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11 Christmas markets, activities, shows and concerts for ultimate festive vibes

From a Victorian Christmas Market to candlelight concerts with our favourite festive film soundtracks – we’ve found the events you won’t want to miss.

Written by Laura Kingston
Published 29.11.2023

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With so much going on in the North East this Christmas, we’re packing our weekends with fun festive vibes.

And trust us, there’s a LOT happening, so we’ve curated our top picks of events we’ll be checking out this December.

Beat the traffic and take the stress out of parking by taking the Metro. Kids aged 11 and under travel for free all day, every day – and you can save yourself money by travelling with a Pop Pay As You Go card.

 

CHRISTMAS MARKETS

Newcastle Christmas Markets 2023

NEWCASTLE CHRISTMAS MARKETS

18th November – 23rd December

Grey’s Monument, Grainger Street and Old Eldon Square

Nearest Metro Station: Monument

Walking distance: 0 minutes

Cost: Free

Newcastle’s Christmas Markets are always bustling and bring the ultimate festive vibes. Packed with local traders that we love like Sopharia Jewellery, Riverside Spirits and Girl with the Pearl, it’s a great way to support independent North East brands, all in one place.

Of course, it wouldn’t be complete without the best of our region’s street food on offer – you’ll find Pablo Eggs-Go-Bao, Geordie Bangers, Acropolis, Hatch 76, Redheads Mac ‘n’ Cheese, Le Petite Creperie and more ready to keep you fed and warm as you explore the market.

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NORTH SHIELDS VICTORIAN CHRISTMAS MARKET

NORTH SHIELDS VICTORIAN CHRISTMAS MARKET

9th – 10th December

Northumberland Place, North Shields, NE30 1QU

Nearest Metro Station: North Shields 

Walking distance: 4 minutes 

Cost: Free

This cute Victorian-themed Christmas market in and around Northumberland Square will have stalls selling seasonal gifts, food and drink. Enjoy authentic German sausage and mulled wine while you browse the range of stalls.

Opening times are 10am-5pm on Saturday and 10am-4pm on Sunday.

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SHIPLEY ART GALLERY CHRISTMAS CRAFT MARKET

SHIPLEY ART GALLERY CHRISTMAS CRAFT MARKET

Saturday 9th December

Prince Consort Rd, Gateshead NE8 4JB

Nearest Metro Station: Gateshead

Walking distance: 20 minutes

Cost: Free

This popular Christmas Craft Market returns with an array of local makers offering handmade home and garden items, decorations, gifts, jewellery, textiles, ceramics and more.

All of the artists and makers will be on hand to talk you through their items. There will also be a cute pop-up café and crafting activities throughout the day for children and adults.

The market will run from 11am-3pm.

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Newcastle Christmas Markets

MADE UP NORTH WINTER MARKET

Sunday 3rd December

Boiler Shop, 20 South Street Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 3PE

Nearest Metro Station: Central Station

Walking distance: 7 minutes

Cost: from £2.88 per person  

Made.UpNorth is back bigger and better than ever with their winter market right in time for Christmas shopping.

Enjoy a drink from the Boiler Shop’s in-house bar while viewing the incredible work of local potters, textile artists, jewellers, soap makers, and so many other northern creatives including Diya Wellness, Oh Lightning, Durham Coffee and Sopharia Jewellery.

You’ll be able to pick up some truly unique gifts.

Open between 10am-4pm.

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ICE SKATING

SUNDERLAND WINTER WONDERLAND ICE RINK

SUNDERLAND WINTER WONDERLAND ICE RINK

9th – 10th December

Keel Square, Sunderland City Centre, SR1 3HL

Nearest Metro Station: Park Lane 

Walking distance: 10 minutes

Cost: £5 per person

Sunderland’s magical Winter Wonderland Ice Rink will be erected in Keel Square for one weekend only on 9th December from 11am – 8pm.

For just £5 per person, skate under the sparkling lights, special festive characters will be skating alongside you between 11am-1pm.

Skating sessions are 30 minutes.

