Are you looking for the best Christmas markets in north east England?
I was born and raised in the lovely little region…. so in this guide, I’ve put my proud parochial knowledge to some topical use.
I’ve ordered this list from earliest-starting to latest-starting—and I’ve brought you a variety of unique and unusual offerings, including guest appearances from coasts, castles, city centers, charming towns, and even some friendly packs of dogs.
Pack your Santa hat, fill that sleigh with sacks, and come join the festive fun! Here are the best Christmas markets near Newcastle upon Tyne.
Best Christmas Markets in North East England
Here’s the map of the best Christmas markets, fayres, events, and festivals, in north east England:
1. Central Newcastle’s Christmas Markets
For festive market-hunters in north east England, this is obviously the typical choice.
The best (and most well-known) Christmas market in the region, you’ll find endless stalls spread around some of the city’s central streets.
To hit the heart of the action, head to Grey’s Monument, and explore from there.
It’s a pretty standard Christmas market—it’s not special in any way, but it’s big, and it offers all the festive stuff you’re looking for. Expect global food, locally-sourced treats and trinkets, Christmas crafts, a big bunch of drool-inducing sweet stuff, and a welcoming atmosphere.
Most Decembers, I come here (assuming I’m in the region, which isn’t always the case).
It runs both during the day and in the evening, but it’s busier and better at night.
When you’re done with the markets, head to the nearby Life Center, where you’ll find an excellent (and ever-popular) outdoor ice rink.
2. Sunderland Christmas Frost Village
Running for pretty much the exact same period as Newcastle’s Christmas markets, the Sunderland Christmas Frost Village is a themed event area, rather than just a bunch of stalls.
Aside from all the typical market-based festive fayre, you’ll also find an ice rink, outdoor movie screenings, a candlelit conga parade, lots of music and dance, and a load of friendly faces.
If you have time, I recommend checking out both the Newcastle Christmas markets and the Sunderland Christmas Frost Village. They’re pretty similar to one another, but they’re both great.
3. Brocksbushes Christmas Fayre
Charming family-run Brocksbushes Farm is most well-known for two things: on-site fruit-picking adventures, and hosting one of the best pumpkin patches near Newcastle.
But it’s also the site of an excellent Christmas Fayre.
You’ll find crafts, food, and drinks—and all of it is locally sourced.
Other offerings include lots of hyper-local fruits and vegetables (picked right on the farm!), and an excellent selection of wreaths and real Christmas trees (to take home). You can’t just arrive unannounced—so make sure you book a slot in advance.
During selected days in December, the farm also offers ‘Story Time with Mrs Claus’ sessions, featuring tractor rides, hot chocolates, a grotto, and more. These experiences aren’t always on the same days as the Christmas markets, so check dates in advance.
4. Spanish City Christmas Market
One of my favorite parts of northeast England, I love Spanish City.
A promenade-side collection of local venues in the lovely coastal town of Whitley Bay, it’s a super-popular place.
In and around Spanish City, you’ll find bars, cute cafes, amusement arcades, lots of fish and chips, and some of the region’s best coastlines. Visiting here is a good option if you’re traveling with kids (who’ll probably want some extra post-market fun).
The Christmas markets are nicely curated and presented, with a big focus on regional crafters and suppliers. Most of the food is handmade and locally-sourced.
And best of all, it’s all indoors—so you’ll never need to endure any horrendous weather.
For more seaside fun in the nearby area, stamp your sandy feet over to our guide on the best beaches in Northumberland.
5. Northumbrian Christmas Fair at the Sill
If you’re looking for remote, rural, and something a little different, you’ll love this. Sitting in a glass-fronted field-surrounded building, visiting the Sill is a unique experience.
At the markets, you get all the normal stuff, like crafts, arts, food, and drinks—along with books, ceramics, live poetry, live music, and more.
But the real highlight is the location, perched right along one of the most impressive and exciting parts of Hadrian’s Wall. You won’t find a market with better views than this.
If you have time, I recommend hiking around the area (ignore the cold ya big baby, just put a sweater on). The Steel Rigg to Houseasteads circular is beautiful, easy to follow, easy to tackle, and even better in snow.
Be warned: the food selection at this market (though lip-smackingly tasty) is pretty small.
6. Beamish Hall Christmas Fair
Another unique and unusual spot, the Beamish Hall Christmas Fair sits inside a 17th-century country home.
Every Christmas, they go to pretty big lengths to decorate the place and offer market stalls, an outdoor interactive ‘Forest of Light*,’ and lots of themed food, drinks, and overnight stays.
*The Forest of Light days are sometimes different from the Christmas Fair days, so make sure you check.
