christmas in Durham

Planning a Festive Family Break to Durham?

Guest blog by Deb Sharratt - My Boys Club

If you are planning a family festive break to Durham this winter, there are some real festive treats in store every weekend in December, to ensure you take some fantastic memories with you when you sadly have to head home.

From Santa’s Grotto and Winter Wonderland, to the more traditional markets and carol services to the Polar Express, there are many magical events in December that will bring Christmas alive.

Some are already sold out - but there are still plenty to discover in Durham as MyBoysClub family blog found out...

Friday 2 – Sunday 4 December – Markets, Crafts, Santa and Elves

Enjoy a day at the three-day award-winning Traditional Christmas Festival when it returns to Durham City the first weekend in December. Based around the World Heritage Site of Durham Cathedral and Durham Castle, as well as other city centre locations, it provides excellent Christmas shopping opportunities with a Craft and Gift Marquee, regional food and drink producers, as well as Durham traders alongside festive entertainment.

christmas festival

Then spend a magical afternoon with Father Christmas and his elves at Crook Hall & Gardens and take the opportunity to sing carols in the splendor of Durham Cathedral.

Take a trip out of the city to the Durham Dales Centre and create your own Christmas Wreath in a special workshop. While back in the city you’ll have the chance to buy loved ones one-of-a-kind gifts made by some of the region's top craftspeople at the Etsy Made Local market.

Friday 9 – Sunday 11 December – Craft, Carols, Trains & Trees

Santa is back at Crook Hall & Gardens and traditional Christmas street performers and walkabout acts make Durham City a great festive and family friendly experience this weekend.

Make your own Christmas Wreath at Durham Cathedral, as well as enjoy a festive concert of Christmas carols and seasonal music in a candlelit Cathedral, and in the Vale of Durham meet Santa, ride a diesel train, experience a magic show and more at Locomotion - The National Railway Museum at Shildon.

Nearby in Bishop Auckland, Auckland Castle has its own Christmas Wreath making sessions and Raby Castle has its Taste of Teesdale Christmas Market, a seasonal outdoor market with a hand-picked selection of stalls offering food & drink ideas from around the region. If you’ve room you can pick up your real Raby Estates Christmas tree while you're there too!

You’ll find unique art from exciting regional artists at Teesdale Christmas Art Fair in Barnard Castle. And at The Bowes Museum, also in Barnard Castle,  Ribbons and Bowes, provides a rich, overflowing cornucopia of traditional songs, carols and ensemble pieces, beautifully crafted to create a magical Christmas evening experience for the whole family.

Bowes Museum

Friday 16 – Sunday 18 December – Ice Skating, Reindeer & Wonder

At Durham Cathedral there will be a special service  for Lighting of the Tree and blessing of the Crib. Watch as the lights on the magnificent 20 feet tall Norwegian spruce are switched on. The Clergy and Choir then process to the West End of the Cathedral where the Crib is blessed in a service that is particularly suitable for children. 

Find out how Christmas is celebrated around the world and make your own Christmas decorations to take home at Durham University's Oriental Museum.

Be enchanted by Christmas at Beamish Museum - Visit Father Christmas in his cosy fireside Grotto, meet his friendly reindeer, indulge in festive food, explore the beautifully decorated homes and shops.

With activities running every day throughout December at Beamish, you can discover the amazing sights, sounds and delicious tastes of truly traditional festive celebrations. The real ice rink is the perfect festive experience for all the family!

ice skating at Beamish

Treat the family to a spectacular day out at Enchanted Christmas at Hardwick Hall Hotel. Here you can visit Santa in his Lapland Tepee and a see a real reindeer to make a special wish!
Winter Wonderland at Adventure Valley will make some festive family memories to cherish forever with a 2-hour magical experience will take you on an enchanted Christmas journey.

The week before Christmas

For last minute Christmas shopping with a difference, amble along Durham City's cobbled streets with stylish boutiques, quirky craft shops as well as big name brands. Or head to a market town, such as Barnard Castle, for a unique shopping experience. Or shop for bargains at Dalton Park - the biggest outlet shopping centre in the region.

And if it all gets too much there are plenty of places to get away from it all with a brisk walk in the countryside or along Durham’s Heritage Coast. Or treat yourself in one of Durham amazing Spas. Read our review of The Spa at Ramside here >

Don’t miss out on an amazing festive break in Durham with packages from just £99

MyBoysClub is a lifestyle blog by Deb Sharratt all about enjoying life in a family of boys. Follow at or on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.




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