Newcastle has, well, pretty much everything! Even on rainy days (this is the UK after all), there is plenty to keep you entertained. From an enormous selection of incredible restaurants and bars to crazy golf, art galleries and historic hotspots, there is an endless number of fun indoor activities in Newcastle. So whether you’re preparing a trip to ‘the toon’ or are a local looking for something new to do, check out these indoor activities in Newcastle that you are bound to love!
This article is written by Faraway Lucy writer, Joy Nath.
Indoor Activities in Newcastle
1. Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art
Address: S Shore Rd, Gateshead NE8 3BA
Phone number: 0191 478 1810
The BALTIC is home to an ever-changing selection of exciting, unique and outstanding pieces of contemporary art and it has even hosted the prestigious Turner Prize. Walk down to Quayside and the BALTIC is unmissable as it proudly towers over the south bank of the River Tyne in Gateshead. Inside, you’ll find inspiring art from a huge range of local and international artists. However, even if art isn’t your thing, it’s still worth a visit for the gorgeous view from the fifth-floor viewing platform.
2. Newcastle Castle
Address: The Black Gate, Castle Garth, NE1 1RQ
Phone number: 0191 230 6300
Located just a short walk away from central station, this magnificent Norman fortress is responsible for giving Newcastle city its name. With links to William the conqueror and a place where “armies gathered, and criminals were imprisoned and executed,” Newcastle Castle is steeped in fascinating history. It’s a family-friendly place with remarkable architecture inside and a stunning view of the city and Tyne river from the top.
3. Biscuit Factory
Address: 16 Stoddart Street, NE2 1AN
Phone number: 0191 261 1103
The Biscuit Factory is a former Victorian warehouse that now showcases over 250 artists’ work at any given time, making it the UK’s largest independent commercial art, craft and design gallery. The huge selection not only includes paintings and prints, but also ceramics, textiles, photography, furniture, design-led homewares and even jewellery. It’s open to visitors from Wednesday to Sunday and is free to enter!
4. Newcastle Cathedral
Address: St Nicholas Square, NE1 1PF
This Grade I-listed Cathedral is the only English Cathedral that is dedicated to St Nicholas, the inspiration behind the lovable and generous Santa Claus. The 14th-century medieval building boasts one of the most striking and iconic lantern towers in the UK. And you can also expect to find beautiful stained-glass windows and a 17th-century grand hall. Located right next to Newcastle Castle, the cathedral is open every day with free entry.
5. Crazy golf
It’s safe to say that Newcastle loves its crazy golf because you’ve got three places to choose from!
Mr Mulligan’s Space Golf (117 Newgate St, NE1 5RZ) is family-friendly and has three space-themed courses.
Lane 7 (80-90 St James’ Blvd, NE1 4BN) not only offers an adventure golf course but also bowling, table-tennis and pool tables. Inside, you’ll also find a burger joint because all that winning can be hungry work! Under 18s must be accompanied by adults when visiting Lane 7.
Ghetto Golf (The Clay Shed Hoult’s Yard, Walker Rd, NE6 2HL) Only over-18s are allowed in this 18-hole crazy golf course and cocktail bar. Expect bright neon graffiti, DJs, tasty burgers and amazing artwork everywhere. If you’re looking for a fun date night experience, this will do the trick.
6. Life Science Centre
Address: Times Square, NE1 4EP
Phone number: 0191 243 8210
Home to the biggest planetarium in the North of England, the award-winning Life Science Centre is easily one of the best indoor activities in Newcastle. The Centre is an educational science museum and innovative science village, which houses laboratories and the offices of scientists and educators.
There are plenty of new and exciting exhibitions to interact with and just one ticket buys you access to all of the displays and events on offer. There are no sneaky hidden extra payments, folks!
7. Tyneside Cinema
Address: 10 Pilgrim Street, NE1 6QG
Phone number: 0191 227 5500
This is no ordinary cinema. Found in a Grade II-listed building, Tyneside Cinema is the UK’s last surviving newsreel theatre and the region’s leading independent cinema. It’s an impressive and must-see piece of heritage showcasing the grandeur of its original 1937 art deco design which includes features inspired by the Middle and the Far East.
Instead of the usual uncomfortable cinema seats, you’re treated to soft sofa seats where you can snuggle up with a loved one. A trip to the cinema has never felt so extravagant and romantic!
