Ruff Guide to… Newcastle upon Tyne

Depending on the time of year you visit Newcastle, you may not see the famous fog on the Tyne – but you’ll certainly see a dog on the Tyne! With an abundance of parks, a fascinating history and miles of sandy beaches nearby, this vibrant northern city and the surrounding areas are great places to visit with your four-legged friend. Keep reading to find out about all the pet-friendly things to see and do and experience the famous Geordie welcome for yourself…

Ernie by the Tyne Bridge in Newcastle-upon-Tyne
Ernie by the Tyne Bridge

Dog-friendly Newcastle upon Tyne: the must-sees

You can’t come to Newcastle and not see the famous Tyne Bridge, which links the city with Gateshead. It was designed by Mott, Hay and Anderson, who were also behind the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and is one of seven bridges crossing the River Tyne. You can see them all by walking along the historic Quayside which, with its excellent choice of museums, art galleries and bars, is a great place to find your feet in Newcastle. And, if you visit over a weekend, don’t miss the bustling Quayside Sunday Market.

This area features heavily on the 90-minute Best of Newcastle walking tour offered by the Newcastle Tour Company. Its guides will also show you the magnificent town walls, Newcastle Cathedral, the architecture of Grainger Town and St James’ Park – home to Newcastle United football club – plus other local gems. Tours start opposite Newcastle Central Station and cost £18 per person. Street food, pub and true crime tours are also available and dogs are always welcome to join in the fun.

Fenwick department store, Newcastle
The iconic Fenwick department store welcomes well-behaved dogs

Shopaholics should make a beeline for Fenwick department store. This flagship shopping destination, housed in a grand building on Northumberland Street, first opened more than 140 years ago and is a true icon of the North. It is renowned for its beauty hall, contemporary home products and for showcasing the work of up-and-coming fashion designers. Well-behaved dogs on leads are welcome everywhere instore except the Food Hall, where only assistance dogs are allowed.

If you’re keen to see Newcastle from the water, hop on the Nexus ferry between North and South Shields. The crossing is short and sweet, taking just seven minutes each way. But while ferries on this stretch of the River Tyne have been running since the 14th Century, this is the only remaining passenger ferry service operating today. Single journeys cost £2.30 while day passes are £3.70. Pets travel for free. You’ll find plenty of dog-friendly things to see and do on the Fish Quay in North Shields – check out Nexus’ suggestions here.

Tynemouth Priory
Tynemouth Priory is a dog-friendly attraction

From the water, you’ll be able to spot Tynemouth Priory – one of Newcastle’s best-known local landmarks. It started out as an Iron Age settlement more than 2,000 years ago but has since served as a medieval monastery then a coastal fortress. Today, the site – which overlooks the North Sea – is maintained by English Heritage and dogs on leads are welcome to visit. They will particularly enjoy having a good sniff around the large grassy areas, which are perfect for picnics. Adult tickets cost £7.50.

Tynemouth Priory isn’t the only ancient relic in the area, though. Hadrian’s Wall – the UNESCO World Heritage Site that runs for 73 miles across the north of England – can also be seen in Newcastle. While most people think the Roman wall only runs across rugged countryside, parts of it now lie in very urban areas, which is quite surreal! You can see the remains of Benwell Roman Temple in a residential street just a few miles outside the city centre and the foundations of Denton Hall Turret and a 65m-long section of the wall right next to the A169.

Arbeia Roman Fort, South Shields
See Roman ruins and a reconstructed gatehouse at Arbeia © Arbeia, South Shields Roman Fort

Arbeia Roman Fort in South Shields – a 15-minute walk from the ferry landing – also makes for an interesting day out. It was once an essential supply base for Roman troops and today, you can see several full-scale reconstructed buildings including the West Gate, Commanding Officer’s house and a soldier’s barrack block. The fort is open to the public from March to September and is free to visit. Well-behaved dogs are welcome onsite, although be aware that they are not allowed inside any of the buildings.

Train buffs will enjoy a visit to the Stephenson Steam Railway in North Tyneside, too. Here, you can learn all about the local father and son duo, George and Robert Stephenson, who developed the steam locomotive in the 1800s. You can even board a 1950s train carriage and enjoy a two-mile industrial railway ride, passing factories the locos used to serve in the days when coal was king. Dogs are welcome to explore the site and travel on the trains but only assistance dogs are allowed in the museum building. Adult tickets cost £8.

Ernie and Stan at Cullercoats Bay
Ernie and Stan enjoy a run at Cullercoats Bay

Dog-friendly Newcastle upon Tyne: the best walks

With two beach-mad dogs, the coast is always our favourite place to go for walks – and the area around Newcastle doesn’t disappoint. The closest sandy beaches can be found in Tynemouth, Cullercoats and Whitley Bay and while seasonal dog restrictions do apply, the northern sections of Longsands Beach in Tynemouth and Whitley Bay allow dogs all year round. The dog-friendly areas of beach are clearly signposted.

