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The Northern Festival of Illustration is an award-winning celebration of the diverse world of illustration, which takes places in Hartlepool every two years. 

So why not have fun, get out and about, and be in with the chance of winning a supply of artist’s materials at this incredible event?  

Here’s three reasons why you should enjoy The Northern Festival of Illustration this autumn.  

Go bananas hunting for monkeys   

The festival returns for a fourth time this autumn, but it will look slightly different this year. The aim is to bring people back out onto the streets and into shops, cafes, bars and other local businesses – celebrating renaissance after Covid.

A Monkey Trail around the town featuring 35 monkey sculptures, all decorated by the community, will be placed in businesses and in windows, as an invitation to come in! All you need to do is look out for the Monkey Trail Host stickers.

All the venues hosting the mischievous monkey sculptures will have stickers and posters with a QR code to say you have found a monkey, and they will all have a useful Monkey Trail leaflet on hand, so you can track how many you still need to find. Can you challenge yourself to find all 35 of them?

At the end of the festival one person will be named the winner and receive a fabulous prize of art supplies so that they can pursue their creative passion too!

All of this will take place between 18 September and the end of November when the festival will join forces with the Wintertide Festival and have a party for the monkeys!

Raise money for charity  

The party mentioned above will be an open-air charity auction of the Monkeys raising money for the amazing local charity Hartlepool Carers, who are dedicated to supporting those members of our community who care for others.

All summer the people of Hartlepool have been creating amazing Monkeys and having a good laugh at the same time.

Enjoy the arts for free 

The Northern Festival of Illustration will feature five small exhibition venues on The Headland and in and around Church Street this year, displaying artwork created by local artists, providing something for all to enjoy.

Every part of the festival is free, including a series of online Illustration Talks and masterclasses that will be happening throughout October and November.

You can find out more about the festival and find an interactive map of the Monkey Trail at

Remember to let us know if you are out and about enjoying the Tees Valley by using #EnjoyTeesValley on social media.


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