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    Festival Events


Entertainment details are correct to the best of our knowledge, however we reserve the right to alter the schedule without notice.  Please note this page will be regularly updated.


Please browse the entertainment section for details on all events and activities which take place during Durham's Christmas Festival period.




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 30th November: 10am - 6pm

Saturday 1st December: 9am - 6pm

Sunday 2nd December: 10am - 4:30pm


Palace Green, between the Cathedral and Castle


Tickets for the Craft & Gift Marquee cost £4.00 per person. Accompanied children under 16 can attend for free.  To save £0.50 per ticket, please purchase Marquee entry tickets online in advance, via the 'Buy Marquee Tickets' to the right of this page.





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 30th November: 10am - 5pm

Saturday 1st December: 9am - 5pm

Sunday 2ns December: 12pm – 4.30pm





Durham Market Hall

Durham Market Hall is open on Friday 30th November and Saturday 1st December from 9am till 5.30pm, and on Sunday 2nd 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 30th November and Saturday 1st December from 9am to 5pm, and on Sunday 2nd December from 10am to 4.30pm.


Santa's Grotto

Details to be confirmed






Carols for All

Short services of favourite carols and readings.


11am and 2pm on Saturday 1st December

2pm on Sunday 2nd December

Durham Cathedral





St Nicholas Children's Lantern Procession

The annual festive lantern procession which takes place on the afternoon of Saturday 1st December 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!  As the Festival nears, we will update this with information of times and locations to see bands, singers and choirs perform.





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.  As the Festival nears, we will udpate this with information of times and locations to see bands perform.





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 1st and Sunday 2nd December, 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





Static Falconry Display

A wonderful static falconry display provided by Ridgeside Falconry.


Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd December


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






On Friday 30th November , Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd December, 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 30th November and Saturday 1st December, from 10am to 5pm, Sunday 2nd December from 10am to 4pm.


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



Free Face Painting

Details to be confirmed


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


Kolsum Henna Tattoos

Details to be confirmed


'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 1st and Sunday 2nd December.

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


Costumed Characters

Details to be confirmed.





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

Catch Your Breath – 24th November 2018 – 17th March 2019

Open each day from 10.00am to 5pm – Free Entry

Breathing isn’t just a bodily function. It allows us to speak, laugh and sing. It connects us to the outside world. It reflects our state of mind and can be consciously controlled. Breath has inspired art and literature. For many it has spiritual significance. The personal and cultural meaning of breathing goes beyond the simple act of keeping us alive.


Catch Your Breath is a new temporary exhibition exploring the Life of Breath research project, jointly led by Durham University and the University of Bristol. Bringing together medical history, philosophy, art, literature and music, the exhibition will combine new artist commissions with objects from the Durham University collections and beyond to discover new ways of thinking about breath and breathlessness and their relationship to both illness and wellbeing.



Durham Clayport Library, Millennium Place

Activities to be confirmed.



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 30th November and Saturday 1st December, 10am - 5pm, and Sunday 2nd December, 11am-4pm.



Mayor of Durham Tea & Coffee Event

Mayor of Durham, Cllr John Lethbridge, 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 Mayor's chosen charity, the Royal British Legion.


Times to be confirmed.

Durham Town Hall, Market Place




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Online advanced tickets to the Christmas Festival Craft and Gift Marquee are currently closed.