Play Hard

11 of the North East’s best family Christmas events 2023

If you want to see Santa before Christmas Eve, you’ve got to act fast – get your skates on, hop on The Polar Express or fly with The Snowman to these winter wonderlands…

Written by Becky Hardy
Published 11.11.2023
Disney On Ice: 100 Years Of Wonder – Utilita Arena, Newcastle

DISNEY ON ICE: 100 YEARS OF WONDER

6th – 10th December

Utilita Arena, Newcastle upon Tyne

Enjoy a very special celebration with Mickey, Minnie and all their friends as they don their skates to relive the adventures of your favourite stories. Christmas is a time for magic – and that’s something Disney always delivers in bucketloads.

Tickets: from £31.50

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Breakfast with Santa Claus Grand Hotel Gosforth Park Newcastle upon Tyne

BREAKFAST WITH SANTA

16th December

Grand Hotel Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne

Enjoy a cooked breakfast, a spectacular magic show and Christmas films and crafts before an authentic meet-and-greet with the main man himself at this special festive event. Better still, all the proceeds goes towards Feeding Families. 

Tickets: from £21.95

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Adventure Valley Winter Wonderland County Durham

ADVENTURE VALLEY’S WINTER WONDERLAND

25th November – 24th December

Adventure Valley, Durham

Ride the Winter Valley Express, visit Claus’ Candy shop, decorate gingerbread biscuits with Mrs Claus, enjoy rides on the animals, visit Santa in his toy shop and soak up a special Christmas show at Adventure Valley’s Winter Wonderland.

Tickets: from £15.95  

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The Polar Express Train Ride Wensleydale Railway Northallerton

THE POLAR EXPRESS TRAIN RIDE

Now until 23rd December

Wensleydale Railway, Northallerton

Don your finest festive PJs and climb aboard the Polar Express as the magical family film comes to life. Meet the all the characters (the chefs, the conductor, Santa and even the ghost), drink hot chocolate and listen out for the sound of the bells…

Tickets: from £31.95

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Santa's Grotto at Tweddle Farm Hartlepool

SANTA’S GROTTO AT TWEDDLE FARM

25th November – 24th December

Tweddle Farm, County Durham

Experience all the fun of the farm at Christmastime – including animal petting sessions and tractor rides – as well as story time with Mrs Claus, funfair rides, a sit-downs with Santa, face painting, and a golden ticket to visit the toy shop. 

Tickets: from £8.95 

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The Christmas Kingdom Bamburgh Castle Northumberland

THE CHRISTMAS KINGDOM

Now until 7th January 2024

Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland

Inspired by Northumberland’s myths and legends, journey through Bamburgh Castle’s staterooms steeped in stories and folklore and discover a world sprinkled with fairy magic and fantastical creatures… (you may even spot Santa Claus himself).

Tickets: from £15.50

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The Snowman in Concert The Glasshouse Gateshead

THE SNOWMAN IN CONCERT

22nd – 24th December

The Glasshouse, Gateshead

Magical. Heart-warming. A Christmas classic. Experience the magic of The Snowman like never before, as the Royal Northern Sinfonia perform the timeless, twinkly soundtrack live on stage alongside the film on the big screen. 

Tickets: from £22.00

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Festive stories with Father Christmas Belsay Hall Northumberland

FESTIVE STORIES WITH FATHER CHRISTMAS

2nd – 23rd December

Belsay Hall, Northumberland

Join in the festive fun as Father Christmas himself pays a visit to Belsay Hall – handing out presents and telling seasonal stories from Christmases past among the traditional decorations in this magnificent country house.

Tickets: from £9.50  

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Kielder Winter Wonderland Northumberland

KIELDER WINTER WONDERLAND

19th – 23rd December

Kielder Water & Forest Park, Northumberland

Embark on your own fairy tale on a full day festive adventure through the heart of Kielder Forest. Visit the Clauses, enjoy Christmas theatre shows, join the elves in the workshop, meet snowy owl and reindeer and go snow tubing, to get started.

Tickets: from £33.50

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Santa's Enchanted Elf Journey Whitehouse Farm Centre Northumberland

SANTA’S ENCHANTED ELF JOURNEY

25th November – 24th December

Whitehouse Farm Centre, Northumberland

Become an elf-in-training at Whitehouse Farm, as you journey to the Enchanted Forest (by tractor) to meet Santa, his elves and his (real) reindeer and complete a fairy fortune quest. Enjoy loads more festive activities throughout the day, too.

Tickets: from £18.50

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Grinchmas Rainton Arena Houghton-le-Spring

GRINCHMAS

24th November – 24th December

Rainton Arena, Houghton-le-Spring

The Grinch has stolen Christmas and it’s up to you to stop him. Join Cindy Lou on a magical adventure through Whoville and experience all kinds of chaos as you make your way through this festive trail to help the Grinch find his Christmas spirit.

Tickets: from £6.00  

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