With its modern housing estates, leafy streets and outstanding schools, Whickham has plenty of draw for house-hunting families.
Once an historic village, Whickham became an increasingly popular residential area during the 1950s and ‘60s, when several new housing estates transformed it into a small town.
Today it is renowned for its excellent schools and its colourful flower displays, which are entered into the annual RHS Britain in Bloom competition.
Whickham’s geographical position and semi-rural surroundings make it particularly attractive to house-hunters. As a result, the property market is buoyant and property prices tend to be higher than in surrounding areas. The average currently sits at £233,000, a considerable leap up from nearby Gateshead. You can check the latest prices here.
Living in Whickham: what to expect
Whickham boasts an attractive mix of semi-rural relaxed living with convenient travel.
Its charms include a well-served town centre with leafy streets, bright flower beds, parks, green spaces and easy-to-reach countryside. At the same time, commuters or day-trippers have only a short car journey to the centre of Newcastle.
Another major draw to the town is the selection of primary schools. The Whickham area boasts several top-performing state primary schools, with Fellside Community Primary School, Whickham Parochial Church of England and Clover Hill Primary School judged to be ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted at their latest inspections.
Where to start your property search
In the town: Whickham’s property market is driven by the bungalows, semis and detached homes of its many housing estates, built between the 1950s and the modern day.
The Lakes Estate, off Whickham Highway, and the Oakfield Estate, off Whaggs Lane, were the first to be built during this timeframe. They were closely followed by the Grange Lane Estate, Clavering Park, Clavering Grange, The Cedars and Fellside Park.
These areas remain popular choices for affordable family housing, as the properties offer three or four beds, good sized rooms and usually a garden and off-road parking.
A few modern apartment blocks can also be found, such as Chase Court and Nunn Gardens, both of which are located close to the shops and amenities of the town’s high street, Front Street.
The Oaks, off Rectory Lane, is another recent development and offers exclusive four-bedroom townhouses with far-reaching views of the Tyne and Wear landscape.
Other sought-after properties can be found on Cornmoor Road, Millfield Road, Fellside Road and Broom Lane, where there is a huge mix of architectural styles (including some period properties) and building sizes. Many properties in these areas also benefit from large gardens.
Surrounding areas: The surrounding towns and villages, such as Blaydon-on-Tyne and Winlaton to the north west, Swalwell to the north and Sunniside to the south, also hold plenty of opportunities for property buyers.
The town of Blaydon is particularly suitable for those seeking terraced properties, which are harder to come by in Whickham. A range of terrace styles are available, from traditional stone-built cottages in Polmaise Street, Bowland Terrace and Mary Street, to new builds in the Stella Riverside development and the High View development.
Getting around Whickham
By rail: There is no train station in Whickham itself, but there is a railway line on the south side of the River Tyne.
Blaydon, Dunston and the Metrocentre stations sit on this line and can be reached by car from Whickham in around 10 minutes. Services are provided by Northern Rail and ScotRail to destinations such as Newcastle, Hexham, Sunderland, Middlesbrough, Glasgow Central and Carlisle, as well as many local stations. From the Metrocentre, residents can reach the centre of Newcastle in just 11 minutes.
By car: The A1 runs across the northern boundary of the town, with the A692 on the east side and the A694 on the west side also providing access to the A1. This major A road leads directly to the A1(M) for access to the south of the country or to the A1 northbound.
Just to the north east of Whickham, via the A1, is the A184. It provides access to Gateshead (15 minutes) and to Newcastle (17 minutes) via the Tyne Bridge. However, peak-time congestion means many commuters favour train travel.
By air: Newcastle International Airport is less than 10 miles away by car (taking around 17 minutes). Reaching the airport by train involves two changes, but takes less than an hour.
The airport serves 80 direct destinations, including domestic, European and some international locations. Airlines include Aer Lingus Regional, Air France, bmi regional, British Airways, easyJet, Emirates, Flybe, KLM, Ryanair, Thomson and Thomas Cook.
Things to do in Whickham
History: The National Trust-owned Gibside in Rowlands Gill is just five miles from Whickham. Visitors can explore the 18th-century landscaped garden surrounding the remains of the former home of coal baron George Bowes by following one of the four trails. The estate also has a Palladian chapel, a learning and discovery centre housed in the old stables, a café and a twice monthly market.
Many more historical sites are within easy driving distance of Whickham. Just north of the River Tyne is Benwell Roman Temple and Benwell Vallum Crossing, as well as a 65-metre-long section of Hadrian’s Wall complete with the foundations of a turret.
Culture: The Chase Park Festival takes place in summer and prides itself on being an inclusive event. The music festival is free to attend and fully accessible to everyone, regardless of ability or age.
Foodies gather at the annual Whickham Food & Craft Festival, which takes place in September. It includes more than 40 stalls of food, crafts and gifts as well as live music, family entertainment and a funfair. A licensed bar with cider on tap completes the experience.
Outdoors: The Green Flag-winning Watergate Forest Park on Whickham Highway is located on the site of the old Watergate Colliery. It’s now been transformed into a wildlife paradise of wetlands, woodlands, wildflower meadows and recreational routes.
Also awarded Green Flag status is the Derwent Walk Country Park. The park features a mixture of woodlands, meadows, wetlands, riverside and reclaimed industrial sites, all linked together by the 11-mile Derwent Walk. The walk follows the track-bed of the old Derwent Valley Railway and runs between Swalwell in the north and Consett in the south, through the Derwent Valley to the west of Whickham.
Keen golfers can enjoy views of the valley from Whickham Golf Course. Located at Hollinside Park on Fellside Road, the challenging course is a par 71 for men and a par 74 for ladies, with tree-lined fairways and small greens.
Plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventures for all ages can be found at the Whickham Thorns Outdoor Activity Centre. Archery, a high ropes assault course, mountain biking, orienteering and skiing are among the pursuits on offer, and the centre also boasts the first manmade outdoor boulder park in Britain, suitable for both novices and experienced climbers.
Shopping: Whickham’s main high street is Front Street, which is well served by independent shops, cafés, pubs and restaurants, as well as banks, a pharmacy and a small supermarket. But just 10 minutes’ drive away, on the opposite side of the A1, is the intu Metrocentre – a large shopping mall with free parking.
The list of big-name stores located here includes Boots, Accessorize, Argos, Carphone Warehouse, Burton Menswear, Foot Locker, Gap, H&M, House of Fraser, Laura Ashley, Next, Apple Store, Topshop and Waterstones.
Food and drink: Typical chain cafés and restaurants can be found inside the intu shopping centre, including Starbucks, Carluccio’s, Five Guys, McDonald’s, Nando’s, TGI Fridays and YO! Sushi.
For something a little cosier, try Harrison’s T Room on Front Street. This tearoom and café offers a menu of typical lunches and treats – fortify yourself with afternoon tea or opt for a toasted sandwich and a wedge of homemade cake.
Poachers Pocket is a typical countryside pub on the edge of the town. After walking through the surrounding woodland, residents can warm up inside by a log fire with a plate of ribeye steak or cheese and potato pie.
Whickham Hermitage Community Garden is a haven of tranquility hidden just behind Front Street. Volunteers have filled this walled garden with flowers, plants, wildlife and art installations.
6 reasons to live in Whickham
Varied property with plenty of family homes
Excellent primary schools
Leafy, flower-filled streets and green spaces
Thriving high street
Quick and easy access to urban centres
Semi-rural location with views across the Tyne Valley
Do you have anything else to add about Whickham? Share your insights in the comments below.