4 min read

Teetotal in the 'Toon' | Alcohol-free activities for students

Teetotal in the 'Toon' | Alcohol-free activities for students

by Laura Buckle

After-hours activities at university undoubtedly play an important role, but everyone has a different idea of the 'perfect night out'.

In Newcastle, some students enjoy the world-famous Geordie nightlife, but that's not all the city has to offer.

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


Cinema experience




Although Newcastle is a compact city, there is 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.

When you're a student money doesn't stretch far enough, but this classic cinema has you covered with student discounts 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 Everyman. 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 page for any upcoming viewings!


Theatre shows


Theatre 2


Another reason Newcastle is highly enjoyable without any alcohol is its exciting cultural scene! Situated on Grey Street, The Theatre Royal regularly presents not-to-be-missed world-renowned shows. 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 in the North East, located right here on campus! Often presenting plays from the Newcastle University Theatre Society, why not have a go at treading the boards yourself?


Green spaces


Green Spaces


Whether you're interested in a new exercise location or just fancy unwinding surrounded by nature, Newcastle has some beautiful inner city parks and green spaces for you to enjoy.

Sunbathe with friends by the lake in Leazes Park or head over to Jesmond Dene to visit its 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 fantastic 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 NX Newcastle (formerly the O2 Academy) which hosts national and international artists - Amy Winehouse, Katy Perry and Adele have all played here. While venues such as Tyne BarThe Cluny, The Dog and Parrot and The Star Inn help showcase some of the best local live music in the Toon, which you can enjoy for free in most cases. 


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) Golf Fang in Hoult's Yard near Byker. 

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 its range of cuisines and experiences.

A favourite time of year for me is definitely NE1 Newcastle Restaurant Week where culinary favourites offer ridiculously discounted deals throughout the months of January and August. This 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 of Tynemouth. Plan a trip to visit the Aquarium, Riley's Fish Shack restaurant or just spend the day enjoying the brisk North Sea breeze and feel the sand between your toes!

If you fancy going further afield, Newcastle also has excellent links to surrounding cities in the UK. Why not let the train take the strain and buy a cheap day ticket to Edinburgh or take the bus into Durham city to wander down the ancient cobbled streets and explore the 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 the Toon don't come cheap, which can seriously eat into your student loan. However, by spending less money on alcohol and club entry fees, you may even have some cash left at the end of term - which can only mean one thing... SHOPPING! 

Newcastle's Eldon Square shopping centre is a fantastic retail experience close to campus, with a diverse mix of premium luxury stores and high-street favourites.

If you ever get bored, Gateshead's shopping complex, the Metrocentre is just a 15-minute drive away or an 11-minute train journey from Newcastle's Central Station. With an abundance of shops, plenty of delicious restaurants, and bursting with exciting entertainment options you won't 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.

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, too!)? You can get inspired and view more #mynclpics on Newcastle University's Instagram channel.


I hope you've enjoyed my alternatives to the stereotypical night out in Newcastle. Spending quality time with 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?