How fast have the last twelve months gone? It would seem time really does fly when you’re having fun, so I thought I best get planning for the year ahead and make sure all the unmissable events across NewcastleGateshead are firmly in my diary. This may be my most epic blog post EVER but here are my top tips for 2014, believe me, you’ll be kicking yourself if you miss out on any of these…
Newcastle Restaurant Week: 27th January – 2nd February
Many of us feel the pinch in January but Newcastle Restaurant Week is a great way to banish the blues and experience some of the city’s finest eateries without breaking the bank! In previous years I’ve sampled top notch food at Fat Buddha, Blackfriars, Café 21 and As You Like It, all of which are taking part again this year, along with many more great restaurants offering two courses for just £10 or £15.
Chinese New Year: Sunday 9th February
As the Year of the Horse is welcomed in to the Chinese calendar we can expect the city centre streets around Gallowgate to entice us in with colourful displays, beating rhythms and best of all, sensational smells and flavours! For me, the food alone is a big enough reason to join the celebrations but there are usually lots of quirky and cultural events to take part in too!
AV Festival: 1st – 31st March
This leading International festival of contemporary art, film and music makes its biannual return to NewcastleGateshead for a full month. The festival programme includes 11 exhibitions, 36 film screenings, 10 concerts and 11 new commissions by international and nationally renowned artists.
Miranda Hart @ Metro Radio Arena: 19th – 20th March
Miranda is a bit of a Marmite comedian, but I’ve had my tickets booked to see her for months so I guess that tells you which side of the fence I’m on! The Metro Radio Arena is the biggest concert venue in the North East of England so any show here is always an exciting experience. If Miranda doesn’t float your boat then check out the listings to see what else is coming up in 2014.
Gateshead International Jazz Festival: 4th – 6th April
The Sage Gateshead is one of Geordieland’s most iconic buildings and it will be hosting the 10th anniversary of the UK’s biggest jazz festival under one roof outside London in April. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not exactly a jazz aficionado but last year I booked to see Ruby Turner and The Brand New Heavies during the festival and it was probably my favourite gig of 2013!
The Late Shows: 16th – 17th May
The Late Shows is a free culture crawl around Newcastle and Gateshead with many popular museums and galleries that are normally closed in the evening opening their doors after hours on a Friday and Saturday night. Many of the venues you’re invited to explore are in Ouseburn, a creative corner of Newcastle that is also home to some of the cities best pubs so why not combine it with a beer crawl too! To learn a little more about Late Shows, check out my blog post from 2013 HERE
Body Worlds @ Life Science Centre: 17th May – 2nd November
Over 38 million people have experienced Gunter von Hagens’ Body Worlds in over 90 cities across the world, including Tokyo, New York, Los Angeles and Mexico City. It arrives in Geordieland in May for a 6 month stint at the Life Science Centre. The ground-breaking exhibition is not for the faint hearted but I for one am intrigued to see what it has in store.
Dirty Dancing @ Theatre Royal: 6th – 31st May
This is a bit of girly addition to the list I’ll admit, but come on, Dirty Dancing is a classic and the setting of Newcastle’s most prestigious theatre makes it a must see! This show would be perfect for a hen night, a date or just a get together with mates, there’s every chance I may see it more than once!
VAMOS: 6th – 22nd June
VAMOS! Festival is a celebration of Spanish and Portuguese speaking cultures with an exciting and diverse calendar of events across NewcastleGateshead; from art and dance to food and drink, there’s something for everyone to enjoy! Last year I found myself joining in a spontaneous daytime disco on High Bridge while friends of mine enjoyed the Mexican Wrestling at the Boiler Shop, it’s diverse to say the least.
Great North 10k/Newcastle Triathalon/Skyride Newcastle: Various dates in July
A summer of sport is on the cards for NewcastleGateshead so if you’re feeling energetic this is definitely the place to be! I’m more of a spectator myself, I’m particularly looking forward to watching brave people swim in the River Tyne as they take part in the brand new Newcastle Triathlon. The Great North 10k and Skyride also take place this month, both of which are open to all abilities, so why not get involved?
EAT! NewcastleGateshead: 8th – 17th August (and also Feb/March 2015!)
As a food-lover, this is one of my highlights of the year, it’s so much more than your average food festival. EAT! has always pushed the boundaries to offer an adventure through food but for 2014 there’s been a big change to the plans… EAT! is no longer just one Festival, it’s TWO! August will feature all outdoor events and in Feb/March 2015, you guessed it…all indoor events! Keep an eye on the festival website for a full list of events but make sure Cake City is top of your list, it’s not to be missed!
Bupa Great North Run: 7th September
It’s known as the world’s greatest half marathon, maybe that’s because it takes place in one of the greatest places on the planet! There were over 122,000 people who applied to take part in 2013, will you be one of them this year?
Juice Festival: October (exact dates TBC)
Juice is regarded as one of the best festivals for children in the UK and it takes place right here in NewcastleGateshead during October half term. No need to listen to cries of ‘I’m booooooored’ from the kids, there’ll be loads of exciting family events lined up I’m sure!
Ouseburn Open Studios: 29th – 30th November
On the last weekend of November, the creative folk of Ouseburn open their workspaces to the public, offering a unique glimpse behind the scenes in places like The Biscuit Factory, Mushroom Works, Northern Print and many more. There’s also a huge variety of affordable and original work to buy, making it the perfect time to start your Christmas shopping.
The NewcastleGateshead Winter Festival: Throughout December
There’s nowhere I’d rather be in winter than NewcastleGateshead, as a season of special events make the whole place feel magical! From quirky Christmas markets to unique events like Enchanted Parks, it’s easy to feel in the festive spirit, as long as you wrap up warm! The highlight of the festival has to be the New Year’s Eve Winter Carnival, which I was lucky enough to be a part of in 2013. It was the perfect end to a wonderful year in my beloved Geordieland!
Well, I warned you this would be a long post so if you’ve read it all, thank you! Hopefully you’re now full of inspiration for things to do in 2014! I’ve only scratched the surface though so be sure to keep checking back for loads more ideas throughout the year and feel free to add your own suggestions below.
By Rachel Kershaw