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    Festival Events


Please find below a list of markets and events taking place in Durham over the weekend of Durham Christmas Festival 2016.


Entertainment details are correct to the best of our knowledge, however we reserve the right to alter the schedule without notice.  Please note this page will be regularly updated.


Click here for Friday's entertainment guide - please note, this could be subject to change without notice.

Click here for Saturday's entertainment guide - please note, this could be subject to change without notice.

Click here for Sunday's entertainment guide - please note, this could be subject to change without notice.

2 xf 2015 - craft and gift marquee



Craft and Gift Marquee on Palace Green

The hugely successful Craft & Gift Marquee on Palace Green features over 185 stalls selling a wide variety of gifts, perfect for Christmas presents.


Friday 2nd December: 10am - 6pm

Saturday 3rd December: 9am - 6pm

Sunday 4th December: 10am - 4:30pm


Palace Green, between the Cathedral and Castle


Tickets for the Craft & Gift Marquee cost £3.00 on Friday 2nd December and £4.00 per person on Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th December. Accompanied children under 16 can attend for free.

Please note, no dogs are allowed into the Craft and Gift Marquee, except for Assistance Dogs.













Regional Food Producers' Market

Locally sourced, high-quality food and drink on offer from over 30 producers in the atmospheric surroundings of the Cathedral Cloisters.


Friday 2nd December: 10am - 5pm

Saturday 3rd December: 9am - 5pm

Sunday 4th December: 12pm – 4.30pm













Durham Market Hall

Durham Market Hall is open on Friday 2nd and Saturday 3rd December from 9am till 5pm, and on Sunday 4th December from 9.30am to 4.30pm. The perfect place to warm up, grab a coffee and a bite to eat and browse over 50 varied stalls by quality local independent retailers.


Durham Market Hall, Market Place 













Festive Outdoor Markets

Throughout the Christmas Festival there will be a Festive Outdoor Market in Durham Market Place, with independent local traders supplying food, drink, gifts, clothes and homewares. 

Friday 2nd and Saturday 3rd from 9am to 4pm, and on Sunday 4th from 10am to 4pm.


A second Festive Outoor Market with a range of stalls and season entertainment will be running in Millennium Place, infront of the Gala Theatre. 

Friday 2nd from 10am to 8pm, Saturday 3rd from 9am to 8pm and Sunday 4th from 10am to 4pm.




Carols for All

Short services of favourite carols and readings.


Saturday 3rd December at 11am and 2pm, and Sunday 4th December at 2pm.

Durham Cathedral




Durham Cathedral Choristers at Christmas Concert

An afternoon carol concert performed by the Durham Cathedral Choristers - a unique and truly festive experience in the Nave of Durham Cathedral.  Hear traditional carols and choral music, and join in to sing a few festive favourites.


£10 per person.  Tickets available from Durham Cathedral Visitor Desk, either in advance or on the day.


Friday 2nd December, 2.30pm

Durham Cathedral Nave



1 xf 2015 lantern procession












St Nicholas Children's Lantern Procession

The annual festive lantern procession, which takes place on the Saturday afternoon of the Festival, meets in the Market Place for 3:45pm and progresses up to Palace Green in time for the St Nicholas Service at the Cathedral at 4:10pm.


Alfie Joey from BBC Newcastle Breakfast Show will be in the Market Place getting everyone ready for the Lantern Parade, and then leading it up to the Cathedral.  


Reservations of lanterns have now closed.  If you have reserved a lantern/ lanterns, you will have received an Eventbrite ticket.  Please bring this to the table in the Market Place (alongside the small marquee) to collect your lantern (s).  Lanterns can be collected from2.30pm.  


Even if you do not have a lantern, please turn up on the day and join the procession from the Market Place to Palace Green and the Cathedral.  There is a short children's service afterwards in the Cathedral at 4:10pm.  Following the St Nicholas Service, there will be a fire eating display on Palace Green.


Please note: We will no longer be sending out vouchers shortly before the event.



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Family entertainment by Nathan White of Lunatricks

Nathan gives amusing and entertaining performances suitable for all ages, including fire juggling, unicycle riding, magic, balloon modelling and more.


Various times throughout the day on both Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th, including his 'Fire Show' on Saturday 3rd at approximately 4.45pm as the children and their families exit the St Nicholas Service in Durham Cathedral.


Palace Green



christmas show and tell

Durham Cathedral Refectory Library Show and Tell - Christmas

A rare opportunity to view a selectionof manuscripts and printed books, dating from the 14th Century onwards, which explore Christmas traditions.  Discover more about the worship, music, food and general merriment that mark our annual Christmas celebrations - in the stunning surroundings of Durham Cathedral's Refectory Library.


Tickets £5 (concessions £4.50) are available from Durham World Heritage Site Visitor Centre (tel 0191 334 3805).  Tickets can be bought in advance, or on the day, subject to availability.


Saturday 3rd December, 2 to 3pm and 3.30 to 4.30pm


Durham Cathedral


open treasure

Open Treasure

Visit the world-class visitor experience at the heart of Durham Cathedral.  Journey through the most intact surviving set of medieval monastic buildings in the UK, and discover 2000 years of history.


Visitors can also enjoy Textiles: Painting with the Needle, the current Open Treasure spotlight exhibition in the Collections Gallery, featuring the finest church needlework from the last 1,100 years.  To complement the Cathedral's historic collection, a modern tapestry by Grayson Perry, titled Death of a Working Hero, is also on display in the Monk's Dormitory.


Opening times: Friday and Saturday 10am to 5pm, Sunday 12.30 to 5pm (last entry each day 4pm).  Tickets range from £2.50 to £7.50 (under 5s are free), available from the Visitor Desk in the Cathedral and in advance from


Durham Cathedral




police interceptors (2)

Police Interceptors 

Some of the team from Channel 5's Police Interceptors will be at the Festival on Palace Green on Saturday December 3rd.


