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    Festival Events


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



Please browse the entertainment section for details on all events and activities which take place

Durham's Christmas Festival period.


Coming nearer the Festival - you will be able to download a music and children's entertainment schedule

for each day of the festival here. 







Craft and Gift Marquee on Palace Green

The hugely successful Craft & Gift Marquee on Palace Green features over 190 stalls selling a wide variety of gifts, perfect for Christmas presents.


Friday 5th December: 10am - 6pm

Saturday 6th December: 9am - 6pm

Sunday 7th December: 10am - 4:30pm


Palace Green, between the Cathedral and Castle


Tickets for the Craft & Gift Marquee cost £3.00 on Friday 5th December and £4.00 per person on Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th December. Accompanied children under 16 can attend for free.


Click here to book your tickets in advance and save 50p on admission.




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 5th December: 10am - 5pm

Saturday 6th December: 9am - 5pm

Sunday 7th December: 12pm – 3pm


Durham Cathedral Cloisters



Durham Market Hall

Durham Market Hall is open on Friday 5th and Saturday 6th December from 9am till 5pm, and on Sunday 7th 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 Market

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 5th and Saturday 6th from 9am to 4pm, and on Sunday 7th from 10am to 4pm.




Carols for All

Short services of favourite carols and readings.


11am and 2pm on Saturday 6th December

2pm on Sunday 7th December

Durham Cathedral













St Nicholas Children's Lantern Procession

The annual festive lantern procession which takes place on the Saturday afternoon meets in the Market Place for 3:30pm and progresses up to Palace Green in time for the St Nicholas Service at the Cathedral at 4:15pm.


Please click here to reserve a lantern – there are limited in number.  Each lantern costs £3.00 and includes a battery-operated candle.  The lantern is yours to keep after the service.


The parade is open to all, 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.



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Live Reindeer Display for Children

A chance to get up close to Santa's little helpers, Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th December. Featuring live reindeer in a traditional barn-style setting.


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












Family entertainment by Nat Lunatrick

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


Various times throughout the day on both Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th, including a 'Fire Show' on Saturday 6th at approximately 4.40pm.


Palace Green




Static Falconry Display

A wonderful static falconry display provided by Ridgeside Falconry.


Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th December


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



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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 6th and Sunday 7th 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, with a children’s entertainer to enthrall younger festival visitors.

Find them in the Pemberton Rooms on Palace Green on Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th December 2014.




Tours of Durham Castle

Take a tour around Durham's historic Castle, now home to University College, part of Durham University, on Friday 5th, Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th December.

Castle tour times are:

Friday - 2:00pm, 2.30pm, 3.00pm, 3.30pm and 4:00pm

Saturday and Sunday - 2.00pm, 3.00pm and 4.00pm

Tickets are available on the day from Palace Green Library and the World Heritage Site on Palace Green.  Charges (before discounts) are: Adult £5, Concessions (Senior Citizens, Students, Children up to 16) £3.50, Family Ticket (2 adults and 2 children) £12, Group Rates (for 10+) Adults £4.50 and Child/Senior Citizens £3 per person.  Carers are free, as are DU students on production of Campus Card.


***Christmas Special ***

Christmas Castle Tours

Tour times are:

Saturday and Sunday - 2.30pm and 3.30pm


After a tour around Durham Castle, you have the opportunity to enjoy mince pies with mulled wine or hot chocolate in the Castle's Senate Suite, surrounded by 17th Century Tapestries.  Places are limited and need to be booked in advance at Palace Green Library on +44 (0) 191 334 2932.

Charges are: Adult £10, Concessions (Senior Citizens, Students, Children up to 16) £9, Family Ticket (2 adults and 3 children) £24, Group rates (for 10+) Adults £9 and Concessions £8.50 .




Books for Boys - Palace Green Library Exhibition

Heroism, Adventure and Empire at the Dawn of the First World War


Books for Boys explores boyhood during the earliest years of the 20th century, and the cultural environment that shaped a generation.

The exhibition runs from 27 September 2014 through to 18 January 2015.  Tickets are: adults £4.50, children over 5 and concessions £3.50, children under 5 and Durham University Campus Card holders are free.


Ticket holders for the Craft and Gift Marquee at Durham City Christmas Festival will be entitled to £1 off entry to the Palace Green Library Exhibition.


Bound to Last - Palace Green Library Exhibition

Book binding from the Middle Ages to the Modern Day

Explore the history of book binding through an exhibition of incredible books.  This exhibition runs from 4 October 2014 to 4 January 2015.


Entry to this exhibition is included in tickets for the Books for Boys exhibition.



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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!


Friday 5th December

To be confirmed nearer the date of the festival.


Saturday 6th December

Durham University Chamber Choir, 12 to 1pm in Durham Cathedral Cloisters


Sunday 7th December

To be confirmed nearer the date of the festival.












Band Entertainment: from Friday 5th to Sunday 7th December.

Band entertainment from a variety of brass bands will take place in the centre of town throughout the day.


Friday 5th December

To be confirmed nearer the date of the festival.


Saturday 6th December

Bearpark and Esh Colliery Band, from 10am to 12 midday in Durham Market Place

Chester le Street Salvation Army Band, from 2pm to 3.30pm in Durham Market Place before leading the Children's Lantern Parade to the Cathedral



Sunday 7th December

To be confirmed nearer the date of the festival.





A Taste of Christmas with Durham Cathedral Choristers

Durham Cathedral Choristers are presenting a special Carol Concert for pre-booked groups only, which will include a candle-lit procession of Choristers and traditional carols in the medieval Chapter House, not usually open to the public.  Those attending will also enjoy mulled wine and mince pies.

Pre-event booking is essential, tickets cost £12 per person.  For more information, email .







Festive Activities for Children in Clayport Library

Friday 5th December from 10.30 to 11am, pre-school story time with a festive theme.

Saturday 6th December from 10.30 to 11.30am, Christmas Stories, and from 2.15 to 3.15pm Drop In Children's Crafts making Christmas Decorations


All activities are free.  

Clayport Library is at 8 Millennium Place, Durham, DH1 1WA



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Victorian Friendly Club
Durham's Victorian Friendly Club will be promenading through Durham City Centre in costume, and caroling on Sunday 7th December.




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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 5th and Saturday 6th December, 10am - 5pm, and Sunday 7th December, 11am-4pm.




town hall 


Mayor of Durham Tea & Coffee Event

Councillor John Robinson, Mayor of Durham, 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 proceeds will be shared between the Chairman’s chosen charities which are Butterwick Hospice, and the Great North Air Ambulance, and the Mayor’s which is Finchale Training College.


Saturday 6th December, 9:30am - 4:00pm

Durham Town Hall, Market Place





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Tickets available to purchase from July 2014