If the words ‘when are we going to see Santa?’ triggered sheer panic at the realization that everything seems to have been booked up months ago then fear not…
We are here to save your Christmas.
Fenwick’s rooftop, Kielder and the various Santa trains on offer around the region might have been booked up before last year’s turkey was even cold but don’t worry there are still lots of festive treats that even the most disorganised amongst us can enjoy.
Here are a few of the best:
Perhaps the most famous of all of Newcastle’s seasonal attractions – Fenwick’s window is completely free. The best thing is that it’s great for even those most opposed to forward planning – you can turn up whenever you like!
This year’s display is inspired by the much-adored children’s picture book, the Snowman, and tells the story of one little boy’s famous winter adventure.
Sure to be popular with all of the family, your special challenge is to try and get a selfie in front of the window without the now infamous Gregg’s logo reflection making an appearance.
The Metrocentre Santa
The big guy will be at the Metrocentre from Saturday 17 November right up to Christmas Eve.
Visits to Santa are completely free, but the best bit is that you can’t book, so nobody can have beat you to it.
His grotto is in the lower Yellow Mall, on the ground floor of the Qube, and each child receives a free gift.
Each year, Enchanted Parks wows, mystifies and excites thousands of visitors with its after dark arts trail through Gateshead’s Saltwell Park.
The only thing that’s different this year is that it’s not sold out yet.
So get booked up for a winter woodland wander through fantasy landscapes, with spell-binding light displays and interactive arts installations.
This year visitors are invited to step into ‘the House of Lost and Found’ from Tuesday 4 until Sunday 9 December.
By the River Brew Co will be serving up tasty treats at their Hawker’s Market and BALTIC shop will also be on hand selling original Christmas gifts.
Beamish at Christmas
Christmas at Beamish is truly magical. You can travel back in time to discover the amazing seasonal sights, sounds, smells and delicious tastes of Christmas past.
Visitors can experience the magic of a traditional Christmas by joining in the celebrations at 1820’s Pockerley Old Hall, the 1900s Town and Pit Village and the 1940s Farm.
However, not only can you enjoy the festive atmosphere and old-school decorations, you can see Santa himself at his magical fireside grotto and say hello to his friendly reindeer.
Santa at Beamish costs £5 per child and includes a small, traditional gift. But the best thing is that tickets are sold on a daily basis so can’t sell out in advance.
There’s also a real ice rink, winter fun fair and outdoor Christmas bazaar. And, there’s a special offer on the skating with one free child skate for every paying adult skater.
The fairground rides cost £1.50, with sideshows 50p.
Christmas events at Beamish are open to attend throughout late November and December. Make the most of your visit by validating your ticket for a year and you can return for free!
Christmas at Gibside
This beautiful National Trust site has plenty to see and do this Christmas.
At the time of writing there was still availability for some dates to see Santa in his cosy cottage complete with a real log fire (Santa is there Wednesdays and Saturdays in December).
Mrs Claus is also in on the action with her special Christmas trail around the gardens. From giving the sleigh an MOT, to double checking the naughty and nice list, you can follow the clues around the gardens to find out what she has been up to. (1-23 December booking not required).
A series of special ‘nights before Christmas’ will see the site open late for festive evenings of street food and entertainment with wood braziers to keep you warm (8, 15, 22 December).
There’s even special candlelit Christmas concerts taking place in the chapel, which promise to be very atmospheric (10, 18 December).
And if you just need to escape the overcrowded shopping centres or recover from the office part then Gibside is also a perfect place for a beautiful winter walk.
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