Palace Green




Static Falconry Display

A wonderful static falconry display provided by Ridgeside Falconry.


Friday 2nd Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th December


'Children's Corner', Palace Green, between the Cathedral and the Castle



Festive Tile Painting for Children

The popular painting workshop for children with Kirsty Falcus returns this year on both Saturday and Sunday.  Find it behind the main Craft and Gift marquee.  Please note, some activities may have a small charge.


'Children's Corner', Palace Green, between the Cathedral and the Castle



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Costumed Characters

The kids' favourite 'Costumed Characters' will be joining us in 'Children's Corner' on Palace Green on Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th December.


'Children's Corner', Palace Green, between the Cathedral and the Castle



whs crafts











Children's Arts and Crafts in the World Heritage Site Visitor Centre

Free arts and crafts activities for children take place from 10am to 4pm on both Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th December.


World Heritage Site Visitor Centre, Owengate, leading onto Palace Green














Seven Stories Armchair Journey
Seven Stories, the National Centre for Children's Books, based in Newcastle's Ouseburn Valley, will be sharing festive stories old and new to enthrall younger festival visitors.

Find them in the Pemberton Rooms on Palace Green on Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th December 2015.

Drop in for Storytelling between 10am and 4pm on Saturday 3rd, and Sunday 4th.


Face Painting
Face painting for children will be available in the Pemberton Rooms on Palace Green on Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th December 2015.

Drop in between 10am and 4pm on Saturday 3rd, and Sunday 4th.












Tours of Durham Castle

Take a tour around Durham's historic Castle, now home to University College, part of Durham University, on Friday 2nd, Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th December.  Tours last up to 1 hour, and will take place at 1.15pm, 2.15pm, 3.15pm and 4.15pm on each day of the Christmas Festival.  Ticket prices are £5 for adults, £4 for children and over 60s, infants are free and family tickets (2 adults and 3 children) are £15.

Mulled Wine and Mince Pie Tours

On Saturday 3rd December, there will be additional tours which conclude with mince pies and mulled wine (or hot chocolate) in the Castle's Senate Suite, surrounded by 17th Century Tapestries.  These unique tours will take place at 1.30pm and 3.30pm.  Places on these tours are limited and should be booked in advance by calling 0191 334 2932.  Prices are £10 for adults, £9 for concessions (Senior Citizens, Students and Children up to 16), £24 for a family ticket (2 adults and 3 children).  Group rates are available.


Tickets can be purchased at Palace Green Library or by calling 0191 334 2932.




Palace Green Library Exhibitions


There are a number of ongoing exhibitions in Palace Green Library, all of which are free.


'The best words in the best order' - Poetry in Durham and the North East

This exhibition is influenced by the Northern Poetry Library and Palace Green Library collections.  Beginning in 2015, six working poets spent time amount the shelves of the Northern Poetry Library creationg new poems inspired by the collection. Come discover contemporary poetry from the North East - and write your own poem?

Open from 10am to 5pm daily from 19th November 2016 to 26th February 2017.


Hearing Voices: suffering, inspiration and the everyday

At the Dennyson Stoddart and Durham University Galleries.  Voice-hearing is increasingly recognzed as an important part of many people's lives and experience.  This exhibition draws on the work of 'Hearing The Voice', a large interdisciplinary study of voice-hearing based at Durham University.

Open from 10am to 5pm from 5th November 2016 to 26th February 2017.


Living on the Hills: 10,000 years of Durham

A permanent exhibition exploring the lives of people who have lived and visited Durham through the tools and everyday objects they used.



durham xmas 2013 edit 4 web 










Musicians and Performers at the Festival

A huge variety of music groups, choirs and performers take part in the Festival. Look out for the performers across the whole city centre throughout the weekend!


For details of musical performances on Saturday 3rd December, click here.

For details of musical performances on Sunday 4th December, click here.





Band Entertainment

Band entertainment from a variety of brass bands will take place in the centre of town throughout the three days of the Christmas Festival.


For details of band performances on Saturday 3rd December, click here.

For details of band performances on Sunday 4th December, click here.



 xmas fest 2014 entertainment










Victorian & Yesteryear Society
Durham's Victorian & Yesteryear Society will be promenading through Durham City Centre in costume, and caroling on Sunday 4th December.


Find them performing at Magadalene Steps (Saddler Street junction with Elvet Bridge) at 11.30am and 2.30pm.



 fowlers yard web










Artists and Craftspeople in Fowlers Yard

Artists and craftspeople working in Durham City Centre, situated to the rear of Silver Street and Durham Market Hall, will be showcasing and selling creative crafts across the weekend.


Open on Friday 2nd and Saturday 3rd December, 10am - 5pm, and Sunday 4th December, 11am-4pm.














Children's Crafts in Clayport Library

Clayport Library in Millennium Place will have Drop in Children's Christmas Crafts from10am to 4pm on Saturday 3rd December - charge £1 per child.



town hall











Mayor of Durham Tea & Coffee Event

Councillor Edward Bell, Mayor of Durham and Chair of Durham County Council, is holding a charity coffee morning in the Town Hall in the Market Place on the Saturday of the Christmas Festival - the ideal chance to get warm, grab a coffee and a bite to eat!  


All monies raised will be shared between the Mayor's chosen charities, Dementia Durham, North East Disabilities Resource Centre and Veterans at Ease.


Saturday 3rd December, 10am to 3.30pm

Durham Town Hall, Market Place




contact us


 lantern button 2016


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Online advanced tickets to the Christmas Festival Craft and Gift Marquee are currently closed.