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    Festival Events


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.


Please browse the entertainment section for details on all events and activities which take place during Durham's Christmas Festival period.



Craft and Gift Marquee on Palace Green

The hugely successful Craft & Gift Marquee on Palace Green features over 180 stalls selling a wide variety of gifts, perfect for Christmas presents.


Friday 1st December: 10am - 6pm

Saturday 2nd December: 9am - 6pm

Sunday 3rd December: 10am - 4:30pm


Palace Green, between the Cathedral and Castle


Tickets for the Craft & Gift Marquee cost £3.00 on Friday 1st December and £4.00 per person on Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd December. Accompanied children under 16 can attend for free.  Save £0.50 per ticket by buying your tickets in advance online.  Follow the 'Buy Marquee Tickets' link on the right side of this page.




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 1st December: 10am - 6pm

Saturday 2nd December: 9am - 5pm

Sunday 3rd December: 12pm – 4.30pm




Durham Market Hall

Durham Market Hall is open on Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd December from 9am till 5pm, and on Sunday 3rd 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 1st and Saturday 2nd from 9am to 5pm, and on Sunday 3rd from 10am to 4.30pm.


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 1st from 10am to 8pm, Saturday 2nd from 9am to 8pm and Sunday 3rd from 10am to 4pm.




Carols for All

Short services of favourite carols and readings.


11am and 2pm on Saturday 2nd December

2pm on Sunday 3rd 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 3:45pm and progresses up to Palace Green in time for the St Nicholas Service at the Cathedral at 4:10pm.


The procession will be launched in the Market Place by Alfie Joey of BBC Radio Newcastle.


Lanterns for children must be reserved in advance for £5 each (please use the button on the left of this page), but 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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Family entertainment by Nathan White of Lunatricks

Nathan 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 2nd and Sunday 3rd, including a 'Fire Show' on Saturday 2nd at approximately 4.45pm as the children and their families exit the St Nicholas Service in Durham Cathedral.


Palace Green



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Static Falconry Display

A wonderful static falconry display provided by Ridgeside Falconry.


Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd December


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



tile painting

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, a charge applies.


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




On Friday 1st December, children can enjoy Sandart with Judith and Kids Bee Happy.

Find Judith in the Children's Corner, behind the main Craft and Gift marquee.  Please note, a charge applies.


Friday 1st December, from 10am to 5pm.


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


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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 2nd and Sunday 3rd December.

Drop in for Storytelling between 10am and 5pm on Saturday 2nd, and between 10am and 4pm on Sunday 3rd.




Tours of Durham Castle

Take a tour around Durham's historic Castle, now home to University College, part of Durham University, on Friday 1st, Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd December, times to be confirmed.


Festive Castle Tours - enjoy a tour followed by mince pies and mulled wine in the Castle's Senate Suite - Saturday 2nd December, 1.30pm and 3.30pm.


A charge applies for all tours.  Tickets can be purchased at the World Heritage Site Visitor Centre or by emailing




Palace Green Library Exhibitions

Between Worlds: Folklore and Fairy Tales from Northern Britain


This new exhibition presents a forgotten type of fairy tale, very different to those that we are familiar with in today’s popular culture.

The exhibition runs from 14 October 2017 through to 25 February 2018, and is open daily from 9am to 5pm. 


Hell, Heaven and Hope: A Journey through life and the afterlife with Dante

This new exhibition opens on 18 November 2017



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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 1st December

To be updated

Saturday 2nd December

To be updated


Sunday 3rd December

To be updated




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.


Details will be added up until the Festival dates.


Friday 1st December

To be updated


Saturday 2nd December

Bearpark and Esh Brass Band, 10am to 2pm in Durham Market Place

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


Sunday 3rd December

To be updated




Durham Clayport Library, Millennium Place

Clayport Library will be holding two free Christmas Craft Sessions for children on Saturday 2nd December at 10am and 4pm.  Please note, a charge applies.



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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 1st and Saturday 2nd December, 10am - 5pm, and Sunday 3rd December, 11am-4pm.



town hall

Mayor of Durham Tea & Coffee Event

Councillor Bill Kellett, 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 monies raised will be shared between the Mayor's chosen charities.


Saturday 2nd December, 9:30am - 4:00pm

Durham Town Hall, Market Place







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Lantern Parade



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