8. Laing Art Gallery
Address: New Bridge Street, NE1 8AG
Phone number: 0191 278 1611
Before you even enter the Grade II-listed building in the heart of the city centre, you’re provided with a little glimpse into what awaits you with the eye-catching Isabella and the Pot of Basil painting that graces the outside wall.
Inside Laing Art Gallery you find a plethora of ever-changing and mesmerising exhibitions of historic, modern and contemporary art. The selection includes internationally important pieces of art, focusing on British oil paintings, watercolours, ceramics, silver and glassware. There’s also a children’s area for dressing up and interactive learning. And the best part is that the gallery is completely free!
9. Great North Museum: Hancock
Address: Barras Bridge, NE2 4PT
Phone number: 0191 208 6765
Established in 1884, the Great North Museum: Hancock is a family-friendly and free day out! It’s home to a diverse range of treasures from natural history exhibitions and a reconstruction of Hadrian’s Wall to displays of Greek art and archaeology, Egyptian mummies, and a replica skeleton of a life-size T-Rex. Only disabled parking is available on-site, but the museum is easily accessible via public transport.
10. Bessie Surtees House
Address: 41-44 Sandhill Quayside, NE1 3JF
Phone number: 0191 269 1255
Free to visit, Bessie Surtees House encompasses two historic buildings from the 16th and 17th century and is a rare example of Jacobean domestic architecture. The house is most famous for being the setting of a romantic elopement in 1772 between Bessie, who escaped from a first-floor window, and John Scott who eventually became the Lord Chancellor of England! It’s romance, beautiful architecture and history all wrapped up in one.
11. The Stand Comedy Club
Address: 31 High Bridge, NE1 1EW
Phone number: 0191 232 0707
With two very popular sister venues in Scotland (Edinburgh and Glasgow), The Stand Newcastle is perfect for those searching for something unique. It’s regarded as one of the best comedy clubs in the country by comedians and critics alike, offering comedy acts seven days a week. Quality acts for as little as £3 and locally sourced delicious home-cooked food means a visit to Newcastle is incomplete without a trip to The Stand.
12. Walk through time in the Victoria Tunnel
Address: 53-55 Lime Street, Ouseburn Valley, NE1 2PQ
Phone number: 0191 230 4210
Victoria Tunnel is a fully preserved 19th-century coal wagonway and World War 2 air-raid shelter that saved the lives of millions. At an impressive 2.4 miles, the tunnel stretches from Town Moor to the Tyne river. Immerse yourself in Newcastle’s incredible history through the guided tour. As the number one result on TripAdvisor’s ‘things to do in Newcastle’ list, the historic tunnels are well worth a visit.
13. Theatre Royal
Address: 100 Grey Street, NE1 6BR
Phone number: 08448 11 21 21
A Grade I-listed building, situated on the award-winning Grey Street, Theatre Royal is a historic theatre that opened its doors in February 1837. That’s three months before Queen Victoria ascended the throne! With over 400 performances each year, there’s something on for everyone. Fun fact: Sir Ian McKellen has described the Theatre Royal as his favourite theatre! That’s surely enough reason to visit, right?
16. Escape rooms
Escape rooms are a great way to test your mental and physical abilities and bond with your family and friends. And luckily, Newcastle has a whole host to choose from. However, the most popular ones are Escape Key (60-62 St. Andrews Street, NE1 5SF) and Never Give Up Escape Rooms (58-60 Scotswood Rd, NE4 7JE). At Never Give Up, you and your team have 60 minutes to escape, and you can bring up to 12 people in with you! Children aged 8 and over are also welcome so it can be a great family day out.
13. Grainger Market
Address: Grainger Market, Grainger St, NE1 5AE
Phone number: 0191 211 5541
At almost 200 years old, and with its striking architecture, this gorgeous Grade I-listed indoors market is a real gem in the heart of the city centre. In 2020, it was even named ‘Britain’s Favourite Market’. With hundreds of stalls, there are a plethora of unique independent businesses to explore here. You’ll also discover huge pizza slices for £2, authentic Indian street food, the best Chinese dumplings, juicy American-style burgers and even the world’s smallest Marks & Spencer shop!
