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A selection of free leaflets and guidebooks for regional tourist attractions on our bed and breakfast accommodation blog.

Leaflets & Guidebooks, Places to Visit

South Tyneside Guide – Arbeia Roman Fort

Home > Tyne & Wear > South Shields

The latest 2017 guide to South Tyneside is out. Request your own free 33 page copy of the guide below.

Here is an extract from the latest 2017 guide to South Tyneside…

Arbeia Roman Fort Free South Tyneside Visitor Guide 2017

History In The Making

Did you know that the Roman Emperor Severus once stayed at Arbeia Roman Fort? South Tyneside has a rich and captivating cultural history, and its museums are paving the way with their engaging exhibits and technological innovations.

From Roman military defence to coal mining and ship building, South Tyneside has been at the heart of a number of key moments of social and industrial expansion, and this fascinating history is celebrated in two of the area’s museums and historic sites – Arbeia Roman Fort & Museum and South Shields Museum & Art Gallery. Watch a gladiator fight, pay a visit to a Roman barracks and then immerse yourself in works by some of the finest 20th century painters – all right here in South Tyneside.

The Final Frontier

Dating back to 160 AD, Arbeia Roman Fort is one of the most important heritage sites in the UK. The former garrison once provided military supplies to troops stationed along Hadrian’s Wall and was an important coastal defence. So much so that Emperor Severus stationed himself there during his Scottish campaigns in the 3rd century – “and wherever the Emperor was is considered to be the centre of the Roman Empire,” Geoff Woodward, the Museum Manager, adds. It is now an immersive attraction where visitors of all ages can learn more about this crucial period of history and it’s just a few minutes’ walk from South Shields seafront.

The star attraction of the museum is the archaeological remains uncovered from on-site excavations. “It’s one of the best collections from Roman Britain,” Geoff says. Among the artefacts are a complete ringmail suit which was left behind during a fire at the barracks, jet jewellery and the tombstone of a southern slave named Reginia. “Her husband came from Barates in Syria so the gravestone has script in Latin and Arabic,” Geoff explains. “Arbeia was a cosmopolitan place.”

In 2017 you can see these local finds displayed at Arbeia alongside international treasures in the exciting Hadrian’s Cavalry exhibition, an in-depth look at the life of the Roman cavalry which is being held in venues across the full 150-mile stretch of Hadrian’s Wall. “We’ve got two star loans,” Geoff explains, “a cavalry helmet and a cavalry sword that have come from Germany and Austria dating from 150AD.”

A trip to Arbeia Roman Fort is a fully immersive experience. You can explore the fort to discover where the various artefacts were unearthed and it’s one of the few places in the country where you can see full-size reconstructions of Roman buildings. Climb to the ramparts at the top of the reconstructed West Gate, and see for yourself how different life was for a soldier in barracks and a commanding officer in their more luxurious homes.

Thanks to new funding, the museum has recently introduced a Roman trail app (for iPhone and android) which leads visitors to Arbeia through South Shields town centre, marking historical milestones along the route. “It goes through North Marine Park so that you get that view over the river mouth and you can really understand the strategic location of Arbeia,” Geoff explains.

So grab your helmet and prepare to be transported back to Roman times. It seems that after almost 2,000 years, Arbeia Roman Fort is still paving the way.

You can read more about South Tyneside in our free 33 page guide. Enter your email below for a free copy.

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Leaflets & Guidebooks, Places to Visit

South Tyneside Guide – The Customs House

Home > Tyne & Wear > South Shields

The latest 2017 guide to South Tyneside is out. Request your own free 33 page copy of the guide below.

Here is an extract from the latest 2017 guide to South Tyneside…

The Customs House Free South Tyneside Visitor Guide 2017

Accustomed To Excellence

The Customs House is the jewel in South Tyneside’s cultural crown: an award-winning hotbed of original writing, home to the South Tyneside Comedy Festival and an unrivalled pantomime.

Jason Cook can remember the first time he set foot in The Customs House, South Shields’ cultural hub. “It was the panto,” he recalls. “The Customs House panto is a tradition harder-forged than Christmas Day itself – you can quote me on that.” The pantomime kindled an admiration of the venue that remains today.

