To launch the start of Durham’s fantastic winter programme, we’re hosting a spectacular festive Christmas Light Switch On event this November.
From 2pm on 20th November, festive cheer will arrive in Durham as the City builds up to the all-important switch on from 5pm. So make sure you get down early to enjoy all the fun.
The main event, taking place in Market Place at the heart of the city is sure to wow as a never before seen series of events herald the start of the festive season. An immersive experience for all will undoubtedly leave you feeling very Christmassy. It’s sure to be a very visual, entertaining way to kick-off the festive season so we’d love everyone to come down and join in with the fun – and remember to bring the whole family too.
We’re keeping the full details of the switch on under lock and key until the event. We wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise but rest assured it’s not to be missed – we hope to see you there!
Not only are we excited for our much-anticipated Christmas lights switch on but we can’t wait to get our Christmas programme underway. With the return of favourites including the Durham City Nativity and Comedians and Carols - it’s going to be a great winter in the City!
Upcoming events include:
Choirs and music
On 26th and 27th November, choirs and bands will be in Durham City to add festive cheer as the first weekend of Advent marks the start of the countdown to Christmas!
On 2nd, 3rd and 4th December, Durham's Award-Winning Traditional Christmas Festival takes place over three days, with a wide range of festive entertainment for all the family in and around the World Heritage Site of the Cathedral and the Castle and throughout the City Centre.
A huge, heated Craft and Gift Marquee on Palace Green will feature over 185 stalls across all three days of the event. It's open Friday 2nd December from 10am to 6pm, Saturday 3rd December from 9am to 6pm and Sunday 4th December from 10am to 4:30pm.
At the entrance, tickets for the Craft and Gift Marquee will cost £3 on Friday and £4 on both Saturday and Sunday - there is a 50p per ticket reduction for any bought online in advance of the festival.
In the Cathedral Cloisters, a Regional Producers' Market featuring more than 30 traders will be open each day. It's open Friday 2nd December from 10am to 6pm, Saturday 3rd December from 9am to 5pm and Sunday 4th December from 12 noon to 4.30pm. No tickets are required for this market.
Durham Market Hall will also be open each day of the Christmas Festival, and there will be additional Festive Markets in Durham Market Place and Millennium Place.
In the Cathedral itself, Carols for All services take place on both Saturday and Sunday. Weekend entertainment on Palace Green, between the Cathedral and the Castle, will include a static falconry display, children’s arts and crafts in the World Heritage Site Visitor Centre, and a children’s entertainer. There will also be a wide range of entertainers and musicians throughout the City Centre adding to the wonderfully festive atmosphere.
A Children’s Lantern Procession takes place on Saturday 3rd, leaving the Market Place at 3.45pm and arriving at the Cathedral for the St Nicholas Service at 4.10pm. Lanterns can now be reserved for £4. On the day, the reserved lanterns can be collected in Durham Market Place from 2.30pm, and the procession leaves from outside Boots in the Market Place at 3.45pm. The lanterns and battery-operated candles are yours to keep after the procession. The procession and St Nicholas Service are open to all - We recommend that the lanterns are for children up to age 12.
Durham City Nativity
Durham City Nativity is returning on 8th December. Telling the greatest story ever told, the Market Place will become a stage upon which the story of the first Christmas will be told. Camels will bring the Wise Men and their gifts and the fun all starts at 6pm.
On 10th and 11th December, festive Christmas walkabout acts will bring a little live entertainment to the streets of the City so come down and enjoy the festive cheer.
On 17th and 18th December a digital trail will go live around the City, providing an opportunity for children to be entertained and explore Durham throughout the Christmas holiday right up until the New Year.
Comedians and Carols
Returning for a second year after such a popular event in 2015, Comedians and Carols will be taking over Durham Cathedral on 20th December. A great night of family comedy with traditional Carols set within the stunning Cathedral. Tickets are available now through the Durham BID website, book now to avoid disappointment.