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12 Ways To Spend New Year In The North East

Because Jamie T isn't always right.

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We are days away from 2016.

And that can only mean one thing: the mad dash to make New Year's plans is on.

The north east is famed for its social side, and there's no shortage of things to do in and around Newcastle as 2015 ticks over into 2016.

1. New Year's Eve doesn't start at 11:59pm – Newcastle's Winter Carnival Parade is a good way to gear up for midnight.

Elizabeth Buie / Via flic.kr

From 5pm the parade wends its way through Newcastle, with loud music and a carnival atmosphere. The parade's theme this year is "monstrous beasties", with intricately-designed animals guided by torchbearers stomping through the town until a fireworks display an hour later at the city's Civic Centre.

2. Watch the free fireworks display above the River Tyne as the clock strikes midnight.

John Haslam / Via flic.kr

Sure, there's the fireworks shown on television over the Thames as the old year passes into history, but there's something better about seeing – and experiencing – it for yourself. Thousands line the banks of the River Tyne, on both the Gateshead and Newcastle flanks, as midnight arrives and fireworks shoot up into the sky. The canniest people head downriver to the Free Trade Inn to watch the display.

3. Jesmond's Osborne Road is always busy.

Tom Page / Via flic.kr

And with lots of bars along this student-heavy street in one of Newcastle's most envious suburbs, there are plenty of options about where and with whom to spend time waiting for midnight to come round. It's also close enough to the city centre that you can decamp there should you wish.

4. As is the middle of town – and there's plenty on.

Stuart Hines / Via flic.kr

Yes, it'll be busy, and yes, they hike up entry fees. But it's one night, and might be worth it. From a circus-themed extravaganza at Tiger Tiger to the altogether more laidback Fakeindiedisco at Head of Steam, or the festival of lights alongside house music, hip hop and techno at Digital, there's something for everyone – including Wizard of Oz fans at Tup Tup Palace.

5. Have a more chilled evening at the Surf Cafe, Tynemouth.

Jimmy McIntyre / Via flic.kr

While the pubs and clubs in Newcastle city centre are likely to be rammed with revellers, the coast may well be more chilled. The Surf Cafe in Tynemouth has become popular as a laid back, small venue for events – and seeing in the new year as the surf laps up onto the shore may well be a good alternative to normal New Year nights.

6. Or do the opposite, and glam it up at Wynyard Hall.

golfking1 / Via flic.kr

Teesside is a trek from Tyneside (or a 45-minute car journey), but Wynyard Hall's masquerade ball is an annual tradition. Set in the surroundings of a glamorous country house hotel, the masquerade ball isn't cheap at £89, but then again, it only comes around once a year.

7. Join Bellowhead as they ring in the new year at The Sage Gateshead, and get a prime viewing point in for fireworks.

candyschwartz / Via flic.kr

After the success of the BBC 6 Music festival in and around Newcastle and Gateshead earlier in the year, The Sage Gateshead are hosting a New Year's Eve mini-festival, with Bellowhead headlinng. There'll also be DJs and other entertainment, and the benefit of being able to be wrapped up indoors while still having a prime viewing position for the Quayside fireworks.

8. Have a laugh at The Stand, Newcastle.

The Stand Newcastle / Via Facebook: StandNewcastle

Their annual new year party – called Hootfest – starts at 8:30pm, will wrap up by 11pm, but the bar's open until 1am on January 1st. Seymour Mace, Simon Donald and Jo Caulfield are just some of the acts seeing in 2016.

9. If city centre comedy isn't your thing, Jason Cook hosts a night of standup in South Shields.

John Blower / Via flic.kr

Jason Cook's Comedy Club is at the Customs House, South Shields' famous theatre. Starting at 7:30, and wrapping up by 11, there'll be time to hang around with Cook and his friends in the bar while greeting the new year.

10. Or just head out into the countryside of nearby Northumberland, and find one of many pubs with a warm fire and a warmer welcome.

Karissa Sellman / Via flic.kr

There are some cracking pubs in rural Northumberland, and almost any is worth your custom. Perhaps consider packing out the Black Bull at Corbridge, and supporting a community that was evacuated by flooding in the aftermath of Storm Desmond and is still regaining its feet? But whatever you do, don't drink and drive.

11. Sometimes the best way to spend New Year's Eve is indoors, at home, with friends and family.

N Stjerna/BBC / Via flic.kr

So don't overlook the simple options. You won't pay entry fees, you will be able to hear each other talk, and you don't have to watch Jools Holland unless you really want to.

12. And the morning after the night before, take a dip in the ice cold North Sea.

Dylan Hayes / Via flic.kr

Every year hundreds of brave – or foolhardy – people strip off and glam up in fancy dress for a New Year's Day swim in the North Sea. Seeing in 2016 may not be as cold as previous years, in large part thanks to milder weather, but it still takes dedication and a curiously Geordie masochistic spirit to start 2016 in such a manner.

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