A Festive jaunt around the North East

Well December is almost upon us and there's definitely a festive feel in the air. There is so much happening across the North East to embrace the Yuletide spirit. And so taking a certain number 12 from a famous Christmas tune lets have a look at a dozen things to enjoy during December.

1. And so just like an advent calendar let us begin on the 1st December. On Saturday 1st why not head down to Byker's Stepney Bank Stables where they are holding a Christmas Family Fun Day from 10:00am - 3:00pm. There's all sorts going on, including pony ride taster sessions, stalls, games and food and refreshments.

For more information email jess.gangel@stepneybank.co.uk or follow this link.

2. It wouldn't be Christmas without a touch of music. On Friday 7th December at 7:30pm in the wonderful surroundings of the Sage Gateshead you can enjoy "The Sixteen", where " In the Renaissance, Christmas was a time of wonder and reflection. This Christmas, The Sixteen travel across the ages from the Tudor court right up to the 21st century, performing seasonal music chosen specially to evoke that same timeless sense of tranquillity and joy." Photo credit: Visit England To book please visit here.

3. One thing is certain in December, Scrooge will make his customary appearance each December. We know the story of a Christmas Carol well and for 2018 the brilliant Northern Stage brings us an amazing new version by the same team that brought you James and the Giant Peach and Alice in Wonderland.

"Ding, dong, ding, dong, the bells are ringing and the clock is ticking because Scrooge is coming to town – and he’s meaner and greedier than ever. Bah Humbug! Can some infectious songs and a wild ride through the uncertain landscapes of Christmas past, present, future help him to discover the true meaning of Christmas?"

Running from the 1st Dec - 5th January. Photo credit: Chester Telegraph. Book here.

4. Here we are at number 4 and if this blog feels a bit like opening the doors of an advent calendar well just look at what we have next this is something for all the family to enjoy. The streets of Cullercoats are once again playing host to the most wonderfully unique advent calendar you may find this year. Houses and businesses all take part in this wonderful event and each day from the 1st - 24th December a house window, garden or even a rooftop are illuminated with festive displays. This is a fabulous community event and people are invited to come from far and wide to enjoy the wonderful displays. Photo credit: Cullercoats Advent

For more information and to find out how you discover where the displays are around Cullercoats, visit here.

5. Staying within North Tyneside and as part of Santa busy schedule you can find him in his Winter Wonderland Grotto at the Rising Sun Country Park from 8th - 14th December.

"Visit Santa in his cosy green Grotto adorned with twinkling Christmas lights in the Celtic Village. Children receive a present from Santa. Enjoy a Grotto without queues! The children enjoy making a variety of Christmas crafts on arrival, using natural materials collected from the park and make magical environmentally friendly reindeer food to sprinkle on your path at home on Christmas Eve. When it is their turn to see Santa, his helpers will show you the way to his Arctic Cabin Grotto. Enjoy some warm festive juice and roasted chestnuts around the campfire. There's something for all the family at this ever-popular event."

And whatever season you visit the Rising Sun Countryside Park you may well see a spot of wildlife. Further information and booking can be found here.

6. We couldn't have a list of Christmas events without a fayre and as you know from previous blogs we love a seasonal fayre. On December 16th the Hay Farm Heavy Horse Centre at Heatherslaw near Ford in Northumberland host their Christmas Fayre. That busy Santa Claus will be bringing his special Christmas Carriage pulled by Merlin the horse that all visitors can jump aboard. The Christmas Market will have some wonderful stalls of local produce and there will be homemade produce to enjoy including freshly made mince pies, and some delicious cakes. The market is free but the centre does ask visitors to consider a donation. Photo credit: Ford & Etal Estates. More information can be found here.

7. Lets head along the Tyne Valley to the market town of Corbridge where they host their annual late night shopping event on 3rd December. There is always such a warm festive glow around the town as the wonderful independent shops stay open late. Pick up some great reads for all the family from Forum Books, be in festive heaven at the choice of gifts at the always wonderful REfound Objects and be in awe at the magnificently curated selection of household goods and hardware at the Corbridge Cookshop where Paul is never ceased to be amazed by the cutlery for every conceivable occasion. Photo credit: Visit Northumberland. Find out more information here.

8.  Santa Claus is everywhere in the North East and at White House Farm they have their fabulous Winter Wonderland running from now to 24th December. You can meet the Farm Elves and see Santa's White House Farm Grotto. Enjoy a trip through Santa's Winter Wonderland and even see Mrs Claus herself in the toy shop. And of course a chance to see the Farms wonderful residents in their Christmas stables. Photo credit: Whitehouse Farm. Find out further information here.

9. At Wharlton Park joust outside of Durham City that busy Santa Claus has a bit of a problem. His Elves have got themselves lost. You can help by completing the Park Trail and help get them back to the North Pole. All those who complete the trail receive a special Christmas treat. Find out further information here.


10. Who doesn't love a stepping back in time to relive a traditional Christmas. Beamish Open Air Museum offer that very opportunity. Visit the school , pit village and farm. See the Beamish Bazar, the Winter Fun Fair, Ice Rink and of course Santa's Grotto. Photo credit: Beamish Museum

Running to Christmas Eve you can find out more here.

11. Lets see out the old year and there's one event that we have both always wanted to see, the Allendale Tar Barrels ceremony 31st December.

"Key figures in this tradition are the guisers, forty-five local men who carry whiskey barrels filled with burning hot tar in a colourful procession through the town. To become a guiser, each man must have been born in the Allen Valleys - many have inherited their status from previous generations. They wear colourful fancy dress and soot-blackened faces.

Seen as a feat of strength and daring, only men can become guisers. It is said just one woman has ever taken part in the tradition. Local lass Miss Vesta Peart was permitted to carry one of the barrels in the mid-1950s, as a thank you for creating a large number of costumes for the guisers. Many of these costumes are still worn today." Photo credit: Visit Northumberland. Find out more information here.

12. And so to welcome in the New Year and frankly those fabulous members of the Monkseaton Morris Men are the very best company to do so. At noon on New Years Day, outside the Ship Inn the Morris Men perform traditional dances and rituals to greet the New Year. Always a wonderful sight and throughout the day the Morris Men will be performing around Monkseaton in various hostelries for all to enjoy. Photo credit: Monkseaton Morrismen. Fond out further information here.