Whats on in 2018

Monday 01st January 2018

2018 is shaping up to be a corker. There’s far too much going on to squeeze into this finite space so do stay tuned for our monthly updates. But in the meantime this list takes a sneaky peek into what a brilliant year 2018 is going to be.


9 Feb – 28 Oct
China’s First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors
World Museum, Liverpool

Gambol through a thousand years of Chinese history with this exhibition that opens as part of the city’s Chinese New Year celebrations. You’ll see treasures that have never shown in the UK before including recent excavations from the Imperial Mausoleum and tombs. With so much going on it’s easy to forget that this is the first time the stars of the show, the Terracotta Warriors, have been seen in the UK for more 30 years.

Ends July 2018
Four Miles from Manchester
Salford Museum and Art Gallery

Tony Warren  ITV
Tony Warren. Credit @ ITV

Manchester: The Peterloo massacre, the Industrial Revolution, LS Lowry, Factory Records and, of course, the cultural phenomenon that is Coronation Street.
Except, no. You see, Corrie isn’t set in the city of Manchester. If it existed IRL Coronation Street would be found in the city that is too often eclipsed by Manchester: Salford. Corrie creator Tony Warren grew up there and you can explore the streets he documented in this brilliant exhibition focusing on his early life.

17 Feb – 22 April
Open Exhibition
Ferens Art Gallery

You may have missed the opportunity to submit your own art but you’re still in time to hop on a train to the Ferens and see amateur and professional artists’ creativity on show side by side. Expect a diverse selection of work in every medium, many of which are for sale. Then, when you’ve bought your art and been inspired, you can get busy with your entry for next year’s Open.


March and throughout the year
150th Anniversary of Charles Rennie Mackintosh
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

Glasgow is celebrating favourite son Charles Rennie-Mackintosh’s 150th birthday and if you don’t get to go you’ll regret it. Polymathic Mackintosh was a (deep breath) designer, architect, water colourist, artist and Glaswegian and this exhibition reveals every aspect of him. This is an important event for the UK, not just for the North. The main exhibition is in March at the Kelvingrove Museum but check the gallery’s website for different events across the city.

29 Mar – April 1
The Newcastle Film Festival
Various locations

This is the first year of the festival so it seems churlish not to get a train to Newcastle and enjoy a stellar line-up of world premieres, classics and Bollywood hits. The action isn’t restricted to the silver screen either: prepare to be caught up in interactive events such as stunts and zombie dancing (no, we have no idea).

TBC (spring) – 2020
Cities of Hope 2018
Various locations

Inviting street artists to paint on walls is such a simple and powerful way of energising communities and Manchester’s Cities of Hope street art celebration is now a landmark event. This year it’s bigger and bolder than ever: part one launches in spring with a new work and sculpture by the street art Old Master, Axel Void. Part two happens in June when nine new international artists will create two new works. Finally, part three sees an international artist working with nine emerging youth artists to create a new work over two years culminating in an exhibition at the Whitworth in 2020.

1 Apr – 17 Mar 2019
Tate Liverpool’s 30th
Tate Liverpool

The Tate at the Albert Dock is one of the greatest venues in the North and, amazingly, it’s 30-years-old in 2018. To celebrate there’ll be a collection of must-see exhibitions including Ken’s Show, curated by the gallery’s Ken Simons, who has uncovered art gems from art behemoths Rothko, Turner and Mondrian. There’s even room to squeeze in huge exhibitions of Egon Schiele and Fernand Léger plus other events through the year. The Tate’s 30th Birthday party kicks off on 26 Jan with a quiz hosted by news fiend John Snow.

20 April – 7 May
Glasgow International
Various venues

There’s art all around the North this year and Glasgow and Liverpool are competing for who’s got the most on show. For the Glasgow International, all of the city’s major art spaces and cultural institutions are taking part with events, talks and performances by both international and local artists. The press release alone weighs in at seven pages so, you know, there’s plenty going on.

18 – 19 May
The Late Shows
Various venues
Newcastle Gateshead

The Late Show
The Late Shows come to Newcastle this Spring

Museums, art galleries and studios that are usually closed by teatime are opening their doors after hours and inviting you to do something a little bit different with your night out. So why not flick off your slippers and go on a cultural crawl of the city and see these remarkable spaces under cover of the night.

25 – 28 May
Three Festivals Tall Ships Regatta
Various locations

Liverpool is joined by the ports of Dublin and Bordeaux in hosting events at three separate venues. We’ve got the Irish Festival at the Albert Dock, Liverpool in the city centre and the French Festival on the Pier Head (including the Bordeaux Wine Festival – just, you know, FYI). Alongside all of this, are the amazing Tall Ships themselves, which will be taking part in races across the Irish Sea and all the way down to the Bay of Biscay.

26 May – 27 May
Malton Food Lovers Festival
Malton Market Place

This summer Malton is putting the om nom nom in gastronomnomnomony… come on, live a little. Stalls, samples, talks, demos, lessons – none of those events sound remotely exciting until you put the word food in front of them. And that’s what you’ll find in the picture postcard food store that is Malton. The Farmers’ Market on both days is free entry and a real larder filler of an event.


22 June – Sept
Great Exhibition of the North
Various Venues

It’s the biggie! If you have any connection to the North then you have to go and see something at the Great Exhibition. Events will be in full swing all summer long and there’ll be three walking routes across the city covering art, design and innovation. There are also lots of one-off events kicking off with the Get North weekend on 22 June and ending with the Great North Run. Check out the website for their brilliant Instagram competition.

14 July – 28 October
Liverpool Biennial: Beautiful World Where Are You?
Various venues

The UK’s largest contemporary art festival has sealed its reputation as an edgy festival featuring challenging, global artists like Yoko Ono and Ai Weiwei (those names both sound ace in pure Scouse). In its 10th year there’s no letting up and its free exhibitions and large-scale works promise to give you a handle on a tumultuous world.

TBC (July 2017)
Northern Pride
Leazes Park, Newcastle

Northern Pride
Show your Northern Pride in Newcastle this year

Starting with the Pride march through the city and ending with a huge celebration of music, Northern Pride is a free, fun and major must-join-in event on the LGBT calendar. This year it’s celebrating its 40th anniversary (no, it isn’t rude to point that out) so expect a huge array of events to take part in.

2 Aug – 12 Aug
European Championships
Various venues

Seven of Europe’s leading sports are represented in 2018’s inaugural multi-sport championship and it’s being hosted in Glasgow and Berlin. Glasgow has baggsied aquatics, cycling, gymnastics, golf, rowing and triathlon and the German capital gets the athletics.

9 September
Great North Run Weekend
Various locations

Great Run

Crossing the iconic Tyne bridge and snaking along to finish on the coast in South Shields this crowd-lined course is the most famous half marathon in the UK, if not the world. The quaysides are also being transformed into a ‘virtual arena’ with a programme of professional and junior athletics – so some of you won’t even need to break into a sweat to enjoy yourself.

Keep us posted with your 2018 travels by train using #wherenext @TPExpressTrains

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