The River Tyne has always been of great historical importance from Roman times onwards. What is now Newcastle is at the eastern end of Hadrian's Wall, and the Romans built large forts, being obsessed with their advance northwards.
Serious port activity increased over the years, and in 1492 Newcastle Trinity House was formed to deal with navigation in the area. This was well before London Trinity House was initiated.
In later years coal assumed the greatest importance, with regular supplies being shipped to London long before the Industrial Revolution. In the 19th century the River was vastly improved for shipping with the breakwaters constructed, dredging undertaken, docks and wharves built, and finally the low bridge at Newcastle was dismantled and replaced with a swing bridge.
During the 20th century industrial decay set in, the coal trade dried up, shipbuilding declined as well as heavy engineering. Unemployment soared and the whole Tyneside area decayed.
It was against this background that the 1971 film "Get Carter" starring Michael Caine was set. More about this grim and gritty movie later, suffice to say that it has been voted the best British film ever made.... although at the time it wasn't rated as highly.
Since then Tyneside has reinvented itself for the new millennium, vast amounts of cargo are handled, including the export of locally made Nissan cars !
Newcastle itself has shaken off the grim image associated with the "Get Carter" movie, and has changed beyond all recognition. Nowadays it is smartened up, Millennium Bridged, and has a reputation as a fun loving place with excellent nightlife...
For the visiting small craft mariner, The Tyne offers a good selection of facilities. For those just looking for a quick overnight stop in settled weather, there are anchorages possible just within the breakwaters.
A little deeper in but still within easy striking distance of the entrance, Royal Quays Marina has been formed in the old Albert Edward docks. All modern facilities are available here...but... it's a long long way from Newcastle, nevertheless a night out in the city can be had, it's well connected by metro.
For those with an "up for it crew" looking for something a bit less sanitised and genteel than a self-contained Marina, berths are available at the much smaller St.Peters Marina which is much closer to (but not on top of) the action at Newcastle ... in fact the city centre is only a mile away.
A council owned pontoon is available for short stay and overnight stops right in the heart of town.
Things have changed a bit since Michael Caine's Jack Carter character was told that the local gangsters 'won't take kindly to someone from The Smoke poking his bugle in'.
Feel free to " poke your bugle" into the vibrant nightlife scene centred around the city's Quayside area..... the young or the young at heart will enjoy it. The locals are very proud of their city, and rightly so.
This film has particularly fond memories for me as it was the first "X" rated movie that I ever managed to sneak into (giving away my age here).
Michael Caine plays Jack Carter, a gangster originally from Newcastle but recently working in London (complete with sarf London accent). He returns to Newcastle for his brother's funeral and discovers the brother was killed and his death was not accidental. Carter then single-handedly takes revenge against all those responsible, killing them off one by one...He hurls one victim from a notoriously ugly looking multi-storey car park which is still standing (but soon-to-be demolished).
The film has plenty of funny moments, but Caine's character could never be described as likeable... more of a sadistic killing machine.
Overall the film is rated for it's gritty realism, and is well worth a watch if you get the chance. The music from the film fitted the subject matter perfectly. I've put a link below to the You Tube video of the music and clips of the film. Should you be interested there are many more clips from the film on You Tube.
If you find our free coverage of Tyne River inc Moorings & Marinas up to Newcastle useful, why not consider joining up ? Membership costs £25 for life, and you can download all our harbour coverage and official "Big Ship" sailing directions in PDF form to keep offline. Members also have access to 1667 charts and UK tidal flow atlases in full screen zoomable format, plus iPad format charts, and the ability to lay these charts over Google Earth satellite imagery with variable transparency. Membership is a great tool for those who move around at sea. Find out more, CLICK HERECLICK HERE
At night the powerful light on the Northern breakwater has a range of over 20 miles, and in the closer approaches there are sectored lights, the narrow white sectors of which will guide you in.
The only problem that could make it inadvisable to attempt entry are very strong onshore winds. Confused and breaking seas can be generated in the close approach under these conditions, and especially when the ebb tide meets the oncoming swell. The small craft mariner is advised to take special care in onshore conditions.
