7km Museums of Newcastle Walk
One can easily spend an entire day in just one of these museums, so pick and choose which ones you’d like to see as this is a circular route. Note that some of these museums are free and some require tickets to be booked in advance.
We start this walk at the Discovery Museum.
The Discovery Museum houses the Turbinia, once the fastest steam-powered ship in the world and a celebrated part of Tyneside’s history. Experience a 4-minute flight simulation with the RAF Red Arrows and learn about those who have chosen Tyneside as their home since before the 1900s. Additionally, you can delve deep into the history of Newcastle from the Roman times to both World Wars to the 60s and now. Note that some activities require an additional fee but entrance to the museum is free.
As you exit, continue forward onto Blandford Square Road and turn left. When you reach the large intersection, St James’ Boulevard, cross over to get onto Rutherford Street.
When you reach Bath Lane, walk over towards the Medieval walls and building with the “Blackfriars Court” sign on its front, onto West Walls and turn right (the walls will then be on your right along the narrow pathway). At the next road, turn left, then when you reach a T, turn right and continue around the bend to reach Blackfriars.
Blackfriars was one of the largest friaries in the country. Occupied by the Dominican Friars (members of certain religious orders of men who lived similar lives to monks) who wore black cloaks, hence the nickname “Blackfriars”. The Friary here was built around 1250 and was occupied until 1539 when Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries. Much of what remains has been altered and refurbished since then by the Guilds, groups of workers in a specific trade or craft. Part of Blackfriars is now a restaurant if you’d like to grab a bite to eat.
Exit by turning left onto Friars Street and continuing when the road becomes Monk Street. Turn left onto Low Friar Street.
Continue all the way through shops on either side of you to walk onto Newgate Street, turning left.
Continue straight for a while passing Newcastle University on your left until you see a statue with “Armstrong” written on the base. The Great North Museum is just behind it. 5
The Great North Museum: Hancock has numerous floors of galleries and exhibitions including the Living Planet gallery, Hadrian’s Wall gallery, the Mouse House for young visitors, Fossil Stories, Ancient Egyptians, and much more. Entrance is free and there are temporary exhibitions throughout the year so be sure to have a look on the website for what’s on before you go.
Leaving the museum, walk back to the Armstrong statue. Just ahead of you is a round building with a taller building just next to it on the left, walk in that direction and turn slightly left to find Hancock Street. When you reach the circle, turn left to reach another circle continuing straight on Sandyford Road.
Continue straight to turn right into Portland Road. At the circle, take the second exit onto Stoddart Street.
Turn left into Portland Road and immediately right again into Portland Road. Where the road forks, turn slightly left into Stepney Road.
After exiting under Byker Bridge, turn left into Stepney Bank following the bend into Lime Street. You will see Seven Stories on your left.
Seven Stories is free to enter with some optional paid-for events you can book online. All proceeds are used to “save, celebrate, and share the wonderful world of children’s books.” The building is named after its seven floors, and it is said there are just “seven story plots from which all tales are told.” With collections of books from some of the most well-known and well-loved authors and illustrators such as Enid Blyton and Judith Kerr, there’s much to be inspired by. Visit the website to see what exhibitions are on.
Continue down Lime Street (left from Seven Stories) to turn right into Cut Bank. At the intersection, turn slightly right into City Road.
Turn left into St Ann’s Street following the bend. Turn left into The Swirle towards Quayside, the Golden Globe Monument, and the Millennium Bridge. Walk towards these to turn right to be on Cycle Route 72 with the river on your left. Cross over the Millennium Bridge.
Turn right to reach South Shore Road which becomes Hillgate. Just before Tyne Bridge, sharp left, is a small pathway leading up to the Glasshouse. St Mary’s Heritage Centre will be just to your right.
St Mary’s Heritage Centre dates back to the 13 Century, potentially older, and was the only Anglican church in Gateshead until 1825 and was referred to as the “mother church”. Unfortunately, a fire in 1979 destroyed much of the building but has been restored as close as possible to its former glory.
Go back down this pathway towards and under Tyne Bridge back onto Hillgate then right onto Bridge Street over the Swing Bridge. Where the road forks, turn left to cross the street and go up Castle Stairs towards Newcastle Castle.
Newcastle Castle is a Norman fortress and, of course, how Newcastle got its name. You will need to book tickets in advance, but your ticket is valid for an entire year! This allows you to take part in the many activities and tours (some at an extra cost) happening throughout the year.
Walk along Black Gate over the wooden bridge and under the archway to reach the main road, cross over St Nicholas Street into Westgate Street and follow the bend.
Where the road forks, turn left and stay on Neville Street until you reach the Life Science Centre on your left.
The Life Science Centre has some very exciting events, shows, and activities such as an ice rink during Christmas, Planetarium shows, and pop-up play areas. Some of the activities have separate admission fees in addition to the entrance ticket however, it is well worth the money and you’ll be supporting a worthy cause.