FESTIVE ADULTS ICE SKATING
13 & 20 December, £17 per person
This year, Wynyard Hall is giving the grown-ups a chance to let loose and tap in to their inner kid – with a bit of adults-only ice skating! Get your boots on and enjoy a 45-minute skating session, followed by hot roast buns and glass of mulled wine to warm you up.
Also worth checking out… its Royal Northern Sinfonia Christmas Concert on 12 December. A string ensemble will play everyone’s seasonal favourites – prepare to feel all warm and fuzzy inside! £25 per person.
THE CHRISTMAS LIGHT SHOW
14 – 23 December, £7.95 per person
With a jam-packed festive calendar year after year, the folk at The Alnwick Garden know a thing or two about excitement-filled Christmassy events. And new for 2018, they’re giving families the chance to visit after-dark to see their new, dazzling light show. It’s a self-guided event, meaning you can visit whenever you like – from 4.30pm weekdays (last entry 8pm) and from 6.30pm at the weekend (last entry 9pm). Time to get twinkly!
Also worth checking out… The Winter Trail and Crafts. Embark on this free Christmassy self-guided, magical stroll around The Garden in search of clues left by Santa’s clever elves. From 17 November – 24 December.
MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET MUSICAL
7 – 20 December, from £10.10 per person
Settle in as Stockton Riverside College’s musical theatre students bring this festive favourite to the stage. Featuring top festive tunes, such as It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas, magical effects and live dance numbers, the musical extravaganza promises heartwarming family entertainment from start to finish.
Also worth checking out… its Make Your Own Gingerbread House Tea Light Holder workshop on 17 November. Enjoy a cool crafty experience, during which you’ll learn all the basic tools to help you create your very own twinkly masterpiece. £17 per person.
EDIBLE GIFTS WORKSHOP
SWINTON COOKERY SCHOOL
13 December, from £85 per person
Foodies will love this Christmassy cooking class, led by Kevin Hughes – the talented and passionate head chef behind Swinton Cookery School, on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales. Open to all ages and abilities, this one gives guests a chance to make their very own tasty presents, from edible tree decorations, to festive biscuits, chutneys and more.
Also worth checking out… its New Year’s Eve Dinner Planning full day course on 15 December. Learn how to make dinner party-worthy nibbles and dishes, guaranteed to wow your guests. £160 per person.
HOME ALONE IN CONCERT WITH ROYAL NORTHERN SINFONIA
25 November, from £16.50 per person
See cult Christmas movie, Home Alone, starring cheeky kids’ star Macaulay Culkin, on the big screen, with John Williams’s Academy Award-nominated score, performed live by Royal Northern Sinfonia. A must-see for music lovers, film lovers and families. Merry Christmas ya filthy animals!
Also worth checking out… A Jazzy Christmas on 21 December. A group of super-duper talented musicians, including vocalists, saxophonists, violinists, bassists and drummers, return with their own funky arrangements of everyone’s festive favourites. £15.30 per person.
FESTIVE COCKTAIL MASTERCLASS
THE CLEVELAND TONTINE
14 December, £44.95 per person
Brush up on your mixing and muddling skills at this fun, laid-back cocktail-making class. With the help of the Tontine’s expert team of alchemists, you’ll learn how to make three of the latest yuletide creations, paired with a selection of Yorkshire tapas dishes, followed by a two-course festive dinner.
Also worth checking out… its Festive Slingsby Gin Evening on 7 December. Gin-lovers will learn how to make three Christmas-inspired cocktails using Slingsby gin and perfectly-paired tonics and botanicals. £25 per person.
IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE – CHRISTMAS NIGHT OF CHEER
22 December, £30 per person
It’s the festive tearjerker that has everyone reaching for the tissues this time of year – and it’s back at Tyneside Cinema for 2018. James Stewart steps into the shoes of frustrated businessman, George Bailey, whose life seems hopeless until a loveable angel arrives on earth to show him how much his life is worth living. Enjoy a special screening of this feel-good flick, followed by an exclusive after-party, with festive drinks on arrival and live jazz.
