfast, Holyhead, Dover, Dublin, Glasgow (Greenock), Liverpool, Invergordon (Inverness)

Newcastle Cruise Port

The port of Newcastle, officially known as the Port of Tyne, is located in North Shields, 8 miles east of downtown Newcastle. The cruise terminal is located next to Royal Quays Marina and consists of two berths that can accommodate large cruise liners.

Cruise ships dock at the International Passenger Terminal, the renovated terminal with modern amenities, including spacious seating areas accommodating up to 800 passengers, free Wi-Fi, cash machines, and a small shop selling travel essentials. You can also recharge and refuel at an on-site cafe and restaurant.

A tourist information office provides helpful tourist information and recommendations to make the most of your visit.

Additional baggage handling facilities and parking spaces are available, as Newcastle is also a homeport, meaning that cruises start and end in Newcastle.

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, AIDA Cruises, Viking Cruises, Silversea, Holland America Line, Ambassador, and TUI are some of the major cruise lines sailing from/to Newcastle port. You can check the cruise timetables at the port’s official website

Getting Around New Castle, United Kingdom

  • There’s not much to do in the port area except for the Newcastle Quays Retail Park, an outlet shopping center situated within a 10-minute walk from the cruise terminal.
  • Newcastle cruise port is well connected to the city center via the Tyne and Wear Metro. The Percy Main metro station is located a 25-minute walk from the cruise terminal and the ride to Newcastle downtown takes about 30 minutes. The cruise terminal is in zone C.
  • Alternatively, you can take a taxi (the ride takes 20 minutes), or a shuttle bus if provided by your cruise ship. The cruise lines may provide a shuttle bus and they usually sell tickets on the evening before the arrival. Numerous guided shore excursions are offered too.
  • Newcastle International Airport is located 18 miles/29 km (a 30-minute drive) northwest of Newcastle cruise terminal. The best way to reach the port from the airport is to take a taxi or arrange a private transfer.
  • Newcastle city center is compact and can easily be explored on foot. Open-top Hop on Hop off sightseeing buses are available and they usually depart from Newcastle Central Station, conveniently located in the city center.
  • Explore Newcastle tours and activities 
  • Book a private transfer to/from Newcastle port
  • Check out the hotels in Newcastle

10 Best Things to Do in Newcastle Cruise Port

1. Quayside and Gateshead Millennium Bridge

The Quayside experience is one of Newcastle’s must-dos! Quayside is a bustling waterfront area along the banks of the River Tyne, known for the stunning Gateshead Millennium Bridge, which towers above.

The iconic landmark of this area and a symbol of Newcastle, the Millennium Bridge is a marvel of modern engineering and design. This pedestrian and cyclist tilt bridge spans the River Tyne and connects Quayside with Gateshead Quays.

Its LED lighting system creates a stunning display of colors at night, so if your ship is staying longer in port – do not miss to come and admire this piece of art after the sunset!

Newcastle - Gateshead Millennium Bridge
The Quayside and Gateshead Millennium Bridge. Photo source:

If you enjoy art and culture, you can visit the famous Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art and the Glasshouse International Centre for Music, which hosts a variety of exhibitions and live performances.

Housed in an ancient flour mill, the Baltic (aka BALTIC) features exhibition spaces, a visitor center, a rooftop restaurant, and a viewing platform from where you can admire the spectacular city views. 

Quayside is also renowned for its diverse dining options, ranging from traditional English pubs to international restaurants. Many of them offer outdoor seating, allowing you to dine al fresco while taking in views of the river and bridges.

Explore Newcastle walking tours

2. Discovery Museum

Located 1.2 miles (a 30-minute walk) from the Quayside and the bridge, the Discovery Museum offers an insight into Newcastle’s industrial heritage and technological innovations.

The museum is huge, spanning three floors, with extensive galleries filled with inventions, vintage vehicles, model ships, and intriguing interactive displays. The exhibits showcase the city’s industrial past, from its roots in coal mining and shipbuilding to innovations in engineering and manufacturing.

From scientific experiments, documentaries, hands-on exhibits and educational programs to learning about Newcastle’s history, the visit is an enjoyable experience for both kids and adults.

And the best part? It is absolutely free to enter! There is also a lift and the place is wheelchair accessible.

Plus, there’s a cozy cafe where you can grab a hot cuppa and some delicious treats to fuel your exploration.

3. Seven Stories

Families won’t want to miss a visit to Seven Stories, the National Centre for Children’s Books, located in the Ouseburn district a 15-minute walk from the Quayside.

Housed in a converted 7-floor Victorian warehouse, this fascinating bookshop is filled with storytelling, interactive exhibits, and literary adventures that will pique your imagination.

The ground floor houses a bookshop and a spacious café, while the upper floors (second to fourth) host galleries showcasing various artists’ works. You will be greeted by the magical world of children’s literature brought to life!

If you’re planning a visit, make sure to leave plenty of time to completely immerse yourself in the world of children’s books. Trust me, you won’t want to rush through this magical experience!

