The Best Events Across the North East and Yorkshire to Book This Christmas
With Christmas just around the corner, these are the events yule want to book now
Make memories at Raby this Christmas and immerse yourself in the magic of their Enchanted Christmas Trail, with twinkling lights and festive music. Why not upgrade your visit to include a magical fireside story with Father Christmas in the castle entrance hall? The Yurt Café will be serving gingerbread lattes and hot chocolates and you can pick your own freshly-cut Nordmann Fir or Norway Spruce Christmas tree too.
The Plotters’ Forest Enchanted Christmas Trail
FROM 18TH NOVEMBER
The Plotters’ Forest, Raby, Staindrop
A brand-new Christmas light trail with the tallest Christmas tree in the North, the longest outdoor light tunnel in the country, and 17 other breathtaking light installations is coming to Bishop Auckland this Christmas. AGLOW is a one-and-a-half-mile trail through the ancient Auckland Castle grounds. Visitors will see life-sized illuminated deer graze amongst silk flower lanterns at the Deer House, dancing water fountains at the River Gaunless and illuminations featuring real fire. Warm up with mulled wine or hot chocolate and enjoy toasting marshmallows over the open fire pit before heading to Santa’s Village.
AGLOW at Auckland Castle
22ND NOVEMBER–31ST DECEMBER
Auckland Castle, Bishop Auckland
Merry & Bright
At Christmas, Rainton Arena is transformed into a winter wonderland offering a variety of attractions, activities, entertainment, food and drink. Meet Santa, enjoy festive drinks in the tipi bar, go ice skating and help The Grinch find his Christmas spirit.
FROM 24TH NOVEMBER
Rainton Arena, Houghton
0191 584 8630
Mistletoe & Wine
This year Spanish City promises its Christmas market will be bigger and better than ever before. There’ll be a variety of stalls to browse, a brand-new outdoor marquee and live entertainment in The Champagne Bar. Book Afternoon Tea on a market day and get free entry.
Spanish City, Whitley Bay
0191 691 7090
Travel through time to see Christmas past. From Georgian merriment to 1950s festivities, celebrate the season at this world famous open air museum. Don’t miss Father Christmas’ Grotto, take a walk through Elf Wood and be entertained by musicians playing festive tunes.
Christmas at Beamish
25TH NOVEMBER–24TH DECEMBER
0191 370 4000
Give a Gift
Ford & Etal’s market has stalls in Ford, Etal and Heatherslaw, with entertainment, activities and decorations in all three hubs. Browse more than 75 stalls selling food and drink, local crafts, gifts, pottery and confectionery and ride on Heatherslaw Light Railway between Heatherslaw and Etal, or enjoy a journey on a vintage double-decker bus.
Ford & Etal Christmas Market
25TH & 26TH NOVEMBER
Ford & Etal
Santa in Space
Ideal for children aged three to 10, join Santa in the planetarium at Life Science Centre and watch as he flies around the globe to deliver presents. This special show has been created by the talented Life team and it’s a world first! After the show visit his house to meet the man himself and join Santa’s favourite elf, Twinkle, for a hot chocolate and sweet treat in the café. Santa will have a gift for every child.
The Santa Experience
FROM 25TH NOVEMBER
Life Science Centre, Newcastle
0191 243 8210
Deep in the forest Mammy, Daddy and Baby Bear are preparing for Christmas. Each day the Three Bears head into the woods to collect interesting things to re-use for their home. But things are sent topsy turvy when Goldilocks threatens to sit in their chairs, eat their porridge and sleep in their beds! Original music and puppets bring this tale you thought you knew to life.
The Three Bears
25TH NOVEMBER–6TH JANUARY
Northern Stage, Newcastle
0191 230 5151
Shop ‘Til You Drop
Christmas is coming, as is Durham Christmas Festival from Friday 1st to Sunday 3rd December. Enjoy a day out and sort your Christmas shopping at the same time! It’s shoppers’ heaven, with three festive markets; the Craft & Food Producers’ Marquee on Palace Green packed with gifts and seasonal food and drink (entrance charge applies); the Festive Outdoor Market in Durham Market Place; and Durham Market Hall, all ready to welcome Christmas shoppers!