Seating 441 people in its main theatre, 140 in a studio/cinema, and with a gallery, multiple bars, an in-house restaurant, a private dining room and a suite for events, the venue holds a special place in the heart of many in the region.

Open 363 days of the year, The Customs House first opened in November 1994, giving culture in South Tyneside a shot in the arm. Ending a long spell without a theatre or cinema in the area, the Grade II listed building — formerly a customs post, built in the 1860’s to support the commercial shipping industry in the area — has become a jewel in the crown of South Tyneside. “Not only did it provide a new cultural home, it also presented a piece of South Shields heritage which was falling into decline” explains Ray Spencer, The Customs House’s Executive Director.

Among its finest offerings is their pantomime. The Christmastime extravaganza for 2017 will celebrate 150 years of The Lambton Worm folk song, telling the tale of the legend around John Lambton’s battle to vanquish the enormous worm that was terrorising the local villages. Running from 28th November – 6th January and with a cast including Ray, David John Hopper and Cal Halbert, it promises to be hilarious and original.

It’s not just in the grand old tradition of pantomime where The Customs House excels, though. The venue is also a hotbed for new, undiscovered theatre, promoting the most exciting new writers. For example, from 22nd – 26th August End of the Pier, the tale of a couple who perform in music hall theatres, takes over The Customs House.

The theatre also plays host to bigger, bolder performances, be they touring or local productions, including midsummer productions of Cinderella (20th – 22nd July), Beauty & The Beast (26th – 27th July) and The Nutcracker (7th November).

The Customs House stage is a unique place, and it’s well-suited to comedy. “It’s an incredible stage for comedy, the perfect room,” says Jason. “When people laugh, it sounds deafening; it’s bigger than you’re expecting.” As well as Jason’s monthly Comedy Club, featuring acts handpicked from the best up-and-coming acts across the UK. Jason’s bringing the South Tyneside Comedy Festival back to The Customs House for a second year.

The venue is a hotbed for new, undiscovered theatre

“I’ve done 63 comedy festivals across the world, and have taken all the best bits from what 1 think are the best festivals,” he explains. Among the names already announced for the festival, which runs from 1st July – 6th August, are Rory Bremner, Chris Ramsey and Sarah Millican. “I hate comedy festivals when it’s just a boring list of people you’ve never heard of,” says Jason. Few shows cost more than £10, to ensure as broad an audience as possible can enjoy the world-class comedians descending on South Tyneside.

Sitting comedy alongside top theatre, music and cinema is all part of The Customs House’s charm. It’s also why the venue has remained so treasured by both locals and visitors to South Tyneside: a place open throughout the year, offering a variety of events, exhibitions and performances that can make you laugh, make you cry — and make some memories along the way.

You can read more about South Tyneside in our free 33 page guide. Enter your email below for a free copy.

Free South Tyneside Visitor Guide 2017

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Events, Leaflets & Guidebooks

South Tyneside Guide – South Tyneside Festival

Home > Tyne & Wear > South Shields

The latest 2017 guide to South Tyneside is out. Request your own free 33 page copy of the guide below.

Here is an extract from the latest 2017 guide to South Tyneside…

South Tyneside Festival Free South Tyneside Visitor Guide 2017

You’ll have a blast, thanks to the galaxy of stars performing at the South Tyneside Festival

Get ready… a series of stellar Sunday Concerts from a galaxy of stars will take over Bents Park on South Shields seafront during summer 2017, as part of the South Tyneside Festival.

The festival has become well-known for transforming some of South Tyneside’s most treasured public spaces into fantastic outdoor gig spaces for some of the world’s best-loved performers, and this year is no different. As well as the stunning Summer Parade, family fun days and plenty else, the open-air concerts at Bents Park promise a fun — and free — way to spend those lazy, hazy summer afternoons.

Bents Park will come to life as some of the world’s most dynamic and famous musicians descend on South Tyneside, making memories that won’t easily be forgotten.

KT Tunstall first burst onto the music scene in 2004, making her name for her energetic live performances, and will be opening the Sunday Concert series this year on 9th July. “I love performing live and I really enjoy playing open air concerts, so it’s something I am really looking forward to,” she says.

