Few UK cities conjure up such a distinct visual image as Newcastle. Think Newcastle and you will immediately start picturing buzzing and vibrant nightlife, the iconic Angel of the North statue, brown ale, and of course the people and their super friendly geordie accent.
But what about ‘gay Newcastle‘, what is on offer for LGBTQ+ travellers here?
For months we have been saying we want to explore more of the UK, and so when we were given the opportunity to travel to and spend a few days in this North East capital, we jumped at the chance!
As always, we couldn’t wait to explore and learn all about ‘gay Newcastle’ – but we were also very excited to explore this popular city in general.
We had a fantastic time, and were surprised by both how thriving the gay scene in Newcastle is, as well as the scope of sightseeing options and activities available.
In our ‘Gay Newcastle Travel Guide‘, we are excited to share with you what we got up to, and hope that when you visit, you enjoy it as much as we did!
This post is in partnership with NewcastleGateshead Initiative who provided the experience and are a great resource for further information, our opinions remain our own. Find out more about NewcastleGateshead at www.newcastlegateshead.com
The Gay Area of Newcastle: The Pink Triangle
Newcastle is well known for its vibrant and varied nightlife, and when it comes to its LGBTQ+ scene, it is no different. Newcastle has a thriving gay scene, and like many other UK cities, this is focused in and around the ‘Gay Village’.
Newcastle’s Gay area is affectionately known as ‘The Pink Triangle’ and has a wide range of gay bars, gay clubs, pubs, shops and cafes and even a gay sauna, all of which are located within a short distance of each other.
The Pink Triangle is located between Newcastle’s Central Station and the Metro Radio Arena, so is very easily found.
Things to do in Newcastle for LGBTQ+ Travellers
Of course, everything in our list of things to do in Newcastle is for all travellers, but we can vouch for these businesses as being very welcoming for LGBTQ+ travellers through our own experience.
Go North East / Toon Tour bus
Go North East is the public transport provider for, you’ve guessed it, the North East of England, connecting towns and cities across the region, including Newcastle, Durham and Sunderland.
The great thing about Go North East is that they offer a huge variety of ticket types – of course singles for shorter journeys, but also tickets covering different zones or areas, and then for tourists visiting for longer and wanting to see more, they have the ‘Discovery Ticket’.
Discovery tickets can be purchased for either 1 day or consecutive days of travel, and either for adults, children, or even group tickets including a substantial discount. Aswell as providing travel on all Go North East buses, the Discovery Ticket also includes travel on the ‘Toon Tour Bus’.
The Newcastle Gateshead Toon Tour bus is the hop-on hop-off open top city tour bus. The service departs every 30 minutes from Central Station, and serves stops on a circular route taking passengers to some of the iconic sights around the city all whilst providing an audio guide of where you are passing.
Popular stops include Discovery Museum, St James Park, Ouseburn Valley, Grey Street and many more!
Book your own Toon Tour bus here.
Angel of the North
Think of Newcastle and one of the first things to pop into your mind is probably the ‘Angel of the North’ (pictured above) – almost as iconic to Newcastle as the Eiffel Tower is to Paris! We couldn’t not pay this landmark a visit during our trip.
The Angel of the North is now classed as one of the most visited pieces of art in the world, said to be seen by one person every single second. Standing 20 metres high with a wingspan of 54 metres, it is believed to be the largest angel sculpture in the world.
The Angel is located on a hilltop by the side of the A1, and as such is very easy to reach from Newcastle city centre. You can travel by bus, using a Go North East bus ticket, which takes approx. 20 minutes, or if you wish to drive, there is ample parking at the nearby car park.
Sea Kayaking with CBK Adventures
We were pleasantly surprised to find that you can travel from the city centre to the coast in roughly 20 minutes!
CBK Adventures offers a variety of water-based activities from exploring the coast by sea kayak to seal spotting or going on one of their nighttime ‘glow’ tours in an illuminated kayak along the River Tyne which runs through the city centre.
Take a look at what they have on offer here.
Triple A Food Tours
We love a food tour, especially when you are only in a city for a few days and know there are a lot of exciting things to try!
Experience a culinary adventure with one of the North East’s ultimate award winning food tours! Triple A Food Tours is a family runs business and runs different food tours around the city.
