Get Set for a Great Summer

●   Family-friendly events every weekend of the Summer Holidays with Great Northumberland 

●   Experience the diversity of Northumberland with activities in every corner of the county

As the summer holidays get well underway, you’ll no doubt be wondering what’s on to keep children entertained for six weeks of summer. Northumberland County Council has the answer in the form of Great Northumberland.

Part of the Great Exhibition of the North ‘Inspired By’ programme and designed specifically to get visitors to the region to explore the country’s most northerly county, Great Northumberland offers a range of unique, family-friendly, events, activities and adventures many of which are free of charge.

Here’s a round-up of just a fraction of the Summer Holiday activities happening in Northumberland this summer:

July

Saturday 21 July, Morpeth, 50th Anniversary Celebrations of the Northern Poetry Library with performing arts company November Club

The festivities include a visit to Morpeth by The Remarkable Dr McCavity and his Travelling Surgery. On Saturday 21 July between 11am and 4pm, the esteemed Doctor will take to the streets of Morpeth. Inspired by nineteenth-century quack practitioners of all sorts and accompanied by his glamorous assistant Ginger Vitis, November Club’s very own Quack Dentist will dispense, for one day only, very special prescriptions in rhyme to mark the NPL’s anniversary…but you’ll have to experience his notoriously hilarious tooth-drawing skills to get one!

Meanwhile, at the Northern Poetry Library, the Poem of the North will be launched at 2pm. This newly commissioned digital artwork will feature new poems from writers with a northern connection. To celebrate the launch of this special anniversary project, a poetry reading by Northern poets and local people who have selected their favourite poems from the collection will take place at the Chantry. 

11am-4pm, FREE

Saturday 28 July, Seaton Delaval Hall, Carnival Capers, a whole day of carnival-style celebrations, put on your best fancy dress outfit, bring a picnic and enjoy a day of colour, music and lively performances.

There’s a host of activities for kids of all ages (even big kids!) to get involved with, including mastering circus skills in The Oval, learning how to play the glass harp in the Saloon and taking part in a huge fancy dress parade. Performers such as George Orange will perform feats of balancing brilliance in his show, Man On the Moon in The Paddock. Virtuoso violinist Sid Bowfin brings an unpredictable and unhinged blend of comedy and music to the day, whilst slightly bonkers cabaret artist Bruce Airhead performs acrobatic feats you never thought possible with balloons.

11am-7pm, FREE, but ticketed, booking advised.

August

Saturday 4 August, Roman Women, Women Today at Vindolanda and The Sill - The UK's National Landscape Discover Centre

Vindolanda, The Sill and Hexham Book Festival offer a weekend of events and activities focusing on women, both during the Roman occupation of Britain and on those who live and work along The Wall today.

Free, fun workshops at The Sill and Vindolanda on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 August for ages 5+.

Plus, a Flash Fiction Competition for anyone over 16, a 300-word competition judged by renowned classicist Natalie Haynes at The Sill, followed by an event at Vindolanda. Details on how to enter on hexhambookfestival.co.uk.

All day, free, all ages.

Sunday 12 August, Alnwick Alive!

A musical day out for all the family - The Market Place will be transformed into an open-air venue between 10.30am and 4pm with staging and seating for around 200 people. Local professionals, amateur artistes, community groups, bands, choirs and dancers will deliver a range of performances promoting Northumbrian culture in its traditional form and with a contemporary twist.

10:30am-4pm, free, all ages

Saturday 18 August, 50 Years of the National Trust at Wallington

In 1968, the National Trust opened Wallington to visitors for the first time and 50 years later the Trust is marking this anniversary with a whole range of activities and events including The Room That Time Forgot, a throwback to 1968 where you can immerse yourself in the decade that brought us, Dixon of Dock Green, Twister, miniskirts, Liberty print ties and Angel Delight! Step inside the room that time forgot and have a groovy fun time.  

Included in ticket price from £6.60 children and £13.20 adults

Saturday 25 August, Berwick Festival Opera and Rocket Opera presents HMS Pinafore

This sparkling nautical tale of forbidden love, hidden identity and shocking revelations is one of the duo’s most enduringly popular works. Plus, all the hallmark wit, melodrama and musical dexterity you’d expect from a duo at the height of their Victorian powers – poking good-natured fun at patriotism, politics and the establishment...

The Maltings Theatre & Cinema, Berwick-upon-Tweed, accompanied under 16s go FREE, tickets from £18

Saturday 25 August and Sunday 26 August, Cheeseburn Sculpture, Stamfordham

Cheeseburn present contemporary sculpture and artists projects in the elegant grounds of Cheeseburn Grange Hall. This weekend sees a major solo exhibition of sculptures by award-winning artist Joseph Hillier which have been developed through a collaboration with Northumbrian dancer, Lizzie J. Klotz. Through a fusion of ancient bronze casting and digital 3D motion capture technology Hillier has captured the movements and gestures of the dance in mid-performance in sculpture.

Free entry, donation suggested

Saturday 1 September, Great Northumberland Closing Event: The Great Song of the North, Berwick-upon-Tweed

For the finale of Great Northumberland, join a festival procession of around 300 people along Marygate in the centre of Berwick from 4pm, before a community choir gathers in front of the town’s beautiful Georgian Guildhall to sing a rousing selection of well-loved Berwick and Northumbrian songs - concluding with a specially commissioned celebratory fanfare on the newly restored ceremonial Fanfare Trumpets of the Kings Own Scottish Borderers, and a gala tea in the Guildhall.

Free, but ticketed, book on The Maltings Theatre & Cinema website

Sign up for the newsletter on the website to find out about all Great Northumberland events across the Summer. Find out more at greatnorthumberland.co.uk.

(lead image (C) Sally Ann Norman

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