Twinkling lights, the smell of spices and roasted chestnuts, excited young faces and a hint of magic in the air – a visit to Northumberland in the throes of the festive season is sure to ignite that special Christmas feeling.
From November through to the New Year, Northumberland offers up a remarkable array of festive events and experiences, catering for all ages. Kielder Winter Wonderland delights families with Father Christmas and festive activities aplenty, while Charlton Hall’s Christmas Soirées provide an adult alternative, with an elegant evening of food and dancing.
We’ve gathered together a selection of Northumberland’s best Christmas events where you’re sure to find sleigh-loads of mince pies and festive cheer!
This eagerly anticipated annual event is a special occasion in The Alnwick Garden’s calendar. The gardens are a magical backdrop for the market which brings together a variety of stalls selling inspiring gifts, perfect for picking up that unique present for a loved one. Shop to the tune of seasonal songs and live music, making it more than just a shopping experience, it will be an evening to remember.
Ashington Christmas Market and Light Switch-On
Running throughout the afternoon and early evening, this family-friendly Christmas market is as much about the festive spirit as it is about the shopping. Music, children’s rides, costumed characters and the jolly man in red himself entertain visitors with plenty of Christmas sparkle, while an eclectic mix of stalls sells food, crafts and gifts. The light switch on is the highlight of the event.
Beaumont Street is lined with a troupe of colourful stalls while the elegant abbey hosts yet more sellers; a beautiful setting for making a dent in your Christmas shopping. Peruse the 70 stalls with a glass of mulled wine in hand, stopping for an indulgent treat from one of the food stands and picking up all manner of unique gifts for your loved ones. Father Christmas’ reindeer also make an appearance in the park, making this an extra special experience for families.
This annual two-day spectacular won’t fail to delight both the young and not so young, with a variety of stalls, an array of entertainment and festive food, music and crafts in abundance! The fair admission fee also includes entry to the zoo, making it one of the more unique festive experiences on offer in Northumberland.
Hosted by the Ford and Etal Estate, Ford Christmas market promises a stunning selection of stalls selling locally made foods, gifts and crafts. To keep spirits high while shopping, there’s also a choice of street-food and refreshments, as well as a visit from Father Christmas and his donkeys (the reindeer are resting up for their big day). The stalls are all undercover, so even inclement weather can’t spoil the festive mood.
Combining late-night shopping with carol singing, a Christmas tree festival, street food, market stalls, and a visit from Santa Claus, the historic village of Corbridge comes alive for an evening of festive cheer.
A self-proclaimed festive adventure through the heart of Kielder Forest, this fantastic fairy tale family event is sure to evoke cheer in even the most stalwart of scrooges. The forest becomes a Christmas playground, where charming lodges nestle amongst the trees and creatures such as reindeer and woodland critters bring the experience to life. Father Christmas, Mrs Christmas and the Beavers can be found here too, with activities and adventures which include a forest kitchen.
Other elements to this magical event are a Christmas Theatre, an exhilarating snow tube experience, elves’ workshop and flying demonstrations at Kielder Water’s Birds of Prey Centre from Snowy Owl and friends.
A sparkling selection of activities are on offer at this family-friendly farm from the end of November right through to Christmas Eve. The resident Father Christmas and his elves are on hand to spread the festive cheer, and the winter wonderland enchants little ones with its glitz and magic. Rides on Santa’s tractor and trailer add another element to the experience, and you can visit the farm animals at home in their Christmas stables. As if that weren’t enough, families can also enjoy the adventure playground, soft play area, panning for gold, go-karts and refreshments in the café.
Belsay Hall and Gardens invites visitors to immerse themselves in a magical fairy-tale world, guided by festive lights through the wonderful grounds. The themed experience will delight children and adults alike, with mulled wine and toasted marshmallows to keep you warm through the evening.
Enjoy a wander through the glorious Alnwick Garden at night, illuminated by the Christmas lights which fill your heart with a joyful spirit. The Garden prides itself on its accessibility, with smooth surfaces, accessible toilets and experiences such as the rope bridges of the Treehouse suitable for wheelchairs.
A decadent menu of exquisite dishes is served up to guests in the beautiful surroundings of the festively decorated Charlton Hall. Choose from a selection of dates throughout September and enjoy an elegant evening of fine dining followed by a live DJ set.
Vallum Farm near Newcastle has a whole host of festive events on offer, from breakfast with Father Christmas followed by a tractor ride around the farm, to festive Fridays with a feast in their restaurant. The Christmas Market is a highlight and a great chance to tick some things off your Christmas shopping list during November.
New Year’s Eve
Tar Barl Festival
Even when Christmas has been and gone, the excitement doesn’t have to end. Allendale’s Tar Barl Festival is a sight to behold, with 45 costumed men carting hauling whiskey barrels filled with burning tar through the town. Culminating at midnight in the town centre, the barrels are flung on a ceremonial bonfire – exhilarating for viewers and participants alike!
Stay in Northumberland for the festive season
On a crisp winter night with magic in the air, what could be cosier than curling up in one of our beautiful Northumberland cottages, hot chocolate in hand and heart full of festive cheer? Features such as wood burners and hot tubs enhance your winter getaway and get you in the spirit for the celebrations to come. Don’t miss out, our Christmas cottages in Northumberland are popular, so pick your perfect festive break today.