4. Northumberland Street

Northumberland Street is the main pedestrian and shopping street located in the heart of Newcastle upon Tyne.

Renowned for its vibrant atmosphere, this bustling hub offers a mix of high-street chains, department stores, boutique shops, and cafes.

5. Newcastle Castle

Originally built by the Normans in the 12th century on the site of a Roman fort, this medieval fortress played a vital role in defending the region and controlling the River Tyne.

Today, you can explore the ancient passageways and chambers and learn the castle’s fascinating history through guided tours and interactive exhibits. Visitors can climb the imposing Norman keep and enjoy the spectacular panoramic views of the city and the river.

The entrance ticket includes access to the Black Gate, a 13th-century fortified gatehouse, and the entire keep itself. The cost is £12,50 (the price from 2024).

Newcastle Castle and Newcastle Cathedral
Newcastle Castle and Newcastle Cathedral. Photo source: Canva Pro (photo edited)

6. Newcastle Cathedral

While there, do not miss to enter the Newcastle Cathedral, located right next to the castle. Officially known as the Cathedral Church of St. Nicholas, the imposing 14th-century cathedral is dedicated to St. Nicholas, the patron saint of sailors and children.

The cathedral was built in a striking Gothic architectural style highlighted by soaring arches, stained glass windows, and an impressive tower, often featured on city postcards. It has an equally beautiful interior adorned with stone carvings, a historic organ, and religious artwork.

7. The Alnwick Garden and Alnwick Castle

Located 37 miles/23 km (a 45-minute drive) north of Newcastle cruise port, Alnwick is a historic market town in Northumberland County in North East England.

The town is famous for its magnificent Alnwick Garden, renowned for its stunning landscapes and diverse plant collections, and the medieval Alnwick Castle which served as a filming location for the Harry Potter movies.

7.1. The Alnwick Garden

Spanning over 42 acres, the Alnwick Gardens features a vast network of formal gardens, including the Rose Garden, Grand Cascade, and Bamboo Labyrinth, along with unique features like the Poison Garden and Serpent Garden.

One of the highlights is the famous Poison Garden—a fascinating and slightly eerie experience that offers a glimpse into the world of deadly plants and their intriguing histories. It is both educational and thrilling to learn about the secrets and stories behind these mysterious botanical specimens.

The best way to explore the Poison Garden is on a guided tour in the company of a knowledgeable tour guide who will share stories in a fun and informative way.

You can also enjoy a unique dining experience at the large Treehouse Restaurant to top off your stay!

7.2. The Alnwick Castle

The majestic castle dates back to the 11th century and served as a military stronghold and a royal residence throughout history.

With its impressive architecture including towering walls, imposing towers, and a picturesque courtyard, the castle is best known for its starring role as Hogwarts in the Harry Potter movies.

You can book a guided tour of the castle and explore its sumptuous chambers, interactive exhibits, and even medieval dungeons, offering a glimpse into England’s history and aristocratic life.

Explore the Alnwick Castle tours and activities

Newcastle - The Alnwick Castle
The Alnwick Castle. Source:

8. Laing Art Gallery

A visit to the Laing Art Gallery is an absolute delight for art lovers like myself! This cultural gem, located on New Bridge Street West in the center of Newcastle upon Tyne, houses an amazing collection of historic, modern, and contemporary art.

The gallery houses everything from British oil paintings to watercolors, ceramics, silver, and glassware. Visitors can attend many free events, including gallery talks, family activities, and artists’ events.

After exploring the galleries, you can take some time to relax in the cafe and browse the selection of books in the shop. And while there are a lot of steps to navigate, there is also a lift for those who prefer an easier way.

Don’t forget to leave a donation to support their work—it’s well worth it!

9. Grainger Market

Built in 1835 and boasting Grade I listed status, this indoor market is home to 123 shops offering a wide range of goods. From fresh meat, poultry, and fish to bakery delights and fruits and vegetables, you’ll find it all here!

But this market isn’t just about food – it also has a lot of unique finds and specialty shops! You can explore vintage, retro, and quirky goods, or browse through wool and craft stores for your next DIY project.

10. Durham Cathedral

Located in the charming city of Durham, around 20 miles/32 km (a 30-minute drive) south of Newcastle city center, this cathedral holds a special place in the heart of British history and heritage.

The cathedral is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a masterpiece of Norman architecture with its soaring towers, stunning stained glass windows, and serene cloisters. As you go through the cathedral’s grand entrance, you’ll be stunned by its breathtaking beauty and beautifully furnished interior

The best way to reach Durham is by train, with a direct route from Newcastle Central Station to Durham taking approximately 30 minutes. Alternatively, you can take a taxi, book a private transfer, or join a guided shore excursion.

Explore Durham tours and activities

Durham Cathedral
Durham Cathedral. Photo source:
Wrapping Up

There are so many things to see and do in the Newcastle cruise port and based on your priorities and preferences, make sure you plan your day to get the most out of it!

Visit also our cruise port guide to Reykjavik, Bergen, Geirangerfjord, Cherbourg, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Le Havre

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