24 Things to Look Forward to in 2024
Here are 24 of the best things to do to make sure your 2024 is a great one
It’s Easy Being Green
Catch up on the much-loved show Robson Green’s Weekend Escapes. Series two of the show began on 1st January on BBC Two, and again explores our very favourite parts of the North as Robson, his family and some celebrity friends take the road less travelled and learn the importance of connecting with nature, and the benefits it has for our wellbeing. Although the full list of destinations is yet to be revealed, Robson was spotted filming at Northumberland Wildlife Trust’s Huxley Reserve, and at a Northumberland glamping destination. See Robson as he hits the road in a traditional horse-drawn wagon, is in fits of giggles during laughing yoga, cruises down a canal on a narrowboat and puts his best foot forward while learning ballet in a field.
Starry, Starry Night
Wrap up warm and bring out the binoculars because this February sees the return of the Dark Skies Festival which will run throughout the month (9th–25th). There will be a new family-friendly constellation trail in the grounds of Sutton Bank and Danby Lodge National Park in the North Yorkshire Moors, and a special minibus tour that ends with a stargazing session Keep an eye out for more festival events like star safaris and astro photography in other picturesque places including Bolton Castle and Robin Hood’s Bay.
Time to Shine
Wakefield is the place to be right now with their ambitious Our Year project, set to span the entirety of 2024. The schedule is packed with events including walks, festivals, volunteering and community projects, all with the aim of putting Wakefield district solidly on the map. The full programme of activities can be found online with particular highlights including the Dragon Week at Pontefract Castle in March, and the free Summer Solstice festival in June. On 13th January, Wakefield Council are hosting 24 events in one jam-packed day. This will include walks, exhibitions and interactive workshops, with a special headline event taking place at Wakefield Cathedral.
And the Award Goes To…
The North East Royal Television Society Awards will return to the region on Saturday 24th February. Open to the public, the glittering gala dinner will be hosted by North East comedian Jason Cook. The night celebrates the past year of local media production with highlights including crime drama Vera and regional news programme BBC Look North. The evening will include a red carpet, Champagne reception and a dinner. Tickets for the evening are on sale now and include entry to the ceremony and a three-course meal. You can also purchase a table for 12 for a fun-filled night with your friends and family.
Are you as obsessed with The Last Kingdom as we are? At Bamburgh Castle from 10th February to 3rd November, you will be able to get up close and personal with the props and costumes from the hit Netflix show. Fans will also be able to explore the ancient ancestral home of the show’s protagonist Uhtred of Bebbanburg, and see his sword returned home for themselves.
With so many literature festivals taking place this year, book-lovers are in for a real treat. Bay Tales Live, which Living North is proud to sponsor once again, is returning to Whitley Bay for the third time from 1st–3rd March with plenty of fringe events bookending the all-day show on Saturday 2nd, featuring Ann Cleeves, Emma Flint and Katherine Bradley amongst others. Hexham Book Festival will run from 26th April–5th May, with past festivals featuring live music, wine tasting and talks from local authors. Further north, Berwick Literary Festival will run from 10th–13th October. For fans of a classic whodunnit, visit the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival this July (18th–21st) in Harrogate. Bradford Literature Festival is also taking place this summer (28th June–7th July), and Ilkley Literature Festival, the longest running literature festival in the North, will run in October (4th–20th) and is open to submissions from writers, with more than 150 events typically scheduled. Watch out for the return of Durham Book Festival, with dates yet to be announced for 2024. Past years have included more than 40 authors and 35 events including poetry, podcasts, essays and walks.
Held in Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre since 1977, professional snooker’s most prestigious tournament returns again this spring. From 20th April–6th May, 32 of the best snooker players in the world will be heading to Sheffield for the Kazoo World Snooker Championship and 17 days of gruelling competition. Reaching an audience of more than 500 million people, this event is a must-see for all snooker fans. Tickets are available online now so don’t miss out.
Living North LIVE
Get ready for this year’s Living North LIVE, at Newcastle Racecourse from 19th–21st April and York Racecourse from 22nd–24th March. We always love meeting our readers so come along for a whole host of activities including live demonstrations, talks, tastings, shopping and our famous food halls. As the North’s leading homes, gardens, shopping, food and lifestyle events, this is not one to miss. If you’re interested in exhibiting with us, just head to our events page here.
King of the Castle
Due to be completed in Spring 2024, Raby Castle’s ambitious project, The Rising will completely revitalise the area with lots planned for visitors. There are three heritage buildings including the Round House, the Coach House and the Riding School. All three buildings are based on traditional 18th century structures but have been given a modern purpose with plenty of space for hosting and events. There is also a stunning five acre walled garden designed by Luciano Giubbilei for visitors to enjoy the fresh air. The project also aims to develop a space for its famous seasonal markets and a new restaurant for visitors to relax and indulge. Described as the first destination of its kind in the North, this is not one to miss.
The award-winning, late-night free culture trail through Gateshead and Newcastle returns from 17th–18th May. During the evening, art studios, galleries, museums and historical buildings come together to host must-see interactive events for late night visitors, all aimed at encouraging the public to explore the cultural highlights of their local area that often go unnoticed.
Wild and Free
Head to Hull city centre this August for the Freedom Festival, the award-winning international celebration of the arts. From spectacular public performances to intimate meet-and-greets with the artists, the festival attracts thousands of visitors per year to take part in performances, installations and workshops. The best part? It’s free.