Also worth checking out… A one-off screening of White Christmas – the classic festive musical, starring Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney – on 20 December. Something different, yet still heartwarming, for those who’ve seen It’s a Wonderful Life a million times! From £8.75 per person.
CHRISTMAS PARTY NIGHTS
PARLOUR AT BLAGDON
30 November and 1, 15 & 21 December, £27 per person
Enjoy a knees-up at the always-cute-and-cosy Parlour at Blagdon – a modern day gingerbread house in Northumberland! Eat, drink and be merry with the help of festive welcome drinks, a three-course feast, complete with crackers and party hats, followed by live music, a Christmassy disco and cocktails ’til the clock strives twelve.
Also worth checking out… its Festive Afternoon Tea offering, available from 26 November. Think turkey and cranberry jam sliders, cinnamon and sultana scones, mini mince pies and cherry and mixed nut Christmas cake. £28 for two people.
THE BOWES MUSEUM
14, 15 & 16 December, £5 per adult, £2.50 per child
Surround yourself with all things twinkly, crafty and delicious at The Bowes’ annual festive market. Around 100 vendors are expected to attend this year’s event, selling all kinds of festive delights, from artisan pies, breads and cheese, to handmade decorations, jewellery, candles and more. Shop ’til you drop while sipping the mulled stuff and listening to the smooth seasonal sounds from local bands and choirs. Kids, meanwhile, can enjoy fairground ride fun and children’s crafts, before snacking on hot Belgian waffles and other sweet treats.
Also worth checking out… The man himself, Mr Claus, in his workshop. Book up now and take tots to see him between 14-16 December for £10, which includes a special Christmas gift.
TRADITIONAL CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL
30 November – 2 December, free
Durham’s oh-so popular Christmas festival brings the feel-good factor year after year. Get wrapped up warm and mooch the countless Christmassy stalls, selling all kinds of festive treats and gifts for the whole family. Topped off with live entertainment, mulled wine and sweet treats for all, prepare to be swept up in plenty of festive hype and cheer.
Also worth checking out… The Christmas at Beamish Launch Parade at Beamish on 17 November. Watch as Mr and Mrs Claus lead a festive procession of vintage vehicles, huskies and marching bands through the 1900s town, marking the beginning of the Christmas period at Beamish. £19 per adult, £11 per child.
SANTA ON THE ROOFTOP
3 November – 24 December, £11.50 per person
This Christmas, Fenwick is treating the people of Newcastle to an immersive festive experience, taking them on a winter wonderland journey high above the city. Escorted by Santa’s helpers, customers and their young ones will be taken on the elf express, through an enchanted forest, up to Fenwick’s rooftop, where they’ll be able to meet Santa in his log cabin. Make special Christmas wishes on your way through secret doors and put your names on Santa’s nice list before relaxing in Cafe Claus with hot chocolate and mulled wine.
Also worth checking out… Santa’s Rooftop Cinema from 3 November – 22December. A chance to see all your favourite festive flicks, including Miracle on 34th Street, Love Actually and The Holiday.
BREAKFAST WITH SANTA
THE COUNTY HOTEL
8, 15, 22 & 24 December, £10.95 per adult, £6.95 per child (0-12), under-3s go free
Treat the little ones to a morning date with Santa, before he embarks on his annual worldwide trip. Tuck in to a Christmassy buffet, including festive fry-ups, waffles and pancakes, yogurt, fresh fruit and toast. Young ones will leave with a present from the big man himself, while adults will be treated to copious amounts of tea and coffee!
Also worth checking out… Newcastle’s International Christmas Market, from 16 November – 16 December. A free, month-long celebration of Christmassy cuisine from all over the globe. Sip the mulled stuff and eat the good (traditional) stuff!