What we can look forward to in the North East in 2022

Written by corres2

The surge of the new Covid variant might have caused disruption over the festive period, but that doesn’t mean we have to enter the new year with a sense of doom and gloom.

There’s plenty to look forward to in 2022 throughout Newcastle and the wider region, whether that’s the return of much-loved attractions, historical celebrations, sporting events or the launch of inspiring local businesses.

The current coronavirus measures in place can make it difficult to plan ahead for the New Year, but regardless, organisers have been working hard to provide incredible opportunities in the region.

Go here for more what’s on updates, news and reviews from around the North East

Here’s a list of some of the wonderful things we can look forward to embracing in 2022.

A new dawn for the Magpies

Newcastle United enter 2022 with fresh optimism after the takeover in October.

Surely things will be better after a 2021 which involved empty terraces, Ashley, Bruce, and a relentless relegation fight.

The January transfer window presents an opportunity for new signings and potential salvation for the premiership side.

Metro make-over

The Tyne and Wear metro line is getting a swish new make-over in 2022, with the construction of a new fleet underway.

The transport system’s long-awaited new trains are being manufactured by Swiss company Stadler and they will begin to be delivered to operator Nexus from late 2022.

The new trains will reportedly be 15 times more reliable, cut energy consumption by 30 per cent and will feature modern touches such as charging points, air conditioning and an automatic sliding step at every door of the new trains, making travel for Metro’s 50,000 wheelchair passengers much easier.

The first completed bodyshell of the new Metro trains buil by Stadler in Switzerland
The first completed bodyshell of the new Metro trains buil by Stadler in Switzerland

Read more: First look at the completed bodyshell of the Tyne and Wear Metro’s new train fleet

Treasury North

The move to shift Treasury staff out of London and into Darlington is “on track”, according to the Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

Darlington beat Stockton and Middlesbrough, as well as cities Leeds and Newcastle, to become home to a new Treasury campus in 2021.

Four hundred Treasury staff – around a quarter of the whole department – will relocate over five years, along with 350 staff from other departments.

Government teams are thought to be moving into a temporary office, Feethams House, in the springtime before a more permanent location is decided on.

Heather Scott, leader of Darlington Council, described it as “fantastic news for the area”, with jobs at the Darlington site currently being advertised.

Projects given the ‘green’ light

Those worried about the climate crisis will welcome the news that Nissan has been given the green light to install a huge solar farm at its Sunderland plant in 2022, which will double the amount of renewable electricity generated at the factory.

‘Bold’ new measures are also being introduced in three areas of Newcastle to cut car journeys in early 2022. Trials for low traffic neighbourhoods will begin in Arthur’s Hill, Fenham and Heaton to stop certain streets being used as a rat runs, with the hope of making residential streets safer and less polluted.

Old gems brought back to life

One of the region’s best known coastal hotels is to get a fish-and-chip takeaway and an ice cream parlour as part of a multimillion-pound face lift.

Work has begun to transform the Park Hotel at Tynemouth after it was acquired by Northumberland firm The Inn Collection Group earlier this year.

The Inn Collection has snapped up The Park Hotel in Tynemouth
The Inn Collection has snapped up The Park Hotel in Tynemouth

Elsewhere, a much-loved Gateshead pub which closed during lockdown is due to reopen in January, thanks to the owners of a local micropub.

Station East, a little gem tucked under the railway bridge in Hills Street at the end of the High Level Bridge, is all set for a fresh start in the New Year following the takeover of its tenancy by Doug Musgrove and Edward Robson who run The Lane Head pub in Ryton.

World class cultural visitor centre to open in Northumberland

A ‘world-class’ cultural visitor experience is due to open in autumn 2022 to champion Northumberland’s Anglo Saxon ‘Golden Age’ alongside the county’s first whisky distillery.

Ad Gefrin aims to be a celebration and showcase of the unique heritage, ancient hospitality, and contemporary crafts, arts and produce of Northumberland, as well as a fully-immersive visitor experience of the Anglo Saxon Golden Age and the county’s first (legal) whisky distillery in 200 years.

After £10.4 million of investment, this is one of the largest investment projects ever seen in North Northumberland and is expected to create around 50 jobs, as well putting the town of Wooler on the tourism map.

Hadrian’s Wall 1900th Celebrations

One of Northumberland’s most famed landmarks will mark a significant anniversary in 2022, with year-long festivities to mark the occasion.

The construction of Hadrian’s Wall, the 73-mile long frontier of the Roman empire, is believed to have begun in 122 A.D. To celebrate its 1900th birthday, organisers have created a “packed programme” of events.

They will kick off on January 24 – Emperor Hadrian’s birthday – and will culminate with Saturnalia on December 17-23.

There is a lot yet to be revealed but the 150 events planned so far include a Japanese manga series bringing Roman history to life ‘like never before’; a Roman-theme city of light celebration and a range of walks, talks, food festivals and re-enactments.

Northern Pride

After two years of online events due to the pandemic, Newcastle’s annual celebration of the LGBT+ community set to see a return to its usual format in summer.

Northern Pride Festival 2019 takes place at Newcastle Town Moor and Exhibition Park.
Northern Pride Festival 2019 takes place at Newcastle Town Moor and Exhibition Park.

The theme is ‘Remember, Resist, Rise Up’ and in addition to the usual packed weekend of music and activities, look out for a Life in Lockdown documentary series, exhibition, book and a mental health conference.

The event will run from June 22-24 on Newcastle’s Town Moor.

The Hoppings

The iconic funfair will return in 2022 to the Town Moor, attracting a swathe of visitors keen to experience white knuckle rides, revel at the side shows and sample the sweet treats on offer.