Make sure you book any experiences (and market visits!) in advance—it’s a popular place.
When you’re done here, wander over to very-nearby Beamish, an interactive ‘living museum’ with lots of themed areas. One of the most unique things to do in the north of England, it’s both brilliant and bizarre, and it’ll easily keep you and your kids entertained for a full day.
7. Newcastle Dog & Cat Shelter Christmas Market
Dogs, cats, friendly faces, and Christmas stuff…. all crammed into the welcoming confines of one wholesome place. Does Christmas get any better than this!?
Expect Christmas crafts, carol singing, a dog show, local food and drink, a small Santa’s village, and (lots and lots and lots of) friendly cats and dogs.
You’ll be able to meet some of the cute creatures and critters. Good luck not falling in love with them all.
And get this: you can even take your own dogs!
If you like animals, this is genuinely a must: if I could only visit one Christmas market in north east England, it would be this one.
If you’re looking for more birds and beasts, here’s our guide to the 13 best zoos, animal farms and aquariums near Newcastle.
8. Durham Christmas Festival
Visiting Durham Christmas Festival is a good excuse for visiting Durham, a small but endearing city just a 10-minute train ride from Newcastle.
Durham might be small, but their Christmas festival is pretty massive. It features over 250 independent traders (many of them local), all separated into different categories and areas.
The festival often serves up some other events and activities, including the super-popular Children’s Lantern Parade.
Whether or not you venture inside for the markets, make sure you visit Durham Cathedral—it’s one of the most impressive in northern England.
9. Raby Castle Christmas Market (and Events)
Southwest of Durham, Raby Castle is one of the most impressive and imposing castles near Newcastle.
It overlooks two little lakes, it’s surrounded by a load of deer, and it has an interesting history. So it’s worth visiting whenever.
But at Christmastime, it’s even better.
The market is admittedly pretty small, but there’s plenty more fun on offer.
You’ll find an ‘Enchanted Forest’ trail, a ‘12 Days of Christmas’ trail, a small selection of produce (including freshly-cut Christmas trees and other local goodies), special festive menus, on-site overnight stays, story time with Santa Claus, a Christmas-themed store, some seasonal afternoon teas, and plenty more.
Some of the events are offered on different days from one another, so make sure you check in advance.
10. Northumberlandia Christmas Market
Sitting in Cramlington (the boring but big town where I was born), Northumberlandia is a weird sculpture-cum-uninteresting-hiking-area that (when viewed from above) is in the shape of a naked lady.
No, I don’t understand either.
Anyway, the place is also home to a small but charming annual one-day Christmas market, where you’ll find outdoor stalls. They sell food, drinks, gifts, handmade stuff, Wildlife Trust merchandise, and plenty more.
Other festive events at Northumberlandia include crafting, storytelling sessions, and a so-called ‘Snowflake Trail’ (but they’re all on different dates to one another, so double-check the calendar at the link below).
11. North Shields Victorian Christmas Market
Featuring around 100 stalls, this is another archetypal outdoor German-style Christmas market.
So it’s not as exciting as some of the other places on our list, but it’s a good option if you’re just looking for a plain ol’ (but brilliant!) Christmas market in northeast England.
Dotted in amongst all the action, you’ll find handicrafts, gifts, German sausages, mulled drinks, a couple of small fairground rides, and more.
When you’re done, head vaguely east to the coast. Here, you’ll find Tynemouth, one of the best coastal towns near Newcastle. It offers fish and chips, a historic priory, and a load of weirdos who like swimming in the sea during winter. Join them if you like.
12. Hexham Christmas Market (and Hexham Abbey Christmas Fair)
One of the prettiest (and most popular) towns in Northumberland, Hexham has an iconic abbey, which was built back in AD674.
And the town’s Christmas market and Christmas fair (though I don’t know the difference between the two events and I’m not really sure why they’re advertised as two separate things and not just one big thing) are centered in and around the abbey.
Expect gifts, decorations, jewelry, clothes, food and drink, some musical performances, and even (and this is the big highlight for a manchild like me) some alpacas(!).
When you’re done, you should absolutely explore Hexham. It offers cobbled streets, a quaint town center, and an oldy-worldly vibe. And if you have time, head to both Corbridge and Haltwhistle too (and all the nearby Hadrian’s Wall stuff!).
13. Made Up North Winter Market (in Newcastle’s Boiler Shop)
Another option in central Newcastle. If you’re looking for hip and happening, this is the place for you.
Newcastle’s Boiler Shop is a trendy multi-purpose events venue sitting just behind the city’s train station. And although a Christmas market is hardly the edgiest event on the planet, these guys still manage to make it pretty unique.