If it’s shopping you’re in the mood for, venture into Eldon Square in the city centre or the Metrocentre in Gateshead where you’ll find all the big retail brands, restaurants and even a bowling alley! Even larger than Manchester’s famous Trafford Centre, the Metrocentre was once the biggest shopping centre in Europe. This means that there’s plenty to explore! If you find yourself visiting on a Sunday, make sure to head to Tynemouth Market in the station for some vintage treasures from local sellers.
17. Hatchet Harry’s Axe Throwing
Address: Arch 18, Forth Banks Yard, NE1 3PG
Situated near the Life Science Centre, Hatchet Harry’s is Newcastle’s first and only axe throwing range. Imagine playing darts at your local pub, but instead of darts, it’s axes! If you’re looking to let out some built-up stress, this will be an axellent (had to be done) outlet. Children aged 8 and above are welcome and the venue can cater for large groups of up to 66 people. So whether you visit with just one other person or as a party, Hatchett Harry’s is not something you’ll be forgetting anytime soon.
All precautions are taken with a safety briefing and in-depth demonstration on how to throw the axe at the start of the session. Similarly, there’s a no-alcohol rule on the premise. However, if you’re desperate for just a taste, you can still get your paws on non-alcoholic beers!
12. The Discovery Museum
Address: Blandford Square, NE1 4JA
Phone number: 0191 232 6789
The Discovery Museum is a science and local history museum which, in 1934, was the first science museum outside of London! Upon entering the building, you are greeted by the magnificent 34-metre steam-powered ship, Turbinia, which was once the fastest ship in the world. This family-friendly day out will teach you about Newcastle and its importance to Britain and the rest of the world.
Indoor activities in Newcastle for animal lovers
19. Dog and Scone Dog Café
Address: 22 Pudding Chare, NE1 1UE
Phone number: 0191 366 0025
Sometimes all you need is a little hug from a fluffy four-legged friend to make all your troubles disappear. And that’s exactly what Dog and Scone Dog Café, a dog lover’s heaven, provides! From toy poodles and dachshunds to Yorkshire terriers, chihuahuas and Pomeranians, there’s a huge variety of breeds and each one is as adorable as the other. After cuddling up with some cuties, tuck into the café’s hot and cold food and drinks!
18. Tynemouth Aquarium
Address: Grand Parade, Tynemouth NE30 4JF
Phone number: 0191 258 1031
At Tynemouth Aquarium, you’ll get to meet species from all over the world and learn some remarkable facts during the talks. The aquarium is home to some amazing coral reef fish, as well as, turtles, stingrays, sharks, seals, and even monkeys and reptiles! It’s a great day out for all age groups.
20. CatPawCino Cat Café
Address: 77 Quayside, NE1 3DE
Phone number: 0191 903 5085
For the feline lovers, there are, not one but two cat cafes in Newcastle. The cats in both cafés are of various ages, colours and temperaments but all are equally adorable. If you’re thinking of visiting either, make sure to book in advance so as to not miss out! Located on the beautiful Quayside, overlooking the River Tyne, CatPawCino is a garden-themed cat café, home to eight very fluffy, long-haired, cats. They live in the café with their owner who has had them since they were kittens. The atmosphere is light, airy and super relaxed making it the perfect stress-relief activity.
21. Mog on the Tyne Cat Café
Address: 24 Pudding Chare, NE1 1UE
Phone number: 07470 262685
With mouth-watering brownies, paninis, and hot and cold drinks on offer, make Mog on the Tyne your first stop upon arrival to the toon. It’s only a short two-minute walk away from Newcastle Central station, so it’d be rude not to pay it a visit, right? If you’re left wanting even more furry snuggles after your visit, the dog café is right next door!
22. Seven Stories – The National Centre for Children’s Books
Address: 30 Lime Street, NE1 2PQ
Phone number: 0300 330 1095
Seven Stories is the UK’s only museum and visitor centre dedicated to celebrating British literature for children. The museum collects original artwork and manuscripts from authors and illustrators and uses these to create their unique, memorable and innovative exhibitions. They also organise workshops and talks from notable children’s authors and illustrators and run fun activities every day which bring their favourite books to life. Seven Stories is perfect if you have little ones you need to keep entertained on a rainy day in Newcastle.
