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The Fun Things to Fill Your Weekend Barter Books | The Glasshouse | The Light Organ courtesy of Yorkshire Sculpture Park © Jules Lister
What's on
January 2024
Reading time 4 Minutes

No January blues here, instead just lots of great ideas to keep you busy this weekend

Whether it's local comedy shows, book festivals or live music, we've picked the best things to do this weekend.
Barter Books Barter Books

Catch a show...

This Saturday (13th) is your last chance to catch cult classic The Rocky Horror Show at Sunderland Empire. Outrageously fun with plenty of well-known tunes and audience participation, we guarantee you’ll be singing the Time Warp for days afterwards. For more fun, join self-confessed over-sharer Allyson June Smith at Alphabetti Theatre in Newcastle this Friday (12th) as she delivers her show Little Smith Sunshine – a hilarious masterclass of wit and shame for your enjoyment. Why not learn a little as you laugh along with comedian Rob Newman’s new show at The Trader’s Club in Hebden Bridge this Sunday (14th)? Join him as he takes us through human history to laugh at the absurdities of life.

Head in a book...

Head to York Racecourse on Saturday 13th for York National Book Fair’s one day fair. The event brings together booksellers selling everything from secondhand books to antique maps and collectables. The event begins at 10.30am, with a free shuttle bus running from the centre of York. If you prefer to browse at your own pace, there are plenty of great independent bookshops across the North East and Yorkshire. In Alnwick, Barter Books is one of the largest secondhand bookshops in the UK, built in an old Victorian station with roaring fires and cosy armchairs. In Leeds, Hold Fast Bookshop can be found on Leeds Dock (literally). This bookshop is a former coal barge that now holds shelves upon shelves of new and used books alike, with a log burner inside for the colder months. You can find more great independent book shops here. 

The Glasshouse in Gateshead The Glasshouse

Sing along...

Head to The Glasshouse in Gateshead this weekend (13th–14th) and get ready to rock out with an outstanding celebration of the very best of classic rock including tributes to Queen, Led Zeppelin and The Who. Or enjoy renowned, Grammy-winning saxophonist Jean Touissant as he leads a quartet at the Playhouse in Sheffield this Saturday (13th). For a day out, head to Kirkgate Indoor Market in Leeds this Saturday (13th) for Leeds Record Fair. Held on the second Saturday of every month, it boasts more than 40 stallholders with quality vinyl record of all kinds.

Tasty treats…

Forget your new year’s resolutions and head to York Cocoa Works this weekend. Go on a tasting journey of discovery as their chocolate experts share the secrets of the manufacturing process. Of course, no session would be complete without a tasting session of the different types of chocolate too. In Harrogate, book a food tour that takes you from the independent bar and café Starling and ends at Farrah’s Olde Sweet Shop in the town. The tour covers some of the best places to eat in the area with plenty of tasting opportunities throughout. The tour is on Saturday 13th and lasts for approximately three hours, so wrap up warm and bring an appetite for this foodie extravaganza.

Arty clarty...

This is the last weekend to visit the David Bowie exhibit at Leeds City Museum, celebrating 50 years since the icon performed in the city. The exhibition brings together objects and stories of Leeds-based Bowie fans to mark the cultural influence of the artist. At Laing Art Gallery, make sure you visit their current exhibition showcasing the work of 20th century British photographer Yevonde Middleton who explored colour photography at a time when it was not considered to be a serious pursuit. The exhibition includes more than 150 works, with portraits of Vivien Leigh, George Bernard Shaw and Princess Alexandra.

The Light Organ at Yorkshire Sculpture Park Courtesy of Yorkshire Sculpture Park © David Lindsay

Read More: How a New Documentary is Paying Tribute to Trailblazing Photographer Tish Murtha

Time to shine...

Wakefield is the place to be in 2024, with their Our Year project bringing a whole host of events and activities to the area. This weekend, take your pick from any number of events. The Light Organ at Yorkshire Sculpture Park is particularly magical. Visit the historic chapel to see this fun and interactive display as it brings music to life with mesmerising colours, and you can create your very own light show using different sounds and volumes – perfect for kids and grown-ups alike.

Market mad…

Christmas may have come and gone but our love for wandering through a market, whatever the season, is forever, and there are plenty to explore this weekend. The Quayside market in Newcastle runs every Sunday, with great food options and stunning views of the Tyne and its bridges. Tynemouth Market runs every Saturday and Sunday from 9am at the picturesque Tynemouth Station. The market is across both platforms and hosts more than 150 stalls ranging from food and drink to antiques and art. Further south, Beverley’s Saturday markets are especially popular with more than 120 stalls from all across the UK, including fresh baked goods, food from around the world, arts and crafts and jewellery.

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