Get Ship-Shape for Tall Ships With Our Guide

Blog | Published on: 3rd July 2023

Planning to drop anchor in Hartlepool this week for the huge Tall Ships Races 2023 festivities? Make sure it’s all smooth sailing with this handy guide to the event! 

What is it? 

Tall Ships Races 2023 will overtake Hartlepool’s waterfront as more than 38 tall ships arrive from Den Helder in the Netherlands bringing to a close the first leg of the international event. There will be a packed programme full of music, dance performance and more, so the whole family can join in the celebrations. 

When is it? 

The four-day event kicks off this Thursday, 6 July, as the ships arrive between 10am and noon. The first music performances will take place from 3pm, along with Garden Games on the family beach. Entertainment will continue throughout the weekend, coming to a close at 5pm on Sunday, 6 July. 

Where is it taking place?   

The event site is spread between Hartlepool’s Marina and Victoria Harbour. The two main music stages are the Navigation Point Stage at Navigation Point and X-energy Stage at Victoria Quay. A smaller stage, the Highlight Stage, will be located at Jackson’s Landing.  

How much does it cost? 

This is set to be one of the UK’s biggest free events this year – meaning everything is free and unticketed. 

What’s on? 

The ships will arrive between 10am and noon on Thursday, 6 July, ahead of the official opening at 5pm. The Parade of Sail and race start between 1pm and 4pm on Sunday, 9 July as the ships depart. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg! 

Local indie rockers Maximo Park will headline festivities on the X-energy stage at 8.50pm on Friday, with the Grammy-nominated The Wailers taking to the stage at 9pm on Saturday. There’s also be music from The Magic Numbers, The Sherlocks, John Bramwell and local acts like the Hartlepool Mail Voice Choir and Mt. Misery. 

Outdoor theatre company Walk the Plank will present a dazzling free show – The Tower of Light – bringing pyrotechnics, performance and music in a beautifully choreographed piece at Irvine’s Quay at 10.20pm on Friday. A fantastic firework display will take place at various locations at 10.35pm on Saturday too. 

The Military Village will be up and running between 9am and 4pm at Jackson’s Landing throughout the weekend, with lots of pop-up performances and things to see and do right across the event area. 

How can I get to Tall Ships?  

If you’re not driving, Hartlepool railway station is only a short walk away from the activities, with cycle storage facilities also available at the Headland and Marina 

Will there be parking? 

The town is expected to be extremely busy during Tall Ships and parking and route restrictions will be in place throughout.  

People are being encouraged to book parking ahead of time by visiting here, with parking for cars and vans priced at £10 per day, motorbikes at £5 and coaches at £25.  

Will there be food and drink? 

Dozens of food and drink stalls will be located right across the festival site, so you’ll never be more than a few metres from grabbing a bite. 

Is the event dog-friendly? 

Dogs are welcome outside, and in the beer garden where water will be provided for your pet pooch. 

There are lots of other events and festivals happening right across Tees Valley this summer, so for more inspiration, head to 

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