Durham CIty's Traditional Christmas Festival

Palace Green & Durham Cathedral Cloisters

01.12.17 to 03.12.17


Durham's Award-Winning Traditional Christmas Festival will returns from Friday 1st December 2017 for three days, with a wide range of markets and festive entertainment for all the family in and around the World Heritage Site of the Cathedral and the Castle and throughout the City Centre. 

Craft and Gift Marquee on Palace Green

The hugely successful Craft & Gift Marquee on Palace Green features over 180 stalls selling a wide variety of gifts, perfect for Christmas presents.


Friday 1st December: 10am - 6pm

Saturday 2nd December: 9am - 6pm

Sunday 3rd December: 10am - 4:30pm


Palace Green, between the Cathedral and Castle


Tickets for the Craft & Gift Marquee cost £3.00 on Friday 1st December and £4.00 per person on Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd December. Accompanied children under 16 can attend for free.  Please note, online ticket sales for the Craft & Gift Marquee have now closed.




Regional Food Producers' Market

Locally sourced, high-quality food and drink on offer from over 30 producers in the atmospheric surroundings of the Cathedral Cloisters.


Friday 1st December: 10am - 5pm

Saturday 2nd December: 9am - 5pm

Sunday 3rd December: 12pm – 4.30pm




Durham Market Hall

Durham Market Hall is open on Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd December from 9am till 5pm, and on Sunday 3rd December from 9.30am to 4.30pm. The perfect place to warm up, grab a coffee and a bite to eat and browse over 50 varied stalls by quality local independent retailers.


Durham Market Hall, Market Place 




Festive Outdoor Markets

Throughout the Christmas Festival there will be a Festive Outdoor Market in Durham Market Place, with independent local traders supplying food, drink, gifts, clothes and homewares. 

Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd from 9am to 5pm, and on Sunday 3rd from 10am to 4.30pm.


A second Festive Outoor Market with a range of stalls and season entertainment will be running in Millennium Place, infront of the Gala Theatre.  Friday 1st from 10am to 6pm, Saturday 2nd from 9am to 7pm and Sunday 3rd from 10am to 5pm.




Carols for All

Short services of favourite carols and readings.


11am and 2pm on Saturday 2nd December

2pm on Sunday 3rd December

Durham Cathedral




St Nicholas Children's Lantern Procession

The annual festive lantern procession which takes place on the Saturday afternoon meets in the Market Place for 3:45pm and progresses up to Palace Green in time for the St Nicholas Service at the Cathedral at 4:10pm.


The procession will be launched in the Market Place by Alfie Joey of BBC Radio Newcastle.


Lanterns for children must be reserved in advance for £5 each (please use the button on the left of this page), but the parade is open to all.  Please turn up on the day and join the procession from the Market Place to Palace Green and the Cathedral.  There is a short children's service afterwards in the Cathedral at 4:10pm.














Musicians and Performers at the Festival

A variety of music groups, choirs and performers take part in the Festival. Look out for the performers across the whole city centre throughout the weekend!


Saturday 2nd December

Dutch Street Organ, 9am to 6pm on Palace Green

Edmondsley Primary School Choir, 10.30 to 11.15am on Palace Green

JB Butterfield, 11.50am to 12.20pm on Palace Green

Butler Jazz Band, 12.15 to 1pm in Durham Market Place

The Castle Consort and Players, 1.10 to 1.40pm in Durham Market Place

Butler Woodwind, 1.35 to 2.05pm on Palace Green

JB Butterfield, 1.40 to 2pm in Durham Market Place

Hild Bede Chapel Choir, 2.10 to 2.30pm on Palace Green

Butler Chamber Choir, 2.35 to 3.05 on Palace Green


Sunday 3rd December

Durham Voices, 10 to 10.45am on Palace Green

Durham University Gospel Choir, 11 to 11.45am on Palace Green

Dryburn Theatrical Workshop, 12 to 12.45pm on Palace Green

Meze Mundo, 12.30 to 1.15pm in Durham Market Place

Euphoria - Barnard Castle Community Choir, 1 to 1.45pm on Palace Green

Meze Mundo, 2 to 2.45pm on Palace Green

Euphoria - Barnard Castle Community Choir, 2.05 to 2.45 in Durham Market Place

Accabutler, 3 to 3.45pm on Palace Green













Band Entertainment

Band entertainment from a variety of brass bands will take place in the centre of town throughout the three days of the Christmas Festival.


Friday 1st December

Barnard Castle School Band, 10.30 to 11am and 12.15 to 12.45pm in Durham Market Place.


Saturday 2nd December

Bearpark and Esh Brass Band, 10am to 12pm in Durham Market Place

Chester-le-Street Salvation Army Band, 2 to 3.30pm in Durham Market Place (before leading the Children's Lantern Parade to Durham Cathedral)


Sunday 3rd December

Durham University Brass Band, 1.20 to 2pm in Durham Market Place






Family entertainment by Luna Tricks

The Luna Tricks team gives amusing and entertaining performances suitable for all ages, including juggling, unicycle riding, magic, balloon modelling and more.


