34 Facts about Newcastle that Might Surprise You
Famous for its nightlife and Geordie accent, this vibrant city is one of our top city break destinations in the UK and one we would highly recommend. While its party persona needs no introduction, here are some facts about Newcastle that might surprise you.
NEWCASTLE TRAVEL STATS
1. Newcastle International Airport handles just under five million passengers per year and is the 10th largest and fastest growing regional airport in the UK.
2. The airport is only six miles northwest of Newcastle city centre, under half the distance from Heathrow or Gatwick Airport to London!
3. Newcastle shares its latitude with Copenhagen, Denmark and southern Sweden.
4. The city is believed to be the coldest major city in England, but it is also one of the driest cities in the UK, due to being in the rain shadow of the North Pennines.
5. Newcastle Central Station was the first covered train station in the world and it was opened in 1850 by none other than Queen Victoria herself. Believe you or not, before that all passengers had to brave the elements while they waited for their train! The station is today one of only six Grade I listed railway stations in the UK.
6. The diamond railway crossing was once the largest in the world.
7. Newcastle ranks as the 15th UK city most visited by visitors from overseas.
8. Newcastle University is one of the best in the world and, according to QS World 2016 university rankings, it ranked in the top 1% of Universities worldwide. It is also said to have the best student nightlife in the UK!
FACTS ABOUT NEWCASTLE ATTRACTIONS
9. Newcastle was the filming location for 1971 gangster movie Get Carter and 1988 noir thriller Stormy Monday.
10. In 2016, the beautiful Angel of North statue was decreed an official ‘English Icon’ by the government.
11. At 929 acres, Newcastle Town Moor is larger than most parks in London, including Hyde Park (363 acres) and Hampstead Heath (790 acres).
12. Mosley Street was the first street in the world to be illuminated by electric light.
13. Newcastle has seven bridges crossing the river in the space of half a mile. Tyne Bridge is said to have inspired Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia; High Level Bridge was the first in the world to combine road and rail; Swing Bride pioneered the use of hydroelectric power; and the Millennium Bridge was the world’s first bridge to pivot sideways in order to allow boats through.
14. The Millennium Bridge is fondly nicknamed ‘the blinking eye’.
15. The Metro Centre is one of Europe’s top 10 largest shopping malls.
16. The Lit and Phil Library, formally known as the Literary and Philosophical Society of Newcastle upon Tyne, is the largest independent library outside London and it houses more than 150,000 books!
17. St James Park, the home of Newcastle United, is one of the oldest football stadiums in the UK and it is located right in the heart of the city.
18. At 73 miles long, Hadrian’s Wall is one of the largest Roman artefacts still standing today. It is also a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.
19. The prestigious Turner Prize Exhibition has taken place outside London only four times since 1983. On one of these occasions, Newcastle’s Baltic Flour Mills was not only its host, but it also beat previous visitors records.
20. Newcastle Brow Ale is a proud produce of Newcastle, but it is also America’s most imported British Ale!
21. Energy and sports drink Lucozade was invented in Newcastle by chemist William Owen.
22. Chocolate bar Wispa was first launched in the North East in 1983.
23. The first ever Greggs bakery opened in Gosforth in 1951.
24. Guitarist Jimi Hendrix was not only discovered by Geordie producer Chas Chandler, he also busked in Heaton Chillingham Road.
25. Newcastle is the birthplace of many famous people including comedian Rowan Atkinson (AKA Mr Bean), singers Cheryl and Sting, and TV presenters Ant & Dec.
26. George Stephenson, the ‘Father of Railways’, was a Geordie.
HISTORICAL FACTS ABOUT NEWCASTLE
27. Originally a settlement called Pons Aelius, Newcastle was later named after the Roman fort that once stood at its centre.
28. The city’s Castle Keep is not part of the original castle. It was built later, in between 1172 and 1177.
29. RMS Carpathia, the boat that rescued Titanic survivors, was built in a River Tyne shipyard, in Newcastle.
30. During the War of the Rose, Edward IV’s biggest gun was named ‘Newcastle’.
31. During World War II, around 400 people were killed in the bombings known as the Newcastle Blitz and over 30,000 were evacuated. Newcastle became a target due to its prominent position in the shipping industry.
32. The faithful windscreen wiper was invented in Newcastle by a Newcastle United fan as he drove home in a storm from a cup final match in 1908.
33. The North East has the greatest variety of ginger hair in the world! There are 47 shades of red hotness around the Tyne.
34. The Geordie accent has been voted one of the most friendly in Britain.