We tested out the Grainger Market food tour and had a great time. Our guide shared some information about the city as we walked around, and then took us to 5 or 6 different places to try a huge variety of super tasty food options. A perfect way to spend an afternoon.
See more at Triple A Food Tours.
Rooftop cocktails at Altitude
Altitude is Newcastle’s newest rooftop cocktail bar, and is a gorgeous venue. The bar is a bit of a hidden gem, located on the rooftop of NX music venue, right in the city centre.
Altitude has a ‘’Balearic’’ theme going, so sitting on the rooftop, cocktail in hand, watching the sunset while the house DJ plays some tunes you could almost imagine you were sitting in a bar in Ibiza!
Their cocktail menu was still being developed when we visited, given it was so soon after opening – but expect all the traditional tipples aswell as some cocktails created inhouse.
Altitude also offers a Balearic Bottomless Brunch package, including pizza from a local business.
Walk Grey Street
Grey Street is one of the finest examples of Georgian era architecture outside of London or Bath and has in fact been widely regarded as one of the most beautiful streets in Europe.
Named after former Prime Minister Earl Grey (yes, the same man the tea was named after!) at the head of the street you will find Grey’s Monument, erected in 1938 to honour Charles Grey’s time as Prime Minister. The Monument is one of the most famous landmarks in Newcastle and is used by many as a meeting point in the city centre.
From the Monument, walking down Grey Street, you will come across many restaurants, bars and cafes, independent shops, and the famous Theatre Royal.
The pretty Ouseburn is located to the east of the city. Once known as the cradle of the industrial revolution, recent regeneration has transformed Ouseburn into one of the most vibrant areas of Newcastle, as well as the cultural quarter of the city.
Ouseburn is now home to musicians, artists, and designers, and following the regeneration the old industrial warehouse buildings are now home to studio space, art galleries and even breweries.
Ouseburn also has its very own community run urban farm, where visitors can get up close to various farmyard animals.
The area also has many incredible independent pubs, serving great food, locally brewed ales, as well as hosting live music from some local talent. With so much on offer it is no wonder the valley is always busting with people!
Gay Bars in Newcastle
The Pink Triangle really comes alive at night. There are plenty of gay bars and clubs in Newcastle to choose from, offering something for everyone and catering to a mixed crowd.
Plus with almost all of the gay bars being located pretty much next door to each other, it’s the ideal choice for a gay bar crawl!
Those of you familiar with the Eagle name will be pleased to know that The Eagle Newcastle follows its counterparts found worldwide.
The Eagle is predominantly a men’s bar, catering to the leather and fet!sh crowd. In fact, The Eagle Newcastle is the only leather, denim and uniform bar found in the North East of England.
The Eagle is split across two floors – the upstairs bar area, and the lower level ‘cruising space’.
Switch is well known as one of the ‘go-to’ gay bars in Newcastle, and is also one of the most ‘inclusive bars’. The crowd here is very mixed – not just gay men but attracting people from the entire LGBTQ+ community in Newcastle.
Switch has live DJs playing almost every night, and with a busy dance floor it is a popular choice for people to start their night before moving onto Powerhouse nightclub (see below).
Rusty’s is a cabaret bar and entertainment venue located right in the heart of The Pink Triangle.
With several floors to choose from – all with their own bar – Rusty’s has something for everyone. Whether you want to enjoy one of the live drag shows, or just dance to the DJs playing cheesy pop music, you’re guaranteed to have a good night here.
Located next door to Switch is The Bank Bar – so named due to being in a converted old Lloyds bank building.
The Bank is one of Newcastle’s more casual gay bars, with traditional old bank décor, although it does get pretty lively on an evening with karaoke nights, drag bingo and drag shows.
The Yard and Oscars
The Yard is both Newcastle’s oldest gay bar, as well as being the longest gay owned and operated gay bar.
Found to the right of Switch, it is a quieter venue, designed to be a venue to pop in for a drink and a chat, and also to learn about the local LGBTQ+ community.
The upper level rooms are home to Oscars Bar and Lounge – a lively cocktail bar serving a menu of themed drinks.