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OPEN AIR ICE SKATING AT THE CENTRE FOR LIFE

OPEN AIR ICE SKATING AT THE CENTRE FOR LIFE

Open now until 7th January 2024

Times Square, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE1 4EP

Nearest Metro Station: Central Station 

Walking Distance: 3 minutes

Cost: Child – from £11.50, Adult – £15.00, Family of four – £46.00

An annual favourite, Newcastle’s open air ice rink is back for 2023. Perfect for skaters of all ages and abilities, skating sessions last for one hour (including fitting of skates so expect around 45 minutes on the ice).

This year, on weekday afternoons, you can get cosy afterwards with a visit to Life Centre’s ‘What Santa Sees’ planetarium show. The 10-minute session let’s children join Santa as he flies around the globe on Christmas Eve with the stars as his guide.

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PANTOS, SHOWS AND CONCERTS

CANDLELIGHT CHRISTMAS CONCERT: HOME ALONE, LOVE ACTUALLY AND MORE…

Friday 15th, Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd December. Showings at 4pm, 6.30pm and 9pm.

The Common Room, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE1 1SE 

Nearest Metro Station: Central Station

Walking distance: 1 minute

Cost: from £25.00 

Enjoy all of your favourite Christmas songs performed by string quartet – Aurora Strings – surrounded by candlelight, this promises to be a gorgeous festive experience.

The show lasts 60 minutes and the venue is accessible. Children must be over eight and under-16s must be accompanied by an adult.

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CINDERELLA: A FAIRYTALE

CINDERELLA: A FAIRYTALE

2nd December – 6 January 2024

Northern Stage, Barras Bridge, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE1 7RH

Nearest Metro Station: Haymarket

Walking Distance: 4 minutes

Cost: from £12.00

Cinderella, the fairytale we all know and love is coming to life at Northern Stage this Christmas.

Ella prefers a Doc Marten to a glass slipper, and her bird friends to her step-family.

When Ella meets a boy in the enchanted woods who loves to bird watch too, her heart begins to flutter. And then: an invitation for all of us to join in the festive cheer at the Queen’s Christmas ball…

With music, dance and comedy, Cinderella: A Fairytale is full of Christmas magic. Northern Stage is fully accessible and offers a range of performances including captioned, British Sign Language interpreted, audio described and relaxed shows.

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PINOCCHIO, THE PANTOMIME

PINOCCHIO, THE PANTOMIME

28th November – 14th January 2024

Theatre Royal, 100 Grey St, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE1 6BR

Nearest Metro Station: Monument

Walking distance: 2 minutes

Cost: from £12.50

One of the most popular festive family activities in Newcastle, this year’s panto at the Theatre Royal is Pinocchio.

Celebrating 18-years at Theatre Royal, Danny Adams stars as Pinocchio, with a supporting cast of Clive Webb as Geppetto and Joe McElderry as Jiminy Cricket.

Watch as the famous puppet is transformed into a real boy and watch his nose grow every time he tells a lie…

Promised to be full of fun and laughter, there are a range of shows available including audio described, British Sign Language and Babes in Arms. 

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BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, THE PANTOMIME

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, THE PANTOMIME

8TH December – 31st December

Sunderland Empire, Sunderland, SR1 3EX

Nearest Metro Station: Park Lane

Walking distance: 4 minutes

Cost: From £13.00

Star of Emmerdale Charlie Hadwick is sprinkling festive fairy dust as Fairy Bon Bon in this year’s Christmas panto at Sunderland Empire. She’s joined but the North East’s Queen of Comedy, Miss Rory, who brings the glamour as Rorina La Plonk.

Join Belle, The Beast, Fairy Bon Bon, Rorina La Plonk and her cheeky chappy son Louis La Plonk, alongside a whole host of larger than life characters, as they are transported to a cursed castle under the spell of an evil enchantress.

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ELF: THE MUSICAL

ELF: THE MUSICAL

30th – 31st December

Utilita Arena, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE4 7NA 

Nearest Metro Station: Central Station 

Walking distance: 5 minutes 

Cost: From £27.00

The Hollywood blockbuster ELF has been supersized into a live arena tour this Christmas, with amazing film backdrops and a mobile stage that travels the auditorium.

Enjoy watching Santa’s flying sleigh, an audience snowball fight, indoor snowstorm and a giant candy cane journey from the North Pole.

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Laura Kingston High Life North Magazine North East, Newcastle
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