Various times throughout the day on both Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd, including a 'Fire Show' on Saturday 2nd at approximately 4.45pm as the children and their families exit the St Nicholas Service in Durham Cathedral.


Palace Green















Police Interceptors

Members of the County Durham Police Interceptor team, as seen on the popular Channel 5 programme will be on Palace Green on Saturday 2nd December, from 10am to 4pm.


Palace Green




Static Falconry Display

A wonderful static falconry display provided by Ridgeside Falconry.


Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd December


'Children's Corner', Palace Green, between the Cathedral and the Castle




Festive Tile Painting for Children

The popular painting workshop for children with Kirsty Falcus returns this year on both Saturday and Sunday.  Find it behind the main Craft and Gift marquee.  Please note, a charge applies.


'Children's Corner', Palace Green, between the Cathedral and the Castle















On Friday 1st , Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd, children can enjoy Sandart with Judith and Kids Bee Happy.

Find Judith in the Children's Corner, behind the main Craft and Gift marquee.  Please note, a charge applies.


Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd, from 10am to 5pm, Sunday 3rd from 10am to 4pm.


'Children's Corner', Palace Green, between the Cathedral and the Castle.














Henna Tattoos

Beautiful henna tattoos will be available in Children's Corner from Friday to Sunday, during the Christmas Festival.  Find the Children's Corner behind the main Craft and Gift marquee.  Please note, a charge applies.


'Children's Corner', Palace Green, between the Cathedral and the Castle



Seven Stories Armchair Journey
Seven Stories, the National Centre for Children's Books, based in Newcastle's Ouseburn Valley, will be sharing festive stories old and new to enthrall younger festival visitors.

Find them in the Pemberton Rooms on Palace Green on Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd December.

Drop in for Storytelling between 10am and 5pm on Saturday 2nd, and between 10am and 4pm on Sunday 3rd.




Tours of Durham Castle

Take a tour around Durham's historic Castle, now home to University College, part of Durham University, on Friday 1st or Saturday 2nd December.  Tours run at 1.15pm, 2.15pm, 3.15pm and 4.15pm, and cost £5 per person (£4 for concessions)


Festive Castle Tours - enjoy a tour followed by mince pies and mulled wine in the Castle's Senate Suite - Saturday 2nd December, 1.30pm and 3.30pm. These tours MUST be booked in advance by calling Palace Green Library admissions desk, and cost £10 per person (concessions £9).


Tickets can be purchased at Palace Green Library, by emailing or by calling 0191 334 2932.











Open Treasure

Durham Cathedral's Open Treasure gives visitors access to previously hidden spaces within the Claustral buildings, showcasing the Cathedral's collections.  The exhibition begins in teh fourteenth century Monks' Dormitory and continues through a new state-of-the-art Collections Gallery to the Great Kitchen which is now the permanent home of the Treasures of St Cuthbert.


Tickets are available from the Durham Cathdral website and from the Cathdral Visitor Desk.  Booking in advance is advised.  Tickets cost £7.50 for adults, £2.50 for children from 5 to 18, £6 for concessions.




Palace Green Library Exhibitions


Between Worlds: Folklore and Fairy Tales from Northern Britain

This exhibition presents a forgotten type of fairy tale, very different to those that we are familiar with in today’s popular culture.  The exhibition runs from 14 October 2017 through to 25 February 2018, and is open daily from 9am to 5pm.  Entry is free for this exhibition.


Hell, Heaven and Hope: A Journey through life and the afterlife with Dante

Look around you and the influence of medieval poet Dante Alighieri is everywhere.  For centuries, his work has inspired artists and writers from Botticelli to Dan Brown.  This new temporary exhibition follows the story of Dante's The Divine Comedy.  The exhibition opens on Saturday 2nd December 2017 and runs through to 18th March 2018.  Tickets are £4.50 (concessions £3.50).  50% discount for those with tickets for / handstamps for the Craft and Gift Marquee. 




Durham Clayport Library, Millennium Place

Clayport Library will be holding two Christmas Craft Sessions for children on Saturday 2nd December from 10am to 4pm.  Please note, a £1 charge applies per child.




Artists and Craftspeople in Fowlers Yard

Artists and craftspeople working in Durham City Centre, situated to the rear of Silver Street and Durham Market Hall, will be showcasing and selling creative crafts across the weekend.


Open on Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd December, 10am - 5pm, and Sunday 3rd December, 11am-4pm.




Mayor of Durham Tea & Coffee Event

Councillor Bill Kellett, Mayor of Durham, is holding a charity coffee morning in the Town Hall in the Market Place on the Saturday of the Christmas Festival - the ideal chance to get warm, grab a coffee and a bite to eat!  


All monies raised will support the Great North Air Ambulance.


Saturday 2nd December, 9:30am - 4:00pm

Durham Town Hall, Market Place


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