With advent beginning this weekend, now is the time to truly get into the Christmas spirit and embrace the decorating, the present-buying, the parties and the Christmas markets. With scents of mulled wine, twinkly lights and wafts of chestnuts, there is no where better to get in the mood for the festive season – plus you might just pick up a unique gift along the way.
Our Retreats are also at low season prices during the run-up to Christmas, so why not book a weekend away and enjoy some relaxation and shopping away from the hectic shopping malls and high streets.
Here’s our picks of the best markets in Northumberland, Newcastle and Durham.
When: December 2, 9, 10, 16 and 17
What’s there: 64 stallholders handpicked by The Alnwick Garden in a illuminated marquee plus festive singing and live music.
Why we like it: The Alnwick Garden is magical whenever you visit, so a trip to its market will make you feel like you have gone back in time before Christmas commercialism set in. Plus there’s all the other parts of the Garden to enjoy such as The Treehouse and its restaurant, and ice skating and a trail for the Christmas season.
When: December 2 and 3
What’s there: 50 traders in Alnwick Market Square, carol singers, live music, Santa, alpacas, birds of prey, a funfair, and Olaf from the movie Frozen.
Why we like it: It’s family friendly with shopping for the adults and rides and animals to keep the children entertained.
When: December 10
What’s there: Craft, fresh produce and food stalls, Santa, a funfair and traditional music.
Why we like it: It’s setting is one not to be missed. After perusing the market stalls, you can take a walk around the Elizabethan town walls and see the Christmas lights in all their glory.
When: Daily until December 10
What’s there: 40 traders from around the globe in wooden chalets offering international food and crafts.
Why we like it: This is the place to come if you can’t make it to one of the European Christmas markets. Think amazing food from places such as Germany, Thailand and France, plus artisan crafts such as Russian dolls and Dutch flower arrangements.
When: December 1-3
What’s there: A craft and gift marquee on Palace Green, food stalls in the Cathedral, outdoor markets in Durham Market Place and Millennium Place, carols at the Cathedral, a children’s lantern procession, musicians, performers, band entertainment and children’s crafts.
Why we like it: This is the most extensive Christmas celebration in the region. Not only will you have your sights and senses filled with festive delights, but you will also get to discover some of the city’s major attractions as the festival is situated in the Cathedral, Castle and University. grounds.