The harbour authorities for the Tyne operate on VHF channel 12 (0191 2572080). Their website gives plenty of useful information for the visitor, and the link below deals with their various rules and regulations, most of which are common sense.
Once past the breakwaters the visitor has several mooring options depending on whether it's going to be a swift stopover or a more protracted exploration.
For those making a passage up or down the coast and wishing to avoid plugging away against a foul tide, there are anchoring options available just within the entrance. Although offering some protection they are only of much use in settled weather, otherwise they are liable to be plagued by swell.
The northerly Anchorage is behind the North pier, Priors Haven. There is plenty of room to anchor well clear of the channel in depths of up to 3 m (at CD). Easterly winds are liable to make this Anchorage subject to swell, and thus untenable. It is reported that the bottom here is foul, so to avoid snarl ups it would be very wise to buoy the anchor.
A run ashore in the dinghy can be made, landing off Tynemouth Sailing Club (mainly concerned with racing dinghies). It's not a long walk from here to the village of Tynemouth which can offer shops and pubs etc. The ruined priory and Castle are both open to visitors too, whilst the kids could have a good time exploring the rocky caves and beaches.
The southerly Anchorage is off Little Haven beach, tucked in behind the South breakwater. Holding is good, but again it would be worth buoying the anchor as they are reported to be foul patches here too. Onshore swell can find its way into this Anchorage also.
Slightly upstream past Herd Groyne is an indentation containing a small beach and slipway off South Sheilds Sailing Club (mainly dinghies). Landings can be made here near high water. Alternatively land on Little Haven beach, which is well used by holidaymakers.
The fairly large town of South Shields nearby offers all town facilities, and is also noted for its numerous Indian restaurants, tending to all be concentrated around Ocean Road.
Pushing further up River you will pass the Fish Quay on your starboard side with a pier and small craft moorings on your port side. Take note that the tides can run at up to 2 kn in the River.
More or less opposite the ferry landing on your port side in Shields Harbour Reach lies the entrance to the former Albert Edward Dock. This has now been transformed completely into Royal Quays Marina, and is entered via a lock (see photo gallery), that operates at all states the tide and 24 hours a day.
To arrange entry call them on VHF channel 80 callsign "Royal Quays Marina" or telephone 0191 272 8282, or tie up on the waiting pontoon outside the lock. Large vessels can be accommodated in the Marina on the quay walls, as opposed to the pontoons. A link to the Marina's website is provided below:
Prices in this 350 berth marina work out at £2.55per metre a day (with a minimum charge of £15), a weekly charge of £13.75 per metre, and a monthly charge of £40 per metre. There is good security and it is a very safe place to leave your boat should you need to abandon it.
The facilities available at the Marina are covered shortly, but perhaps it's drawback is that it is a long way from Newcastle. Local facilities within and around the Marina are a bit thin on the ground, but it is possible to get the metro to the city (the station being about 15 minutes away). All facilities for the boat are available here, with the advantage of being handy for crew changes, the airport and ferry terminal.
The big advantage of course is that it is close to the entrance of the Tyne for those on passage and not wishing to be waylaid, and can be entered 24 hours a day with no tidal restrictions.
For an "Up for it" crew and skipper being that close to all the big city action but being unable to partake simply will not do. In that case pushing on up River another few miles will bring you much closer to the city and also to St.Peters Marina on your starboard side opposite the private moorings belonging to Friars Goose Marina Club.
The entrance to the Marina is not that conspicuous, but the control tower is. A waiting pontoon is established outside. Some care will be needed entering the narrow passageway in with the cross set of the tide in the River.
This 150 berth marina can handle very large craft and has maintained depth of 2 m. Entrances is not via a lock but the water within the Marina is maintained by a cill. Normal craft of about 1.5 m draft will have to wait a couple of hours either side of low water at Springs, whilst probably having low water access at neaps. The entrance is spanned by a lifting footbridge.
Contact the Marina on VHF channel 80 or 37 (M), or telephone 0191 265 4472, to find out entry procedures and depths available over the cill. A link to their website is provided below:
Full marina facilities are available at St Peter's and will be covered shortly. The prices in this Marina work out at at 60 p per good old imperial foot, thus for the metricated this would work out about £20 overnight for a 10 m boat.
