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

Sutapa Biswas: Lumen at BALTIC, Gateshead
Exhibitions Until 20 March 2022, FREE

Sutapa Biswas: Lumen at BALTIC, Gateshead

Sutapa Biswas’ major solo show explores the artist’s role in illuminating the imperialist structures that still exist within British society.

lumiere festival
Families 18–21 November 2021, FREE

Lumiere Festival

For the past 11 years, Lumiere Festival has been lighting up Durham’s public spaces with mesmerising installations and interactive light-based artworks.

North East District Guides

Sunderland

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.

Durham

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.