The North East

Explore North East England

Majestic castles and stunning landscapes, where the country’s true beauty shines

North East England is steeped in rich heritage where history, beauty and culture combine – from historic Durham, home to its Cathedral and Castle, the stunning coastline and castles of Northumberland, to the vibrancy and cultural delights of the city of Newcastle. Hadrian’s Wall, the ancient monument which divided Roman Britain is an awe-inspiring place to visit with performance venues close by. Romans aside, this region is now home however to some of friendliest people you’ll ever meet and where many a musician, performer, composer can claim to hail, most probably inspired by this very green and pleasant part of the land.

Our Tour Highlights

Northumbria – Castles & Coastline

With more castles than any other county in England, Northumberland is steeped in history and medieval magnificence. ...more

City life – Newcastle

This wonderful city has plenty to offer, vibrant and cosmopolitan with wonderful views overlooking the Tyne and landmark Millennium Bridge! ...more

Historic Durham

Durham's fairy-tale, turreted castle and grand Norman cathedral fully deserve their 'World Heritage Site' status. ...more

Hadrian’s Wall

2,000 years have passed since the Emperor Hadrian gave his orders for work on the 84 mile long Hadrian’s Wall to commence, yet the 73 miles of this Roman mega structure that snake across Northumberland’s dramatic landscape are the most well preserved. ...more

Performance Venue Highlights

Durham Cathedral

One of the finest surviving examples of Romanesque architecture can be found at the beautiful Durham Cathedral, where the breathtaking vaulted ceiling soars skyward like the choristers’ voices.
  • Perfect for: Choirs
  • Repertoire: Sacred
  • Performance times: On Mondays and holidays, the Cathedral welcomes visiting choirs from close by and from all over the world to sing services. For a very special concert experience, the cathedral can be hired for an evening concert.

The Glasshouse International Centre for Music, Gateshead

Hailed as the music and performance mecca of the North East, this state of the art venue not only offers performances but an array of music courses classes and workshops. During a tour of this magnificent building, your choir can also experience an informal sing in one of the many performance spaces!
  • Perfect for: All musical ensembles
  • Repertoire: Mixed
  • Performance times: At certain times of the year, the venue welcomes visiting musicians and choirs to perform on the Concourse which is the main hub of the building so an audience is guaranteed. For a very special concert experience, the main auditorium can be hired for a concert.

Hexham Abbey

Set in a befitting serene and rural location, this beautiful abbey offers a friendly welcome and unique setting. Built from 1170-1250, the original Abbey still remains and fortunately survived Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries and became the local parish church. At the heart of Hexham Abbey is a living tradition of liturgy and music that dates back to the 7th century.
  • Perfect for: Choirs
  • Repertoire: Sacred and Classical
  • Performance times: Lunchtime Live is a weekly concert series usually held on a Thursday where musicians can perform in the atmospheric setting of the abbey. During holiday periods, the Abbey welcomes visiting choirs from close by and from all over the world to sing services.

Hexham Bandstand

This Grade II listed bandstand was restored to its former glory in 2016 and its location, just a stone’s throw from Hexham Abbey, makes it a very special place to perform! It is a much-loved music venue for the residents of Hexham and comes to life in the summer months.
  • Perfect for: All musical ensembles and performance groups
  • Repertoire: Mixed
  • Performance times: Throughout the summer months

The Sill, Hadrian’s Wall

Most probably one of the more unique performance venues on offer in the North East! The Sill, the UK's National Landscape Discovery Centre, set in dramatic, lush surroundings with views of Hadrian’s Wall, offers performers an opportunity like no other. Start your visit with a performance in the exhibition area of this popular visitor attraction, followed by a tour of its iconic building and grassland roof and end a perfect visit by sampling some delicious local produce in the cafe whilst ‘drinking’ in the spectacular views.
  • Perfect for: All musical ensembles and performance groups
  • Repertoire: Mixed
  • Performance times: Anytime on request

Music Festivals

Why not combine your performances to the North East with a visit to appreciate some of the local talent? The most notable being the Durham Brass Band Festival in July and Hexham Abbey Festival in September.

Where To Stay

*official star rating

Copthorne Hotel Newcastle, Newcastle-upon-Tyne

  • Contemporary city centre hotel with views of the River Tyne
  • Modern Rooms with river views equipped with TV, hairdryer and tea/coffee making facilities
  • Hotel facilties include a restaurant and bar overlooking an idyllic riverside location

*official star rating

Redworth Hall Hotel, Newton Aycliffe

  • Luxurious Jacobean manor house hotel set in 150 acres of woodland
  • Spacious Rooms equipped with TV, hairdryer and tea/coffee making facilities
  • Hotel facilities include a restaurant and bar, decorated in a classic, elegant style and leisure facilities to include a beautiful indoor swimming pool, sauna, steam room, spa bath, beauty salon and tennis courts.