This Marina is about 1 mile away from all the nightlife action around the Quays area, and there are buses if the walk is too much.
There is a council owned visitors pontoon right in the heart of the city, on your starboard side just before the Millennium Bridge. This is for short stays, but overnight stops are possible here too. It is run by Quayside Management on 0191 2211363, there's room for around 9 visitors, and prices work out at around £15 for a 10m boat. Stays of a couple of nights are possible, but this is not a place to take root. This pontoon was still in exsistence in 2013 and is a separate entity to the Newcastle City Marina; it is sometimes used by boats awaiting passage through the Millenium Bridge.
The River is spanned by two bridges at Newcastle, which although opening with 24 hours notice would only give the masted mariner access to another 4 miles of not particularly attractive Riverfront before coming up against Scotswood Bridge with 7.6 m of clearance. The Newcastle bridges have 4.6 m of clearance at MHWS when closed, so there would be no problem for many motorboats to pass much further up the river with minimal fuss.
Newcastle City Marina opened mid March 2012 with 130 metres of serviced pontoons in the heart of Newcastle between the Tyne Bridge and the Millenium Bridge. This marina has been voted Coastal Marina of the Year which is quite an achievement for it's short history. Masted vessels will need to wait for Millennium bridge openings to get here, motorboats may be able to get under the bridge when closed. Use of this marina would need to be planned ahead as they need a good 24 hours notice to book a bridge lift for you and remember you will need the best part of two hours of flood after you pass the pierheads at the entrance; it's about 9 miles upstream from there. Amble is roughly 22 miles and Blythe 7 miles to the North whilst Sunderland is 7 miles and Seaham 12 miles to the South. The Millenium bridge is not under the control of the Marina, they have to book an opening for you. As has been said there is a pontoon on the starboard side just below the Millenium bridge which belongs to the River Cruises. They may, if you ask nicely, let you tie up if you are early, but they might charge you so don't take them for granted; If you are going to be late you must give the marina as much notice as possible so that they can enter into negotiations for you!
The Marina can be contacted on 0191 221 1348 or 07435 788426.
A list of planned bridge openings for 2015 can be found at
Prices 2015 are banded >5m £15.00, >8m £18.00 and >11m £22. That includes water, electricity and VAT and It's right in the heart of this fun city, find out more at their website:
The River past Newcastle is no longer maintained by dredging, but wouldn't practically cause much of a problem, so an intrepid motorboat owner could push his way as far as Wylam.
The facilities available around the two anchorages have already been touched on, and in this section we concentrate on the two marinas and the city of Newcastle itself.
Royal Quays Marina.
Apart from the 350 pontoon berths available here, fully serviced with water and electricity, further berthing space is available against quay for larger vessels.
Staff are on hand 24 hours to operate the modern lock, which gives all tide access and plenty of deep water within.
Toilets, showers, and laundry are all available ashore, and WiFi is available throughout the Marina.
For the boat diesel and unleaded petrol are available from the fuel dock, whilst liftings of up to 30 tonnes can be handled by their travel lift, with secure storage ashore. Full boatyard services are available, with all specialists and Marine services available locally.
A boat brokerage is on site should you wish to buy or sell.
Provisioning is not straightforward as it could be, with only a local shop selling limited provisions in the newish housing developments to the north of the Marina. The local shopping mall is also devoid of a supermarket. All is not lost however as Tyneside Metro system is excellent and the station is about a 15 minute walk from the Marina.
St Peter's Marina.
All the regular Marina facilities will be found here too, with water and electricity on the pontoons, toilets and showers and laundry ashore. Good security is provided by CCTV and 24-hour monitoring.
Petrol and diesel are available from the fuel berth, while liftings and repairs can be handled including engine servicing and repairs, hull repairs, crane lift up to 3 tons , mast stepping , rigging and sail repairs , pressure washing , anti-fouling , valeting , holding tank pump out while a chandlery is located on site too. They offer a callout service for stranded boats, charging £55 per hour for their man in a RIB.
