Winter has well and truly arrived in Geordieland but despite the blustery weather and hectic work schedule you won’t find me complaining, there is so much to look forward to as we count down to Christmas in Newcastle!
This time last year I was in Thailand and missed out on many North East festivities so I’m really excited to be staying in the Toon this winter. Here’s a little list of some of the things I’m looking forward to over the next few weeks…
I’ve always been a big fan of pantomime and even starred in a few when I was kid. Here in the North East I’m spoilt for choice when it comes to picking a panto, there are so many to choose from!
A few years ago I was blown away by the high-tech production at The Theatre Royal and I was tempted to head back there this December but I’ve been kindly invited to the opening gala of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at Whitley Bay Playhouse and it just so happens to be the weekend my niece and nephew are visiting so I’m taking them along for their first ever panto, so excited!
For a great guide to all the festive shows in Newcastle, check out this jam packed guide from North East Family Fun
Enchanted Parks is one of the most magical cultural experiences I’ve ever had! Described as ‘a narrative led after dark outdoor arts experience’ by organisers NewcastleGateshead Initiative, it’s become one of the North East’s most eagerly anticipated events. Enchanted Parks takes place over five days at Gateshead’s Saltwell Park which is transformed in to a dream like world full of surprises.
Visitors go on a winter walk through the park encountering visual arts, performances, and installations along the way. Last time I went I discovered fairies trapped in little glass jars, a clockwork tree and a tunnel filled with mechanical birds! Who knows what I’ll uncover on my enchanted journey this year but I promise to tell you all about it in a week or so!
I have never laughed so much as I when I took my Mum and Dad ice skating at Times Square outside Life Science Centre, proving that this festive activity is not just for kids! The image of my Dad twisting his hips then declaring he was ‘dancing on ice’ is one that will stay with me forever!
The rink is back in the Toon till the 21st of February and is a great way to spend an hour or so before warming up with a hot chocolate at one of the nearby cars or cafes.
It wouldn’t be Christmas in Newcastle without the captivating creativity of the Fenwick window! The image above was taken last winter and my nephew Jack looks less than impressed but I’m sure both he and and his twin sister Emily will be as excited as their Auntie Rachel when they see this year’s festive display!
I’m also hoping to take them along to the Discovery Museum while they’re here in December as I’d like to have a sneaky peek at Fenwick Unwrapped, a new exhibition celebrating the history and creation of the famous Fenwick Christmas window.
The iconic music venue, Sage Gateshead, is really getting in to the Christmas spirit this year. Not only are they giving visitors the chance to watch the classic animated film The Snowman accompanied live by the Royal Northern Sinfonia (how amazing does that sound??) but they’re also hosting a craft fair and family fun day on the 12th and 13th of December.
Sadly I wasn’t quick enough off the mark to book tickets for The Snowman but I am going along to the family fun day. I’m looking forward to shopping for local gifts, enjoying live music in the foyer and catching a glimpse of Bjorn the polar bear! Entry to the family fun day is free.
Regular readers of the blog will know that I am always raving about the Tyneside Cinema but our annual Christmas Eve visit to see It’s A Wonderful Life is probably one of my highlights of the year! Watching the classic film in the art deco surroundings while sipping mulled wine and tucking in to a mince pie… I don’t think it gets more Christmassy than that does it?
What are your favourite things to do in the North East during winter? I’d love to squeeze in a few more festivities so please leave your suggestions below!