6 may

Classical singer Katherine Jenkins OBE has wowed the nation with her outstanding vocals on TV shows such as Pop Star to Opera Star. Now she will appear in a stunning outdoor setting in the heart of the North East.

Alongside The National Symphony Orchestra, her performance will be held at Sunderland’s Herrington Country Park this May. Selling more than four million copies of her ten studio albums, Jenkins is one of the most popular classical-crossover artists of all time.

Juan de Arellano_Still Life_Auckland CastleShow-stopping

Bishop Auckland’s transformation into an art-lover’s paradise continues with the £5.5m development of a pioneering Spanish art, culture and research institute.

It will be home to works by some of the greatest artists of the 16th and 17th centuries, including Ribera, Velazquez and Zurbaran. A key painting on show is El Greco’s Christ on the Cross, recently purchased for £2.5m by Auckland Castle with support from the Art Fund.

The ground-breaking gallery is due to open in Bishop Auckland in 2018 and is being seen as a destination to bring academics and tourists to Bishop Auckland.

The gallery was inspired by a series of religious themed paintings by the great Spanish Baroque artist, Francisco de Zurbarán, that hang in the castle. Auckland Castle’s own Spanish fine art works will be showcased alongside loans from international galleries and significant private collections.

Image: Juan de Arellano, Still life with a large array of flowers in a glass vase on a stone pedestal, Oil on canvas, unlined. Courtesy of Auckland Castle Trust / The Zurbarán Trust

9-14 May

From their humble beginnings in Liverpool’s Cavern Club, we have all been part of The Beatles’ journey – whether that’s listening to old records or toe tapping away to their big hits. The journey continues… and it’s coming to Darlington Civic Theatre this May. Let it Be tells the story of Beatlemania, packed out with over forty of The Beatles’ greatest hits from ‘Hey Jude’ and ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ to classics like ‘Strawberry Hill’ and ‘Penny Lane’. It’s your chance to relive Beatlemania and celebrate the music that made the sixties swinging.

ALAN BENNET USE Nicholas Farrell, Belinda Lang and David Robb in Single Spies. Photography by Hugo Glendinning (2)15 may

Alan Bennett’s take on the Cambridge spies, Anthony Blunt and Guy Burgess comes to the stage in the form of Single Spies, which has won a host of accolades and comes to Theatre Royal with a cast including Nicholas Farrell. Expect Bennett’s witty observations on secret identities, espionage, Russian rumour and royalty – and the lives of the infamous Cambridge Five.

Image: Hugo Glendinning

Garden Delights this spring

The Northumbrian birthplace of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown will host a huge celebration of his 300th birthday starting this Easter.

The celebrations will kick off with a talk entitled: ‘A Very Northumbrian Gardener’, hosted by local broadcaster and historian John Grundy. Other events include an evening parade by torchlight around Capability’s serpentine lake.

Throughout April, educational walks will be held from Kirkharle to Camo village where the renowned landscape designer went to school. The celebrations will close with a 300th Festival in August where local TV presenter and singer, Alexander Armstrong, will perform at Kirkharle’s St Wilfrid’s Church.


5 March

Pick out the perfect gift for your mum this Mother’s Day at the Mother’s Day Special Craft Fair at the Arts Centre Washington. The craft workshop will see your children getting creative, while mums can be pampered for the afternoon. Stalls will be selling delightful home baking, cards, bags and jewellery. It’s the perfect place to get creative or find an unusual gift or treat for yourself.

6 March

Bettys invited you and your mum for Afternoon Tea this Mother’s Day. In the elegant surroundings of the Imperial Room, the Lady Betty Afternoon Tea will be served alongside music from the café’s pianist. Indulge in a lunch and sweet treats as you while away the afternoon accompanied by a smooth playing pianist. The perfect Mother’s Day treat.

6 March

Mothering Sunday at Blackfriars. Treat your mum to the best Sunday roast in town this year. Hadrian Heritage beef, Northumbrian lamb or local pork served with delicious Yorkshire pudding, fresh seasonal vegetables, crunchy roast potatoes and gravy. Your mum deserves to relax and indulge in a delicious feast this Mother’s Day.

6 March

The Library Tea Room at Auckland Castle is the perfect spot for afternoon tea this Mother’s Day. With a glass of sparkling wine on arrival, guests can toast to their mothers in the beautiful surroundings of Auckland Castle over delicious treats. The ultimate Mother’s Day treat.

5 April

Head to Blackfriars Restaurant for a Ladies Lunch Club this April. Ladies will get the chance to meet with Hamish from Enotria, a leading specialist wine supplier that has been sourcing inspiration from across the globe for over 40 years. Entoria will tell you all you need to know about the carefully-selected wines of the world. Hamish will talk you through the history of speciality sparkling wines, accompanying a fabulous fizz tasting session. The event will include a three-course lunch, wine, fizz and coffee.