The Tipsy Cow
Open 7 days a week, The Tipsy Cow is your one-stop shop for food, drinks and a variety of entertainment.
The Tipsy Cow is a classic brunch venue by day but comes alive at night, serving cheap drinks and a lively fun atmosphere.
Don’t miss their drag brunches served on the terrace! And the venue is pretty easy to spot, with it’s cow print façade.
An absolute must-do on a gay night out in Newcastle, Boulevard is a cabaret club offering one of the best live drag shows we have ever seen. One of the descriptions reads, ‘’the place where burlesque meets Broadway’’ and this is very true!
This is a true cabaret show venue, with Miss Rory hosting as the emcee, and various queens performing as headliners, alongside talented backing dancers.
This is a ticketed show, and the shows are seasonal so always check ahead. There are differing ticket levels too, from standing right through to VIP section.
Boulevard operates table service throughout, and also has an extensive food menu so you really can make a night of it.
Boulevard is not one to miss! See what they have coming up over on their website.
Gay Clubs in Newcastle
Whilst there are multiple gay bars in Newcastle to choose from, when it comes to a nightclub to finish your night, Powerhouse is the go-to choice.
Powerhouse is both the biggest and longest running nightclub in the whole of Newcastle, and like all of the gay bars is found within the Pink Triangle. Whilst Powerhouse started as a gay club back in the 1980s, it has since become so popular that it is now welcoming to all.
Powerhouse does operate with a cover charge, but wristbands can be pre purchased at Switch.
Gay Saunas in Newcastle
There is a gay sauna in Newcastle, called Number 52 Sauna – named because yes, the address is 52 Scotswood Road, in the heart of Newcastles gay village.
Spread across 3 floors, the facilities and amenities are what you would expect, including a 14 man sauna, a steam room, a hydro-therapy pool, cinema room, and of course the private cabins. There is even an onsite licensed café-snack bar.
Gay Friendly Hotels in Newcastle
Being such a large city, Newcastle has a huge choice of accommodation options ranging from hostels through to luxury 5-star hotels.
Whilst there are no LGBTQ+ specific hotels, there are several that we would class as being gay friendly hotels in Newcastle. These have been chosen either due to specific protocols, or anti-discrimination policies that they implement, but we have also chosen to include some of these hotels due to their location. After all, a hotel located in the gay area of Newcastle makes for the perfect choice for a gay traveller!
That being said, if none of these hotels suit your travel requirements, there are of course hundreds of options to choose from – and being such a warm and welcoming city we are confident that wherever you choose to stay, you will be welcomed with open arms!
Hotel du Vin & Bistro
We stayed at the stunning Hotel du Vin & Bistro during our visit to Newcastle, and we thoroughly enjoyed our stay!
Hotel du Vin is a stylish boutique hotel, in a converted Edwardian building. The hotel is located in the heart of the city, just steps from the River Tyne, a short walk from the vibrant Quayside area and just around the corner from the cultural quarter of Ouseburn Valley.
We loved starting each morning with a slap-up breakfast in the onsite Bistro too, with a huge buffet option, aswell as a-la-carte hot dishes to choose from.
Sandman Signature Newcastle
The Sandman Hotel Group have been operating for over 50 years with hotels located in various destinations worldwide, and are strong supporters and allies of the LGBTQ+ community!
They regularly share blogs and updates on their website advocating their support and sharing ways for guests to support LGBTQ+ owned businesses in the areas their hotels are located.
Sandman Signature Newcastle is a 4-star hotel, situated in the city center, just minutes from attractions such as Quayside and St James Park – and even the Pink Triangle can be reached on foot in just 10 minutes.
Formerly the Jurys Inn Newcastle, the Leonardo Hotel is known for both its contemporary facilities as well as its excellent location, within easy reach of many of the city’s top attractions and landmarks, restaurants and bars, and also Newcastle Central Station.
However for those wanting to be in the heart of the gayborhood, you couldn’t be better placed than staying at the Leonardo Hotel, as from here you will be less than 2 minutes on foot to some of the areas gay bars and venues, which is why it has made our list of gay friendly hotels in Newcastle.
For convenience, there is a trendy onsite bar and restaurants, and even an onsite Costa Coffee for that morning caffeine fix should the night before have been a little heavy!
