Bubbling with nightlife, events and activities

The North East welcomes every type of student imaginable. We invited Northumbria University student Matt Young to put together the ultimate guide for taking full advantage of the North East as a budding student.

Getting around:

Firstly, getting around the North East for students couldn’t be easier. Whether you’re studying at university in Newcastle, Durham, Sunderland, Teesside or Cumbria, you can get about with ease and convenience. The Metro system, with 60 stations connecting Newcastle, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and Sunderland, offers student discounts and offers throughout the year, making it affordable to travel.

By train, Durham University is a mere 10 minutes from Newcastle Central Station with services provided by LNER, Cross Country or Trans Pennine Express leaving every ten minutes or so throughout the day. Northern Rail services connect Newcastle Central Station with regular services to Middlesbrough and Sunderland, and multiple departures across the Tyne Valley means you can be in Carlisle, home to Cumbria University's largest campus in just over an hour.

Or, if a bus is easier for you, there is an abundance of bus stops located all across the region. The many options of travel through North East England means you never have to worry about getting from A to B.


Grainger Town is the hub of all that is Newcastle student life. From food markets to seasonal festivals and outdoor cinema screenings, the centre has it all. Just a little walk from Grainger Town is Bigg Market, the popular spot filled with bars and clubs, welcoming to any student looking for some nightlife.

Sticking in Newcastle, the Quayside is a great area for enjoying the summer sun or the North East culture. With two iconic bridges crossing the Tyne, along with the Sage and the Baltic Centre, the Quayside makes for a very picturesque spot to give your Instagram some scenic shots.

Durham University is in the very centre of the city, with students even having the opportunity to study within Durham Castle, part of world heritage site. It's such an easy city to explore on foot, with the most popular bars, pubs and clubs in the city centre. During the summertime, a popular hangout is the Racecourse - you'll see no horses, but this riverside haunt is popular for studying, picnics or simply enjoying the fresh air next to the River Wear. It also hosts the annual Durham Regatta and annual Miner's Gala, two of the most popular events in the city.

Northumberland is a great option for a day out, wherever you are studying at Uni. There are some great ways to spend the perfect weekend or some great days out, the ideal way to discover Northumberland.

The North East hosts some great beaches and coastlines, which students must take advantage of.  In just a short Metro journey, you can get to either Tynemouth, Cullercoats or Whitley Bay, all offering a variety of activities. Whitley Bay offers a more typical beach day experience, Cullercoats hosts a lot of beach sports such as kayaking and paddleboarding, whilst Tynemouth has everything available.

The up and coming North East city of Sunderland has a lot to offer for students. With trendy squares and parks to enjoy through the summer time, Sunderland is a great area for some retail therapy, essential for students. The beaches and coastlines continue throughout Sunderland, which makes a day out in the city very enjoyable.

A unique partnership between Rough Guides and Teesside University provides the perfect companion to exploring the Tees Valley - one of the UK's most varied and vibrant regions. The guide includes summary of Teesside's must-see attractions, loveliest open spaces, best activities and most exciting events, profiles of the main towns - Middlesbrough, Stockton-on-Tees, Yarm, Darlington and things to do - the best shopping, eating, family activities, walking routes, nightlife and accommodation.

Food and Drink:

The North East hosts a whole range of eateries and bars to get stuck into, from fancy restaurants to budget cafes, you can’t go wrong. Newcastle’s city centre is the capital of trendy and hipster places to eat, with restaurants such as Fat Hippo, Baba Yaga and The Ship Inn offering unique settings, food and drink. For a more casual dining experience, Grainger Market is filled with food stalls, including Slice, a great pit spot for a slice of pizza!

The NE1 Restaurant Week is another essential for students looking out to save some money. In August, where over 100 restaurants across the region get involved, you can dine for a great discounted price.

With over 18,000 students swelling Durham's population every year, you'll be spolit for choice for trendy cafes - Flat White Cafe and Kitchen always prove popular, as do the Zen and Tango restaurants. The Millennium Place is also worth a visit with its upmarket champagne bar, popular pubs and the Gala Theatre's entertaining and eclectic events programme.

Schemes such as UNiDAYS are widely available to use throughout the North East. They are especially popular to get offers and discounts among various restaurants, bars and takeaways.

Another initiative ideal for a student looking to save money in Newcastle is the ‘Too Good To Go’ app. This app allows you to collect fresh food from various eateries around the area for a discounted price, which would otherwise be binned, saving students a whole load of money whilst getting great quality food and drink.


The North East has lined up a great amount of exciting events for 2019/2020 for students.

Live music is in abundance this year in the region, with massive events such as Radio 1’s Big Weekend being held in Middlesbrough, with acts such as Little Mix, The 1975 and Miley Cyrus performing. The festival scene is proving popular in the North East region as well, with the Kendal Calling festival situated in the scenic area of the Lake District becoming more popular year on year.

The North East is famed for its sporting culture, therefore any student has to take advantage of this at some point throughout the year. 2019 is going to be a great year for live sports throughout the North East, for example, the European Champions Cup and European Challenge Cup finals are coming to Newcastle’s St James Park.

In June, England, New Zealand, South Africa, Sri Lanka and the West Indies will play matches in the ICC Cricket World Cup at Durham Cricket's Riverside Stadium. The stadium will also be the venue for a double-header of concerts this summer with Pete Tong and his Heritage Orchestra perform their Ibiza Classics show on Friday, July 26 and 80s icons Tears for Fears perform the following night, Saturday, July 27.

Exciting league football can be easily watched throughout the region, with Premier League actions at Newcastle United, Championship football at Middlesbrough FC and League One fixtures at Sunderland AFC. Newcastle United generously offer a 25% discount on student tickets for home games, so you can take in that Geordie atmosphere without digging deep into your pockets.

Or, if rugby and football are not your cup of tea, The Great North Run takes over Newcastle and Gateshead every year as one of the world’s biggest half marathons, so that’s always fun to watch.