The Marina is an RYA registered training establishment for both power and sail, and they operate their own on-site brokerage too.
All city centre shops, banks and facilities are within a mile or so, with a half hourly bus service if you don't fancy the walk.
Once again local supermarkets are thin on the ground, with perhaps the nearest being across the bridges in the Gateshead area.
Trailer Sailer's are catered for at the Friars Goose Club which has already been mentioned being opposite St Peter's Marina near the city but on the South bank of the river. The club is adjacent to the Gateshead International Stadium.
The concrete ramp has access at half the tidal range with a charge of £5.
The friendly club is an RYA teaching establishment for powerboats, and maintains all kinds of facilities apart from the slipway including pontoon landings, deepwater moorings, workshops and facilities for restoration and building projects.
The clubhouse is open every day except Tuesday with a bar and food.
Telephone them on 0191 469 2545...... they also maintain moorings on the River and may be able to help out the passing yachtsman in all kinds of ways.
Newcastle City Marina
Without a doubt all kinds of city facilities are not lacking in Newcastle. Banks, shops, pubs and restaurants of all kinds abound. More on this in the next section. The big problem for the Mariner wishing to do a big stock up is the lack of supermarkets close to anywhere he can park his boat. There is however a Tescos Express up Broad Chare from the Quayside.
There is no fuel here but you could obtain that further down in one of the other marinas. They do not have separate showers but you can get a shower in the Copthorne Hotel which is on the same side of the river past the double deck bridge (they bill the marina for it and it is included in the visiting rates)
For transport Newcastle Central Station is a regional hub, and offers half hourly train services direct to London King's Cross, the journey lasting about three hours. Cross-country services are on offer to most other important destinations too.
Newcastle International airport is about 6 miles from the city and offers flights to over 90 worldwide destinations.
Newcastle upon Tyne (often shortened to Newcastle) is a city and metropolitan borough of Tyne and Wear, in North East England. Situated on the north bank of the River Tyne, the city developed from a Roman settlement called Pons Aelius, though it owes its name to the castle built in 1080, by Robert II, the eldest son of William the Conqueror. The city grew as an important centre for the wool trade and it later became a major coal mining area. The port developed in the 16th century and, along with the shipyards lower down the river, was amongst the world's largest shipbuilding and ship-repairing centres. These industries have since experienced severe decline and closure, and the city today is largely a business and cultural centre, with a particular reputation for nightlife.
Like most cities, Newcastle has a diverse cross section, having areas of poverty to areas of affluence. Among its main icons are Newcastle Brown Ale, a leading brand of beer, Newcastle United F.C., a Premier League football team, and the Tyne Bridge. It has hosted the world's most popular half marathon, the Great North Run since 1981.
The regional nickname for people from Newcastle and the surrounding area is Geordie.
Throughout the Middle Ages, Newcastle was England's northern fortress. A 25-foot (7.6 m) high stone wall was built around the town in the 13th century, to defend it from invaders during the Border war against Scotland. The Scots king William the Lion was imprisoned in Newcastle in 1174, and Edward I brought the Stone of Scone and William Wallace south through the town. Newcastle was successfully defended against the Scots three times during the 14th century, and was created a county corporate with its own sheriff by Henry IV in 1400.
16th to 19th century
From 1530 a royal act restricted all shipments of coal from Tyneside to Newcastle Quayside, giving a monopoly in the coal trade to a cartel of Newcastle burgesses known as the Hostmen. This monopoly, which lasted for a considerable time, helped Newcastle prosper, but it had its impact on the growth of near-neighbours Sunderland, causing a Tyneside and a Wearside rivalry that still exists. In the Sandgate area, to the east of the city and beside the river, resided the close-knit community of keelmen and their families. They were so called because they worked on the keels, boats that were used to transfer coal from the river banks to the waiting colliers, for export to London and elsewhere. In 1636 about 7,000 out of 20,000 inhabitants of Newcastle died of plague.
