Auckland Castle, Bishop Auckland
17, 18 & 19 NOVEMBER
Auckland Castle’s formal garden is transformed into a festive shopper’s haven this November, as the venue’s popular Christmas market returns for 2017. More than 40 local foodie producers and artisan craftspeople will be showing off their stuff – so it’s a prime spot to nab yourselves some gorgeous gifts. Shop ’til you drop, picking up speciality, seasonal foods, from gingerbread to handmade chocolates, jewellery, festive decorations and trinkets and more, while festive tunes fill the air. Definitely worth a visit.
NEWCASTLE INTERNATIONAL CHRISTMAS MARKET
17 NOVEMBER – 10 DECEMBER
The Toon’s tasty favourite festive market returns, filling the city’s crisp, wintry air with sweet aromas and spoiling shoppers with mouthwatering treats. With over 50 traders selling everything from Christmassy churros and roast ham burgers, to mulled wine and spectacular stollen, it gives foodies and hungry shoppers a chance to sample festive bites from around the globe – plus shop for quirky handmade gifts and trinkets. We can never resist a wooden reindeer!
THE TREEHOUSE, THE ALNWICK GARDEN
Denwick Lane, Alnwick
AVAILABLE FROM 25 NOVEMBER
The Alnwick Garden’s twinkly Treehouse Restaurant is a must-visit if you’re a fan of dining high in grotto-like surroundings (who doesn’t?). Make your way up through wooden walkways, find a table by the roaring log fire and dig in to a mouthwatering winter-inspired menu.
Order this: Local game terrine with Alnwick ale chutney and toasted sourdough for starters, roasted lamb rump with dauphinoise potatoes, pancetta sautéed cabbage and redcurrant jus for mains and individual caramel yule log with Lindisfarne toffee liqueur sauce for pud.
CHRISTMAS ALL WRAPPED UP
Malton Cookery School
1, 2 & 3 DECEMBER
Your turn to cook this year? If so, get your practise in at one of Malton’s fabulously festive cookery classes, during which you’ll prepare a feast for six, led by one of the school’s specialist chefs. Learn how to slow-cook the juiciest turkey, make your own stuffing, trim and chop and glaze your trimmings and bake the sweetest treats, ready for the big day. You’ll be treated to lunch while your pots and pans do their thing and leave with easy-to-follow recipe cards and shopping lists to get you inspired.
£170 per person, maltoncookeryschool.co.uk
FESTIVE AFTERNOON TEA
Walwick Hall, Northumberland
1 – 31 DECEMBER
‘Tis the season to indulge and what better way to spend a chilly December afternoon than cosying up with a spot of Christmas-inspired Afternoon Tea. Take in the (hopefully snowy) views from Walkwick’s grand Drawing Room while tastefully stuffing your chops with festive treats. They’re swapping cucumber sarnies for smoked turkey and honey roast ham with festive chutney and tangerine creme fraiche and spoiling us with sweet treats packed a-plenty with festive flavour. Think clementine and pomegranate cake, Christmas crumble tarts and apple and cinnamon scones.
£19.95 per person, walwickhall.com
VERY HYGGE CHRISTMAS SPA DAY
Rockliffe Hall, County Durham
FROM 1 NOVEMBER – 22 DECEMBER (Monday – Friday)
Taking inspiration from those oh-so chilled-out Danes and their love of all things ‘hygge’, the team at Rockliffe Spa has created a super cosy spa day especially for the festive season. Sip
on steaming mugs of hot chocolate on arrival, get toasty in the award-winning spa, tuck in to a Christmas-inspired two-course lunch and finish with a soothing 60-minute wellbeing-boosting treatment from Neom. Oh, and if you upgrade to a 90-minute ritual, you’ll be given the smash-hit book, The Little Book of Hygge, as a little Christmas gift.
GATSBY INSPIRED DINING & DANCING
The Vermont Hotel, Newcastle
2, 9 & 16 DECEMBER
Step back in time and celebrate the most wonderful time of the year the right way – just like the folk did back in Hollywood’s golden era. The Vermont Hotel know how to throw a party and their sparkling, Gatsby-inspired shindigs promise to be packed with a whole lot of vintage merriment and mischief. Dance the night away to jazzy tunes from the roaring twenties and tuck into a specially-prepared festive feast. Think Christmassy canapés and cocktails, grand platters of butter-roasted turkey with apricot and sage stuffing and all the trimmings, homemade Christmas pud with mixed spice butter and warm mince pies.
£79 per person, vermont-hotel.com
MINCE PIES AND MULLED WINE WANDER
Fancy a festive ramble? Keen walkers with a love for festive flavours are invited to enjoy a warming winter stroll along Durham’s coast this December, guided by an experienced ranger. Wrap up and wander along the beach from Nose’s Point to Hawthorn Hive, before stopping for well-deserved break, filled with mulled wine and fresh mince pies to warm your cockles. You’ll then head back along the cliff-tops, taking in the wintery views.