The Hotel Indigo brand is part of the larger IHG collection of hotels and resorts, and IHG are proud supporters of the worldwide LGBTQ+ community. Their website clearly states their Diversity, Equity and Inclusion policy, alongside showcasing various awards such as being voted one of the Best Places to Work for LGBTQ+ Equality by the HRC.
The hotel groups welcoming and inclusive attitude make Hotel Indigo Newcastle a great place to stay for your visit to Newcastle – and the hotel location makes this even better. Hotel Indigo Newcastle is located in the heart of the city center, and just a short walk from the Pink Triangle.
A 4-star hotel, Hotel Indigo Newcastle is a stylish, boutique hotel with an onsite restaurant, 24-hour fitness center and even an art gallery.
Holiday Inn Express
The Holiday Inn Express group of hotels are also part of IHG, and so fall under the same inclusion policy.
This is the main reason we have included the Holiday Inn Express in our list of gay friendly hotels in Newcastle, but also due to the location. Holiday Inn Express Newcastle is located right on the edge of the Pink Triangle and is literally minutes’ walking from venues such as Boulevard, and Switch.
This is a great choice for gay visitors looking for more of a ‘budget-break’, but also still wanting to be close to the action. Breakfast is also included – which is always welcome after a night on the ‘Toon!
Where to eat in Newcastle
Newcastle is home to more food and drink venues than you could possibly imagine, with something on offer to suit even the fussiest foodie. You will find independent cafes, craft ale breweries, Michelin starred restaurants, traditional English pubs, tearooms for a spot of afternoon tea – this North East food capital really does have it all.
We could write a novel if we included every restaurant and café in this list, so for ease we have just included the various cafes and restaurants that we personally visited during our visit to Newcastle. But rest assured when it comes to wining and dining in Newcastle, you won’t be disappointed.
This was easily one of the best brunch restaurants we have eaten at in a long time and like we always do, we over ordered and over ate (but it was so worth it). The food was incredible and on top of that, they serve over 40 different types of espresso martini, we tried the biscoff one and the chilli one.
Make sure to add Horticulture to your itinerary.
Trakol is an award winning restaurant serving fine dining dishes in a very unique venue: converted containers on the riverside.
We shared a couple of dishes including steak and duck and also enjoyed some of the best triple cooked potatoes we have ever had! If you are looking for a cute date night venue, this has to be it.
Book a meal at Trakol here.
Rileys Fish Shack
One of our favorite dining experiences and a must for any visit to Newcastle during summer.
Rileys Fish Shack is a small restaurant in a shack style container on the beach. It serves fresh caught fish each day so the menu is constantly changing.
They have seating inside the container, but we highly recommend booking one of the deck chairs on the beach with beach umbrella and (if it cools down) a personal fire pit.
See more here.
Triple A Food Tours
As mentioned in ‘Things to do’, this is a great option to try as many different food places in just a few hours.
Gay Events in Newcastle
Newcastle Pride/Northern Pride
Officially called Northern Pride and with over 15,000 taking part in the pride march, Northern Pride is the north easts biggest LGBTQ+ charity specialising in events based activity, campaigns and of course the Northern Pride Festival.
The festival is usually in July each year and has both free aspects such as the Community Village and paid aspects such as the Festival Arena (which is still only £6-£10 depending on how many days you want access).
Canny Queer Fest
Canny Queer Fest is an event held at The Old Coal Yard, hosted by Canny Queer Collective to raise funds for CQC and a local charity (If U care Share). This year it is held in August.
They have afternoon sessions with local performers followed by longer sets from local bands into the early evening.
Again, being a charity and wanting to make sure everyone can be involved, tickets are tiered from FREE to £15 depending what you want to access.
And there you have it – our full LGBTQ+ travel guide to Newcastle, the unofficial capital of the North East.
Newcastle really is as iconic as we always imagined it to be – and we thoroughly enjoyed our few days exploring. It has so much to offer, both for travellers wanting to explore its vibrant and thriving gay scene, as well as for those wanting to get under the skin of the destination and really see what Newcastle is all about.
We hope you enjoy your visit as much as we did!