21 things to look forward to in 2021

Last year was unfortunately a year of cancellations and plans put on hold, which means we have plenty to make up for in 2021. While we currently remain under tight restrictions, the arrival of a new year brings hope of a return to a more normal way of life as we progress through 2021.

Throughout January we are looking ahead to what’s coming up in 2021 in NewcastleGateshead and the wider North East of England. We’ve chosen 21 of the most exciting things, including new hotels and restaurants, cultural and sporting events and work starting on major developments in the region.


1. The 20th anniversary of the Gateshead Millennium Bridge

The Gateshead Millennium Bridge celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2021. The innovative footbridge first tilted on 28 June 2001 and was open for public use later that year in September.

2. Construction work will start on the £260m NewcastleGateshead Quays scheme

Construction will begin on the NewcastleGateshead Quays scheme this year, bringing with it a 12,500 capacity state-of-the-art arena venue, and International Conference and Exhibition Centre.

3. Innside Melia Hotel to open in 2021

A brand-new hotel will open its doors on Newcastle’s Quayside this year. Innside Melia Hotel is a stylish riverside hotel perfect for visitors who want to explore the art, culture and heritage of NewcastleGateshead.

4. Champagne and cocktail lounge to open on the top floor of Hadrian’s Tower, Newcastle’s tallest building

Construction finished on Newcastle’s tallest building, Hadrian’s Tower, last year and we can’t wait for the champagne and cocktail lounge, 3SIXTY, to open on the 26th floor with amazing views of the region.

5. Kynren will be back in August – Sept with a new park area and dining options

Kynren returns in the summer of 2021 with a new show and engaging new attractions including an exhilarating horse stunt show. Visitors to Kynren can watch thrilling stunts, chariot races and jousting or explore the maze, enchanting mini explorers adventure playground and lakeside live music experience.

6. Construction due to start on Whey Aye wheel

Construction is due to start on the Whey Aye Wheel this year. Part of Giants on the Quayside on the old Spillers flour mill site, the development will see an investment of £100m in the city and create more than 800 jobs.

7. International cricket returns to the region in June for England v Sri Lanka

International cricket returns to the region when men’s World ODI Champions England face Sri Lanka at Durham Emirates Riverside. The game is the first opportunity for fans to see England’s 2019 World Cup winning team on home soil following a year of fixtures played behind closed doors in 2020.

8. Great North Run will return in Sept 2021

The iconic Great North Run was due to celebrate its 40th race in 2020 but the world-famous half marathon will return in Sept 2021 for what is always a magical weekend in the North East of England.

9. This is Tomorrow Festival returns to the region in May 2021

After being postponed in 2020, hopefully we’ll get some festival action in 2021 with the return of This is Tomorrow Festival to Exhibition Park in May. There’s a great line-up with Sam Fender, Gerry Cinnamon and Royal Blood all headlining.

10. Hard Rock Café will open in Newcastle’s Guildhall

Throughout 2020 the Guildhall on Newcastle’s famous Quayside was transformed into the region’s first Hard Rock Café. The official opening was understandably postponed due to ongoing coronavirus restrictions and lockdowns which plagued the year. Hard Rock Café is a world-wide sensation and a powerhouse of restaurants. This year, Hard Rock Café Newcastle will open its doors!

11. Construction is due to start on a new Moxy Hotel on Newcastle Helix

Construction of a brand-new hotel on Newcastle Helix is due to begin later this year, adding to the range of facilities on the site. The site is a 24-acre testbed and collaborative ecosystem for public and private bodies that is unlike anything else in the UK.

12. Newcastle to host opening ceremony of Rugby League World Cup 2021

In October, Newcastle will host a spectacular opening ceremony for Rugby League World Cup 2021, as well as England’s first game at St James’ Park. Another three games will be held in the region at Kingston Park.

13. Construction to begin on the Strawberry Place development, including a Radisson RED hotel

Construction is due to start on the Strawberry Place development next to St James’ Park, including a Radisson RED hotel with 200 rooms and a stylish sky bar.

14. Retro Indian comfort food experience set to open on the Quayside

A new arrival on the restaurant scene in NewcastleGateshead for 2021 is Khai Khai on Newcastle Quayside, which serves up heritage Indian comfort food expertly prepared with fire and smoke.

15. The Common Room in Newcastle city centre reopens in Spring 2021 after renovation work

The Grade II* listed building on Westgate Road is in the final stages of a two-year programme of works to preserve the building and its collection and create a new hub for innovation and learning in the city centre.

16.Urban Green Café set to open in Exhibition Park

The new botanical-themed Urban Green Café will feature a large outdoor seating area to take in the sights and sounds of the park whilst enjoying locally sourced food and drink, including ethically sourced coffee, specialty teas, local craft ales, organic wines, and non-alcoholic drinks.

17. North East International Film Festival heads to the region in November

The joy, diversity and creativity of film will be celebrated at the North East International Film Festival in November 2021 at independent venues such as Star & Shadow Cinema, The Biscuit Factory and The Cluny 2.

18. The £100m regeneration of East Pilgrim Street will begin in 2021

In 2021 we are looking forward to watching the £100m regeneration of East Pilgrim street unfold. This includes the construction of a 14-storey landmark office building which is scheduled to complete in spring 2023.

19. The ABOVE rooftop bar at the Vermont Hotel plans to open in the spring

A new rooftop bar in Newcastle city centre will open in 2021. ABOVE sits on top of the Vermont Hotel, with visitors able to take advantage of breath-taking views across the region.

20. The newly renovated Common Room will be NGI’s new home

2021 is an exciting year for NewcastleGateshead Initiative as we move into our new office at the iconic Common Room. After the completion of a two-year refurbishment, we’ll be moving into the building later in the year.

Read more here

21. Rediscovering NewcastleGateshead when it is safe to do so

We know that people are itching to get back out and rediscover the region’s museums, art galleries, visitor attractions, pubs and restaurant. We are looking forward to locals and visitors alike enjoying everything that our amazing region has to offer.

Plan your visit to NewcastleGateshead