During the English Civil War, Newcastle supported the king and in 1644 was stormed ('with roaring drummes') by Cromwell's Scots allies, based in pro-Parliament Sunderland. The grateful King bestowed the motto "Fortiter Defendit Triumphans" ("Triumphing by a brave defence") upon the town. Ironically, Charles was imprisoned in Newcastle by the Scots in 1646-7.
In the 18th century, Newcastle was the country's fourth largest print centre after London, Oxford and Cambridge, and the Literary and Philosophical Society of 1793, with its erudite debates and large stock of books in several languages, predated the London Library by half a century. Newcastle also became a glass producer with a reputation for brilliant flint glass.
Newcastle's development as a major city, however, owed most to its central role in the export of coal. The phrase taking coals to Newcastle was first recorded in 1538. In the 19th century, shipbuilding and heavy engineering were central to the city's prosperity; and the city was a powerhouse of the Industrial Revolution. Innovation in Newcastle and surrounding areas included the development of safety lamps, Stephenson's Rocket, Lord Armstrong's artillery, Be-Ro flour, Joseph Swan's electric light bulbs, and Charles Parsons' invention of the steam turbine, which led to the revolution of marine propulsion and the production of cheap electricity.
In large parts, Newcastle still retains a medieval street layout. Narrow alleys or 'chares', most of which can only be traversed by foot, still exist in abundance, particularly around the riverside. Stairs from the riverside to higher parts of the city centre and the extant Castle Keep, originally recorded in the 14th century, remain in places. Close, Sandhill and Quayside contain modern buildings as well as structures dating from the 15th-18th centuries, including Bessie Surtees House, the Cooperage and Lloyds Quayside Bars, Derwentwater House and the currently unused Grade I-listed 16th century merchant's house at 28-30 Close.
The city has an extensive neoclassical centre, largely developed in the 1830s by Richard Grainger and John Dobson, and recently extensively restored. Broadcaster and writer Stuart Maconie describes Newcastle as England's best-looking city and Grey Street, which curves down from Grey's Monument towards the valley of the River Tyne, was voted as England's finest street in 2005 in a survey of BBC Radio 4 listeners. A portion of Grainger Town was demolished in the 1960s to make way for the Eldon Square Shopping Centre, including all but one side of the original Eldon Square itself.
Immediately to the northwest of the city centre is Leazes Park, established in 1873 after a petition by 3,000 working men of the city for "ready access to some open ground for the purpose of health and recreation". Just outside one corner of this is St James' Park, the stadium home of Newcastle United F.C. which dominates the view of the city from all directions.
Quayside and bridges on the Tyne
The Tyne Gorge between Newcastle on the north bank and Gateshead - a separate town and borough - on the south bank, is famous for a series of dramatic bridges, including the Tyne Bridge of 1928 which was built by Dorman Long of Middlesbrough, and Robert Stephenson's High Level Bridge of 1849, the first road/rail bridge in the world. Large-scale regeneration has replaced former shipping premises with imposing new office developments; an innovative tilting bridge, the Gateshead Millennium Bridge was commissioned by Gateshead Council and has integrated the older Newcastle Quayside more closely with major cultural developments in Gateshead, including the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and the Norman Foster-designed The Sage Gateshead music centre. The Newcastle & Gateshead Quaysides are now a thriving, cosmopolitan area with bars, restaurants and public spaces. As a tourist promotion, Newcastle and Gateshead have linked together under the banner "NewcastleGateshead", to spearhead the regeneration of the North-East.
Newcastle played a major role during the 19th-century Industrial Revolution, and was a leading centre for coal mining and manufacturing. Heavy industries in Newcastle declined in the second half of the 20th century; office, service and retail employment are now the city's staples.
The dialect of Newcastle is known as Geordie, and contains a large amount of vocabulary and distinctive word pronunciations not used in other parts of the United Kingdom. The Geordie dialect has much of its origins in the language spoken by Anglo-Saxon mercenaries, who were employed by the Ancient British people to fight Pictish invaders, following the withdrawal of the Romans from Britain in the 4th century.
Newcastle has a reputation for being a fun-loving city with many bars, restaurants and nightclubs. More recently, Newcastle has become popular as a destination for Stag and Hen parties. Newcastle was in the top ten of the country's top night spots, and The Rough Guide to Britain placed Newcastle upon Tyne's nightlife as Great Britain's no. 1 tourist attraction.
