4 min read

Teetotal in the Toon

Teetotal in the Toon

by Newcastle University

After-hours activities at university undoubtedly play an important role, but everyone has a different idea of the "perfect night out". Some enjoy the world-famous Geordie nightlife, but that's not all Newcastle has to offer.

Journalism, Media and Culture student, Jenny, is here to share her favourite teetotal activities to inspire your next night-time experience in Newcastle.


Cinema Experience


Although Newcastle is a compact city, there is absolutely no shortage of cinemas. Next to Cineworld Cinema Newcastle there is the Tyneside Cinema, which lets you experience cult classics as well as contemporary releases in a stylish, old-fashioned setting. As a student, we all know money doesn't stretch too far but this classic cinema has you covered with student discount offerings on both peak and off-peak viewings! Just make sure you have some change for snacks because who would go to the movies without any popcorn?

For a visit to the cinema in a more intimate setting, check out movie nights at The Teahouse, formerly Quilliam Brothers for all you Newcastle University veterans. Or, if you fancy something on campus, many of our societies host cosy movie nights in our university buildings so make sure you check NUSU's events web-page for any upcoming viewings!

The Theatre 

Theatre 2

Another reason Newcastle is highly enjoyable without any alcohol is it's exciting cultural scene! Situated on Grey Street, The Theatre Royal regularly presents world-renowned shows that aren’t to be missed. Alternatively, try catching a show in the grand old setting of the Tyne Theatre & Opera House; or visit Laing Art GalleryBALTIC or Hatton for your fix of arty and enthralling exhibitions.

Plus, take a look at Northern Stage, the largest producing theatre company in the North East, located right here on campus! Often presenting plays from the Newcastle University Theatre Society, why not have a go at hitting the stage yourself?

Green Spaces

Green Spaces

Alongside the hustle and bustle of the city centre, Newcastle also has some beautiful inner city parks and green spaces for you to relax and enjoy. Whether you're interested in a new exercise location or just fancy unwinding surrounded by nature, this activity can certainly be enjoyed sober.

Bring your friends along to sunbathe by the lake in Leazes Park or head over to Jesmond Dene to visit it's stunning waterfall and adorable petting zoo. If the sun is shining, you're in for a lovely day!

Discover more about Newcastle's green spaces here.

Music Events


One of the reasons Newcastle is described as a vibrant city is its booming music scene. No matter the venue, the adrenaline rush and happiness you experience listening to live music at a concert can’t be replaced by alcohol.

There’s the O2 Academy, which has already hosted singers like Amy Winehouse, Katy Perry and Adele, with many big name events coming up and the majority selling tickets for reasonable prices. As well as international stars, Newcastle also helps showcase some of the best local live music in toon and can be enjoyed for free in most cases. Pop down to Tyne Bar, The ClunyThe Dog and Parrot or The Star Inn for a listen!

Crazy Golf


One of the newest teetotal-friendly activities to emerge on the Newcastle scene is definitely a night of crazy golf! The perfect mix of activity and hilariousness, adventure golf is a night-out with a difference and will have your competitive edge completely racing. Choose between the intergalactic Mr Mulligan's Space Golf by The Gate and the hugely popular (and equally wacky) Ghetto Golf in Hoult's Yard

Although alcohol can be purchased on site, these city hotspots will definitely be a night to remember without the dreaded hangover the next day. Just remember to have your golfing skills in check!

Dining Out


One of my favourite night-time activities is definitely sampling Newcastle's delicious and diverse restaurant scene. From city centre originals like Lola Jeans, Jesmond's Pizza Francesca and Heaton's Butterfly Cabinet to the chain restaurants we all know and love, Newcastle will certainly keep you on your toes with it's range of cuisines and experiences.

A personal favourite time of year for me is definitely NE1 Newcastle Restaurant Week where we see our culinary favourites offer ridiculously discounted deals for the whole month of January and August. This time of year is the perfect opportunity to get your teeth into the new cuisines and independent restaurants Newcastle has to offer without breaking the bank.

Day Trips

Days Out-1

The adventure in Newcastle doesn't just stop at the city... A short ride on the Metro can open up a whole list of possibilities for a fun day out. A personal favourite is the stunning coastal spot Tynemouth. Plan a trip to visit their Aquarium, their famous Riley's Fish Shack restaurant or just spend the day enjoying the brisk North Sea breeze and feel the sand between your toes!

Or if you fancy going further afield, Newcastle also has excellent links to surrounding cities in the UK. Why not buy a day train ticket to Edinburgh from £10.80 (maybe even cheaper with a rail-card) or take the bus into Durham city to wander down the ancient cobbled streets and discover their beautiful Cathedral. Newcastle may be small in size but it's location has huge potential!



One thing we all know is that frequent nights out in toon don't come cheap which can seriously eat into that all important student loan. With less money spent on alcohol and club entry fees, you may even have some cash left over at the end of term which can only mean one thing... SHOPPING! You've worked hard all term so why not treat yourself.

Newcastle's Eldon Square shopping centre is a fantastic retail experience with a diverse mix of premium luxury stores like Fenwicks, Flannels and Michael Kors and high-street favourites like Topshop/Topman, River Island and H&M right at the foot of our campus. If you ever get bored, Gateshead shopping complex, the Metro Centre is just a fifteen minute drive away or an 11 minute train journey from Central Station. With an abundance of shops, plenty of delicious restaurants and bursting with exciting entertainment options like their own Odeon Cinema and adventure golf, you simply cannot get bored! 

Stunning Views


Last but not least, one thing which certainly doesn't need alcohol to enjoy is our beautiful Quayside at night. Come rain or shine, the reflection of the Tyne and Millennium Bridges on the River Tyne will leave you speechless and appreciate the city even more.

For extra points, why not capture a photograph and use the hashtag #mynclpics on Instagram to share your view with the rest of our student body (and get a few likes whilst doing so!)? You can get inspired and view more #mynclpics on Newcastle University's Instagram channel.


I hope you have enjoyed my alternatives to the stereotypical night out in Newcastle. Spending quality time with our friends away from the busy nightclubs is something we should all do more often. Plus, you can experience all of the above and wake up the next morning without a hangover! What’s not to love?

- Jenny


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