21 things to cross off your North East bucket list in 2016

Pay a visit to Penshaw Monumnet in 2016.
Pay a visit to Penshaw Monumnet in 2016.
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Make 2016 a year to remember by taking advantage of all that our region has to offer.

Whether you live in Sunderland, Tyneside, Hartlepool, Durham or even further afield, there is no disputing that the North East is crammed with plenty to see, do and enjoy.

Why not visit Seaton Carew?

Why not visit Seaton Carew?

So why not make 2016 your year to explore what's beyond your door and pick somewhere new to visit.

Bundle your family or friends into the car and visit a beauty spot, book up for date night at a new restaurant or head out with the parents for an afternoon at a local attraction.

Here are just some of our suggestions for things you can cross off your bucket list in 2016.

1. See a show at Sunderland Empire
You will be spoilt for choice with shows at the Empire, and it truly is a beautiful venue. So why not make this the year that you finally look beyond the programme and purchase a ticket? A fine night out that you won't forget.

How about taking part in a Boxing Day dip? Dippers pictured at Littlehaven on December 26, 2015.

How about taking part in a Boxing Day dip? Dippers pictured at Littlehaven on December 26, 2015.

2. Watch the football at the Stadium of Light or St James's Park
Nothing compares to watching the match in a Premier League stadium. If you're a proper fan, chances are you'll be a season ticket holder or will at least have attended games on the regular. But if the sport is only a passing fancy, splash out on a ticket and enjoy the experience - just maybe not on derby day.

3. Enjoy a peaceful afternoon in Seaton Carew

If you score for a warm day, take a walk along the golden sands, build a sandcastle and enjoy an ice cream to boot.

4. Pop up to Penshaw Monument
If you're in the mood for a walk, why not treat yourself to a walk with a view? Climb the hill and take in the views from the monumental National Trust site - you won't believe it's taken you this long to visit.

Take the time to visit Durham Cathedral.

Take the time to visit Durham Cathedral.

5. Have a curry on Ocean Road in Shields

This is a must for those of us who love a curry - it's practically a North East institution. Whether you like them hot, mild or a little bit different you'll find something to suit your tastes down in Shields.

6. Sign up for a Boxing Day dip

We know that taking a great running jump into the North Sea on a chilly December morning doesn't sound the most appealing of ideas - but the feeling you get when you hit the water, knowing you are doing something for a great cause is like no other. Wherever you live in the North East, there will be a dip near you!

Get your hands on a ticket to a Premier League fixture.

Get your hands on a ticket to a Premier League fixture.

7. Go to Hartlepool's Maritime Experience
Enjoy this re-creation of an 18th century seaport in the town, including the historic quay, Museum of Hartlepool and HMS Trincomalee. A great day out, back in time, for all the family.

8. Put your name down for Sunderland City Half Marathon or 10k
If your New Year's Resolution is to get fit, why not sign up for a run around your region? A 10k is a great way to start, or if you've got a little more experience why not push yourself for a half marathon instead? Both races take place in May, so there's plenty of time to train if you start now.

9. Visit an exhibition at The National Glass Centre
Learn more about the art of glass blowing and become enchanted with a full programme of events and exhibitions. A world class attraction just on your doorstep, and something a little bit different.

10. Dine out at one of Sunderland's new restaurants
If you're a keen foodie there are plenty of places to tickle your taste buds in the new year. For a taste of delicious barbecue head to Holy Smokes or Longhorns - or enjoy an authentic Indian meal at Papadoms. Fill your boots and forget those New Year's Resolutions just for one evening.

11. Visit Durham Cathedral
A majestic sight over the city of Durham, it's sometimes hard to forget just how spectacular this building is. You may have passed it many times on foot, or even spotted it from the train, but have you actually been inside? Set aside a date and prepare to be wowed.

12. See something new at The Customs House in South Shields

Visit Hartlepool to see the HMS Trincomalee.

Visit Hartlepool to see the HMS Trincomalee.

If your resolution is to enjoy a little more culture, enjoy an evening or afternoon at The Customs House. Pick a film to watch, take a chance on a new show or enjoy a range of community exhibitions. Take advantage of this local gem and become a regular.

13. Find your new favourite band at Pop Recs
Run by Frankie & The Heartstrings, Pop Recs is the perfect place to discover your new favourite band amongst the eclectic music collection. It's also a great venue to catch a memorable live performance. Chart-topping James Bay and Frank Turner both took to the stage there this year.

14. Spend an afternoon in one of Shields' parks
When you think of a trip out to South Shields, it is likely your first thought will be the beach. And while a walk along the sand is lovely, the town's parks are just as beautiful. Set aside some time to explore South and North Marine Parks, get active at 4shore Park and pop the date in your diary to enjoy live music at Bents Park.

15. Pick up a bargain at Durham's indoor market
There's something magical about hunting for a local bargain at a market, whether it's something to eat or something crafty. But if the British weather ruins your market day plans, why not head to Durham instead? Explore the bits and bobs while in the warm and dry - you never know what you will find.

16. Take a walk at Hartlepool Marina
If you've had your fill of the town's Maritime Experience, enjoy a drink and bite to eat at the Marina. Watch the boats and revitalise before hitting the nearby shops or cinema.

17. Enjoy a day out at Beamish with the family

A famous North East attraction, load the family up in the car and head off to Beamish. Go back to school and explore the classrooms, purchase a quarter of your favourite sweets from the local shop and take a ride on the tram. It'll be a day to remember.

18. Get fish and chips at the coast

It's the quintessential British experience, and one that you can repeat as many times as you like. It never loses it's charm. Whether you head to Cullercoats, Tynemouth or Whitley Bay, opt for South Tyneside or Sunderland or travel further afield to Northumberland you will be able to find the perfect chippy. Get your order in, grab your paper-wrapped supper and pull up on a bench to enjoy the scenery.

19. Visit Souter Lighthouse
The North East has a number of beautiful National Trust sights, but Souter Lighthouse is something truly special. Learn about the legacy of the lighthouse, take a walk along The Leas and keep and eye out for special events taking place throughout the year.

20. Enjoy a day of luxury at Ramside Hall Hotel or Ramside Spa
You have to treat yourself once a while, so why not book up and enjoy a special occasion at Ramside. Head over for a special night with your other half, dine in the delicious restaurant or book in for a spa afternoon with friends. It feels like a real treat and trip away, only moments from home.

21. Take a trip to the Ironside Mining Museum at Cleveland
Explore more about the region's mining heritage and appreciate the significance of the relics held at the museum. Attend for an educational afternoon, or even in search of a long-lost relative or friend. A must-see for those with mining and industrial links.

Discover some new music at Pop Recs. Frankie & The Heartstrings.

Discover some new music at Pop Recs. Frankie & The Heartstrings.

Bents Park.

Bents Park.