Sparq web banner

Focus on: Newcastle & Gateshead

By February 8, 2018Features

Travel up north to Newcastle and Gateshead, a bustling conference destination relishing its status as the first region to host The Great Exhibition of the North.

In Newcastle and Gateshead, event organisers will also find everything they need on their doorstep, with over 7,500 city centre bedrooms, a huge choice of urban and rural venues and a compact and walkable city centre.

Boosting the destination’s vast hotel portfolio, it was recently announced that a new four-star Maldron Hotel is set to open in Newcastle’s Grainger Town in March 2019, the first of its brand to open in the UK. This will offer 265 luxury hotel rooms, state-of-the-art meeting facilities and an on-site Grain & Grill bar and restaurant, within a short walk from most of Newcastle and Gateshead’s key attractions and conference venues.

Meanwhile, plans are pushing ahead for a new £200 million entertainment arena and conference and exhibition centre, which is due to be built on Gateshead Quays, opening in 2021. Sitting directly opposite the Gateshead Millennium Bridge and between some of the area’s most iconic buildings, Sage Gateshead and BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, it will create a vibrant new destination on the waterfront.

The 10-acre site is planned to include an entertainment arena with 12,500 seats which would relocate the existing Metro Radio Arena, along with 10,300 sqm of dedicated conference and exhibition facilities and a hotel, bars and restaurants.

Visitors will have the chance to experience a summer of amazing exhibits, inspired technology, vibrant street performance, cutting-edge culture and magical experiences celebrating great northern art, design and innovation at the Great Exhibition of the North, an 80-day event that will take place from 22nd June to 9th September in Newcastle and Gateshead.

The exhibition is set to be England’s biggest event in 2018 and will take place at both indoor and outdoor venues across the city, where visitors can explore the key themes of design, innovation and culture. As the first and only event of its kind, it’s an iconic occasion for conference organisers and delegates to attend and makes a vibrant backdrop for any business events happening across the summer months.

Inspired by The Angel of the North, the opening event on 22nd June will feature an 80m long water fountain in the River Tyne that will reach the height of the Tyne Bridge, with three newly commissioned music compositions providing the soundtrack. An arrival film will also have its world premiere as part of the ‘Get North’ opening event where it will be projected at large scale at the city’s iconic quayside.

Paul Szomoru, Head of Business Events at NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau, said: “There’s never been a more exciting time to host an event in Newcastle and Gateshead, providing the ideal opportunity for event organisers to align their conferences with the exhibition, showcasing the world-class innovation happening right here in the north of England.

Sage Gateshead

“This also opens up the unique chance to create unforgettable social programmes for conferences by including aspects of the Great Exhibition of the North – a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for delegates to experience this iconic event.”

The exhibition will also showcase the region’s range of industry sector strengths and expertise including digital, health innovation and energy. The host city for instance is one of only six designated UK Science Cities, and is home to the Newcastle University Institute for Ageing, the largest facility of its kind in Europe, and has the fastest growing digital cluster outside of London. That’s why conferences such as Thinking Digital, the fourth UK Energy Storage Research Conference, and the 41st annual meeting of the European Thyroid Association, are such a natural fit for the destination.

Long considered a favourite among event organisers and delegates alike, Newcastle and Gateshead has also received a prestigious accolade from travel bible Rough Guides, which recently crowned it the top place in the world to visit in 2018, citing the Great Exhibition of the North as a reason to visit, as well as a burgeoning restaurant scene, fantastic museums and the famously friendly ‘Geordie’ welcome.

Main photo credit: VisitEngland