The C word
It’s CHRISTMAS time folks and I am living for it.
As of next weekend the festivities really kick off. With Christmas events and family fun days out for you to really make the most of the season.
Christmas markets, parades, wintery wonderlands, reindeers, fireside stories, crafts and theatre trips. It’s time to rummage in the cupboard for all the winter woolies and get that hot spiced apple on. No need to worry about the costs being too high, especially when we have the Christmas shopping to buy, most of these events can just be attended and enjoyed without pressure to spend spend spend.
Have a look through the selection and pick out one or two that your whole family would get enjoyment from and would make you the most seasonal memories. Sometimes just attending these events is enough to fill you with warmth and joy, and kids love anything that involves Santa or staying out after dark – so it’s an easy win win.
”It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air”
What, When and Where?
16th – 18th November
Beamish Hall Christmas Fair and the arrival of Santa and his parade on Saturday 17th. Lots of information online about the where’s, when’s and what they have going on but it’s an absolute banger of a way to kick off the Christmas season with the family. Will most definitely fill up but will be worth it and the kids will LOVE it.
As of the 17th November Beamish Ice Skating rink will also be available, running until Christmas Eve. As well as their annual ‘Christmas at Beamish’.
16th November (and again on 14th December)
Full Moon Markets in Durham city centre. Enjoy the buzz of the market under the moonlit sky, treat yourself to some freshly made hot waffles and peruse the stalls picking up some last minute Christmas gifts.
Ushaw College Christmas Fair. If this is anything like the one in September then it will be fabulous. We went to visit and it was full of amazing stalls with the most perfect present ideas – I wish I had been more prepared to shop. This time I will be armed with ££ and a Christmas present list.
22nd November – 5th January
Gala Theatre’s Annual Christmas Panto – Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs. If you don’t have time before Christmas with your weekends filling up then this is a great idea for that week after Christmas until New Years Eve when you are in limbo and the kids are starting to dip.
23rd – 24th November
Sedgefield Food and Drink Festival. Friday 5 – 10pm and Saturday 10 – 4pm. Live Music, Mulled Wine and lots of great food. What a way to spend an evening.
23rd – 25th November
Brancepeth Castle Christmas Craft Fair. 10 – 5pm. All the magic of the Christmas Markets set in the castle grounds. Perfect much?!
Ferryhill Christmas Fayre and big light switch on. If you are local then pop along and enjoy all that the community has to offer.
Crook Hall and Gardens from 4 – 8pm Illuminating the Hall, light switch on. Experience the Hall by night and see it in all of it’s Christmassy glory.
”T’was the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse”
1st – 3rd December
Bishop Auckland Town Hall. Sleeping Beauty Panto.
‘Oh yes you can!’
1st December – 2nd
Visit Santa at one of Hall Hill Farms Christmas weekends. Sing songs around the Christmas tree, meet the reindeer and walk through the woodland wonderland.
1st December – 23rd
Raby Castle have a Christmas calendar fit for a royal. Why not join Father Christmas for breakfast or enjoy fireside stories with the big man himself? Possibly the most magical thing ever!
1st December – 31st
Empire Theatre Consett. Beauty and the Beast Panto. ‘I say, I say, I say’
St Nicholas’ Children’s Lantern Parade from Market Place to the Cathedral. Pre-book your lanterns online and collect on the day. Procession and service open to all. This has a very classic traditional feel to it and I think it will be a really memorable event to join.
If you still have some energy left then Ushaw College will be hosting The Durham Police Band and Choir evening performance. This is guaranteed to be a fantastic evening out.
Carols for all at Durham Cathedral open 2pm. Christmas Carols in the Cathedral will really hit you in the feelers. In such an outstanding setting with the acoustics and the glow of Christmas. That’s a ‘Yes’ from me.
The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear
The Christmassy Christmas Show
at Barnard Castle
The Nutcracker at Barnard Castle. Matinee 2pm
Afternoon Tea and a viewing of The Polar Express at Beamish Hall. Hot dogs, popcorn and drinks included in the price.
Christmas with Durham Cathedral Choir, 7:30pm in the Cathedral.
Back at Durham Cathedral again – Special Service. Lighting of the Christmas Tree and Blessing of the crib.
Carols for Children at the Cathedral from 2pm. 30 minute session to build up those final nights of excitement before the big day.
Alternative days out..
Many of the family fun parks and farms have a schedule of Christmas themed activities planned for the season so I have attached some links below. These are paid for activities and most need booking in advance to ensure a space.
A fully immersive Christmas guided experience, travelling over 90 minutes through a Winter Wonderland.
Celebrate the Christmas season at Santa’s Enchanted Wonderland Grotto. Lots of time slots to see Santa still available for booking.
Walk through the magical wardrobe doors into a snowy Narnia themed grotto. Also offering an afternoon tea and fireside stories with jolly old Santa Claus.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
An enchanting family fairytale experience as well as many other events for children and adults. From festive movie showings, to wreath making and parties. Check out Beamish Halls full schedule for more.
What better setting for some Christmas magic than Raby Castle and deer park? Meet the reindeer, breakfast with the Claus’, roaring fires and stories with Santa. Booking necessary.
Have a holly, jolly Christmas;
It’s the best time of the year
I don’t know if there’ll be snow,
but have a cup of cheer.
Have a holly, jolly Christmas;
And when you walk down the street
Say Hello to friends you know
and everyone you meet.
Holly Jolly Christmas
Johnny Marks (c) 1972