This past Saturday, I spent the most festive of afternoons at a National Trust property enjoying my first Christmas market of the year. The smell of mulled wine scented the air and a rather jolly band of Santa’s playing classic Christmas tunes put a smile on shoppers’ faces! The stalls adorned with Christmas goodies brought inspiration to my gift list; and as if that wasn’t enough, I enjoyed a quirky nativity show last night, from a visiting theatre group at my sons’ school – slap stick humour at its best, with more mulled wine and a mince pie to finish the evening.
So I can say – hand on heart – that I am feeling very Christmassy at the moment, and I’m eager to share my festive excitement! For that reason, I’ve been taking a look at seasonal events taking place across Northumberland throughout December.
Christmas Markets and Fayres
Christmas markets are a great way to spend a day with friends and family. Not only are there many stalls with unique gifts, but entertainment for the kids, good food and (of course) mulled wine to provide a mellow glow inside and out; whether browsing or buying, you can’t help but soak up the atmosphere.
The Alnwick Garden is located in the heart of Northumberland. Alnwick itself is a traditional market town and the surrounding landscapes are rural, with several areas of outstanding natural beauty. This is the first year that Alnwick Garden has hosted a Christmas market; and it promises to be a knock-out. Little ones will enjoy the winter wonderland rides, parents can expect gorgeous gifts, and with tasty festive food and Baileys hot chocolate you can’t help but feel Christmas has arrived. Even better, it runs from 23rd November all the way to Christmas Eve and entry is free!
Woodhorn Museum & Archives are found near Ashington, a large town originally known as the largest mining village in the world. Woodhorn Museum recounts the town’s rich history inside its architecturally inspiring building. On Saturday 30 November and Sunday 1December, the focus is firmly on Christmas with a rather special Christmas Fayre taking place. You will find an array of local produce from arts and crafts to jewellery, beauty products, toys and pottery. There are craft sessions where little ones can make their own Christmas Decorations, and a lantern making workshop with a Lantern parade later in the day. Rumour has it the big man himself is going to put in an appearance!
Something Theatrical and Traditional Carols
For me and my family, a visit to the theatre at Christmas is a must; along with singing carols, of course.
Belsay Hall is a magnificent 19th-century country mansion, and where better to enjoy traditional Christmas carols and seasonal songs than in its library? Sing along with Ponteland Ladies Choir is an ideal opportunity to get into the Christmas spirit – it really doesn’t get any more festive than this. Performances take place on Saturday 7December and Sunday 8 December and tickets include entry to the hall, castle and gardens.
If you are in Alnwick during December and fancy some entertaining Christmas theatre, take a look at the Northumberland Theatre Company. Once Upon a Time in the North is a magical production that will be brought to life at the Alnwick Playhouse, providing fantastic fun theatre for all of the family.
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas in our house without the yearly Santa Special Train ride; it started for us with my eldest son’s love for Thomas the Tank Engine. Start yours this year at Heatherslaw Light Railway in Cornhill-on-Tweed, where you can visit Santa in his Grotto and enjoy seasonal mince pies and refreshments throughout December.
These are just a few of the things my family and I love to do at Christmas time; I hope that I have inspired some Christmassy ideas for yours. For a range of holiday accommodation across Northumberland visit HomeAway.co.uk. Whatever you do this Christmas, enjoy spending time with your family and friends, and have a fun and happy time all round!