Newcastle's Dragon Boat Race

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Newcastle's Dragon Boat Race

Activating Newcastle’s iconic River Tyne has been a core objective of NE1 since its establishment, whether through the Newcastle City Marina, or a calendar of events and activities taking place on the water. Newcastle’s Dragon Boat Race is now established as one of the river’s annual events and a key part of NE1’s events delivery.

Key Facts

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Established in 2019 to activate Newcastle’s iconic River Tyne

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496 people took part in 2023’s Dragon Boat Race

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Over £10,000 raised in 2023 for Great North Children’s Hospital

Originating in China over 2000 years ago, dragon boat racing has grown into one of the world’s most popular water sports, offering a fun-filled and adrenaline-fuelled activity ideal for bringing communities together to raise money for charity. In 2019 NE1, along with partners, identified an opportunity to bring a dragon boat race to the city centre stretch of the river for the first time, and to bring the resulting footfall to the Quayside and the city.

Today, Newcastle’s Dragon Boat Race is a two-day event, with a corporate business day featuring some of the city’s largest firms, and a public day, open to all, with both days raising money for a designated local charity. Hosted in partnership with Atlantic Dream and the North East Chinese Association, the event sees teams of between 11 and 16 people take to the water and race against each other bringing life and activity to the river.

In addition, Newcastle’s Dragon Boat Race significantly benefits surrounding businesses by bringing thousands of people and their resulting spend to the area.

In 2023, seventeen corporate businesses – from professional service firms such as PwC and Womble Bond Dickinson to iconic brands including Fenwick and John Lewis – took part alongside over 200 members of the public, raising over £10,000 for last year’s designated charity the Great North Children’s Hospital.

As a fixture in the city’s calendar that benefits businesses, delivers a stunning show on the water for the public, and raises money for important local causes, NE1 will continue to grow Newcastle’s Dragon Boat Race with each edition.

To find out more, and to enquire about taking part in, or partnering with, the event visit

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