Already booked your annual visit to see Father Christmas? There’s still plenty of festive family fun to be had in Durham.

We’ve chosen five fabulous dazzling outdoor trails which guarantee fun for all the family during the day or as darkness falls this festive season. 

View of High Force Waterfall covered in snow

High Force Waterfall Christmas Trail

Wrap up warm and enjoy a wintery walk with the family to High Force Waterfall. Collect Christmas clues along the way and see if you can find Rudolph and his friends as you head towards the incredible sight of High Force Waterfall. It's a great activity for enjoying the outdoors with the kids this winter and also seeing High Force Waterfall when its at its most powerful, especially after heavy rainfall. 

After your walk why not cosy up by a roaring fire in High Foce Hotel and tuck into a hearty lunch or treat yourself to a luxury hot chocolate?

When? Every day, 10am - 3pm until the 31 December. 

Where? High Force Waterfall, Forest-In-Teesdale, DL12 0XH.

Ushaw historic house illuminated for Christmas in blue and snowflakes

Illuminating Ushaw: Land of Enchantment

Pull on those winter boots and head out to explore Ushaw: Historic House, Chapels and Gardens after dark at their annual sparkling light trail. The grounds of Ushaw will be filled with colour and joy at Illuminating Ushaw as you walk through sparkling tunnels of light, and see trees lit up with vibrant colours alongside dazzling outdoor art. 

When? 3 - 18 December, various days and times.

Where? Ushaw: Historic House, Chapels and Gardens, Ushaw Moor, DH7 7DW.

two children admiring the view of The plotter's Forest at Raby Castle with Christmas lights in the background

The Plotter’s Forest Enchanted Christmas Trail

Experience the magical Christmas trail in The Plotters’ Forest with friends and family. Delight in twinkling lights and Christmas music as you wander around the woodland winter wonderland. You can explore the enchanted trail by day or at night, when the trail comes alive illuminated under Durham's dazzling dark skies.

Book a ticket and you'll recieve two hours of play in the Plotter's Forest, plus a special treat foe the children and acces to Raby Castle's Deer Park where you can also enjoy the 12 days of Christmas trail. 

When? Various days until 23 December. Open thoughout the day 10am - 2pm, and evening between 4pm - 6pm.  

Where? Raby Castle, Staindrop, DL2 3AH

Gibside Neon tree by Culture Creative my christmas trails 2020 photo by Richard Haughton Sony Music.GS

Christmas at Gibside

Spend time together and create everlasting memories as you wander between the specially chosen illuminations, all to a soundtrack of Christmas classics at Gibside's Georgian estate, just across the county border. Pause at the mesmerising flickering flames in the fire garden, walk under the stars and warm up with delicious food and drink from independent street food vendors. 

When? Every day throughout December and 1 January 2023, various times from 4.15pm - 8pm. 

Where? Gibside, near Rowlands Gill, Gateshead, NE16 6BG

two little boys smiling at camera at Forest of Light, Beamish Hall Hotel

Forest of Light

Walk through sparkling tunnels of light, and see trees lit up with vibrant colours at Beamish Hall's Forest of Light. Explore a wonderful world of magical illuminations, music, interactive props and dazzling light displays as you follow the path through the enchanted woodland. 

When? Various dates throughout December and January 2023. 4pm – 8pm (may vary)

Where? Beamish Hall Hotel, Beamish, Stanley, DH9 0YB

Discover more magical festive events with our dedicated Christmas events guide >

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