There are notable concentrations of pubs, bars and nightclubs around the Bigg Market, and the Quayside area of the city centre. There are many bars on the Bigg Market, and other popular areas for nightlife are Collingwood Street, Neville Street, the Central Station area and Osborne Road in the Jesmond area of the city. In recent years "The Gate" has opened in the city centre, a new indoor complex consisting of bars, upmarket clubs, restaurants and a 12-screen Empire multiplex cinema.
The city has a wide variety of restaurants such as Italian, Indian, Persian, Japanese, Greek, Mexican, Spanish, American, Polish, Malaysian, French, Mongolian, Moroccan, Thai food and has a Chinese village with many Chinese restaurants on Stowell Street. There has also been a growth in premium restaurants in recent years with top chefs.
Significant changes in the last ten years have been increased opening hours, more upmarket bars, a greater range of clubs and some of the older traditional pubs closing, although many have been revamped and remain very popular.
Newcastle International Airport is located approximately 6 miles (9.7 km) from the city centre on the northern outskirts of the city near Ponteland. The airport handles over five million passengers per year, and is the tenth largest, and the fastest growing regional airport in the UK, expecting to reach 10 million passengers by 2016, and 15 million by 2030. As of 2007, over 90 destinations are available worldwide.
Newcastle railway station, also known as Newcastle Central Station, is a principal stop on the East Coast Main Line and Cross Country Route. Opened in 1850 by Queen Victoria, it was the first covered railway station in the world and was much copied across the UK. It has a neoclassical facade, originally designed by the architect John Dobson, and was constructed in collaboration with Robert Stephenson. The first services were operated by the North Eastern Railway company. The city's other mainline station, Manors, is to the east of the city centre.
Train operator National Express East Coast provides a half-hourly frequency of trains to London King's Cross, with a journey time of about three hours. CrossCountry and First TransPennine Express operate regular services to many major destinations, whereas Northern Rail provides local and regional services.
The text on this HISTORY page is covered by the following licence
If you are moored at the Royal Quays Marina your on the spot choices for eating and drinking are limited to the Earl of Zetland, a converted former passenger and cargo ferry. This is moored in the Marina and is a floating bar/restaurant.
A short walk away is Brewster's, a family dining pub.
Daytime coffees and snacks can be catered for at the Outlet Shopping Centre where there is a Thorntons, Le Petit Four and Costa Coffee.
For those prepared to hike the 15 minute walk to North Shields the choices escalate dramatically, especially if you like Italian with at least three choices. Super fresh fish and chips are available near the Fish Quay, whilst there are several real ale pubs most of which serve food.
Otherwise it's on the metro to Newcastle city centre.
If you are moored at St Peter's Marina you will find a pub/restaurant on the spot. However a 15 minute walk will get you to the city centre where the choices are virtually unlimited....
The Rough Guide to Britain placed Newcastle upon Tyne's nightlife as Great Britain's number one tourist attraction ??? The city has a reputation for living it up large with numerous bars, restaurants and nightclubs for revellers to enjoy. It's also a popular destination for Stag and Hen parties.
Bigg Market and the Quayside areas in the city centre are well-known for the concentration of pubs, bars and nightclubs. "The Gate" in the city centre is a recently opened indoor complex with a 12 screen cinema, restaurants, bars and upmarket clubs.
Absolutely all varieties of ethnic restaurants are represented, with all the usual suspects plus some not so usual ones such as Mongolian and Polish.
The place has become significantly more upmarket in the last 10 years, with some of the older traditional pubs closing and new revamped offerings with increased opening hours taking their place.
Suffice to say that the visiting Mariner who is young at heart will find much to keeping him lingering in this fascinating city. One important point, if you're going out clubbing LEAVE YOUR COAT on the boat. The locals seem to prefer hypothermia rather than be seen in a coat at night whatever the weather, also dressing up is the norn. You will stand out a mile if you wear a coat or are dressed down too much. A couple of links are provided below to start you off on your online explorations.