Early-2000’s pop group Busted have reformed. They’ll be performing all their classics – plus songs from their new album – at Bents Park on 16th July. “We can’t wait to come to South Shields this summer to headline this exciting event,” they say. “We always get a fantastic reception whenever we play the North East and we can’t wait to come back.”

X Factor’s Louisa Johnson will be joined by Jedward and 5 After Midnight on 23rd July as they bring some stardust to South Tyneside. The winner of the 2015 series of the TV talent competition will be visiting South Shields for the first time. “I’ve heard great things about the North East audiences,” she says, “so I hope we can give them a day to remember.”

Disco divas Sister Sledge will be ensuring that the Sunday Concert series ends with a bang and a boogie as they headline the last event, on 30th July. “We have performed in the North East a few times over the years and we can’t wait to come back as the audiences are always wonderful,” they say. “We are looking forward to getting the “family” of South Tyneside Lost in Music at this fantastic open air concert.”

If you want to ensure you’re in prime position for these headline performers, you can buy Priority Access Tickets for the Sunday Concerts. At just £5 per person – with under-fives free – these tickets guarantee access into the concert, with the chance to arrive earlier to secure your spot.

You’ll still be able to get into the gigs on the day for free, but Priority Access Tickets ensure your entry for what are always popular events. Tickets are limited and available up to seven days before the concert from Ticketmaster online or by calling 0844 844 0444 or in person at the Shop @ The Word.

Disco divas Sister Sledge will be ensuring that the Sunday Concerts series ends with a bang and a boogie

It’s not just Bents Park that’ll be rocking this summer, though: for those classically-minded music fans, South Marine Park plays host to Proms in the Park on Sunday 2nd July, while you can sing along to bands from around the area every Saturday from 15th July to 2nd September (excluding 26th August). The Seafront Amphitheatre’s stage will be home to live music every Thursday and Saturday evening from 1st – 24th June, while brass bands will trumpet the joys of South Tyneside every Sunday afternoon throughout the summer. From 1st – 24th August on Tuesdays and Thursdays, there’ll be something for the next generation, with a Kids Fun-Fest at the Amphitheatre, where the whole family can sit back and enjoy an afternoon of games and activities with enthralling entertainers and performers.

Away from the Summerlong South Tyneside Festival, there’s plenty happening around the area, with something for everyone. Highlights include the monthly Pepperpot Craft Fayre on the first Sunday of the month in South Shields’ Market Square, and the Great North Feast at Bents Park on the August Bank Holiday weekend. Restaurant Week arrives from 7th – 14th October, and you can explore a little more of the area’s history as part of the Heritage Open Days from 7th – 10th September, the last day of which coincides with the Great North Run. Then there are the famous fireworks displays, lighting up the skies over South Shields seafront on 5th November at 6.30pm and 8pm.

Laughter lovers can enjoy the South Tyneside Comedy Festival from 1st July – 6th August, while literature fans will want to mark down 21st — 25th June in their diaries – that’s when the WRITE Festival arrives at The Word. And just because the nights will draw in, it doesn’t mean the excitement will be over: you’ll remember remember 5th November for its Fireworks Display, while the Christmas Wonderland will take over South Tyneside from mid-November. We can’t wait!

You can read more about South Tyneside in our free 33 page guide. Enter your email below for a free copy.

Free South Tyneside Visitor Guide 2017

Please send me the free guide to South Tyneside…
(No spam we promise, we will not re-use or re-sell your email address).

Here is a short South Tyneside tourism video to watch while you wait for your email to arrive…

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South Tyneside Guide – Summer Parade

Home > Tyne & Wear > South Shields

The latest 2017 guide to South Tyneside is out. Request your own free 33 page copy of the guide below.

Here is an extract from the latest 2017 guide to South Tyneside…

South Tyneside Summer Parade Free South Tyneside Visitor Guide 2017

Once Upon A Time On Parade

The biggest event of its type in the North East is a cornerstone in the region’s cultural calendar, and requires a veritable village of people to pull off — 2,000 in all will take part. Taking Once Upon A Time as its theme this year, the Summer Parade is back, bigger than ever.

On 1st July the Summer Parade returns to South Tyneside, celebrating the height of the summer in the biggest carnival in the North East. The parade’s theme this year is Once Upon A Time, celebrating the magic and wonder of storytelling in all its formats, bringing a cavalcade of some of literature’s best-loved characters to life in front of your very eyes.

