Playgrounds were not always the high-spirited run-arounds they are today – until the 1980s, they were places for risky projects, social experiments and places to showcase spectacular sculptures in the great outdoors. Architects and artists would gather to experience something new, with the focal point being education and childhood. The Playground Project, showcasing at the Baltic Mill this summer, will bring back forgotten playground initiatives and ideas.


The LGBT 5k will return to Newcastle’s Town Moor this July. The fifth annual race covers a flat route around the Town Moor and will be a UK Athletics licensed race with professional chip timing and a medal for all competitors, as well as prizes on offer for the first male and first female finishers. The LGBT race is the perfect athletic start to an exciting and music-filled weekend at Newcastle Pride. The festival that follows will be headlined by 5ive and Heather Small.


Throughout summer, visitors of the Bowes Museum are invited to a celebration of the ‘English Rose’. The English Rose – Feminine Beauty from Van Dyck to Sargent, commemorates 400 years of society beauties and includes a Van Dyke portrait acquired by the Museum via Arts Council England, in lieu of inheritance tax from the estate of the Duke ofNorthumberland. Olivia, Mrs Endymion Porter is another painting by Van Dyck, portraying Mrs Porter, a lady-in-waiting to Queen Henrietta Maria. This painting displays a ‘careless romance’, which is evident in many of Van Dyck’s artworks. Alongside the two fascinating Van Dyck paintings, there will be works by Gainsborough, George Romney, Reynolds, John Singer Sargent and Peter Lely.


This year’s Sunniside Live Festival is headed up by leading international jazz funk band, The Brand New Heavies. Sunderland’s only city centre music festival plays host to the band who will entertain North East festival-goers ahead of their US tour. The Brand New Heavies will be joined by the likes of Smoove & Turrell and Dennis, along with special guests Alison Limerick and Shola Ama. Visitors can also look forward to food stalls, a pop-up cafe and a bar run by Bar Justice and Gin & Bear it, as well as a retro Pimm’s van and a bottle and spirits stall. There’s lots of festival and foodie fun to be had at Sunderland’s Sunniside Live Festival this year.


Discover your inner author in an exclusive creative writing workshop with David Almond this July. The Live Theatre plays host to this unique and practical workshop where you’ll learn how to explore your imagination and put pen to paper while you create something special. Writers of all abilities are welcome to take part.


Newcastle Pride returns for its ninth year, and has a schedule packed with exciting events and entertainment throughout the weekend. Festival-goers can look forward to headline performances from boyband 5IVE and sensational soul singer, Heather Small. Featuring original members, Ritchie Neville, Sean Conlon and Scott Robinson, 5IVE will be headlining the main stage on 16 July, while Heather Small will take the top spot the following day. Also there will be a host of additional activities, themed entertainment zones and more for visitors to get involved in.

19-23 JULY

“There’s a place for us”… and this summer, it’s Newcastle’s Theatre Royal. The classic American stage musical West Side Story, inspired by Romeo and Juliet, is set in the Upper West Side neighbourhood of New York City in the 1950s and follows the rivalry between the Jets and the Sharks. It’s the tale of two street gangs, and the tale of two lovers caught up in a conflict. West Side Story focuses on social problems of the era, combined with sensational music, spectacular dance scenes and a dark theme of love. Bernstein’s score includes classics such as, America, Somewhere, Tonight, One Heart and I Feel Pretty. The streets of New York are swapped for Newcastle this summer in a must-see production of the world-famous musical of love and rivalry. 

22-24 JULY

The Sunderland International Airshow returns for another year this July. Visitors will gather at Seaburn and Roker seafronts to see this year’s spectacular show fly high above the North East.

22-24 JULY

Celebrating the finest American music, SummerTyne Americana Festival is back this July. The feel-good festival presents a strong seam of southern soul, blues and gospel, alongside a sensational cast of country and rock. So round-up your friends for some SummerTyne fun, celebrating the best of music from over the pond.


Ladies, it’s time to get dolled up for Collingwood Insurance Beeswing Ladies Day. The most popular race day returns this July – an action packed event where racing and glamour collide to create something special. The best dressed competition is up for grabs while you dance the day away to the live tribute band on the Grandstand Lawns. The most glamorous racing event of the year – a must on the social sporting calendar.


If a trip to the seaside isn’t on the cards this summer, then look no further than the Discovery Museum. This July, the North East’s favourite science museum is getting off  to a swimming start as the joy of the British seaside is brought indoors. Packed with a schedule of Punch and Judy Shows, sandpits, hook-a-duck stalls and plenty of holiday pastimes, you’ll feel just like you’re spending the day at the coast. What’s more, you don’t even have to worry about the unpredictable British weather, either. Life’s a beach.


Peppa Pig and friends are coming to town this July. Take your little ones along to a fun-filled stage show where the country’s favourite pig will embark upon a brand new adventure, live. Audiences will enjoy interactive fun, games and plenty of surprises along the way. Round up your little piglets.


It’s Friday night. Are you watching weekend TV on the sofa? Or are you catching up with friends in the pub? Fancy a change? Cue the Life Science Centre. This summer, for one night only, the Life Centre is open after hours, inviting visitors to come and enjoy a fascinating talk from comedy performer and broadcaster, Helen Keen, whilst you get the chance to check out sci-fi films in the planetarium. You can even sneak in a drink from the bar and enjoy the music throughout the evening. A truly unique Friday night filled with comedy, science and music.

Glass Engravers Exhibition_ BOWES MUSEUMFROM 30 JULY

The foremost glass engravers in the North of England are exhibiting at the Bowes Museum this summer. The Northern Branch of the Guild of Glass Engravers will inform and educate visitors about the art of glass engraving. The exhibition will showcase glass as a form of art, using modern techniques. The exhibition will comprise several different types of glass including coloured glass, vases, bowls and goblets. Contemporary glass engraving is a new form of art which has expanded the possibilities of decorative engraving as a whole, allowing huge projects such as Church screens, windows and many other architectural subjects.