The markets feature around 60 local traders, serving up festive chunks of pottery, textiles, clothes, art, jewelry, soap, food, drink, and more. They want the event to exhibit the work of “northern creatives,” so visiting is a good way to get into the community spirit, and contribute to the local economy, and all that stuff.
The market’s not the most exciting venue for kids, but there’s lots of great stuff nearby for little ones (the Life Center ice rink, the Life Center itself, the Discovery Museum, and all the fun of the Ouseburn—which we’ve covered in much more detail next).
14. Ouseburn Christmas Market
Your third middle-of-Newcastle option, I love this Christmas market.
No matter who you are and who you’re marketing with, you’ll enjoy hanging around the Ouseburn. This is my favorite part of Newcastle: it’s full of excellent under-the-radar stuff, and it’s the hippest part of the city.
This Newcastle neighborhood always has an inclusive community feel, but that’s even more true when the Christmas market is in town. Featuring around 40 stalls, there’s a huge emphasis on local creatives and artists—including eats, treats, and works from musicians, brewers, designers, artists, bakers, and more. It’s impossible not to walk around here with a smile on your face.
When you’re done at the market, you have lots more options for other fun in this varied but tightly-packed neighborhood…
If you’re with kids, head to Seven Stories (the excellent National Center for Children’s Books), the Ouseburn Farm (stacked with lots of cute creatures), and Stepney Bank Stables.
If you’re not with kids, wander along to all the trendy pubs, cafes, and restaurants (my favorite venues are Tyne Bar and Ernest).
15. Barnard Castle Christmas Market
Famous for being the home of Dominic Cummings’ eye-testing routines and rituals, the historic market settlement of Barnard Castle is one of the prettiest towns in the region.
Inside the town, you’ll find Bowes Museum (an art gallery inside a grand old building). And inside Bowes Museum, you’ll find a two-day Christmas market.
The market hosts over 70 separate vendors, offering foods, crafts, local produce, artisanal eats and treats, candles, ceramics, clothes, handmade gifts, stained glass, and more.
For finding local food, this is one of the best Christmas markets in north east England. Scrumptious servings include pies, sausages, sauces, cheeses, and lots of drinks.
And as a nice bonus, you’ll also find children’s activities, and some fairground rides.
When you’re done at the market, I recommend visiting Eggleston Hall Gardens. And if you’re not scared of hiking in cold weather, I also recommend wandering over to the very-nearby North Pennines.
16. Berwick Christmas Market
The most northerly town in England, Berwick (or ‘Berwick-upon-Tweed,’ to give the place its official name) sits right on the England-Scotland border.
Sitting along one of the town’s biggest streets, the Christmas market here offers gifts, food, drinks, pretty lights, special visits from Santa, and the allure of one of the friendliest towns in north east England.
It offers around 60 stalls, and (as is becoming a theme in this guide!) places a firm focus on local people, and locally-sourced crafts and produce.
If you have time when you’re done here, head north to Eyemouth, one of my favorite coastal towns in Scotland. Full of stuff for both adults and kids, you’ll fall in love with the place (just like everybody else does).
17. Bonus Choice: York Christmas Festival
Last up, one of the best Christmas markets in the UK.
Okay, York isn’t quite in the far northeast of England.
But the city’s cobbled lanes are perfectly-suited to Christmas charm, it’s only 1 hour away from Newcastle by train, and the whole place offers a massive range of festive fun.
Come here, and you get much more than just markets. Yeah, the more-than-100 chalet-style markets offer all the typical stuff (food, drinks, crafts, art, local produce, festive eats, and more).
But beyond the market stalls, other festive fun includes pantomimes, ice skating, concerts, caroling, Santa experiences, afternoon teas, indoor tents, warm fires, endless food and drink, a retro-style fairground, and a Swiss-themed chalet experience (with excellent eats!). Visiting York during Christmas time is like strolling along the set of a festive movie.
And if you can’t make it all the way to York, the organizers even offer a virtual Christmas market!
if you’re willing to travel even further in pursuit of other Christmas markets, I also recommend visiting both Edinburgh’s Christmas markets and Manchester’s Christmas markets.
Okay, they’re both pretty far from the region… but Manchester’s Christmas markets are the best I’ve ever seen, while Edinburgh is surely the UK’s #1 setting for an atmospheric and alluring Christmas experience.
Before You Go
There they are—the 17 best Christmas markets in northeast England.
For much more information on exploring the region that raised me, check out our guides to the 13 best reasons to visit Newcastle, the 22 best things to do in Newcastle, the best day trips from the city, and why you’ll have absolutely no idea what anyone’s talking about.
Thanks for reading, thanks for visiting Travelness, and have a lovely Christmas!
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