Things to do in the North East

Polly Checkland Harding

Industrial heritage, medieval architecture, stunning landscapes and world-class culture: the North East of England has it all. Stretching along the North Sea coast, the area encompasses Northumberland in the north, with the cities of Newcastle, Sunderland and Durham dotted beneath. Newcastle is the unofficial capital, a vibrant, historic and cultural city on the banks of the River Tyne. Here, medieval buildings signal the city’s military and mercantile standing in the middle ages, including the castle after which it was named. Today, Newcastle is a creative destination, the centre filled with outstanding Georgian architecture, internationally significant art galleries and renowned theatres.

Dominated by its cathedral and castle, Durham also boasts medieval streets – alongside a rich mining heritage and contemporary cultural attractions that include the recently renovated Assembly Rooms Theatre. The Bowes Museum at Barnard Castle is a combination of the above, marrying art, fashion and design with a truly magnificent historic building. Over in Sunderland, industrial heritage sits shoulder to shoulder with modern art: home to the National Glass Centre, the city has seen its 1907 fire station transformed into an arts hub and restaurant, with the Sunderland Museum, Library and Winter Garden charting the area’s long and varied history.

Read on to discover more of the best things to do in the North East.

Discover our top picks

Laleh Khorromian, Egg Rig
Exhibitions Until 2 October 2022, FREE

The Vasseur BALTIC Artists Award 2022 at BALTIC, Gateshead

The Vasseur BALTIC Artists’ Award 2022, in its third edition, will gather the work of some of the most exciting international artists working today, exploring themes of ancient mythologies, contemporary politics and ecology.

Patron Mono by Carolina Caycedo, image depicts a figure standing in a room with a three channel video emitting a yellow light
Exhibitions Until 20 November 2022, FREE

Carolina Caycedo: Land of Friends at BALTIC Gateshead

‘Land of Friends’, Carolina Caycedo’s first major survey in Europe, gathers work from the artist’s 20 years of making, and focuses on environmental justice, energy transition and cultural biodiversity, with the addition of a brand new commission.

North East District Guides


Things to do in Sunderland

A guide catering to the rich experiences on offer in Sunderland, from fine-dining and brunch spots to historic properties and museums.

Raby Castle

Things to do in Durham

A selection of attractions, restaurants, cafes and hot-spots on offer in the historic and aesthetic scenery of County Durham.

Newcastle Castle

Things to do in Newcastle

Newcastle is the capital of England’s North East, a vibrant historic and cultural city on the banks of the River Tyne.