Indoor activities in Newcastle for food lovers
23. Riley’s Fish Shack
Address: King Edward’s Bay NE3 04BY
Phone number: 0191 257 1371
The restaurant adds new meaning to the phrase ‘dinner with a view’ as it’s located on Tynemouth Beach itself. There are indoor and outdoor (think deckchairs and firepits!) seating options. Riley’s Fish Shack prides itself on serving deliciously fresh, sustainable and seasonal seafood, sourced daily from local dayboats.
It operates from two converted shipping containers with fairy lights adding to the warm and rustic atmosphere. The open seating area looks out to the mesmerizing waves and on a warm evening with a beautiful sunset, there’s no place you’d rather be.
24. Pizza Punks
Address: 34-40 Grey Street Gainsborough House, NE1 6AE
Phone number: 0191 230 0777
Looking for one of a kind? If you love finding rare gems, this one is for you. Pizza Punks is a restaurant like no other, just like the pizzas you can create here. The restaurant allows you to play chef and create your very own unique pizza by picking every single topping from a long list of options including many delicious vegan and vegetarian options.
From mac and cheese to onion bhajis, the range of toppings available is unbelievable. (And if mac and cheese on pizza sounds unthinkable, I strongly advise that you try it. Your mind will be blown!) No matter how bizarre the toppings may seem, in the end they all work incredibly! Plus, at £12 it doesn’t break the bank and keeps you full all day long.
25. Träkol – By the River Brew Co.
Address: Hillgate Quays, Gateshead, NE8 2BH
Phone number: 0191 737 1120
Acclaimed food critic Jay Rayner descried Träkol as ‘outrageously good’. Similarly, Tim Hayward in the Financial Times declared that it was ‘one of the most visually spectacular places I’ve ever eaten at,’ and he included Sydney Harbour and Venice in this evaluation!
Found in a converted shipping container and overlooking the spectacular Newcastle Bridges, the restaurant perfectly unites Newcastle’s marine industrial past with architectural icons worthy of being called art, such as the Tyne Bridge, under which the restaurant is nestled. The food is slowly cooked to perfection over wood and charcoal in an open-fire kitchen and it even has its own microbrewery.
26. Blackfriars Restaurant
Address: Friars Street, NE1 4XN
Phone number: 0191 261 5945
Set a 13th-century medieval friary, the atmosphere and experience that this restaurant offers is undeniably unique and astonishing. Established in 1239, and even home to King Henry III at one point, Blackfriars can confidently claim to be the UK’s oldest dining room. Plus, as the winner of the Taste of England category in the North East England Tourism Awards, Blackfriars’ menu guarantees the highest quality of food. It’s safe to say that this restaurant will leave you feeling in awe of your surroundings and the meal.
Indoor activities in Newcastle at night
27. The Botanist
Address: Monument Mall, NE1 7AL
Phone number: 0191 261 6307
Newcastle consistently ranks highly for one of the best nightlives, not just in the UK, but Europe too. This comes as no surprise, thanks to the city’s many unique and vibrant bars. Standing proudly next to the unmissable Grey’s monument, The Botanist is one of the city’s best bars. A jaw-dropping dome ceiling, fairy lights and huge plants set the scene for an enchanting and romantic atmosphere. The Botanist also offers excellent live music every night along with world-class cocktails and food. It would be a crime to visit Newcastle and not come here!
29. The Tyne Bar
Address: 1 Maling Street, Ouseburn, NE6 1LP
Phone number: 0191 265 2550
The Tyne Bar has become one of the most popular destinations with the locals for its free live music performances, selection of the very best locally brewed craft beers and ales, artisan coffee, a free jukebox and the Instagram-worthy beer garden which is framed by the redbrick arch of Glasshouse Bridge. One of the best indoor activities in Newcastle for music and beer lovers!
28. The Cluny
Address: 36 Lime Street, Ouseburn, NE1 2PQ
Phone number: 0191 230 4474
Finally, we have The Cluny. Situated by the Ouseburn river, The Cluny is an independent live music venue, bar and pub, which regularly appears in the top 100 list of the World’s Best Bars. It’s a modest and unpretentious space with simple industrial-style décor, but one which has seen the likes of Arctic Monkeys, Mumford and Sons, Kate Nash and The Vaccines play!
So there you have it: 29 fun indoor activities in Newcastle you need to try! Which of these indoor activities in Newcastle are you most desperate to try out? Please let me know in the comments below.
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