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Things to do in Tyne and Wear

Colourful night view of Newcastle
Newcastle Quayside and Bridges

The county of Tyne and Wear is situated in the north east of England around the estuaries of the River Tyne and River Wear. It was once the largest ship building area in the world. Many changes have taken place due to the closure of this traditional industry.

However the area has undergone significant regeneration creating new leisure, arts and cultural venues. Tyne and Wear has award winning beaches, vibrant cities, museums, galleries, interesting attractions, sporting facilities and entertainments to suit all.

The 12th Century Castle in Newcastle Upon Tyne
12th Century Castle, Newcastle upon Tyne

Newcastle upon Tyne

Newcastle upon Tyne is famous for its friendly welcome, great shopping, dining, entertainment and nightlife. Newcastle has many interesting attractions. In Blandford Square is Discovery Museum - an exciting interactive experience for all.

The Life Science Centre in Times Square is a fascinating place to visit. The Laing Art Gallery not only has a fine collection of art and crafts, but provides a children's gallery with soft play area as well. Hancock Museum is the north east's premier natural science museum.

Panoramic view of the City of Newcastle, including the Tyne Bridge, from Gateshead
Newcastle and the Tyne Bridge


Visitors to the Gateshead area can't fail to notice Angel of the North - Britain's largest sculpture - towering over the Team Valley from its hilltop site.

Gateshead is famous as the home of the Metro Centre, Europe's largest retail and leisure complex. There's also Gateshead International Stadium, a premier athletics venue. Gateshead Quays is the historic heart of the town, now being regenerated into a world class arts, leisure and residential destination.

Front view of the Angel of the North sculpture against a cloudy blue sky
The Angel of the North

The Baltic is an exciting new centre for contemporary art. Other attractions include Shipley Art Gallery with a gallery dedicated to the town's history, its people and their skills. At Blaydon is Path Head Water Mill, a restored 18th century working water mill, the grounds of which have picnic areas and woodland walks.

Marsden Rock, South Shields, seen from the beach on a sunny day
Marsden Rock, South Shields


In the Sunderland district, the city of Sunderland is situated at the mouth of the River Wear. This thriving city derived its prosperity from coal mining, shipbuilding, and glass making. Sunderland offers an excellent shopping centre, many independent shops, boutiques and restaurants to tempt you as you explore its fine old Victorian streets.

River Tyne showing its bridges, leisure boats and quayside
River Tyne

Sunderland Museum in Burdon Road tells the story of its past history through to the present day. The Art Gallery features paintings by L.S. Lowry, Victorian masterpieces and artefacts from around the world.

Sunderland town centre, seen from the North bank of the River Wear
River Wear, Sunderland

The Winter Gardens is an impressive modern building, home to a spectacular collection of flowers and plants.

The Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art is situated in the City Library, acclaimed for its changing exhibitions. The National Glass Centre on the north bank of the River Wear is a fascinating experience for visitors of all ages.

Other popular attractions in the area are the North East Aircraft Museum - the north of England's premier aviation collection - and Monkwearmouth Station Museum.

Vivid red and white Souter Lighthouse against blue sky with clouds, and blue sea.
Souter Lighthouse at Lizard Point


A short distance to the west is Washington, designated a 'New Town' in 1964. George Washington's ancestors lived in the old village from 1183 until they moved south, before immigrating to Virginia USA in 1657. The family home, Washington Old Hall, in the care of the National Trust, is a typical example of a 17th century small manor house and is open to the public.

Washington is also home to Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust Washington. South east of the town is one of the north east's most imposing landmarks - Penshaw Monument. It was built in 1844 in honour of the first Earl of Durham, John George Lambton. The monument was modelled on the Thesion, the Temple of Theseus in Athens. It is located off the A183, Chester Road, Penshaw, Houghton-le-Street, opposite Herrington Country Park.

View over Marsden Beach with waves on the sea on a cloudy day
Marsden Beach

South Tyneside

South Shields is a busy market town in the South Tyneside district. South Tyneside coastline offers stunning cliff top walks and clean sandy beaches, ideal for family days out. Inland are several walking and cycling routes to explore.

There are lovely old towns and quiet villages in the area to discover such as Whitburn, Cleandon and Westoe. Nearby attractions include South Shields Museum, Arbeia Roman Fort and Souter Lighthouse.

Along the estuary is Jarrow, formerly another great shipbuilding town and the starting point for the Jarrow Marchers, who in 1936 took their 'Crusade for Jobs' to London. The Church of St Paul was part of the Jarrow Monastery where the Venerable Bede taught and wrote his history of the Church. The attraction 'Bede's World' is dedicated to the celebration of his life.

Fishing boats tied up at Fish Quay, North Shields
Historic Fish Quay at North Shields

North Tyneside

North Tyneside shares the same historic coastline. If you go to North Shields, you can visit the Stephenson Railway Museum. At Whitley Bay, St Mary's island and lighthouse is a famous landmark and the surrounding area is popular with divers and wildlife enthusiasts.

Attractions in the area include the Blue Reef Aquarium, Segedunum Roman Fort and Seaton Delaval Hall.

