Happy New Year everybody! Welcome to 2018 - and what a year we have ahead in Newcastle and Gateshead... The Toon hit the number 1 spot on the Rough Guide's top places to visit (in the world, might we add!) and so it should! This year the Great Exhibition of the North 2018 will be hosted in our city and there will be even more reason to roll out the Geordie welcome. Read on to find out details of the spectacular opening event on Friday 22 June.

From new exhibitions, the ever-popular Newcastle Restuarant Week and plenty of shows, events and performances - 2018 is definitely the year to visit. Here are just some of the highlights for the year. Head to our What's On listings to see the full events which will be updated throughout the year.

January 2018

Wed 3 Jan:  Simplyhealth Great North Run 2018 ballot opens

New year, new you? The 2018 Great North Run ballot opens on 3 January. This year the sporting event will mark the end of the Great Exhibition of the North 2018 so even more reason to be involved!

Mon 8 - Sun 14 Jan: Vegan Restaurant Week

Launched last year as the first of its kind in the UK, Vegan Restaurant week has secured an impressive line up of venues for it's second year. Try some of the best North East, independent restaurants and cafes including The Bohemian, Wildflower and Sky Apple as well recent additions The Grumpy Panda and Filmore & Union.

Fri 12 Jan: Transatlantic Bowie

Who says January has to be dull? Let your hair down and party with World Headquarters to tune after tune by music legend David Bowie. The Transatlantic Ensemble are a top group of London session musicians, who pay homage to some of the greatest artists & albums there have ever been. This January they will be wowing party-goers at Wylam Brewery with all of David’s biggest hits.

Mon 15 - Sun 21 Jan: Newcastle Restaurant Week

January can feel like a long month so treat yourself midway through with a meal (or two) in the Toon. The ever-popular NE1 Newcastle Restaurant Week returns with a tasty list of participating venues. New restaurants including The French Quarter and The Purple Bear join over 100 of Newcastle's best cafes, pubs and restaurants... and not a turkey in sight!

February 2018

Thu 15 Feb: Angel of the North's Birthday

Sir Anthony Gormley's iconic statue - Angel of the North - has been watching over Gateshead and across to Newcastle for 20 years. Share your photos using #Angel20 and keep an eye out for ways to celebrate. Maybe just head up and stand at her feet.

Fri 16 Feb: World Series Boxing comes to Gateshead, British Lionhearts vs Croatian Knights

The World Series of Boxing is coming to the North East and local boxers, Pat McCormack and Calum French, will headline the show when the British Lionhearts take-on the Croatian Knights at Gateshead Leisure Centre on Friday 16 February 2018. Watch the GB Boxing Olympic squad club mates take-on their components in five, evenly matched, high quality bouts. The world’s premier boxing series is a hard-fought competition of unparalleled intensity, speed and power. Tickets now on sale.

Sun 18 Feb: Chinese New Year

To celebrate the year of the Dog, Chinese New Year festivities will be bigger and better after a successful crowdfunding campaign. Expect a vibrant parade through the streets of Newcastle on Sunday 18 February with colourful dragon, lion and unicorn dances.

Opening in February: Mr Mulligan's Space Golf

Landing in the centre of Newcastle this February is brand new space-themed adventure-golf venue Mr Mulligan's Space Golf  - watch out for UFOs!

Sat 24 Feb: Betfred Eider Chase Raceday

Get ready for the first big race of 2018 at Newcastle Racecourse - the Betfred Eider Chase! Join Newcastle Racecourse for a Saturday afternoon of great jump racing, featuring the historic Betfred Eider Handicap Chase, a trial for the most famous jump race of them all, the Grand National.

March 2018

Thu 29 Mar - Easter Sun 1 Apr: Newcastle Film Festival

For the first time ever, Newcastle will host a four-day film festival in the heart of the city. Promising to be a glitzy affair, the carnival of events will take place in a number of venues from Thu 29 March - Easter Sunday 1 April.

Sat 24 Mar: Newcastle Falcons' The Big One

Sports fans have a treat in store this March when Newcastle Falcons head to St James' Park for the first time to take on Northampton Saints. Dubbed The Big One the Aviva Premiership match on Saturday 24 March will be just one part of a day of sporting festivities!

April 2018

Fri 6 - Sun 8 Apr: Gateshead International Jazz Festival

Sage Gateshead's International Jazz Festival is back for 2018 and welcomes once again some of the greatest jazz artists from around the globe to the three-day event. This is the UK’s biggest jazz festival filling four stages at Sage Gateshead from Fri 6 - Sun 8 April 2018.

Sat 28 - Sun 29 Apr: Maker Faire UK 2018

Whizz-kids and science lovers will be pleased to hear Maker Faire returns to Life Science Centre in April 2018. Expect amazing Makers, musicians, creators and robots – At Maker Faire UK, you can explore and create with the Makers and enjoy playful installations, drop-in workshops and fascinating speakers.

May 2018

With the arrival of summertime (fingers crossed) come a wave of events and plenty of reasons to visit NewcastleGateshead.

