Your go-to guide for festive food and gifts
Christmas markets are that ideal place for a day out and to get that extra-special present or ingredients for your festive feast. Here, Nick Sundin finds out about the best markets in the North East.
The Alnwick Garden: Alnwick, Northumberland NE66 1YU, weekends between November 19-December 22, https://alnwickgarden.com/?events=christmas-market
The already delightful Alnwick Garden should be even more so with its market showcasing Northumberland’s finest produce. Seasonal music and singing should enliven the market even further. The gardens stay open during winter, making the day out a must-do.
Opening times: gardens 10am-4pm, market 10.30am-5pm in the garden shop.
Kirkley Hall: Kirkley Drive, Ponteland NE20 0AQ, November 19-20, http://www.kirkleyhall.co.uk/events/2016-kirkley-hall-christmas-fair
This splendid 17th-century house set in the Northumberland countryside eight miles from Newcastle has a Christmas fair on November 19-20. Various local crafts and food stalls, including a hog roast and Santa’s grotto, will keep all ages entertained.
Opening times: 10am-4pm, admission £5 per person including entry into the Kirkley Hall Zoological Gardens. List of stallholders can be found at the above web address.
Newcastle: Monument Square, NE1 5AF, November 18-December 18, https://www.newcastle.gov.uk/business/newcastle-markets/christmas-markets-newcastle
The continental Christmas market returns to Monument Square, with gifts and crafts, as well as foods such as German currywurst, Spanish paella, and Dutch waffles. A second market runs from December 14-18, featuring goods and foods from closer to home, including microbreweries and homemade preserves.
Sunderland: Keel Square, SR1 3DZ, November 26-December 24, http://www.seeitdoitsunderland.co.uk/christmas-market
There’s an ice rink, Christmas market, and food stalls selling bratwurst and mulled wine. The Frost Village, featuring a funfair for younger visitors, is sure to create a winter wonderland in the city centre.
Durham: Marketplace, Durham DH1 3NJ, December 2-4, http://www.thisisdurham.com/whats-on/durham-citys-traditional-christmas-festival-p763321
The Traditional Christmas Festival has events at the cathedral, castle, marketplace and market hall. Festivities will include themed market stalls, a covered market outside the cathedral, and a giant Christmas tree in the marketplace.
Opening times: Friday, 10am-6pm; Saturday, 9am-6pm; Sunday, 10am-4.30pm.
York: Shambles Market, YO1 8RY, November 17-December 23, http://www.visityork.org/christmas
The Christmas market is joined by an ice trail (December 10-11) and several events taking advantage of York’s historic past. The market has cocktails as well as mulled wine and chocolate, and A Christmas Mystery is the theme for York Castle in December. York’s always a great one for festive atmosphere.
Harrogate: St Mary’s Walk, HG1 2RZ, November 17-20, http://www.harrogatechristmasmarket.org/
This historic spa town hosts an extensive Christmas market, with more than 200 stalls lining the streets, with everything from Yorkshire chutney to real reindeer, and a funfair to keep the kids happy. There are a craft and gift marquee, plus a food and drinks tent. The Christmas lights will also be switched on from 4pm on the opening day, at the Victoria Shopping Centre (HG1 1AE).
Opening times: 10am-8pm on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, 10am-5pm on Sunday.
Country Living magazine is also holding a Christmas fair from the December 1-4, for more information, http://www.yorkshire.com/view/events/harrogate/country-living-magazine-harrogate-christmas-fair-2052023.
Knaresborough: Marketplace, HG5 8AG, December 3-4, http://knaresboroughchristmasmarket.co.uk/
Knaresborough has a market tradition stretching back to Norman times, and that is reflected in the setting of this year’s Christmas market. Explore the cobbled marketplace to find mulled wine and fresh mince pies, as well as a hog roast and many independent local traders.
Richmond: Market Place, DL10 4QL, December 4. http://www.richmond.org/community/page.php?groupId=46
Richmond’s market features fairground rides, seasonal arts and crafts, and plenty of local artisan food and drink. Christmas shopping should also be a doddle with a variety of market stalls returning from last year’s successful community-run event. For the kids, Father Christmas will be present!
Opening times: 10am-4pm.
Ripon: Ripon Cathedral, Minster Road, HG4 1QS, November 26, http://www.discoverripon.org/events/christmas-gift-and-food-fair-3.html
Ripon Cathedral is the spectacular venue for the popular Christmas fair, which sees more than 100 stalls offering gifts, food, and much more. The market is being held in the nave.
Opening times: 10am-4.30pm, tickets are £2.50 per person, available on the door.