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How to Have the Most Festive Fun this December
What's on
November 2023
Reading time 4 Minutes

Snow is falling, all around us - it's certainly beginning to look a lot like you know what

Here's how to fill December with lots of festive fun.
CBeebies Panto Robin Hood

Count down…

From 1st–24th December, windows across streets and neighbourhoods in Scarborough will be illuminated with festive creations, with a different street ‘opened’ each evening at 4pm. As part of the Live Advent Calendar, Scarborough Fair has also launched a lantern competition, where participants are tasked with creating their own festive lantern. Can’t make it? Count down to Christmas with our pick of the best beauty advent calendars on sale this year. 

Family fun…

November? It’s behind you! It’s well and truly panto season and if you haven’t booked yours yet, you’re going to need to act fast! From celebrity baker and Strictly Come Dancing finalist John Whaite as Dandini in Cinderella at Bradford’s Alhambra Theatre, to Newcastle’s own Joe McElderry as Jiminy Cricket in the Theatre Royal’s Pinocchio, take your pick from our favourite pantos this year here. Can’t make it to your local theatre? Modern Films Family in partnership with BBC Studios Kids & Family, CBeebies and BBC Children in Need will be screening this year’s CBeebies Panto Robin Hood in cinemas across the North East and Yorkshire from 1st December.  

You bet…

Living North is hosting its second festive Living North Raceday on 14th December. Come along to Newcastle Racecourse and join us at our sensational seasonal day out and ease into the Christmas spirit with an entertaining afternoon of quality jump racing, and some festive hospitality. You can enter our competition to win tickets here – good luck, and see you there!

The Snowman

The best way to spread Christmas cheer…

… is singing loud for all to hear. So why not sing along to festive tunes with these two stars? Kate Rusby’s new Christmas album is released on 1st December and she’s stopping by York Barbican on the 7th to spread the festive spirit in the city. Make a day of it and head to the York St Nicholas Fair to continue your Christmas shopping. Leona Lewis is heading to Newcastle’s O2 City Hall on 5th December, then Sheffield City Hall the following day with an evening of Christmas classics and her greatest hits, so don’t miss out!

Go live…

What better way to watch one of your favourite Christmas films than accompanied by a live orchestra? The talented young musicians of Durham Music Youth Orchestra and Choir will be putting on three magical performances at Ushaw, alongside a screening of The Snowman on 9th December, and Home Alone In Concert is a must-see at Leeds’ First Direct Arena on 16th December.

Just the place…

Cathedrals and churches can be magical spaces to spend some time this Christmas. Royal Northern Sinfonia are heading on tour with festive nights by candlelight in the North’s most beautiful churches. As part of the Christmas at The Glasshouse series, the Sinfonia are in Durham for the first time on this tour on 4th December at Durham Cathedral, as well as in Sunderland, Berwick, Hexham, Darlington and Alnwick. All concerts are at 7.30pm during the first week of December, and Royal Northern Sinfonia will be performing pieces from 17th century masters J.S. Bach and Telemann alongside modern composers Huw Watkins and Eric Whitacre.

Disney on Ice

On ice…

Disney on Ice is on tour, in Sheffield today and until 3rd December, then in Newcastle from 6th–10th. Celebrate with Mickey and friends as Disney On Ice presents 100 Years of Wonder. See Mirabel and the stars of Encanto for the first time live on ice, bring back summer with Anna and Elsa, and sing and dance with your favourite Disney Princesses. Fancy taking to the ice yourself? Ice skating has become a festive tradition for all ages over recent years and there are a number of pop-up outdoor rinks across the North, from the Centre for Life ice rink and Rainton Arena Winter Wonderland to Winter Wonderland’s ice rink at York Designer Outlet, the Ice Cube in Leeds’ Millennium Square and Harrogate town centre rink. But get your skates on as they’re only temporary and won’t be around forever! 

Greatest Gifts…

December is a time for giving. Our guide to the perfect presents for, well, just about everyone, means you can get your gift buying wrapped up straight away. We've handpicked the best presents and provided plenty of gifting inspiration, so don’t miss our Christmas gift guide for 2023 here. Why not give a gift that lasts all year round, with a subscription to Living North magazine? And show your support for these local charities, who are helping others at the most wonderful (but often difficult) time of the year, by giving a gift that matters. 

Santa’s banta…

Chris and Rosie Ramsey are on tour with their new live show throughout December and although their Newcastle dates have unsurprisingly sold out, some tickets remain for their show at Leeds’ First Direct Arena on the 1st and their show at Sheffield’s Utilita Arena on the 8th. If you’re in need of a good laugh, these two are always a safe bet.

Christmas gingerbread roulade

Festive feast…

This December, Fenwick is collaborating with Greggs on a one-of-a-kind pop up at Fenwick Newcastle. Launching on 1st December, and running until New Year’s Eve, Bistro Greggs will be an all-day dining destination on the department store’s first floor, offering fine dining with dishes served under silver cloches – menu highlights include the Greggs Benedict. We like the sound of High Tea for two, where guests can enjoy a three-tier sharing brunch with Peach Melba, Yum Yum Bites paired with chocolate sauce and banana, alongside a Greggs Croissant, Pain au Chocolat and an iconic Sausage Roll and Sausage, Bean & Cheese Melt. Room for more? Bake Off may be over for another year, but we have plenty of baking inspo at to keep you going over the festive season. How about these melted snowman treats? Or this Christmas gingerbread roulade, perfect for the big day? Delicious!

Support this sports star…

Rugby legend Kevin Sinfield starts his incredible seven in seven in seven endurance event in Yorkshire on 1st December for MND. He will run seven ultra marathons (27.2 miles) in seven days in seven cities to raise awareness and money in support of people impacted by motor neurone disease, and his first run will be from Leeds to York. 

Book now…

It’s time to plan ahead. You may have missed out on Leeds Festival tickets today (congrats if you bagged yours), but tomorrow (Friday 1st) Girls Aloud are back and you’ll want to act fast to get tickets to see them in Newcastle and Leeds next year. Becky Hill has been confirmed as the first headliner for Hardwick Festival in August 2024 as it gears up for its 10th anniversary celebrations, and tickets for that go on sale tomorrow too!

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