Sun 6 May: Hit the North

Hit the North music festival returns for another year, showcasing rising stars and well-known artists at venues across the city all on one night. The event is sold-out but keep an eye on the website for updates.

Fri 25 May: This is Tomorrow Festival

This is Tomorrow Festival will burst onto Spiller's Quay for the first time with Catfish and the Bottlemen confirmed as headliners of the day-long festival.

Fri 18 - Sat 19 May: The Late Shows 2018

A staple in the Newcastle and Gateshead cultural calendar, The Late Shows returns for yet another year of free after-hours, cultural crawling. Museums, galleries, studio collectives, historical buildings and much more are open for business until 11pm both evenings. Get hands-on and try out new skills, see creative performances and go behind-the-scenes at hundreds of venues.

Sat 19 - Sun 20 May: Dacia Magic Weekend

Returning to St James' Park for the third year in a row - Dacia Magic Weekend is a firm favourite amongst sports fans and the only chance rugby league fans have to witness all of First Utility Super League’s biggest derby matches over one weekend at one venue.

Opens Sat 26 May: Robots - Then & Now at Life Science Centre

Life Science Centre launch their futuristic Robots exhibition at the end of the month and promises to be a must-see exhibition. This family-friendly exhibition, created by the Science Museum in London, celebrates the 500-year work-in-progress story of building automated machines.

June 2018

Fri 22 Jun: Great Exhibition of the North 2018 opens

The BIGGEST event of 2018 will kick off on Friday 22 June 2018 and we are delighted to be able to unveil details of the opening event.
 
The spectacular start to the 80-day Exhibition on 22 June will feature an 80m long water fountain in the River Tyne that will reach the height of the Tyne Bridge. The dramatic display has been specially commissioned for the Great Exhibition of the North and showcases the collaboration between industry and art that runs through the entire programme.

Inspired by The Angel of the North, which celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2018, three newly commissioned music compositions will provide a soundtrack to the water fountain and each one will be premiered on the evening of 22 June. Visitors will also have the chance to experience for the first time content exploring great northern art, design and innovation in the Great Exhibition Hubs and Trails. These venues and locations will remain open until dusk as audiences are drawn to the Quayside for a special evening event revealing major Great Exhibition of the North pieces.

An arrival film – a key piece of programming for anyone visiting the exhibition – will have its world premiere as part of the ‘Get North’ opening event where it will be projected at large scale at the Quayside.
 
Renowned writer, poet and playwright Lemn Sissay will also unveil a specially commissioned anthem for the North.

Great Exhibition of the North 2018 will run from Friday 22 June - Sunday 9 September.

July 2018

Fri 20 - Sun 22 Jul: Newcastle Pride

July wouldn't be the same without the annual Newcastle Pride Parade and events. 2018 holds extra significance as it marks the 40th anniversary of the Rainbow Flag, created by Gilbert Baker. Newcastle Pride, sponsored by NE1 and taking place in July, will help celebrate this milestone, the meaning behind the rainbow and the symbol it has become for our commmunity, and as a symbol for love.

August 2018

The Great Exhibition of the North 2018 continues throughout the summer and will wow audiences with an extensive programme of events, workshops, performances and experiences. Visitors to Newcastle and Gateshead during the summer months will not be disappointed. Find out more about the Great Exhibition of the North by following GetNorth2018 on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or sign up to receive regular updates. It's going to be amazing! #GetNorth2018

September 2018

Thu 6 - Sun 9 Sep & Thu 6 - Sun 16 Sep: Heritage Open Days 2018

This year, Heritage Open Days will take place over two weekends for the first time. That means you can explore and enjoy twice as must history and heritage with events taking place on 6-9 & 13-16 September.

Sat 8 & Sun 9 Sep: Simplyhealth Great North Run Weekend

Could this be your year to take part in the Great North Run? The popular half marathon will take place on Sunday 9 September 2018.  Whether you're a runner taking part, a spectactor cheering on a brave friend or family member or you're just looking for a free event to inspire you - the Great North Run Weekend promises to deliver a great time!

October 2018

Opens Sat 27 Oct: Exposed: The Naked Portrait, exhibition at Laing Art Gallery

A new exhibition curated by the National Portrait Gallery in association with the Laing Art Gallery will open in October at the city centre gallery and includes portraits of famous sitters such as Naomi Campbell, Germaine Greer, John Lennon and Yoko Ono.

November 2018

November is a great month in Newcastle and Gateshead. You'll find many of the festive ice rinks begin to appear at Life Science Centre, Beamish Museum and Alnwick Gardens. When the winter sun shines, it is a great chance to get outside and discover the beautiful countryside surrounding Newcastle and Gateshead. Find out more about how to explore our region all year round.

December 2018

A whole year away and we will be back in the festive spirit, excited once again for another spectacular Enchanted Parks in Gateshead's Saltwell Park and New Year's Eve activities. There is always plenty of sparkle and magic in during the Winter Festival.

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