Blog has been updated since first published in January 2020.

2020 is a year packed with anniversaries and birthdays at major venues and attractions right across the North East - from the 20th anniversary of Life Science Centre to Grainger Market's 185th birthday.

So 2020 perhaps hasn't been the year that everyone expected it to be, but there is still much to celebrate. Newcastle, Gateshead and the wider North East has much to shout about from it's amazing attractions to it's award-winning tourism businesses which span decades - and in the case of Grainger Market, centuries! We wish these organisations an even bigger happy anniversary as they face the current pandemic.

Two North East Attractions Turning 20 in 2020

Life Science Centre, Newcastle city centre

Life Science Centre is THE science venue in the North and a brilliant addition to Newcastle’s museums and attractions. You might not know that the popular and award-winning visitor attraction is part of a larger science village which has many ground-breaking elements including research facilities and two NHS clinics delivering cutting-edge fertility and regenerative medicine therapies? Whilst visitors to Life's family-friendly attraction will enjoy exhibitions, a planetarium and an innovative array of hands-on activities every day of the week.

During the attraction's temporary closure due to Covid-19, discover lots of resources online here #LifeGoesONline and find out how you can help Life Science Centre celebrate it's 20th anniversary.

Segedunum Roman Fort and Museum, Newcastle

Segedunum Roman Fort and Museum is considerably younger than the artefacts and ruins it showcases! Turning 20 in 2020, the Roman history museum is a fascinating, historic attraction to visit in Newcastle. Segedunum has the most excavated fort along Hadrian’s Wall with surviving foundations of many buildings and part of the Wall itself. Head to the large interactive museum to find out more about Hadrian’s Roman army and enjoy outstanding views across this World Heritage Site from their 35metre-high viewing tower.

During the museum's temporary closure due to Covid-19, discover Segedunum virtually or perhaps consider donating online to support the museum.

Utilita Arena at 25

Utilita Arena, Newcastle

Utilita Arena Newcastle sits overlooking the River Tyne and with a seating capacity of over 11, 000, it is one of the largest concert and exhibition venues in the North East of England. The arena celebrates their 25th anniversary this year and had a stellar line up of acts and events taking place throughout 2020. Unfortunately, the restrictions imposed on venues and attractions as a result of the devastating coronavirus global pandemic means that Utilita Arena has therefore had to reschedule, postpone and cancel acts that were due to perform.  Local lad Sam Fender, who was due to perform to a sell-out crowd in April, major tours from Stormzy, Pussycat Dolls and McFly all scheduled to take to the stage at Utilita have been postponed to a later date. You can find out all the details about cancellations and rescheduled concerts on the Utilita Arena website

Until then - join us to wish the Arena a happy 25th anniversary and we can't wait to get back to the thrill of live music and being with like-minded fans at an electrifying concert in Newcastle. 

The Big 4-0

Tyne and Wear Metro

Getting around Newcastle and Gateshead is made a whole lot easier by the region’s Metro. Travel from the city to Newcastle airport or a day out at the coast in seaside villages Tynemouth or Whitley Bay in 20mins. The Metro connects Newcastle, Gateshead, Sunderland and the coast with a myriad of stops along the way. 2020 marks the 40th anniversary of Tyne & Wear Metro running it’s first passenger service which set off from Tynemouth station for Haymarket on 11 August 1980. You can find out more about the story of Metro here and see some fascinating photographs. In 2020, children can travel for absolutely free on the Metro at weekends when they are accompanied by an adult (up to three children aged 11 and under per fare paying adult). Find out some rather unusual and fun facts about the Metro - perhaps these could help you in an online pub quiz? 

During the current coronavirus pandemic - the Metro has been a vital way of key workers to get to their place of work. Visit the Nexus Tyne and Wear website for up-to-date covid-19 travel advise in Newcastle and Gateshead.