Newcastle has scores of pretty parks and green spaces though, and Jesmond Dene is one of the most popular. This peaceful wooded valley is approximately 3km long and is a real haven for wildlife. It follows the River Ouseburn – which was once used to power industrial mills – and boasts everything from waterfalls to a boating lake. A network of paths and bridges allow visitors to explore the site, which is located between South Gosforth and Jesmond Vale.

Wylam Brewery building in Exhibition Park
Exhibition Park is home to the excellent Wylam Brewery © Wylam Brewery

Exhibition Park is another fantastic place to enjoy a walk with your dog. Close to Newcastle’s main shopping district, it stretches from the suburb of Jesmond to Town Moor – an expanse of open land where you’ll often find cows grazing. The park, which was created for the Jubilee Exhibition of 1887, is also where you’ll find Wylam Brewery and the botanical-themed Urban Green Cafe, both of which are dog-friendly so good places to refuel after a walk.

It’s well worth checking out Tyne Riverside Country Park, too. This park, just outside the city centre in Newburn, tracks the river for four miles through 200 acres of meadows and grassland. Not only is it a great place for dogs to let off some steam and have a good run but the onsite Tyne Riverside Cafe also welcomes dogs. For more walk inspiration, check out the six circular routes suggested by Jesmond Pool & Gym.

One of the pies at The Redhouse in Newcastle
One of the delicious Pink Lane Bakery pies served at The Redhouse in Newcastle © The Redhouse

Dog-friendly Newcastle upon Tyne: the best pubs and cafes

Beer lovers will be in for a treat here as Newcastle isn’t short of a brewery – or good old fashioned pub. Many of them love dogs almost as much as they love beer too, so you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to places to go for a pint. An excellent place to start is Tyne Bank Brewery – a rustic warehouse space in Byker. Each month, it hosts a dog social called ‘Barley & Me’, where there are stalls, free treats and toys for your furry friends.

Wylam Brewery – in the beautiful Palace of the Arts building – and By the River Brew Co, in a quirky container settlement beneath the Tyne Bridge, are well worth visiting too. In the heart of Newcastle, dogs can dine from their own menu at the City Tavern, and Redhouse – one of the city’s oldest pubs – is the place to go for a pie and a pint. WC, housed in what was once an actual public toilet in the Bigg Market, is a rather quirky place to enjoy a drink too.

A doggy visitor enjoys a slice at Twenty Twenty © Twenty Twenty
A doggy visitor enjoys a slice at Twenty Twenty © Twenty Twenty

While you’re in the Bigg Market, check out the 20-inch pizzas being cooked up at Twenty Twenty. Dogs are welcome here all day every day but the monthly ‘Dogs & Dough’ events, hosted by resident pooch Theo the Labradoodle, are a real treat. Not only do two and four-legged visitors get the chance to socialise but there are great deals such as 241 pizza slices, free dog treats and puppucinos. You might even be lucky enough to catch a doggy disco.

For tasty breakfast and brunch options, head to Caffe 1901, which has three branches across Newcastle – in Jesmond, Manors and Gosforth. The Jesmond branch is more of a bistro, while the others are more like delis, but all of them offer great food to either eat in or takeaway. We can particularly recommend the 1901 Breakfast Brioche, which comes with a side of tater tots. It’ll set you up for the day – and then some!

Ernie at Ernest, Newcastle
Ernie dines out at his namesake restaurant, Ernest

If you visit the vibrant creative community of Ouseburn, be sure to check out Kiln – a quirky coffee shop, restaurant, bar and pottery studio. It serves up arguably some of the best breakfast and small plates in Newcastle – and once you’ve eaten, you can buy the handmade ceramics the food is served on to take home. Artsy Ernest is another great brunch spot and The Ship Inn serves entirely vegan food.

Coffee lovers will also be spoilt for choice in the city. Tiny Tiny, formerly Flat Caps Coffee, roasts its own coffee beans and the ‘brew bar menu’ champions caffeinated drinks from around the world. Cullercoats Coffee Co. is also well worth a visit if you’re heading to the coast. It has branches in both Cullercoats and Tynemouth, and the former – which is where it all started – serves brilliant breakfasts and pastries. Look out for the cheery yellow cups.

Cullercoats Coffee
We were regulars at Cullercoats Coffee when we stayed in the area

In Tynemouth, don’t miss Riley’s Fish Shack, which is located right on the beach and specialises in local seafood. In the summer, the tables spill out onto the sand but be aware that dogs aren’t allowed on the beach from May to September. They are still welcome at Riley’s though, where you can either dine inside or on the balcony. The same beach rules apply for nearby Crusoe’s – a relaxed cafe and street food venue – where dogs can dine on the balcony.

