For a moment I contemplated the idea of writing a post titled ‘2018 Things to Enjoy in the North East in 2018’, then I gave myself a shake, not because I’d be short of ideas, far from it, but because it would probably be 2019 by the time I hit publish!
Instead, I’ve decided to keep things simple for my first post of the year and share with you the top ten local events I am most excited about over the next twelve months. It’s a pretty awesome list, I’m sure you’ll agree and it’s not hard to see why The Rough Guide named Newcastle ‘the best place to visit in the WORLD in 2018’!
Newcastle Restaurant Week: 15 – 21 January
Starting a diet in January is almost impossible in Newcastle as the hugely popular NE1 Restaurant Week brings together over 100 of the city’s finest restaurants for a foodie celebration. It’s a chance to dine out in style for only £10 or £15pp! Blackfriars, 21, Dobson & Parnell, Marco Pierre White and The French Quarter are my top picks!
The Angel of the North Turns 20: 15 February
It’s hard to imagine driving north up the A1 without Antony Gormley’s famous Angel of North signalling your arrival in to Geordieland! It’s been in place for as long as I have lived in the north east but the landmark is soon to turn 20 years old. The Geordies are not ones to ignore the opportunity for a celebration so no doubt there’ll be plenty of people paying The Angel a visit on its birthday, me included!
Chinese New Year: 18 February
The atmosphere in Newcastle’s China Town is always vibrant and exciting on the day of the new year celebrations. There’s usually a parade which entertains the crowds lining Stowell Street and of course, it’s the perfect excuse to sample the delights of the local Chinese restaurants!
Dacia Magic Weekend: 19 – 20 May
The city will come alive with colour and the raucous sound of Rugby fans in May as Magic Weekend returns for its fourth visit to St James’ park in the heart of Newcastle. Visitors and locals will be jumping at the chance to enjoy a fantastic weekend of exhilarating rugby. Check out this video for highlights from last year…
Great Exhibition of the North: 22 June – 9 September (THIS IS THE BIG ONE!!)
If you’ve not heard about the Great Exhibition of the North then where have you been? Seriously, get it in your diary now because this is going to be huge! Councillor Kim McGuiness from Newcastle City Council sums it up perfectly in this little vid…
It was back in the Autumn when NewcastleGateshead was announced as the main location for this government sponsored 80-day programme of events from a shortlist that included Sheffield, Bradford and Blackpool. It was no competition if you ask me but that said, GEON will be about celebrating the whole of northern England and as I’m originally from Greater Manchester I’m keen to see how other northern cities will get involved too.
No doubt about it though, the spotlight will be well and truly on Geordieland, giving us a real chance to shine and show off our world class culture and quirky hidden gems for all to see! Plus, how awesome does the artist’s impress of the opening ceremony look?!
Details about individual events and opportunities are slowly starting to emerge so make sure you keep your eyes peeled at www. getnorth2018.com for announcements.
Newcastle Pride: 20 – 22 July
Pride weekend seems to get bigger and better in Newcastle every year. Last year I noticed that lots of the city’s iconic landmarks were flying the flag in support of the LGBT community. 2018 will actually mark the 40th anniversary of the Rainbow Flag, created by Gilbert Baker, so let’s hope even more people and businesses get behind the celebrations which will include a day of live music on the Town Moor!
The Re-opening of Spanish City, Whitley Bay: TBC – Summer 2018
I am so excited for Spanish City to re-open in Whitley Bay! It’s been closed for almost 18 years, so I’ve never actually set eyes on the the unique internal design but locals tell me it’s a thing of beauty. Originally completed in 1910, ‘The Dome’ was a hub of activity and once the careful restoration project is complete, the iconic venue will be returned to its former glory. It will include family-friendly restaurants, fine dining, tearooms, event spaces and a champagne and oyster bar overlooking the sea. Can’t wait!
Lindisfarne Festival: 30 August – 2 September
I missed out on this festival last year because I was celebrating my birthday in Rome (which was ah-ma-zing by the way!) but this year I’m going to do my best to get there because I have heard so many good things and I think it’s great that there’s such a unique and exciting music festival right here on my doorstep! Plus, it’s an absolute bargain (unlike other festivals we could mention)! A full weekend pass (Thurs – Sun) is only £89 including a free camping pitch!
Great North Run Weekend: 8 – 9 September
It’s well known as the world’s greatest half marathon but did you know that as well as the race itself, there’s lots of other events and celebrations taking place throughout the entire Great North Run weekend. Even if you’re not taking part in the run, there are plenty of other reasons to spend some time in the area. From the Mini and Junior Great North Runs along to the Quayside to the free carb-loading pasta party and the inspiring Great North City Games that welcomes world class athletes from all corners of the globe!
NewcastleGateshead Winter Festival: Various Dates in December
The winter is not a time to wind down in Newcastle, no way! There’s fireworks, parades, pantos, ice rinks, festive markets and unique events. I can’t wait to see what the Winter Festival team have up their sleeve for 2018!
I’ve only scratched the surface with this list, there are endless reasons to spend some quality time in the north east this year. What events are you looking forward too?