Simplyhealth Great North Run

Sadly, the Great North Run has been cancelled for 2020 due to the ongoing social distancing restrictions to minimise the spread of coronavirus. Simplyhealth Great North Run would have celebrated the 40th edition of its iconic race in September 2020. Can you imagine the number of pairs of trainers that have ran across the Tyne Bridge since 1981? Participants and spectators of the world-famous half marathon across Tyneside will have to wait until September 2021 now - we'll miss waving, high-fiving and cheering on the Great North Run in 2020 - what a big hole in our calendar! 

In the meantime - and perhaps a good way to train or inspire you for 2021 - why not take on the virtual Great North Solo Challenge? Click here for all the details.

Life Begins at 50 for Three North East Attractions

Beamish – The Living Museum of the North, County Durham

Beamish – The Living Museum of the North was founded in 1970 and is now a world-famous open-air museum telling the story of North East England during the 1820s, 1900s, 1940s and 1950s. A visit to Beamish brings history to life as visitors explore the 1900s town, meet land girls at the 1940s farm and ride the 1820s wagonway. The award-winning visitor attraction in County Durham launched it's 50th anniversary activities in February half term and asked visitors to share their happy memories of the museum. Support their Golden Jubilee celebrations and share your Beamish memories by emailing

Although now temporarily closed as a result of coronavirus, you can still enjoy Beamish from Home here

Northern Stage, Newcastle 

Northern Stage first opened under a different name - The University Theatre - on the Newcastle University campus in 1970 and has evolved over the past 50 years to become a must-visit theatre in Newcastle. Northern Stage is a collaborative, community of artists, writers and performances – producing theatre to wow audiences and theatre-goers as well as developing local talent by exploring skills and ideas in workshops.

Sadly, due to the lockdown restrictions, Northern Stage has been closed since mid-March. Visit their website to discover the new Northern Stage Podcast, online resources to help you get the theatre buzz in lockdown and find ways to support the independent theatre during these challenging times. 

Roman Vindolanda and the Roman Army Museum

A little further afield, visitors to the North East will find Roman Vindolanda and the Roman Army Museum which are both situated in the heart of the Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Site. Roman Vindolanda is regarded as the most exciting archaeological site in Europe with its wealth of archaeological remains and ongoing excavations. Fans of Roman history must visit Vindolanda and the Roman Army Museum to experience a taste of what life was like when Hadrian and his army lived in the North East. The Vindolanda Trust is an independent archaeological charitable trust, founded in 1970 so will celebrate it’s 50th birthday in 2020.

Due to the covid-19 pandemic, the museum and fort are closed for the time being. Discover more here about how the two award-winning attractions are coping during this challenging time and perhaps consider donating. 

Two oldies that are definitely goodies

Well past receiving a letter from the Queen, the next two attractions and organisations will be celebrating significant anniversaries in the new year.

National Trust

National Trust celebrates its 125th anniversary throughout 2020 with new initiatives, efforts and impressive fundraising activity. There are a number of excellent National Trust properties in the North East where visitors can enjoy a day out including Gibside in Gateshead, Wallington Hall and Cragside in Northumberland and Seaton Delaval Hall in North Tyneside. 

Grainger Market, Newcastle

Newcastle’s historic indoor market, Grainger Market, opened to the public on 24 October 1835 following a huge celebratory banquet on 22 October. The market is known as Newcastle's first supermarket and is a gem in the heart of the city. The historic landmark and long-standing retailer in Newcastle city centre has tirelessly continued to safely serve the local community during the coronavirus pandemic providing regular deliveries and remaining open everyday selling essential groceries and produce. Happy 185th birthday Grainger Market!

Although there might not be opportunity to travel to the North East just yet and visitors certainly can't enjoy these fabulous attractions in all their anniversary glory - NewcastleGateshead will soon be thriving once again. There will be plenty of things to do then but until that time, stay safe and travel tomorrow. 

We will keep you posted on our social media channels of updates or why not sign up here to receive our regular emails packed with What's On in the region?

What do you want to do?


Loading entries...

Dobson and Parnell
Dobson and Parnell

You May Also Like