Working in Newcastle
Newcastle has vibrant student communities in Jesmond and Heaton, with many graduates choosing to live and work in the city after university. This means that there’s a lot of young people working in the city, a combination of Newcastle University alumni and people who gravitate to the city after studying elsewhere. Newcastle may be a city, but it’s a small one – guaranteeing you a welcoming and friendly work base with lots to do in your downtime.
Obviously an important factor for anyone considering a big move is money. In Newcastle, living costs are famously cheap. You’ll be saving on rent and transport, giving you more opportunity to explore the cultural highlights of the North-East.
As a lawyer or legal professional, there are a lot of reasons to choose Newcastle. Some firms have geared their focus directly towards the North-East city, such as Norton Rose Fulbright, which chose the city as home to its Legal Process Hub.
There are a couple of regional firms which operate primarily out of Newcastle: working for these, you could be doing everything from dispute resolution, small business support and property law, to banking and commercial law.
National and international firms also have Newcastle offices, which undertake work in their own rights as well as supporting the London offices. While you may find echoes of the London office culture in these firms, there will always be a distinct friendliness to the northerly points of these big names. Yet you’ll still have a chance to get involved with large clients, working within a variety of areas of law.
Once you start work, it’s definitely worth getting in touch with the Newcastle upon Tyne Law Society - this organisation hosts seminars, legal education programmes, annual dinners and socials. It’s a great way to meet with like-minded people within the city, and to develop a network of fellow lawyers.
There’s also the North-East branch of The Law Society - a must for any newly qualified lawyer seeking to keep up-to-date with goings on of the profession.
It would be difficult to move to the North-East without checking out its most iconic sculpture - the Angel of the North. Even if you catch a glimpse on your way up north from a train or car, make sure you visit it for real on its hillside in Gateshead.
Theatre lies at the heart of Newcastle, with the RSC taking residence in the Theatre Royal every year - an architectural attraction in its own right. If you’re not a Shakespeare fan, there’s plenty of independent and contemporary shows to catch as well - check out Northern Stage, a theatre production company in the midst of Newcastle’s university campus.
If you’re a fan of architecture, a wander down Grey Street wouldn’t go amiss; Newcastle boasts the highest ratio of Grade 1 and 2 listed buildings in the country. After that, pop into the Laing art gallery, a beautiful edwardian building with an eclectic mix of collections.
If you fancy a break from the buzz come summer, Edinburgh festival is a 30-minute train ride away, and the Northumbria coastline can be reached within an hour.
The Geordie people are notable for being a friendly bunch - this was confirmed in 2016 when psychologists deemed it the happiest place in the UK, apparently due to a ‘sense of belonging’. Indeed, a resident of Tyneside remarked in the Guardian that the city has a “pathological friendliness and good humour” - So if it’s community you’re after, Newcastle has bags of it.
- Eat at a selection of Newcastle’s most famous and expensive restaurants for just £10 - £15 per head in NE1s Restaurant Week.
- Sample the world-famous Newcastle nightlife - if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, visit a ‘treble’ bar and enjoy the particularly cheap northern drinks prices.
- If you’re more into a quiet pint than a night of drinking trebles, plan a visit to one of Newcastle’s many craft beer pubs. Check out the brewing process - and enjoy the results - at the Bridge Tavern beneath the Tyne bridge, and if you’re feeling a second drink, you can do no better than the Bacchus - historic images of Newcastle’s shipbuilding past line the walls, making your cask ale that bit more cultural.
- Catch a film (and admire the iconic curtains) at the Tyneside Cinema, which has been around since 1937, and shows a mix of the latest blockbusters and more obscure cinematic gems. Alongside films, the Cinema also has an art exhibition space and hosts regular events. For film boffins, there’s no better place.
- Witness the trials and/or tribulations of Newcastle United in the city centre’s stadium, St James’ Park.
- Celebrate Chinese New Year in style in Chinatown, with a dedicated festival held in the surrounding areas every year.
- Engage in some non-law-related reading - plus some good old-fashioned tea and biscuits - at The Literary & Philosophical Society.
- Get yourself a Greggs - in the city where it all began. While the bakery chain is ubiquitous on most high streets in the UK, Newcastle is home to the first Greggs, which opened in 1951. It will be the most authentic sausage roll of your life - trust us.
If you’re looking to cut out money drains like buses and rail transport, Newcastle is your best bet. It’s known as the “15-minute city” as - unsurprisingly - you can walk from one end to the other in just 15 minutes. It’s also possible to cycle in the city, with many traffic-free cycle routes spanning the major areas of Newcastle.
Yet if you’re not a big walker or cyclist, there’s no need to worry – Newcastle has the first modern light railway system in the UK, and it remains the largest Metro system to this day. You can also get around on the city’s Opal network - Bus services run every 15 minutes, and if you’re looking to cross the river you can take advantage of a speedy ferry service between Stockton and Queen’s Wharf.
Newcastle is well-connected to the rest of the UK, with Newcastle railway station falling on the east coast mainline. If you’re moving from outside of the UK you can get in and out via Newcastle International Airport. So while Newcastle may be a small gem of a city, it’s well-connected, and easily accessible.