Play Hard

10 things to do in the North East this weekend

From makers fairs to music festivals, new Edinburgh Fringe favourites to atmospheric Shakespeare productions, and a summer BBQ with a twist… here’s how to spend your weekend.

Written by Becky Hardy
Published 05.07.2023

Mouth of the Tyne Festival

Thursday 6th – Sunday 9th July

Tynemouth Priory, Newcastle upon Tyne 

You don’t have to walk 500 miles to catch The Proclaimers this summer, alongside the Ivor Novello winning Siouxsie, Housemartins frontman Paul Heaton, or everyone’s favourite soul-pop queen, Gabrielle.

Just head to Tynemouth Priory at sunset, as the magnificent coastal venue welcomes back to popular Mouth of the Tyne Festival – where live music, street entertainment, workshops and parades keep things entertaining for the whole family all weekend.

Tickets: from £27.50 

Closest metro station: Tynemouth 

Will Jackson plays Felix in his solo show Confetti. He stands against a red background with gold confetti falling around him. He reaches his hands towards the camera and wears a bemused, slightly excited expression on his face.


Friday 7th July

Durham Gala Theatre

Will Jackson brings his new Edinburgh Fringe smash hit to Durham.

Felix is uptight and unlucky in love. He’s the mate of honour at his best friend’s wedding, and he’s going to make sure it’s absolutely perfect. That is, as long as there are no distractions along the way…

Confetti puts the often sidelined gay best friend in the spotlight, with Felix’s tumultuous story taking centre stage. This solo show is made all the better by hen party goody bags on arrival and exploding party poppers.

Tickets: from £12.00  

People sit under parasols in the sunny Cloister Garden at Blackfriar's restaurant. Fire pits line the paved dining area and trees hang over the area.

Cloister Garden BBQ

Friday 7th July

Blackfriar’s Restaurant, Newcastle upon Tyne

Embrace the summer with a unique dining experience at Blackfriars Restaurant.

Hosted in the beautiful Cloister Garden, you’ll get to enjoy the sunshine or fire pits with a chilled bottle of wine, cold beer or homemade garden cocktail.

To accompany your drinks, there’ll be a sharing plank of seasonal starters, followed by a main course straight from the BBQ, and topped off with a delicious summer dessert.

Tickets: £25.00

Closest metro station: Central

A plate is piled with slices of handmade soap. They are each tied with blue and white striped string. This is the kind of thing you can buy at the summer arts and crafts fair at Washington Arts Centre.

Summer Craft And Makers Fair

Saturday 8th July

Arts Centre Washington

Discover some lovely gifts or additions to your home at this summer craft fair at Arts Centre Washington.

There’ll be many stalls featuring creations by a range of local and regional makers, from pottery to soap. Stroll around the wares, then enjoy a craft workshop, pop-up performance or one of the other fun events.

Tickets: Free

The Social @ The Grove Newcastle upon Tyne

The Social

Saturday 8th July

The Grove, Newcastle upon Tyne

Famous party planners The Social are back with a bang for their Summer Social – this time taking over new venue The Grove in Newcastle’s city centre for a summer party like never before…

Anyone who’s already popped their heads into The Grove know they have a suntrap of a terrace – which, when the weather’s expected to get up to 22 degrees, with cocktails flowing, DJs spinning and special guests still to be announced – sounds like a recipe for success.

Tickets: Free

Closest metro station: Byker

A man playing Macbeth sits on a chair, looking at the camera with a serious expression. A women stands behind him, whispering something in his ear and wrapping her arm around his chest. It is the poster for Macbeth by Elysium Theatre Company.


Saturday 8th July

Ushaw: Historic House, Chapels and Gardens, Durham

It’s been 400 years since the First Folio of the complete works of Shakespeare was published, so Elysium Theatre Company are marking the occasion by bringing Macbeth to Durham – as part of the Durham Shakespeare Festival, on all this month.

This dark tale is filled with witchcraft, murder and betrayal. Follow Macbeth as he is swallowed up in a world of supernatural horror and bloodshed… all elevated by the atmospheric setting of the historic Ushaw stage.

Tickets: from £20.00

Ornate pink teacups on saucers and a teapot cover a wooden table. There is also a glass of prosecco. To the right, an afternoon tea tower can be seen. It has sandwiches, a little chocolate tart and other fruity desserts. You can enjoy a Pride and Prejudice afternoon tea at Seven Stories.

Pride And Prejudice Bottomless Afternoon Tea

Saturday 8th July

Seven Stories, Newcastle upon Tyne

Indulge in a delightful bottomless afternoon tea at Seven Stories this Saturday – all paying homage to the one and only literary legend, Jane Austen.

In between enjoying decadent cakes and bottomless prosecco, you can take part in Regency-inspired games and interactive storytelling elements.

This is a bottomless afternoon tea with a difference – one that’ll leave you completely and perfectly, incandescently happy.

Tickets: from £30.00

Closest metro station: Manors

Sunlun Calling Sunderland Sunniside Gardens

Sunlun Calling

Friday 7th  July and Sunday 9th July

Sunniside Gardens, Sunderland

This brand new music festival is bringing two days of live music into the (hopefully) sunny climes of Sunniside Gardens this weekend.

On Friday we’ll find The Sunniside Block Party, where we’ll find DJs like Craig Charles, Fat Tony and Greg Wilson getting the tunes spinning.

While Sunday will see a local talent spectacular, with headliners The Futureheads joined by the likes of rising Sunderland star Tom A Smith, and local legends Smoove and Turrell and The Lake Poets, among plenty others.

Tickets: from £15.00

Durham BRASS Festival 2023

Durham BRASS Festival 2023

Sunday 9th – Sunday 16th July

Venues across Durham

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Academy Award-winning short film, Wallace & Gromit: The Wrong Trousers.

It’s an occasion The Fairey Band are determined to celebrate during Durham Brass Festival, while you’ll find plenty other performances, family workshops and pop-ups across the city.

Tickets: from £15.00  


The Vamps & Henry Moodie – This Is South Tyneside Festival

Sunday 9th July

Bents Park, South Shields 

In the first of South Shields’ famously free Sunday summer concerts – all as part of three months of entertainment along the seafront in the form of the This Is South Tyneside Festival – ever-youthful British pop band The Vamps will bringing all their hits.

Tickets: Free

Closest metro station: South Shields

Other stories by Becky Hardy
Cantina Newcastle

Your guide to Newcastle Restaurant Week 2024

Becky Hardy

The North East’s best Dry January approved nights out

Becky Hardy
Newcastle events

5 things to do in Newcastle this weekend

Becky Hardy

3 impressive staycations that have a Saltburn vibe

Becky Hardy
North East events

What’s on in the North East this January

Becky Hardy

January’s coolest gigs in Newcastle, Sunderland and Durham

Becky Hardy