Great North Run Newbie, Where to stay, bags etc

Hi all, im doing the Great North Run in September and I've never done it before. I know its a way off but I like to plan ahead so I can book trains and hotel.

My plan is to go up day before and come back on the day afterwards on the train. Question is where is best to stay. Ive been on the website and seems theres a transfer from  finish to  start or city centre. Ill have a few family members there too, so is it best to say in centre, race start from near centre then just transfer back to centre after the race? Id probably book the train back to Leeds  for anytime around 6pm, this gives me ample time after the race doesn't it?


Ive heard accommodation is a mare and just done a quick search on usual chain hotels and says nothing available, blimey, so soon!!

Any experienced great north runners I'd love some advice, thanks.


  • Mr PuffyMr Puffy ✭✭✭

    All the bedspace get booked by a travel company linked to the race and they sell off packages at a bumped up price.

    Try the University, also Durham University, and look on Trip advisor for Bed & Breakfast.

    The Metro service is very good, and the race starts relatively late on, so you don't need to be rioght in the centre, you could stay anywhere on the Metro really.

  • Ok, accommodation is always tricky. People who have a guaranteed entry for the next year book up as soon as possible. The uni is good so contact them regarding rooms. It is 5 mins walk from the start. Otherwise you can stay anywhere within walking distance of the metro and you'll have no difficulties. There is also a shuttle from South Shields to the start. Using metro/ bus to get back into Newcastle after is easy.

    Obviously a bit depends on your pace when you arrive at the finish but 6 pm would be ample time if you don't plan to hang about in South Shields. There is often queues for transport at the end so take that into account.
  • Sorry forgot about bags. Baggage buses transport your stuff from start to finish. I've never needed to put on large bags but I've seen people with small suitcases and holdalls not having any problems
  • I've both travelled up from Leeds early doors and also stayed over (Middlesboro/Teeside area - usually lots of places even booking a couple of motnhe before as you are further out).  Then it's a drive to the finish in South Shields aiming to get there around 8am before the roads close, park on the seafront and GNR bus to the start about 8.30ish for a good hour/90minutes absorbance of the Start atmosphere.  After the race it's a quick getaway down the coast road south.  Done it 3 times stayed over twice and drove up all the way at 5.30am once (tiring but not too bad).

  • Just a heads up anymore ideas thanks.

  • The only thing I've got to add is that the first time we did it we didn't realise how far back from the actual starting line we would be placed (although if you're an elite athlete this won't apply!) and how long it would take us to walk there from the drop off point so don't cut it too fine or you'll end up sprinting for your gate and starting the race in a lather and puffed out too soon  image

    Last year we got accommodation sorted out really early and felt very smug until we arrived at our hotel and realised I'd booked the wrong weekend.  Utterly wonderful receptionist found us another room in another hotel (Premier Inn) right in the centre!  Booked the day we came back ready for this year!

  • Unless you book as soon as you know you're in, you're screwed.  45,000 runners and their supporters descend on the city that weekend.  When I did it I booked a couple of days after getting in (that was in the December before the run) and even then I ended up having to stay in Durham.

  • If anyone is staying at a Travelodge which offers a crummy breakfast (soggy croissant anyone?), try what we did in 2010 - smuggle a microwave in to your room for the essential pre-run breakfast of porridge image

  • CindersCinders ✭✭✭

    How on earth do you *smuggle* a microwave into the room? image


  • If you need accomodation let me know,some of our cheerleading team have dropped out so i have a double room spare in a top 5 tripadvispr b&b in whitley bay.I've booked for friday and saturday night.

    Not trying to make anything from it, just some money back

  • Thanks, how far from the start? Hmm infact sorry yea  I mean the finish?

  • About half an hour,Im currently doing a job for a customer who has done it 5 times, and lived up there and she says easiest way is to catch the metro to the start, and return from south shields.

    I looked at/rang so many places that said they were full, plus im not getting ripped of by paying extortionate prices.

  • From Whitley bay definitely take metro straight to the start (about 30 mins) and then use the shields ferry and metro to get back to Whitley bay after. All included on a metro day saver for about £4 ish. The ferry metro combo back is much less busy than waiting on the metro in South Shields.

    for porridge I wouldn't bother with the microwave just use the pots that only need boiling water from kettle. I use then all the time for half marathons.

  • Thanks fiona for the advice

  • Thanks, anyone selling a twin room for 1 night Saturday near Newcastle or town centre, do rooms likely pop up nearer the time on ebay etc and on here from people dropping out.

  • Your best bet is to try further affield. Towns such as Durham, Darlington and Berwick are on the same train line as Newcastle, so having a car would not be a necessity. 

    Another suggestion is to stay somewhere with public transport links to the finish. i.e. Sunderland. 

  • ok still  struggling, need a twin room ensuite, mother suffers from chrones so need toilet nearby, anyone help please. Just 1 night 14th sept.

  • Does anyone know what the arrangements are for spectators? I'm running my first GNR this year and my wife will hopefully be coming to watch. Is it fairly easy for her to get from the start to the finish? I'm assuming it will be a Metro journey, but if anyone has any advice.


  • Yes, very easy to get from start to finish. Straight line on the metro from Newcastle to South Shields. Your mum should have no problem getting there.


    Its leaving the finish that's tricky as there is a very long queue for the metros back.

  • Ok it is straight line from start to the finish but the queues will be long. Then it is a 1.5 mile walk from S Shields metro to the actual finish on the leas. There is no guarantee you can see your favourite runner at the start and be there for them at the end unless they are a slow runner.

    One option is for them to leave you alone at the start (then you concentrate on warming up, finding a toilet) whilst they walk down to about the 1.5 mile point around the central motorway / Tyne bridge. There are good vantage points here and your family will also be nearer the metro stations of monument / central station. The atmosphere is also better here as runners / crowds are still excited about the run.

    By the way the quickest way back is to use the buses provided (same cost as the metro, about £3). They take you non stop from right next to the baggage buses (gypsies green stadium) direct to Newcastle.

  • Has anyone used Nirvana Europe for coaches?  I am staying in Darlington and they offer a service to and from the race.

    Does the additional cost come with a lot less hassle of using public transport?




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