The parade, which is one of the highlights of the South Tyneside Festival, will feature magical creatures, courageous heroes and beautiful princesses, while extravagantly-decorated floats will pass along the parade route, enthralling all those who watch. Mixed in among the parade will be marching bands, stilt walkers and dance troupes inspired by traditional folk tales and fables.

Embarking from South Shields Town Hall at 1pm and making its way along Ocean Road before arriving at the seafront, the parade will wend its way to Bents Park, where there’ll be a range of live music and storytelling-themed activities for the whole family to take part in.

This will be a three-hour extravaganza, but the hard work in preparing it has been going on for months. Husband and wife Sandy and Garner Harris, working together as The Creative Seed, are the team who make sure that the event goes off smoothly. The pair met in 1992, when Garner was working as a dancer and Sandy as a costume supervisor on the West End production of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Starlight Express.

They’re now part of a 14-person team (including their daughter and son), and have called in expertise from around the world to ensure the parade is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for all those who see it.

The parade will have five themes, telling tales and taking inspiration from The Arabian Nights, The Jungle Book, Hansel and Gretel, Cinderella and Peter Pan. Some of the 2,000 parade walkers will climb into three-metre high and wide structures made of aluminium and festooned with decorations and costumes that bring these fantastic fairytales from our childhoods to vibrant, colourful life.

“People enjoy carnivals and parades because it’s a party,” says Sandy.”People are coming together, talking, having fun. There’s a family atmosphere about it. It’s a very inclusive party – that’s what carnival is.”

The parade’s an international performance, combining acting, dance and marvellous mechanical structures. Large Indian elephants will stampede along the parade route – made by The Creative Seed and Adrian Young, who travelled from Trinidad and Tobago to help prepare for the parade. They’ll help tell the story of The Jungle Book on one of the many floats that will travel the route, enthralling and entertaining the audience every step of the way.

The Summer Parade is just one part of the captivating calendar of events occurring in the area this summer as part of the South Tyneside Festival, a three month long programme of family-friendly events, open-air concerts, activities and entertainment. Packed full of feelgood moments, and bringing some of the biggest names in entertainment to the shoreline of South Tyneside, it’s a major cultural happening that’s not to be missed.

The formative tales we’re told in childhood are some of the most captivating stories we ever read, and live with us forever. Whether you’re rooting for Hansel and Gretel, want to be young forever like Peter Pan, or dream that some day your prince will come like Cinderella, there’s something for everyone in the riot of colour, music, song and dance that attracts participants from across the country and around the world. To make sure you don’t miss a single step of it, line up along the route and cheer along the sights, sounds and incredible, unmissable atmosphere of the South Tyneside Summer parade – a key date for your cultural calendar.

Inn in the Park

All points of the parade route are just a few minutes’ walk from the finish point at Bents Park, on South Shields seafront, where there will be a great afternoon of tree fun for all the family to enjoy.

Join in with the storytelling-inspired activities, get up close to the impressive parade floats and enjoy a tasty bite to eat or a refreshing drink in the food village and beer tent. Throughout the afternoon there’ll be lots of entertainment and live music, including a fantastic finale by ABBA Express. It’s not to be missed!

You can read more about South Tyneside in our free 33 page guide. Enter your email below for a free copy.

Free South Tyneside Visitor Guide 2017

Please send me the free guide to South Tyneside…
(No spam we promise, we will not re-use or re-sell your email address).

Here is a short South Tyneside tourism video to watch while you wait for your email to arrive…

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Leaflets & Guidebooks

South Tyneside Guide – Families

Home > Tyne & Wear > South Shields

The latest 2017 guide to South Tyneside is out. Request your own free 33 page copy of the guide below.

Here is an extract from the latest 2017 guide to South Tyneside…

South Shields Coastline Free South Tyneside Visitor Guide 2017

Family Favourites

South Tyneside is jam-packed with fun things to do and great places to visit. Plan your next family outing with this handy guide.

Haven Point. This state-of-the-art leisure centre on the seafront at South Shields comes complete with two pools, a sauna, a steam room, a gym, two dance studios and a cafe. Oh yeah, and there are some wicked water slides in the leisure waters area, along with a bubble spa and a water play area. Dive in.