Durham Christmas Festival
Ice, Ice Baby
Disney On Ice presents 100 Years of Wonder. Audiences will marvel at the stars of Encanto live on ice for the first time, set sail with Moana and Maui, bring back summer with Anna, Elsa, and Olaf, and sing and dance with their favourite Disney Princesses. This show is sure to make all your dreams come true.
Disney On Ice
Utilita Arena, Newcastle
Despite still being a teenager, Tom has already achieved more than most artists do in a lifetime. He played his first gig aged just eight supporting Newcastle’s Detroit Social Club at The Cluny, he performed at Glastonbury before he was even in secondary school, and Tim Burgess handpicked him to play at Kendal Calling (making him the festival’s youngest ever performer at that time). Since then he’s played live with local hero Sam Fender as well as Catfish & The Bottlemen, The Lathums and The Mysterines. As he continues to tour his shows, don’t miss this performance in Sunderland, and find out more about Tom here.
Tom A. Smith
8TH & 9TH DECEMBER
The Fire Station, Sunderland
0191 570 0007
Down Memory Lane
For this special Christmas show the Royal Northern Sinfonia will be playing their music, while the Voices of Rivers Edge choir will be singing along to Home Alone on the big screen. Expect festive pop hits like Jingle Bell Rock and the film’s theme Somewhere in My Memory.
Home Alone in Concert
9TH & 10TH DECEMBER
The Glasshouse International Centre for Music, Gateshead
0191 443 4661
A brand new winter show for children, merging the words of writer Lisette Auton with the uncontrollable imaginations of kids. A series of entirely new, totally delightful, borderline ridiculous and deeply warming tales are brought to theatrical life. These stories and ideas are fresh as new snow and as wild as an avalanche ride (a really safe one).
Wintry Tales: Snow-Covered Maps and Mountainous Mayhem
Live Theatre, Newcastle
0191 232 1232
With uplifting vocals and a torchlit procession, The Mediaeval Baebes will wind their way towards The Cathedral Church of St Nicholas on Monday 11th December. In a spirited evening of music, dance and theatre, joyous harmonies from this classical chart-topping choir will showcase well-known Christmas carols and traditional folk songs, as captivating storytelling reveals the lyrical folklore and history too. Join the internationally renowned Mediaeval Baebes as they evoke the graceful beauty of this season’s celebrations, in an evening of glorious merriment.
Mediaeval Baebes: The Procession Tour
Local comedian Matt Reed is back at The Stand hosting a group of great comedians who are putting on a Christmas party that everyone’s invited to. Say farewell to 2023 with some of the best in the business and have good laugh.
Matt Reed’s Xmas Knees Up
The Stand Comedy Club Newcastle
A Big Show. Big. Huge.
When Vivian meets Edward her life changes forever. Get swept up in their romance this Christmas with a theatrical take on this love story starring Amber Davies. Having taken London’s West End by storm, it’s guaranteed to lift your spirits. Don’t miss out on tickets. That would be a Big Mistake. Big. Huge.
Pretty Woman: The Musical
Living North is hosting its second festive Living North Raceday on 14th December. Come along and join us at this sensational seasonal day out and ease into the Christmas spirit with an entertaining afternoon of quality jump racing. Want to wait until the weekend? Then dig out your favourite Christmas jumper to watch the horses race for the finish line on Jumper Raceday and you could win tickets to a fixture in the new year if yours is judged the best. This is a great afternoon of quality flat racing at Newcastle Racecourse you won’t want to miss.
Living North Raceday
Christmas Jumper Raceday
0191 236 2020
See The Lights
Experience the magic of Christmas as Manor Walks lights up the festive season with their new Christmas decorations. Customers can immerse themselves in a symphony of twinkling lights and enjoy dazzling displays throughout the shopping centre, with lots of family photo opportunities including a giant walkthrough bauble and enchanted winter characters.
Manor Walks’ Christmas Light Display
Manor Walks, Cramlington
Celebrating our enduring fascination with mechanical devices and art through technology, experience the extraordinary in The Bowes Museum’s 2023 landmark exhibition celebrating the 250th anniversary of the Museum’s iconic Silver Swan and the beauty of automata. Rooted in inventiveness and playfulness, the display showcases objects, artefacts, artworks and kinetic pieces by artists, inventors and makers. It features contemporary artists Yinka Shonibare CBE, Helen Pailing and Kinnari Saraiya, and boasts loans from national institutions including the British Museum and the Science Museum.
