Since it opened in 1935, Newcastle International Airport has seen many changes and developments. In the 1940s, it was used as an auxiliary wartime base for the Royal Air Force and when it was handed back in 1946, it had a new wooden air traffic control tower that was built on stilts and supported by sections of railway lines. Now, the new control tower is called the ‘Emirates Tower’ and stands at 45 metres, towering over the city.
The Newcastle International Airport is served by both low-cost and legacy carriers such as Emirates, KLM, British Airways, Flybe and Easyjet, offering travel options for both budget and non-budget travellers.
Getting into the city is easy with a highly efficient transport system. There are a host of transportation choices such as the Metro, which takes approximately 25 minutes, bus, and also by airport taxi (which require prior booking). For a full list of the bus services that you can take to the city, check out the Newcastle International Airport website.
If you’re driving your own car, just drive north on the A1, and that should take you all of 15 minutes to get from the airport direct to the city centre.
There are some pretty developed bus routes in and around Newcastle, but the best way to get around for someone who’s not familiar would be the Metro system. A metro map is available both online and at the airport, and it is easy to plan your trip and see which station you need to alight at.
For those who are less physically able, be sure to check if the metro station has the ‘wheelchair accessible’ sign, which indicates the presence of a lift or elevator to help you get around. If you’re staying for more than a day, or if you’re planning to go out a lot, make sure you check out the saver passes that allow you discounts and unlimited travel on various modes of transportation.
Driving is not advisable, as it is quite the labyrinth of roads and bridges, although if you do decide to take up the challenge, there are plenty of car parks available.
What to see and do
There are many things to do in Newcastle upon Tyne. Football fans might want to catch a match at St. James’ Park, the home of Newcastle United, but for the rest, you could catch a movie at the Tyneside Cinema, a stylish old worldly styled cinema that has been lovingly restored to preserve its original 1937 art deco design.
For theatre buffs, you could also head down to the magnificent Theatre Royal to see what plays are showing. Comfortable and modern, it has been recently refurbished and showcases its plays in the best possible way.
Also, don’t miss a trip to the historic Victoria Tunnel, which runs beneath the city from the Town Moor down to the Tyne. Built in 1842 to transport coal to load onto ships, it was converted to an air raid shelter in 1939 to protect hundreds of Newcastle citizens during the days of World War II. Book a tour to experience the best of the tunnel complete with air raid sirens and the sounds of oncoming coal wagons.