The "new castle" was given by King Stephen to Ranulf de Gernon, Earl of Chester, in 1149. It later reverted to the crown, but was in ruins by the 16th century. Only a length of wall remains.
St. Giles' Church was founded in the 12th century, but rebuilt in 1876, although it preserves its Early English tower.
The Guildhall dates from 1713, and there are other good Georgian buildings in the town.
There is a museum and art gallery in Brampton Park.
Among those born in Newcastle-under-Lyme are Philip Astley, promoter of England's first circus; Dominic Cork, England cricketer; and Thomas Harrison, one of those who signed Charles I's death warrant.
In the shopping precinct is a statue of Duncan Edwards, one of the finest footballers to play for England, who was killed in the Manchester United air crash at Munich.
Nearby is Keele University.