Heart of Glass
From 25th June, York Minster will be displaying a new exhibit as part of a major ongoing conservation project. The exhibit will be focused around the beautiful St Cuthbert Window which visitors can see removed panel by panel as it is carefully restored. The project to conserve this 600-year-old window began in 2021, and now visitors can learn about the life and times of the famous saint, as well as the intricate techniques that go into conserving historical pieces like this. Entrance to the exhibition is included with general admission. For more about York Minster visit livingnorth.com.
Full Steam Ahead
Coming this summer, the return of the Northumberland Line will bring passenger trains back into service between Newcastle and Ashington. New stations have been added to the line to include Ashington, Bedlington, Blyth, Seaton Delaval and Northumberland Park which means that exploring this beautiful corner of Northumberland this summer has never been easier.
The Greatest Show
Returning triumphant for another year is the absolutely fantastic Great Yorkshire Show. Running for four days in July (9th–12th), the show is celebrating its 165th birthday with lots planned including national breed shows, food stalls and live entertainment. Tickets are now available and a full rundown of daily events will be online from May 2024. With tickets selling out in advance for three years running, be sure to get yours while you can.
Loud and Proud
From 20th–21st July, Northern Pride returns to Newcastle Town Moor for another weekend full of fun. The event will have two distinct areas, The Festival Arena and The Community Village. With market stalls, live music and plenty of food and drink options, this will be a weekend to remember. Durham Pride also returns this year on 26th May with a parade through Durham city centre.
Step Through Time
The epic historical performance Kynren returns to Bishop Auckland this year. Performed by a cast of more than 1,000 actors on an open-air stage that spans more than seven acres, this must-see live action spectacular takes the audience through 2,000 years of British history. From battles with the Romans to the execution of Charles I and World War Two, this is a night you won’t forget. The show runs every Saturday from 29th July to 9th September.
Heathcliff? It’s Me
Calling all bookworms! Commissioned by the Brontë Parsonage Museum comes a new piece of work that invites you to explore the haunting landscape that inspired Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre as part of an immersive, theatrical experience. Produced by Obscura Theatre, this audio-narrative takes you on a self-guided walk over the Haworth and Ilkley Moors. Inspired by the themes of the Brontë sisters’ work, the audio follows the story of a lone wanderer experiencing a sleepless night and trying to find solace in the moors.
Going for Gold
Paris is hosting the Summer Olympics this year, 100 years since it last hosted, from 26th July to 11th August. Among the athletes selected to compete this year are Yorkshire duo Jack Laugher and Anthony Harding who secured their place in the men’s synchronised diving after a great performance at the World Championship in Japan in 2023. Also aiming to compete this year is Malton’s Lucy Hall, after securing a silver medal for shooting at the World Championship last year. From the North East, local hopefuls include lightweight boxing twins Pat and Luke McCormack from Washington, who previously secured their places in the Tokyo Olympics, and Stockton sprinter Richard Kilty, known as the Teesside Tornado, is also hoping to compete. Rob Anderson, a skilled break dancer from Newcastle, is also aiming for gold as this marks the first year that the Olympics will include breakdancing as a sport, as well as skateboarding, surfing and climbing.
In The Kitchen
Calling all foodies! There are so many great new restaurants to try this year. In Bishop Auckland, MasterChef contestant Mike Bartley plans to open Jord, his own restaurant that will serve a seasonal menu inspired by the local area. Also set to open in 2024 is the open-plan concept restaurant Bazaar in Middlesbrough, with a menu inspired by flavours from around the world. Bazaar is being launched by Tarek Thoma, who has previously worked in Michelin-star restaurants including the famous L’Escargot. Sonnet, serving a 14-course seasonal tasting menu, is set to open in Alnwick in the new year, and if you haven’t made it yet, the newly renovated and recently opened Tram Shelter in Seaburn is the latest outpost from Blacks Corner, serving locally– sourced, seasonal food – with a view.
A New Hope
Darlington Railway Museum has had a serious upgrade and you’ll be able to get your first peek in summer 2024. Now known as Hopetown Darlington, the new visitor attraction covers more than seven acres and will feature a £600,000 train-themed play area, an exhibition hall, a virtual reality time travel ride to help visitors engage with the past and a viewing platform where you can watch the construction of steam locomotives. The attraction aims to bring in more than 300,000 visitors per year.
Eye for Art
Following an extensive refurbishment, the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds will be reopening this summer, with the gardens reopening earlier, in March. Run by the Henry Moore Foundation, the centre houses Moore’s own work as well as other groundbreaking works of sculpture and encourages the public’s appreciation of the visual arts. Opening just in time for the warmer weather, make sure to stop by the sculpture garden, which spans a whopping 70 acres.
Born to Run
The Great North Run, the world’s biggest and best half marathon, will be returning in 2024. The event typically attracts more than 60,000 participants and not just for the run - there is unbeatable entertainment to be found along the route as well as an overhead performance from the Red Arrows. The organisers have also introduced optional finisher T-shirts, and anyone can choose to forgo their T-shirt and have a small donation made to the National Trusts Woodland Appeal instead. Starting in Newcastle, the run will take place on 8th September this year.
Expected to attract more than 25,000 visitors, this September (6th–8th) Pateley Bridge will be hosting Long Course Weekend, the sporting extravaganza. With the unique style of the event, participants are able to choose how to challenge themselves with a selection of disciplines and distances, ideal for first-timers. The weekend will kick off with a swim in the beautiful Grimwith Reservoir, with cycling taking place on Saturday and the event being brought to a close with a long-distance run on Sunday.
Something we at Living North always look forward to is the chance to continue to share outstanding local stories with our readers. As we celebrate 25 years of Living North, whether you read our magazine, visit livingnorth.com or follow our social media channels, you will always be able to find something uplifting to carry you through the day. Subscribe here to get every issue direct to your door, and come along for the journey with us in 2024.