The Magic of the Silver Swan
UNTIL 7TH JANUARY
The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle
Choo choose to hop aboard The Polar Express for a magical Christmas experience – its fourth year at Wensleydale Railway. With more than 60,000 guests last year, this is one of the largest Christmas experiences in the UK. Passengers will get to meet the characters from the film including the conductor, the singing chefs and of course the main man himself. If you’re on the nice list, you might receive a gift too.
The Polar Express
10TH NOVEMBER–23RD DECEMBER
Be one of the first to visit the Faith Museum, now open at Auckland Castle, and discover stories of faith in Britain spanning 6,000 years. The Faith Museum explores how faith, belief and religion have shaped lives and communities in Britain throughout history, with four dynamic galleries to discover and more than 250 objects on display including rarely seen objects, national treasures, personal testimonies and contemporary commissions.
The Faith Museum
The Faith Museum, Bishop Auckland
Sparkle & Shine
Every child at St Bernadette’s School dreams of starring in a Nativity – and they can, but Mr Maddens has promised that a Hollywood producer is coming to see their show to turn it into a film. Join him and Mr Poppy as they struggle to make everyone’s Christmas wish come true. Things are really cool in Nazareth, but will this show sparkle and shine?
Nativity! The Musical
The Bradford Playhouse
Visit the grotto at Web Adventure Park to meet Father Christmas and his Elves who may have a special gift for you! Then have fun with all the family with unlimited rides at the Christmas Fairground, which sparkles at dusk. There’ll be music, magic, prizes and (if the weather doesn’t play ball) there’s a huge indoor play area for children to let off steam.
The Christmas Festival
25TH & 26TH NOVEMBER & THROUGHOUT DECEMBER
Web Adventure Park, York
Merry & Bright
There’s so much to see and do at Lotherton’s Christmas Experience – a brilliant place to get into the festive spirit. Meet Santa and his elves, follow the twinkling lights on the woodland walk and head to the enchanting Elf Village to make your very own reindeer feed and decorate Christmas ceramics. There’ll also be a magic show and yuletide yurts, and the Edwardian Hall will be decked with festive finery. Warm up with a hot chocolate or mulled wine, and don’t forget to visit the Christmas stalls at weekends.
The Christmas Experience
25TH NOVEMBER–7TH JANUARY
Shop ’Til You Drop
The Hepworth Wakefield’s popular Festive Market returns this winter, in the new event space at Tileyard North. Here visitors can browse work by artists, designers, independent makers and producers working in print, textiles, jewellery, homeware and ceramics. Last year, they welcomed just over 10,800 visitors across the two Festive Market weekends, and the weekend will once again feature family activities and plenty of festivity.
25TH & 26TH NOVEMBER, 2ND & 3RD DECEMBER
The Hepworth, Wakefield
Don’t Be a Scrooge
A Charles Dickens classic has been adapted for the stage by Neil Bartlett and directed by Kevin Spence. After last year’s sell-out run, this wonderfully reimagined version of A Christmas Carol promises to be a must-see festive treat for the whole family.
A Christmas Carol
28TH NOVEMBER–2ND DECEMBER
A Christmas Cracker
Follow Clara’s adventures as she’s swept away by her Nutcracker Prince into an enchanting winter wonderland. Be mesmerised by dazzling dancing snowflakes, the famous Sugar Plum Fairy and the notorious Mouse King as this ballet is performed to Tchaikovsky’s score, played live by Northern Ballet Sinfonia. Find out more about what to expect from this show at livingnorth.com.
Northern Ballet’s The Nutcracker
29TH NOVEMBER–10TH DECEMBER
Leeds Grand Theatre
Countdown to Christmas
Don’t miss Scarborough’s first live advent calendar – streets and neighbourhoods will come together to celebrate the festive season, with a different participating street lighting up each day. Live or work locally? Everyone is invited to get involved!
Scarborough’s Live Advent Calendar
(Top) Deck… the Halls
Visitors to Harrogate during the festive season can travel in style this year with the introduction of a new open-top bus experience as part of the town’s Christmas Fayre, in addition to the free Candy Cane Express road train, which is returning this year. The bus will transport visitors on a 15-minute route around the town for a unique view of Harrogate, with an on-board guide pointing out landmarks along the way. Visitors to the fayre can browse up to 50 stalls selling Christmas gifts, decorations and seasonal foodie treats.
