Christmas & New Year
Winter fun in Hexham | © Roger Clegg

Christmas & New Year


Dust off your Christmas jumpers, your woolly hats and your chunky scarves; winter is coming and it’s time to get into the Christmas spirit in Northumberland. Fairy-lit Christmas Markets, Boxing Day events brilliant enough to combat the post-Christmas blues and celebrations that let you welcome in the New Year in style take place across the county throughout November and December.

Festive Events

Have your elf a merry little Christmas…

Kielder Winter Wonderland

Christmas events in Northumberland

Unleash your inner Torvill and Dean at one of the ice-skating rinks around the county. Follow illuminated band ‘Spark’ on a magical Grand Lantern Parade of live music and mesmerising lights through the cobbled market town of Alnwick. For something a little more traditional, head to one of our stately homes and halls to meet Father Christmas. 

Admire the beautiful themed decorations and soak up the special Christmas atmosphere of our market towns. Marvel in the transformation of well-known castles and gardens illuminated at dusk throughout the winter. 

Find some great things to do on our Christmas Events page.

Christmas Markets

It's the most wine-derful time of the year...

Sweet mulled wine, sparkling fairy lights and trinkets fit to fill your Christmas stockings are just a few of the delights waiting for you at Northumberland’s Christmas markets.

Along with a selection of handmade, artisan and traditional gifts on sale, you can indulge in Christmas nibbles, make festive gifts and enjoy live carolling.

Grand Lantern Parade at Alnwick Garden

Grand Lantern Parade at Alnwick Garden

Boxing Day 

Walking in a Winter Northumber-land...

If you can resist the lure of the Boxing Day sales, work off the Christmas dinner with a family walk in the beautiful Northumbrian outdoors.

Watch the waves crashing in on windswept dunes and beaches on the coast. Breathe in the crisp air of the Northumberland National Park countryside. Feel the tranquillity of Kielder Water and Forest Park. Be at one with history on Hadrian’s Wall.

Find a route to suit you with our Walking page.

Saturnalia stargazing

A sky full of stars...

Start a new Christmas Eve tradition. Make a flask of hot chocolate, get the family bundled up and go outside for a moment of peace in amongst all the chaotic last-minute preparations. Look up at a canopy of nature’s own fairy lights twinkling above you. You might even see Santa Claus streaking across the sky in his sleigh!

Make the most of some downtime between Christmas and New Year. Get out into the darkest areas of Northumberland, such as the Northumberland International Dark Sky Park and the Northumberland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Here you can feast on up to 2,000 stars at any one time.

Discover more about stargazing at Northumberland Stars.

New Year’s Eve

In one year and out the other...

Tar Barl Festival, Allendale

This unique ceremony has been Allendale's way of welcoming in the new year for at least 160 years, though some believe it originated in the Middle Ages.

A selected team of 45 men in fancy dress, known as ‘guisers’, carry whiskey barrels filled with burning hot tar in a colourful procession through the town. At midnight, they arrive at the Bar’l fire in the town centre. The barrels are then used to ignite a ceremonial bonfire, as everyone shouts “Be damned to he who throws last”.

A brilliant way to see out the old year and welcome in the new!

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