2020 is a year packed with anniversaries and birthdays at major venues and attractions right across the North East - from the 20th anniversary of Life Science Centre to Grainger Market's 185th birthday. We're sure there will be more details revealed about specific events from the venues as the year unfolds but we wanted to start the new year by celebrating these amazing attractions and North East businesses - and wishing them a happy anniversary! 

   Life Science Centre in Newcastle celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2020.

Two North East Attractions Turning 20 in 2020

  • Life Science Centre is THE science venue in the North and a brilliant addition to Newcastle’s museums and attractions. You might not know that the popular and award-winning visitor attraction is part of a larger science village which has many ground-breaking elements including research facilities and two NHS clinics delivering cutting-edge fertility and regenerative medicine therapies? Whilst visitors to Life's family-friendly attraction will enjoy exhibitions, a planetarium and an innovative array of hands-on activities every day of the week.  
  • Segedunum Roman Fort and Museum is considerably younger than the artefacts and ruins it showcases! Turning 20 in 2020, the Roman history museum is a fascinating, historic attraction to visit in Newcastle. Segedunum has the most excavated fort along Hadrian’s Wall with surviving foundations of many buildings and part of the Wall itself. Head to the large interactive museum to find out more about Hadrian’s Roman army and enjoy outstanding views across this World Heritage Site from their 35metre-high viewing tower.

Utilita Arena in Newcastle is host to world tours, live music concerts and events all year round.

Utilita Arena at 25 

  • Utilita Arena Newcastle sits overlooking the River Tyne and with a seating capacity of over 11, 000, it is one of the largest concert and exhibition venues in the North East of England. The arena celebrates their 25th anniversary this year and has a stellar line up of acts and events taking place throughout 2020. Local lad Sam Fender will perform to a sell-out crowd in April while many of the major tours will follow suit with Stormzy, Pussycat Dolls and McFly all taking to the stage at Utilita for what will be electrifying concerts. As well as live music - head to Utilita to experience an eclectic mix of events this year including Disney On Ice and Paw Patrol Live for the littlies and The Big North Tattoo Show 2020 and WWE Live for the thrill-seekers! 

Tyne and Wear Metro has been serving Newcastle, Gateshead and the wider North East with public transport for 40 years.

The Big 4-0

  • Getting around Newcastle and Gateshead is made a whole lot easier by the region’s Metro. Travel from the city to Newcastle airport or a day out at the coast in seaside villages Tynemouth or Whitley Bay in 20mins. The Metro connects Newcastle, Gateshead, Sunderland and the coast with a myriad of stops along the way. 2020 marks the 40th anniversary of Tyne & Wear Metro running it’s first passenger service which set off from Tynemouth station for Haymarket on 11 August 1980. You can find out more about the story of Metro here and see some fascinating photographs. In 2020, children can travel for absolutely free on the Metro at weekends when they are accompanied by an adult (up to three children aged 11 and under per fare paying adult).  
  • It is the 40th edition of the Simplyhealth Great North Run in September 2020. That means there have been a lot of pairs of trainers crossing the Tyne Bridge since 1981. The ballot will open in early January 2020 for those who would like to be part of this special edition of the greatest half marathon.

Beamish Museum will celebrate its 50th birthday in 2020.

Life Begins at 50 for Three North East Attractions

  • Beamish – The Living Museum of the North was founded in 1970 and is now a world-famous open-air museum telling the story of North East England during the 1820s, 1900s, 1940s and 1950s. A visit to Beamish brings history to life as visitors explore the 1900s town, meet land girls at the 1940s farm and ride the 1820s wagonway. Watch out for details of how the award-winning visitor attraction in County Durham will be celebrating their 50th anniversary in 2020.
  • Northern Stage first opened under a different name - The University Theatre - on the Newcastle University campus in 1970 and has evolved over the past 50 years to become a must-visit theatre in Newcastle. Northern Stage is a collaborative, community of artists, writers and performances – producing theatre to wow audiences and theatre-goers as well as developing local talent by exploring skills and ideas in workshops. Take a look at some of what’s on at Northern Stage in 2020.
  • A little further afield, visitors will find Roman Vindolanda and the Roman Army Museum which are both situated in the heart of the Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Site. Roman Vindolanda is regarded as the most exciting archaeological site in Europe with its wealth of archaeological remains and ongoing excavations. Fans of Roman history must-visit Vindolanda and the Roman Army Museum to experience a taste of what life was like when Hadrian and his army lived in the North East. The Vindolanda Trust is an independent archaeological charitable trust, founded in 1970 so will celebrate it’s 50th birthday in 2020.

Newcastle's Grainger Market turns 185 years old in 2020.

Three oldies that are definitely goodies

Well past receiving a letter from the Queen, the next three attractions and organisations will be celebrating significant anniversaries in the new year.

  • National Trust will celebrate its 125th anniversary throughout 2020 with new initiatives, efforts and impressive fundraising activity. There are a number of excellent National Trust properties in the North East where visitors can enjoy a day out including Gibside in Gateshead, Wallington Hall and Cragside in Northumberland and Seaton Delaval Hall in North Tyneside.
  • Newcastle’s historic indoor market, Grainger Market, opened to the public on 24 October 1835 following a huge celebratory banquet on 22 October. The market is known as Newcastle's first supermarket and is a gem in the heart of the city. Happy 185th birthday Grainger Market!
  • Perhaps not strictly a birthday we can claim as our own (!) however, happy 250th birthday to Beethoven! Impressive music venue Sage Gateshead which cuts an iconic silhouette on the banks of the River Tyne will be programming events to tie in with Beethoven’s anniversary in 2020. Watch out for a special Beethoven weekend in May 2020

There are lots of things to do in Newcastle, Gateshead and the North East all year round. We will keep you posted on our social media channels or why not sign up here to receive our regular emails packed with What's On in the region? 

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