What is the worst thing about Newcastle?

You can’t say Northumbria


We all know that Newcastle is a legendary city, however even the most amazing places on Earth have annoyances which just niggle away at the people who live there. So here’s a concise summary of the worst things about the Toon – and don’t forget to voice your own opinion in the poll beneath.

The climate

It’s always better to get the obvious out of the way first. With Newcastle being England’s most northern major city, there’s a 9/10 chance that students here are from further south. That means that Newcastle’s climate between November and February can sometimes be unbearable (freshers – be prepared, Winter is coming). Paying £1.50 to stash your coat in the cloakroom at Digi is just lame, and wearing a coat on a night out will definitely be frowned upon by any northern mates you might have, so we develop Peak District-sized goosebumps whilst braving the bitter night-time subzero temperatures in just a short sleeve t-shirt.

But it’s not just Newcastle’s Winter climate which is a bugbear. Year round, this city suffers an onslaught of gale-force winds. It might look sunny outside, but don’t bother sunbathing because that trusty North Sea wind will ensure that all the heat of the sun is swiftly swept away. In fact, Newcastle is so windy that if you walk down Northumberland St in December, your eyes will probably start watering. You never knew Climate could be so emotional before you moved to Newcastle.

Snow occurs regularly in Newcastle

Snow occurs regularly in Newcastle

Lack of a city centre Zara

A severe lack of places in the city centre to buy clothes which look like what your parents wore when they were our age appears to be a pretty hot topic among Newcastle students. Nobody wants to trek to the MetroCentre to visit the Zara store there, and they’re completely absent from the city centre.

Too many chain stores, not enough independents

For students who have moved to Newcastle from London, Manchester or Liverpool, adapting to life without a Shoreditch, Northern Quarter or Baltic Quarter is a tricky ordeal.  Topshop really isn’t very edgy – and you’ve got no chance of being able to express your inner individuality in Primark. “There’s a vintage shop in Grainger market!” the locals will tell you, but there’s just something plain wrong about getting your wavy garms from the same place that you get your veggies.

Having to pay entry to uni club events

As if the university don’t already rinse us enough with £9,000 annual tuition, they’ve also decided to charge us for entry to events such as Throwback. This would probably work well if Newcastle was a campus uni – but the fact that it’s tacked onto a city with one of the most legendary nightlife scenes in the country means that £6 entry to Throwback just doesn’t stack up.

The Robbo

During exam time, the Robbo is possibly Newcastle’s most romantic (or downright horny) place. But it’s not exactly Paris in terms of architecture, and why on earth do they have the heating jacked up so high in there? We want academia not hyperthermia. Compared with the Brotherton Library at Leeds Uni, or the John Rylands at Manchester Uni, our beloved Robbo really does lack the “wow” factor.

Leeds' Brotherton Library vs the Robbo

Leeds’ Brotherton Library vs the Robbo

Too many rahs

Newcastle is so edgy you could cut yourself just thinking about it – but this university is home to a unique species of human being who jump on the hipster, snapback-wearing, bucket hat, puffer jacket-sporting “house every weekend” bandwagon. You’ll have seen them around, they’re usually called Julian or Perry and hail from a small Home Counties town that you haven’t heard of. Back home, they’re perceived as brave because nothing’s more perilous to a southerner than going Up North for uni. They seem to emanate from Castle Leazes (Rah-sle Leazes), and can be spotted smashing it at Ill Behaviour every Tuesday. You’ll hear them talking about Cheeky Nandos or the Curry Club at ‘Spoons.

Looking after your health

With trebles costing just £5, bars like Sinners luring us into its celestial cage, and £2.50 for cheesy chips everywhere – this city really isn’t the one if you prefer to stay slim ‘n’ trim (or if you want to keep your liver alive). Unlike London, you won’t need a mortgage to go out, and with cheap taxis a big night will never cost more than 15 quid which is amazing.  But adapting to Newcastle quantities of alcohol is a step up – just ask the nurses at the Victoria Infirmary during Fresher’s Week.

Eldon Square

Newcastle has the elegance of Grey St, the palatial Monument and the gigantic bridges – and then, in the middle of our great city, an enormous shopping centre landed in the middle of it all in the 1970s like a spaceship from some grotty concrete planet. Eldon Square is where the majority of Newcastle’s shops are located – so chances are that you’ve been there at least once or twice while being here. There’s also a high chance that you’ve got lost in there: the centre is a labyrinth of chain stores and dead ends. Deep within this concrete maze lies “Eldon Leisure” – and when you hit this part of the Eldon Square monolith you may as well give up. You’ve reached purgatory – there’s no way of finding your way back now. All you wanted to do was pop into Waitrose to see if the Sushi is on offer, and now you’re calling your friends and family to them you love them one last time.

The Eldon Square monolith

The Eldon Square monolith

The gentrification of student accommodation

There was a time when people who lived at The View were the exception rather than the norm. “I hear they have butlers”, “I heard each flat has a personal swimming pool”, “I heard the average salary of a View resident’s parents is £8m” were the rumours when The View first arrived in 2014. Now, however, the university seems to be embarking on a systematic massacre of this city’s cheap and cheerful first year accommodation. Ricky Road has, for years, been a Newcastle University institution. This is the place to go if you want to pay less than £80 a week for rent and experience some legendary flat parties; the social hub where this university gained its legendary reputation. If bare-brick walls could talk, the ones at Ricky would have some stories to tell. And yet, in early 2015, the University released plans to demolish it and replace it with en-suite apartments which definitely won’t go for less than £110 per week. It probably won’t be anywhere near as sociable either – and you can bet Debbie Dumpling won’t be visiting as often.

If bare-brick walls could talk....

If bare-brick walls could talk….

Debbie Dumpling is a regular Ricky Road visitor

Debbie Dumpling is a regular Ricky Road visitor

Distance between the Business School and civilisation

Most fields of study at Newcastle University have their lectures in the compact confines of the university campus – apart from the Business School. For those living up in Jesmond, you might have to leave at least an hour to arrive at your lecture on time (and that’s only a slight exaggeration). “Just take the Metro to St James!” everybody says, but that involves changing trains at Monument, and who wants to do that?