Just up the coast, in Whitley Bay, treat your dog to a sausage patty at Pablo Eggsgobao. This takeaway spot, which serves up “baos, brews and bants”, is super popular – especially at weekends, when the queue goes down the street. Dogs and their owners will also get a warm welcome at Hinnies, which dishes up hearty Geordie classics, and while you’re in the area, grab an ice cream from the iconic Rendezvous Cafe. It’s far from fancy but is a real local landmark.

Left Luggage Room at Monkseaton station
The Left Luggage Room is such a cool venue

And if you’re using the dog-friendly Metro system while you’re in Newcastle (keep reading to find out more), be sure to check out some of the cool station bars. One of our favourites is The Left Luggage Room at Monkseaton – which is, as the name suggests, housed in a former left luggage room. Draped in fairy lights, this specialist craft beer bar is a thing of beauty and prides itself on having “no alcopops, no cheap lagers and no televisions”.

The Ticket Office at Whitley Bay is another wonderfully quirky station bar, as is Platform 2 at Tynemouth. And if your visit to the latter happens to fall over a weekend, you’ll also be able to enjoy the Tynemouth Market – one of the most vibrant markets in the North East. Every Saturday and Sunday, more than 150 traders pack the station concourse with stalls and there are some great street food vendors to boot. Don’t miss it!

The courtyard garden at Motel One, Newcastle
The courtyard garden at Motel One, Newcastle

Dog-friendly Newcastle upon Tyne: where to stay

There is plenty of pet-friendly accommodation in Newcastle to suit all tastes and budgets. If you’re travelling on a shoestring but want a five-star experience, check out Motel One. This centrally located design hotel is one of the city’s most popular, and its industrial-style decor pays tribute to Newcastle’s working-class past. Dogs are allowed in many of the hotel rooms, as well as the bar area. There is an additional charge for pets.

Staybridge Suites Newcastle, just a short stroll from the Quayside area, also lets dogs stay, and provides blankets, bowls and toys for a small fee. Breakfast is included in all room rates and there is a daily ‘happy hour’ with complimentary drinks and snacks for guests. Dogs are also welcome at The Kenilworth Hotel in Jesmond – and there is no extra charge if you book direct. This small independent hotel, which has simple yet stylish rooms, also offers free parking.

Bedroom at Rolo's Retreat, Cullercoats
Rolo’s Retreat is set up for dogs and their owners

If you’d like a bit more room to spread out or just prefer self-catering accommodation, check out the properties offered by City Breaks in Newcastle. While most of its charming holiday homes are not located in the city centre, they do have outdoor space and can accommodate families as well as couples. Airbnb and are both great websites for finding more central properties, however, such as this quirky ‘mini house’.

Keen to make the most of the sandy beaches in and around Newcastle? Then check out Cullercoats Bay Holidays. Some of its holiday properties welcome dogs for no additional charge, including Rolo’s Retreat – a one-bedroom ground floor apartment in Cullercoats. Captain’s Quarters, a one-bedroom apartment overlooking The Leas in South Shields, is also well worth checking out if you’d like a sea view.

Ernie, Stan and Dad Nick visit the Angel of the North
Ernie, Stan and dad Nick take a closer look at the Angel of the North

How do I get to Newcastle upon Tyne?

Newcastle is easy to reach, whether you’re travelling by car, train, sea or air. From London, it is approximately a five-hour drive via the A1(M), which connects the North to the South. The same road goes on to Scotland, with Edinburgh approximately 2.5 hours away. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the iconic Angel of the North on the drive in! The A69 also connects the city to the Lake District and, via the M6, Wales and the West Country.

London North Eastern Railway is the main train company serving Newcastle and there are regular direct services to both London Kings Cross and Scotland. Budget line Omio is well worth checking out too, as its trains are just as frequent. Travelling to and from London by rail takes around three hours. Northern and TransPennine Express also serve the city and connect it with many destinations in the North West and Yorkshire.

Stan waits patiently for the Metro at Tynemouth station
Stan waits patiently for the Metro at Tynemouth station (on a non-market day!)

Coach-wise, both National Express and Megabus offer regular services to Newcastle and DFDS runs daily ferries to and from Amsterdam, which are dog-friendly – even in the cabins. Newcastle International Airport connects the city to the continent and it’s well worth knowing that the excellent Tyne & Wear Metro system – which connects the city to the coast – welcomes dogs free of charge.

Where can I find out more?

Check out the official dog-friendly guide to the city put together by the Newcastle-Gateshead tourism board. Alternatively, take a look at the Visit North East England website. You will also find some great recommendations for things to see and do with your dog on the Get into Newcastle website and the Life in Geordieland blog.

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