*official star rating

Radisson Blu Hotel, Durham

  • Central location
  • Rooms equipped with TV, Hairdryer and tea/coffee making facilities
  • Hotel facilties include bar and a health club where guests can enjoy free use of the indoor swimming pool, sauna, spa bath, steam room and gym.

Sample Itinerary

This itinerary is for guidance only and will be tailored to meet your exact tour requirements. The excursions and concerts featured below will be subject to your chosen tour dates, availability and budget. Please get in touch to discuss your potential tour in more detail and other opportunities available to your group!
Day 1Travel to your destination from your chosen collection pointWelcome drink at the hotel and time at leisureGroup evening meal at the hotel and time to socialise!
Day 2Morning visit to Durham with guided tour of the cityLunchtime concert in Durham Cathedral OR outdoor concert in the amphitheatre at Wharton Park, DurhamEvening meal at the hotel and evening activity
Day 3Morning visit to Alnwick or Bamburgh CastleAfternoon excursion to the Farne Islands with informal concert opportunity on the islandsEvening meal at the hotel and potential evening concert
Day 4Morning visit to Hexham with lunchtime indoor concert in Hexham Abbey or outdoor concert at Hexham BandstandAfternoon visit to Hadrian’s Wall. Combine with a visit and indoor concert opportunity at The Sill, National Landscape Discovery CentreEvening meal at the hotel
Day 5Day excursion to Newcastle and Gateshead. Time at leisure to explore Newcastle with plentiful shops and visitor centresLunchtime concert on the concourse at The Sage and guided tour of the centre with optional singing workshopFarewell meal in local restaurant
Day 6Optional morning excursionOnward journey home

Sound Escapes did a fantastic job on arrangements for our tour . Would thoroughly recommend Jo to any choir looking to travel . All feedback has been positive from everyone who travelled . The extra care at meeting us at the coach and check in to ensure things ran smoothly went above and beyond .
Don OakleyMalmesbury ChoirOxford 2023
One of the best tours we have ever undertaken – musically, socially and geographically. Would heartily recommend Sound Escapes to any group considering a tour.
Carole Lindsay-DouglasAmici SingersWeston-Super-Mare 2023
Jo and her team came up with a fantastic itinerary for our choir and planned everything to the last detail. We always felt we were in safe hands and that they were on the end of a phone to help us with anything we needed. We couldn’t recommend them highly enough.
Rosie SayersChairperson for Sing It Loud Community Choir
As a Chorister, and eventually Head Chorister in our local church choir for eleven years, Jo was talented, dedicated and could always be relied on to work to the utmost of her undoubted abilities. I would expect that she would apply the same attributes to her professional life
P BuckmasterChoral Director

In May 2020 we were due to tour the Stirling area in Scotland and due to the current coronavirus pandemic we took the difficult decision to call off the tour. I’d like to give our thanks and praise to Jo and her team for all the planning and preparation she had done to put the itinerary together – she was able to provide us with an excellent range of stunning concert venues, plus some great suggestions for our leisure time, and we look forward to working with her again soon.

Sally ColesSecretary, Cantamici
From cathedrals and abbeys, churches and stately homes, all steeped in centuries of history, some in Roman Towns others in quintessential English ‘picture postcard’ villages, every choir and musical ensemble should spend a tour exploring the United Kingdom and Ireland. Whatever part of the country you to choose to visit, by working with a knowledgeable team of people who know the regions inside out from both a tourism and musical perspective, you will be guaranteed the richest of touring experiences
Tim KnightBritish composer and Choral Director
Fantastic tour in Bonnie Scotland, enjoyed by all who went, singing and non-singing. Brilliant organisation from Jo who really made it all look so easy.
Kate HymansTour organiser for Masterworks Chorale
Brilliant tour, expertly organised. Kindness and compassion. Nothing was too much trouble. Colin, our driver, was a complete gem and so knowledgeable about the isle. Lovely hotel staff where nothing was too much trouble
Felicity CourageChoir Director, Courage Choir
Care and attention to detail of the highest degree. The planning with Jo Porter was detailed and meticulous, with nothing being missed, and although she was not involved in the accommodation arrangements, she nevertheless checked it out and acted as an intermediary.
Robin SpencerChoir Secretary, Phoenix Choir
You’ve been patient and kind all the way through this, Jo – especially with it being the first international tour I’ve done, and with all the unforeseen changes to the travel arrangements, so thank you to you and the team.
Sarah MonteithChoir DirectorResound ChoirParis 2023