The Newcastle institution – which has been running for well over 100 years now – is under new management but still promises high-octane fun.

The highly anticipated event will run from 17-25 June, following a 2 year absence.

Great North Run

Partaking in this iconic sporting event might be on your 2022 to-do list, and it’s no surprise, given the incredible atmosphere created at the world’s biggest half-marathon.

Last year, the route changed in light of coronavirus restrictions, turning the Great North Run into a sightseeing half-marathon around Tyneside, looping back to the starting line.

In 2022, it will return to its traditional route of Newcastle to South Shields on Sunday 11 September.

Applications for the event open on January 10, 2022 and close just a few weeks later in February.

Great North Run 2021 in Newcastle Upon Tyne
Great North Run 2021 in Newcastle Upon Tyne

Pints ahoy!

Following a sell-out launch in 2019, the Sausage and Cider festival is set to make a return in February to Newcastle Civic Centre with a mouthwatering selection of bangers and brews.

The event, held on Feb 19, will include live music, 14 unique flavours of sausage and the “finest cider money can buy” according to the organisers.

On the same weekend, a selection of the North East’s finest craft brewers and bars are coming together for a beer festival in North Shields’ Salt Market.

The event ‘All Pints East’ is a celebration of the brewing industry in the region, with craft beers available from many of the independent breweries, bars, shops and micropubs that have transformed the drinking scene around Newcastle and the North East coast.

The festival will take place on Friday February 18, Saturday February 19 and Sunday February 20.

Rugby World Cup

World-class sport is heading to the city in 2022 with Newcastle finally able to take up its hosting duties for the Rugby League World Cup 2021.

Four matches in the rescheduled tournament are set to head north, including the men’s opening event which will see England take on Samoa at St James’s Park at 2.30pm on October 15.

The Kingston Park home of Newcastle Falcons and Newcastle Thunder will take its turn to play host too, including for the men’s group B Scotland v Italy match on October 16.

Fans are told they can look forward to a ‘bigger and better tournament’ when news of the full 61-match schedule was announced in November.

The Show must go on!

Local theatres are setting their sights on a better future – following the horrendous impact of the pandemic.

Shows to look out for in 2022 include:

  • A tension-filled production of Fatal Attraction at the Theatre Royal, starring Coronation Street’s Kym Marsh alongside Oliver Farnworth, which will run from January 25-29.
  • The autobiographical show Drag me to Love, performed by Bonnie and The Bonnettes. It’s a sparkly combination of drag and theatre, planned for Live Theatre on the Quayside on February 10-12.
  • Red Ellen, a new play by Caroline Bird which tells the remarkable story of Labour MP Ellen Wilkinson who led the Jarrow Crusade; served as a member of Churchill’s cabinet and fought to save Jewish refugees in Nazi Germany.Northern Stage hosts this world premiere from March 25-April 9.

Read more:Newcastle Theatre Royal opens up on battle to survive after £12m ‘disappears overnight’

Sell-out music shows

Whatever your tastes, there no doubt will be plenty live shows to pick from as the music world gears up for a year of gigs and tours to make up for what we’ve all missed out on during the pandemic.

In 2022, Boyzone star Ronan Keating will take to the City Hall, Brown Eyed Girl music legend Van Morrison and Don McLean both have dates at the Sage Arena and Elton John is coming to the Stadium of Light in June.

More recent acts to be catapulted to stardom will take to the stage at the Utilita Arena, including Stormzy, Little Mix and North-Shield’s own Sam Fender.

Local hero Sam Fender playing to a packed out Arena crowd in Newcastle
Local hero Sam Fender playing to a packed out Arena crowd in Newcastle

Lindisfarne Gospels programme

Inspired by the upcoming visit of the Lindisfarne Gospels, a year-long programme of cultural events will play out in towns and cities across the region.

This will range from light displays and a food market at Durham Cathedral to a Festival of Flame in Northumberland.

Beginning in January, the programme will peak in the autumn with two new visitors attractions: the new Faith Museum in Bishop Auckland and at Ad Gefrin Visitor Experience and Distillery in Wooler, where an immersive experience will help bring to life the Northumbrian Golden Age and the court of its Kings and Queens.

Then comes the big exhibition itself, which will bring the 1,300-year-old Gospels on a landmark loan from the British library to Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle from September.

Festival Frenzy

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds will be a star attraction at a new festival which is heading to Newcastle in 2022.

The former Oasis star will headline a new event called Rock ‘n’ Roll Circus, which will showcase a mix of live entertainment including everything from a Ferris wheel to jugglers when it rolls into town next summer.

However, if you prefer something little more retro, the date has been announced for the North East leg of one of the biggest UK celebrations of all things pop and 80s.

Let’s Rock the North East has confirmed a date of June 11, 2022.

The huge music event features a packed line up of some of the biggest stars from the era and takes place at Herrington Country Park near Houghton le Spring.


We couldn’t write a list of this kind without mentioning outdoor spectacular Kynren.

Fina and the Golden Cape, at 11Arches Park at Kynren, Bishop Auckland, County Durham.
Fina and the Golden Cape, at 11Arches Park at Kynren, Bishop Auckland, County Durham.

The organisers have hinted at an extra special treat for 2022 in celebration of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

The show, which features a huge cast of human plus animal stars, rattles through the country’s history with showpiece action before culminating in a spectacular firework finale.

And it seems that June 3 will be the date for a special performance, bringing history bang up to date to mark our Queen’s 70-year anniversary before the show returns for its annual run from August 6 to September 10.

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