Jarrow Hall. A fantastic new attraction where little historians can learn more about one of the North East’s most famous names: the Venerable Bede. Animal-lovers will delight in wandering around the farm, meeting pigs, goats and other animals.

Marsden Bay. At this beautiful setting, the whole family can clamber among the rock pools and watch the kittiwakes, fulmars, gulls and cormorants of one of England’s most important seabird colonies.

The Word. National Centre for the Written Word. One of South Shields’ top attractions, this new, state of-the-art venue is perfect for families – there’s even a whole floor dedicated to children. The library here is home to more than 70,000 books, StoryWorld is an immersive storytelling experience kids will love and 2017 sees the Shiver Me Timbers exhibit come sailing into South Shields, ready to take little landlubbers on a nautical adventure they’ll never forget.

Ocean Beach Pleasure Park. A classic seaside funfair full of timeless rides and high-tech attractions. Urban Wave, the only surf simulator of its kind in the country, allows your little beach dudes to try out surfing without getting wet, while the Laser Maze will test your agility to its limits. Can you get across the room without crossing the laser beam?

South Marine Park. The crowning jewel of South Shields’ seafront, South Marine Park boasts a miniature steam train, a boating lake and two play areas. In addition, there’s green space, picnic tables, a cafe and, of course, great views of the sea. Just next door, North Marine Park also offers stellar views. South Tyneside has loads more green spaces to enjoy too. Be sure to check out Cornthwaite Park at Whitburn, Drewetts Park in Jarrow and Tilesheds Nature Reserve in Boldon.

South Shields Museum and Arbeia Roman Fort. Discover the history of the area on a day out to this celebration of South Tyneside’s heritage which brings 4,000 years of history to life across two floors and is home to insects and reptiles at Creature Corner. While we’re on the subject of history, don’t forget to explore Arbeia Roman Fort — a key garrison and military supply base to other forts along Hadrian’s Wall. Learn about the area’s Roman history through re-enactments, falconry displays and gladiator battles.

The Dunes. Jump into the soft play area, get competitive in the bowling alley, get even more competitive in the arcade, then top it all off with a Sunday lunch. Find this popular entertainment venue on South Shields seafront.

The Leas. This two-mile stretch of coastal pathways, laid out along the 250 million-year-old cliffs, will lead you along the stunning shoreline from Sandhaven to Marsden Bay and Souter Lighthouse where inquisitive minds can learn about the smugglers that used to frequent the area. You’ll get some great views of the sea from your vantage point high above the waves, which also makes for a great cycling, dog-walking and kite-flying location.

South Shields’ Beaches. There are some great beaches at South Shields including both Littlehaven and Sandhaven. Water-sport enthusiasts love the shelter that the pier offers at Littlehaven, while Sandhaven is a great spot for building a sandcastle. If you’d rather keep your shoes and socks on though, why not go for a stroll along the promenade?

We All Scream for Ice Cream. There’s nothing quite like a day out with an ice cream to round it off. Fortunately, in South Tyneside, we’re pretty much spoilt for choice on spots to pick up a coneful of something creamy. Try Minchella & Co, Scoop and Bean or the Ghiaccio Ice Cream & Dessert Lounge next time you’re out and about.

The Shields Ferry. Kids love novel modes of transport, don’t they? Shun the car and jump aboard the Shields Ferry running between North and South Shields. It only takes seven minutes to cross the mighty River Tyne, but the kids will love it.

Family Events. There are plenty of events happening in South Tyneside that the whole family will enjoy. In 2017, the South Tyneside Festival’s summer concerts at Bents Park include acts such as KT Tunstall and Busted, while the Summer Parade will be entitled Once Upon a Time and take its inspiration from classic children’s stories such as Peter Pan and The Jungle Book. During the summer holidays, Kids Fun-Fest will run regularly at the Amphitheatre in South Shields and include performers, entertainers and a gunge tank!

You can read more about South Tyneside in our free 33 page guide. Enter your email below for a free copy.

Free South Tyneside Visitor Guide 2017

Please send me the free guide to South Tyneside…
(No spam we promise, we will not re-use or re-sell your email address).

Here is a short South Tyneside tourism video to watch while you wait for your email to arrive…

Read more on our blog about...

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