The best things to do for free in Newcastle

September 27, 2022

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Who says that a city break has to be expensive? Newcastle is a visitor-friendly city that offers numerous free attractions for travellers on a tight budget. 

Whether you’re a backpacker on a budget or a local looking for a cheap day out, Newcastle has lots to offer! Explore its beautiful architecture, prestigious museums, and outdoor opportunities without breaking the bank.

We’ve created a guide with the best free attractions to help you get the best out of the city. Continue reading to see our top seven things to do in Newcastle for free. 

Take a stroll through Jesmond Dene Park

Jesmond Dene is a unique haven of peace and tranquillity in the heart of suburban Newcastle. It’s a steep-sided, wooded valley located between Jesmond, Heaton, and South Gosforth. 

You’ll find a mix of native and exotic trees and rich wildlife, notably the Kingfisher, the red squirrel and many other woodland birds. The Dene stretches for over three kilometres, and there’s an extensive network of paths and bridges.

If you’re coming with children, don’t miss out on Pets Corner — home to goats, sheep, peacocks, rabbits, and more. You’re welcome to look at the pets, but you can’t feed them as they’re all on specially designed diets. 

Among other activities, you’ll find Paddy Freeman’s boating lake, play areas, exhibition spaces, and the Urban Green Cafe in Paddy Freeman’s Park.

Discover internationally acclaimed art at the Laing Gallery

The Laing Art Gallery is home to an internationally important art collection focusing on British oil paintings, watercolours, ceramics, silver, and glassware. 

The gallery holds regularly changing exhibitions on historic, modern and contemporary art and events, including artist and curator talks, free of charge. 

If you’re planning a visit, check out the current exhibitions

Explore and browse the Lit & Phil

The Lit & Phil is Newcastle’s independent library — open to all and free to visit.

The library opened in 1825 and became a hub of learning and enlightenment long before the city’s universities existed. Today, it continues to inspire the minds and imaginations of its visitors. 

The Lit & Phil holds a collection of more than 170,000 books — from the 16th century to modern fiction. It also has the largest music collection in the North of England and offers music events, celebrity author evenings, poetry readings, and much more! 

Visit The Great North Museum: Hancock

The Great North Museum: Hancock explores natural history, archaeology, geology, and world cultures.

The museum’s Living Planet takes you on a tour of the animal kingdom. Learn about animals and their habitats — from harsh desert landscapes and icy polar wastes to temperate forests and lush tropical zones.

Among other exciting activities, discover the world of the ancient Egyptians, and marvel at collections of Greek and Etruscan art and archaeology. Plus, you can find a replica T-Rex skeleton in the Fossil Stories gallery!

Entry’s free, but check their opening times before visiting.

Grab a bite at Grainger Market

Grainger Market was Newcastle’s first supermarket and still plays a role in the city’s bustling shopping and dining culture.

This historic and vibrant indoor market features over 100 vendors, local traders, and small businesses. It’s got everything — from florists and jewellers to bakeries, high-quality butchers, and greengrocers.

Visit Grainger Market to pick up fresh produce, browse the stalls, discover souvenir shops and try stonebaked pizza or handmade cakes at one of many independent cafes!

As well as the shopping experience, Grainger Market offers a lively atmosphere and plenty of striking architecture. 

Get acquainted with the works of contemporary artists at the Biscuit Factory

The Biscuit Factory is the UK’s largest independent art gallery. It was founded in 2002 in Newcastle’s cultural quarter, Ouseburn.

The gallery’s goal has always been to provide a platform to support local and national artists. 

It’s an inspirational space where you’ll find original, handmade, and independent art — ceramics, sculptures, furniture, jewellery, glass, textile, photography, and paintings or prints, all for sale. 

Explore more art at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art

Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art or the BALTIC is another cool place to explore. 

As the UK’s largest dedicated contemporary art institution, there’s plenty to keep you interested. 

It hosts a frequently changing variety of exhibitions and events and has a rooftop restaurant and viewing platform that overlook the River Tyne.

Ready to explore?

It seems like you have lots of places to explore in Newcastle! To move around more efficiently, order a Bolt ride and get from one location to the next in comfort. 

Bolt is available in more than 15 cities around the UK. Download the app today and start exploring! 

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