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Living in Newcastle?

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Newcastle at a Glance

Living in Newcastle

Spare time in Newcastle can be as unpredictable as the weather; there is simply always something going on. Prepare yourself for life in Newcastle by reading our Expat Guide featuring key information on education, transportation, culture and leisure, and everyday life.

Culture and Leisure in Newcastle

Expats moving to Newcastle will be thrilled with the culture and leisure options on offer, which include world-famous art galleries, theaters and live football. 

The Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art was opened on the banks of the Tyne in 2002 in a converted flour mill and attracts many visitors for its interesting exhibitions. It has also played host to the Turner Prize, one of the UK’s most famous art prizes. 

Film enthusiasts should look for the Tyneside cinema, which was reopened in 2008 after a 7m GBP restoration. It is still possible to take a cocktail into the auditorium. 

Newcastle City Hall hosts gigs, musicals and comedy and attracts some of the biggest names in the world. The Theatre Royal is well respected and shows plays. 

The stunning Gateshead Millennium Bridge links Newcastle to Gateshead, which boasts the Sage Centre, a modern music venue. 

Football is by far the most popular sport in Newcastle and when the local team, Newcastle United, play at their home ground of St James’ Park, the pubs and bars fill with locals and people who have traveled in to see the match. 

Transportation in Newcastle

Newcastle’s underground system is called the Metro, and it serves the entire city. It is usually the cheapest and quickest way to get around. Buses and taxis are also available. Taxi drivers are customarily given a tip of approximately 10% of the total fare. 

Newcastle is served by mainline trains linking it to the rest of the UK. It is on the East Coast line, which runs south to London (journey time approx. 3.5 hours), and north to Edinburgh (journey time approx. 1.5 hours), and beyond. There are also trains running across the country to Carlisle in the west (journey time approx. 1.5 hours). 

Newcastle International Airport is situated less than 10km from the city center and is easy to reach by bus, Metro or taxi. Flights arrive predominantly from Europe but also from locations such as Dubai and Sharm-el-Sheikh. Domestic flights depart daily for other UK destinations. 

Driving is useful if expats need to get out of town. Within the city center, there can be traffic jams, as with any city; expats should take care to avoid penalties which can be incurred by driving in bus lanes or parking in an unauthorized spot. 

Education in Newcastle

For expatriates who have or are hoping to have a family, education is an important consideration. Newcastle’s schools are generally good. Some state schools still stick to an old-fashioned three tier system, where children attend a first school until the age of eight, a middle school from eight to 12, and then a secondary or high school from 13 onwards. However, most schools have adopted a simpler two tier system, where children attend primary school up to the age of 11, and then secondary or high school from 11 onwards. Education is compulsory for children up to the age of 18. 

There are various schools in Newcastle, including Gosforth Academy, Heaton Manor School and the Discovery School for 14-19 year olds. There are two single sex Catholic secondary schools in Newcastle, Sacred Heart for girls and St Cuthbert’s for boys; St Mary’s Catholic School is co-educational. 

Independent (fee-paying) schools include Central Newcastle High School (girls only), Newcastle Church High School (girls only), Dame Allan’s (co-educational), Newcastle School for Boys, and Westfield School (girls only). There is also the Bahr Academy, which has a focus on Islam, and Northern Counties School, which caters for children with special educational needs. All of the above independent schools cater for an age range of 3 to 18 years. 

Newcastle University, in the center of town, is one of the UK’s best universities, with approximately 20,000 students from over 120 different countries. It has 24 academic schools and a large research portfolio, and offers 175 different undergraduate degree courses.

InterNations Expat Magazine