The organisers of the Durham Christmas Festival have confirmed that the popular event will return during the first weekend of December this year.
The festival was celebrated online last year due to Covid-19 restrictions, but next month’s event will be held in-person. It will take place between 3rd and 5th December, and will feature four Christmas markets involving more than 200 independent retailers.
The largest market will be the Craft & Gift Marquee on Palace Green, which will house more than 100 small business stalls. Visitors will be charged £4 to enter the market if they purchase a ticket on the door, or £3.50 if they book ahead online, and on 3rd December carers and those they care for will be granted free entry.
Entry to the Festive Outdoor Market in Market Square and the Regional Producers’ Market inside Durham Cathedral will be free, but visitors are encouraged to make a donation to the Cathedral. Durham Market Hall will also be included in the Festival and will remain open until Christmas.
There will also be a range of festive activities across the weekend, including a college carolling competition held by Durham University on 4th December at Palace Green and a carol concert in Durham Cathedral on both 4th and 5th December. A variety of local bands will play seasonal songs, and a number of free children’s events, including crafting and storytelling, will be open for all to take part in.
The Festival has assured visitors that relevant Covid-19 safety measures will be in place throughout the weekend, including wider aisles between stalls and increased ventilation. Customers are warned however that queuing may be likely during busier periods and are strongly encouraged to wear masks in indoor venues.
Colin Wilkes MBE, the managing director of Durham Markets, said: “We’re really pleased that the festival is back this Christmas”.
He expressed hope that “with the measures we’ve put in place, shoppers will come out and make the most of the festival, support these small independent businesses, and of course, tick numerous items off their Christmas shopping list.”
More information about the Festival, including a program of events and links to tickets, can be found on the Festival’s website.
Image: Emma Hignett