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Beamish Museum’s traditional Christmas celebrations

Festive music around the tree. Picture; Beamish Museum
Festive music around the tree. Picture; Beamish Museum

Santa kicks off his festive events at County Durham treasure

Father Christmas will arrive at Beamish, The Living Museum of the North on Saturday, November 16 in a magnificent grand parade.

From steam engines to sleighs, camels to classic cars, brass bands to buses and huskies to horse-drawn carriages, the festive procession signals the start of Christmas at Beamish 2019, which runs until Christmas Eve.

The real ice rink. Picture; Beamish Museum
The real ice rink. Picture; Beamish Museum

The parade celebrates Beamish events throughout the year and starts at 1pm from Pockerley Waggonway, through The 1900s Town to The Fairground, where Father Christmas will lead the countdown to the Christmas tree lights switch-on. He will then take up residence in his Grotto at Pockerley Waggonway.

Parade of vintage vehicles

Father Christmas’s sleigh will be pulled by a steam traction engine, while Mrs Claus will have a husky-drawn sleigh. Fire engines, camels, period vehicles, horse-drawn carriages, cars from the North of England Classic & Pre-War Automobiles Motoring Club, a miners’ banner and members of the Old 68th Durham Light Infantry Society re-enactment group will also be taking part.

Seasonal shopping! Picture; Beamish Museum
Seasonal shopping! Picture; Beamish Museum

Friends of Beamish will be riding cycles and motorcycles and driving their SOS bus, which featured in the recent Downton Abbey movie that was filmed at the museum.

Music will be provided by the Borneo Band, Off Key Music, Beamish Brass Band, Beamish Choir and Newton Aycliffe Pipe Band. Dunston Silver Band and the Silver Wind Band will also be performing on the day. 

Cosy Christmas traditions. Picture; Beamish Museum
Cosy Christmas traditions. Picture; Beamish Museum

Festive celebrations from 4 time periods

Visitors will be able to discover festive celebrations from the Georgian, Edwardian, 1940s and, for the first time, 1950s periods. See traditional decorations, enjoy festive food and drink and try Christmas crafts. 

Visitors can see Father Christmas in his Grotto, meet his reindeer, take a spin on the real ice rink at The Fairground and browse the stalls at the Christmas Bazaar in The 1900s Town park.

Fun for all the family. Picture; Beamish Museum
Fun for all the family. Picture; Beamish Museum

Paul Foster, Beamish’s Historic Events Officer, said: “We’re really excited for the arrival of Father Christmas at the museum in a grand parade to celebrate the launch of Christmas at Beamish 2019.” 

Opening hours and Twelfth Night Celebrations

Christmas at Beamish runs daily from 10am to 4pm (last admission 3pm).

Making 1940s decorations. Picture; Beamish Museum
Making 1940s decorations. Picture; Beamish Museum

The festivities will continue after Christmas with Beamish’s Twelfth Night Celebrations from December 27 to January 5, when visitors can enjoy traditional pantomime, music, dancing, food and first-footing (closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day).

Christmas at Beamish daytimes and Twelfth Night Celebrations are included in admission and are free for Unlimited Pass holders and Friends of Beamish members. A small extra charge applies for the Grotto, ice rink and fairground. For more information, visit www.beamish.org.uk.

The Christmas bazaar. Picture; Beamish Museum
The Christmas bazaar. Picture; Beamish Museum
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Mandy Watson is a freelance journalist and an incurable plantaholic. MandyCanUDigIt grew from the tiny seed of a Twitter account into the rainforest of information you see before you. Gardening columnist for the Sunderland Echo, Shields Gazette and Hartlepool Mail and editor of the Teesdale Mercury Magazine. Attracted by anything rebellious, exotic and nerdy, even after all these years. Passionate about northern England and gardens everywhere. Falls over a lot.

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