Days out in Tyne and Wear

  • Angel of the North
    If you're travelling past Gateshead, whether by car on the A1, or by train on the East coast main line, you can't miss the Angel of the North.
    Angel of the North
  • Arbeia Roman Fort and Museum
    Situated beyond the easternmost point of Hadrian's Wall, Arbeia Roman Fort stood guard at the mouth of the River Tyne.
    Arbeia Roman Fort and Museum
  • Blue Reef Aquarium Tynemouth
    There's a world of underwater adventure just waiting to be discovered at the award-winning Blue Reef Aquarium in Tynemouth.
    Blue Reef Aquarium Tynemouth
  • Centre for Life
    The Centre for Life is an award-winning science centre where imaginative exhibitions, interactive displays and special events promote greater understanding of science and provoke curiosity in the world around us.
    Centre for Life
  • Discovery Museum
    Discovery Museum is the ideal place to find out all about life on Tyneside, from the region's shipbuilding heritage to inventions which changed the world.
    Discovery Museum
  • Gibside
    Wildlife, a Statue of Liberty and family connections with the Queen Mother make Gibside a National Trust property which stands out from the rest.
  • Great North Museum
    The Great North Museum is the North East's premier natural science museum. Permanent Displays include Land of the Pharaohs, Living Planet and Earthworks.
    Great North Museum
  • Laing Art Gallery
    The Laing Art Gallery has something for everyone to enjoy, with an impressive collection of art and sculpture.
    Laing Art Gallery
  • Monkwearmouth Station Museum
    The museum is housed in an outstanding grade 2* listed 1840s station building commissioned by the famous railway entrepreneur George Hudson.
    Monkwearmouth Station Museum
  • North East Aircraft Museum
    The North of England's Premier Aviation Collection. Classic aircraft on display include : Avro Vulcan, Hawker Hunter and Falklands veteran - the Pusara. Over 30 aircraft and a collection of aeroengines all under cover.
    North East Aircraft Museum
  • Path Head Water Mill
    Path Head Water Mill offers a great day out for all the family. Visitors can see the changes and amazing progress made to date in restoring this once derelict site in Blaydon.
    Path Head Water Mill
  • Shipley Art Gallery
    Relax, unwind and discover the fantastic range of art and design on show in the friendly surroundings of the Shipley.
    Shipley Art Gallery
  • Souter Lighthouse
    Souter is a special place all year round and was the first lighthouse in the world designed and built to be powered by electricity. Opened in 1871, decommissioned in 1988, the National Trust acquired it and opened it to the public in 1990.
    Souter Lighthouse
  • South Shields Museum & Art Gallery
    An exciting day out for all the family, South Shields Museum & Art Gallery explores the story of South Tyneside through sensational displays, hands-on exhibiits and stunning art.
    South Shields Museum & Art Gallery
  • Stephenson Railway Museum
    Re-live the glorious days of the steam railway at Stephenson Railway Museum in North Shields.
    Stephenson Railway Museum
  • The Art Works Galleries
    One of the largest commercial art galleries in Europe, The Art Works Galleries is a dynamic addition to region offering five spacious galleries all under one roof.
  • Washington Old Hall
    British and American visitors alike will enjoy visiting the Grade I listed Jacobean manor of Washington Old Hall which was once the ancestral home of George Washington.
    Washington Old Hall
  • WWT Washington Wetland Centre
    Explore a diverse mix of wetland, woodland and wildlife reserve at WWT Washington Wetland Centre - one of the North East's biggest conservation success stories.
    WWT Washington Wetland Centre

Places to Visit in Tyne and Wear

  • Cleadon
    Cleadon is a very attractive village on the outskirts of South Shields. Elegant older houses rub shoulders with impressive modern homes.
  • Cullercoats
    Cullercoats is part of North Tyneside, situated on the coast between Tynemouth and Whitley Bay.
  • Forest Hall
    Forest Hall Is situated approx 10-15 minutes drive from Newcastle city centre. It has a shopping centre which is small but has supermarkets and everything you would need close by. i.e hairdressers, chenist, bakers etc.
  • Gateshead
    Gateshead is on the south side of the Tyne River, in Tyne and Wear. It is linked by seven bridges with Newcastle-upon-Tyne
  • Jarrow
    Jarrow is a town steeped in history. With the Venerable Bede it was renowned as an international religious centre in the 7th century, while in 1936 its famous Jarrow crusade took place at the height of mass unemployment.
  • Monkton
    Monkton village in the heart of Jarrow has become a training ground for up-and-coming athletes at the excellent Monkton stadium. There is also a summer fair held during the Catherine Cookson Country Festival.
  • Newcastle-upon-Tyne
    Newcastle is a vibrant friendly city, with a heritage spanning the past 2,000 years. Situated in the north east of England, on the banks of the River Tyne and surrounded by the scenic beauty of Northumbria.
  • North Shields
    North Shields, as its name suggests, is on the north bank of the River Tyne, opposite South Shields and eight miles east of Newcastle-upon Tyne.
    North Shields
  • South Shields
    South Shields is going from strength to strength, with its lively shopping area and popular open air markets, in the bustling town centre.
    South Shields
  • Sunderland
    The city of Sunderland is on the north east coast of England, in the county of Tyne and Wear. It is situated 14 miles south east of Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
  • Tynemouth
    Situated at the mouth of the River Tyne, Tynemouth is six miles northeast of Newcastle in Tyne and Wear.
  • Wallsend
    Wallsend is located in Tyne and Wear, four miles east of Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
  • Washington
    The town of Washington is eight miles west of Sunderland in Tyne and Wear.
  • Westoe
    Westoe is a historic peaceful oasis in the heart of South Shields, and has links with several famous people. It was well known to Catherine Cookson during her youth and the setting for several of the books.
  • Whitburn (T and W)
    Whitburn has retained its village character and has links with Lewis Carroll.
    Whitburn (T and W)
  • Whitley Bay
    Whitley Bay in Tyne and Wear is a sizeable town of 36,500 inhabitants on a beautiful crescent of golden sand which stretches northwards from Cullercoats to St Mary's Island.
    Whitley Bay

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