Harrogate Christmas Fayre
Ilkley Manor House is once again hosting its popular Christmas Makers’ Fair, helping to get your festive season all wrapped up. Come along to find perfect gifts, all created by talented artists and makers. There will be a wide variety of beautiful items and artwork to purchase, from ceramics to jewellery and Christmas cards to quirky decorations.
Christmas Maker’s Fair
2ND & 3RD DECEMBER
Ilkley Manor House
Christmas by Candlelight
Mark the start of Advent with a breathtaking candlelit service with music, readings and prayers at York Minster. The service, which will include music from the Choir of York Minster, starts in darkness before a single flame is used to spread light throughout the cathedral, with candles held by each member of the congregation. Can’t make it? This service will also be live-streamed via York Minster’s YouTube channel.
Spreading Christmas Cheer
The Yorkshire Decibelles and Yorkshire Voices will be performing at Swinton Estate this Christmas, where there’ll also be festive readings and a candlelit procession to the Christmas tree. A Champagne reception, sponsored by Pommery, will be followed by a gourmet three-course dinner at Samuel’s dining room – all to raise money for Martin House.
Carols by Candlelight
Swinton Estate, near Ripon
Dreaming of a…
Two former soldiers turned successful showbiz duo are on the lookout for a new act, and fall for singing sisters Betty and Judy. When they all perform at the Vermont ski resort, they discover that the hotel is owned by the boys’ old army commander. Can they transform the lodge’s fortunes in time for Christmas? And will snow start to fall? Don’t miss Sheffield Theatres’ production of this feel-good, festive musical.
9TH DECEMBER–13TH JANUARY
0114 249 6000
Lions and Tigers and (Polar) Bears – Oh My!
Wrap up warm and experience Yorkshire Wildlife Park after dark as the Christmas illuminations return – 2.5km of lights and lanterns forming a festive trail for the family with plenty of photo opportunities. Find the perfect last-minute presents across their Christmas Fair weekends. The park’s indoor and outdoor fair boasts 50 stalls as well as Santa’s grotto and rides for everyone.
Christmas Fair Weekends
2nd, 3rd, 9th, 10th, 16th & 17th DECEMBER
Yorkshire Wildlife Park, Doncaster
Queen of Christmas
With a brand new Christmas album, Kate Rusby is rounding off the year and celebrating her 50th birthday in style with a Christmas tour. Her special festive shows are hailed as the start of Christmas for many, and Kate will also be singing carols unique to South Yorkshire.
Kate Rusby At Christmas
St George’s Hall, Bradford
Walking in a Winter Wonderland
Gather your family for a Christmas trail around the woodland at Swinton Bivouac and discover the hidden secrets of the Druid’s Temple on the woodland walk. In the Bivouac Café a selection of seasonal warming tipples will be on the menu, including hot chocolate, mulled wine and mulled cider.
Bivouac Christmas Trail
Swinton Bivouac, Masham
The one and only place to be this New Year’s Eve is York’s grand Assembly Rooms. As they breathe life back into Lord Burlington’s party hotspot from the 1730s, Noble Happenings are inviting you to a night of elegance. The elegant evening will include a delectable four-course menu, evening grazing table, and a variety of wines, promising a night you will never forget. The night will draw to a close as the clock strikes midnight, celebrating the new year in style, welcoming you into 2024. With VIP tickets available to purchase, you can make the night a little more special. Book your ticket today be a part of the celebration.
York’s New Year’s Eve Ball
NEW YEAR’S EVE
York Assembly Rooms
Harewood’s Great Time Travelling Christmas is a unique collaboration with architects and designers, Studio MUTT. They’ve spent time thinking about memorable and nostalgic things that sum up Christmases past, and they’ve also looked forward and imagined the Christmases of our future, where lab-grown turkeys and hydroponic sprouts might appear on our roasts. Father Christmas will be telling a tale about The Adventures of Peppermint, there’ll be an Artisan Winter Market and there’s a range of festive workshops where you can get involved in wreath making, knitting, willow weaving and origami.
Harewood’s Great Time Travelling Christmas
UNTIL 7TH JANUARY
Harewood House, Leeds
0113 218 1010