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, Christmas in Northumberland offers up a remarkable array of festive events and experiences, catering for all ages. We’ve gathered together a selection of Northumberland’s best Christmas events where you’re sure to find sleigh-loads of fun.
And we’ve also listed some suggestions for New Year’s Eve, so you can welcome in 2024 in true Northumberland style.
Christmas markets in Northumberland
Christmas Fair at Belsay Hall
When: 25 and 26 November 2023
Get into the festive spirit with a visit to Belsay Hall’s Christmas fair where you’ll find a wide range of Christmas gifts at the stalls of specialist makers, all within the setting of Belsay’s stunning Greek Revival-style hall. Not only that, but young ones can enjoy stories with Father Christmas at Belsay Hall during December.
Hexham Christmas Market
When: 9 December 2023
Hexham Abbey’s cloister lawn provides the perfect location for Hexham Christmas Market. Browse the 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. Indoor stalls can also be found in the priory buildings of the abbey, while the main building is the setting for the abbey’s festive fair.
Ford and Etal Christmas Market
When: 25 and 26 November 2023
Visitors to Ford and Etal Christmas Market can expect a range of 70 stalls packed with gifts, crafts, sweet treats and so much more. This year, the market is based in Ford, Etal and Heatherslaw, with a vintage double-decker bus running between the sites. You could also enjoy a ride on the Heatherslaw Light Railway. The seasonal entertainment on offer includes storytelling sessions.
Winter wonderlands in Northumberland
Kielder Winter Wonderland
When: Various dates between 19 November and 23 December 2023
During Kielder Winter Wonderland, the forest becomes a Christmas playground, where charming lodges nestle amongst the trees and reindeer and woodland critters bring the experience to life. Father Christmas, Mrs Christmas and the Beavers can be found here too. Magical events include a Christmas theatre, an exhilarating snow tube experience, an elves’ workshop and flying demonstrations at Kielder Water’s Birds of Prey Centre from Snowy Owl and friends.
Whitehouse Farm Santa's Enchanted Elf Journey
When: Various dates between 25 November and 24 December 2023
A sparkling selection of activities is on offer at Whitehouse Farm. The resident Father Christmas and his elves are on hand to spread the festive cheer, and the beautiful 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. There’s also the chance to enrol in Elf School and enjoy an interactive show.
Festive events in Northumberland
Christmas at Wallington
When: 1 December – 23 December 2023
There is plenty to enchant everyone during Christmas at Wallington. The house itself is a festive feast for the senses – the focal point being the stunning Central Hall Christmas tree. Father Christmas will be around to greet visitors and Mrs Christmas will be holding storytelling sessions. Not only that, but there are Christmas craft workshops and seasonal afternoon teas on offer as well.
The Christmas Kingdom at Bamburgh Castle
When: 11 November 2023 – 7 January 2024
Northumberland’s myths and legends are the inspiration for this year’s Christmas Kingdom at Bamburgh Castle. It’s the chance to encounter fantastical creatures including mermaids and selkies and the whole experience is sprinkled with fairy magic. To add that extra touch, why not book a meet and greet with Father Christmas himself?
Alnwick Garden Winter Light Trail and Lilidorei
When: 13 November – 7 January 2023
Enjoy a wander through the glorious Alnwick Garden Winter Light Trail, illuminated by the Christmas lights that fill your heart with a joyful spirit. This is the perfect time of year to visit the magical kingdom of Lilidorei, which comes alive with festive activities. We’ve heard Father Christmas is going to be there too!
Where to enjoy a Christmas dinner in Northumberland
The Amble Inn
Christmas is a wonderful time of year to visit The Amble Inn. As well as offering a mouthwatering three-course carvery for Christmas Day, the pub is hosting Breakfast with Santa on 9 and 16 December, where you can meet the man of the moment and each child gets a gift. Add a Christmas band night and a New Year’s Eve party and that’s the festive season all wrapped up!
The Snowy Owl
Celebrate Christmas in style at The Snowy Owl, where there are plenty of opportunities to sit down for a delicious festive feed-up with family and friends. A seasonal menu is available throughout December (excluding Christmas Day and Boxing Day), alongside special offerings on Christmas Eve, the big day itself, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day – and brunch with Santa.
The Joiners Arms
This five-star luxury inn welcomes you to enjoy a memorable Christmas meal with your loved ones. Located in Newton-by-the-Sea, it has gorgeous views and wonderful winter walks from the door. Visit the website for more information, including the chance to have breakfast with Santa.
This is the perfect spot to indulge yourself this Christmas, with lovely food and drink to make your festive break extra special. Reception rooms with log fires, an elegant dining room, a trendy bar, and a festive fizz on arrival – what more could you want for a merry lunch? View the full menu here.
New Year’s Eve events in Northumberland
Hedgehog Skin’s New Year’s Eve Party
Allendale Village Hall is the place to be on 31 December. Doors open at 6.45pm for a New Year’s Eve ceilidh presented by Allen Valleys Folk Festival. Come ready to dance the evening away. The ticket price of £30 includes supper. Everything is timed so that guests can head to the Tar Bar’l celebrations (see below) at the end of the night to see in 2024 in unique style.
Allendale Tar Bar’l
Steeped in history, Allendale Tar Bar’l is a magnificent way to welcome in the new year. Watch as 45 men in fancy dress carry whiskey barrels filled with hot tar through the streets of Allendale. The fun begins around 11pm but head to the town earlier in the evening for music and merriment ahead of the main event. At midnight, the barrels are used to light the ceremonial bar’l fire.
New Year’s Eve at Adam and Eve
If you’re planning a few festive days away in Alnwick, we recommend booking a New Year’s Eve meal at Adam and Eve. Tantalise those taste buds and raise a glass to the year just gone and the year to come. There will be canapes and cocktails on arrival, before a three-course meal and live music. Check out the New Year’s Eve menu then make that reservation.
New Year’s Eve family party at Slaley Hall
Looking for a family-friendly way to see in the new year? Slaley Hall has you covered, with a New Year’s Eve family party involving a buffet, plenty of dancing and fireworks at midnight. Children aged 4 and under eat for free. To find out more about the wonderful evening, contact the hotel.
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.
Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing,
please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.