For those looking to avoid the mad rushes of last minute high-street shoppers, the traditional Christmas markets can offer a haven of real festive spirit.
To help you escape the rush, and find some warming food and special gifts, here are our suggestions for the best Christmas markets running in the North East throughout November and December.
The popular Continental Market brings a very real taste of Europe to the streets of Newcastle; you can sample a currywurst from Germany, waffles from Holland, paella from Spain, and crepes – both sweet and savoury – from France. Once you’ve had enough food there’s also a huge selection of homemade craft stalls.
The Christmas Market on the other hand keeps things closer to home with stalls selling produce from local microbreweries, home-made jams, delicious cakes and homemade chocolates. On December 1 the Fairtrade Arts and Crafts Market provides the perfect opportunity for those looking to pick up a truly unique gift.
Continental Market, Grey’s Monument, Grey Street and Grainger Street, 15 Nov-30 Dec, 9am-5pm
Christmas Market, Grey Street, Grainger Street and Old Eldon Square, 4-8 Dec, 9am-5pm
Fairtrade Arts and Crafts Market, Grainger Market Events Space, 1 Dec, 9am-5pm
There’s plenty to attract Christmas shoppers to Sunderland this winter. From mid-November Santa’s Christmas Village will take over Market Square, with toys galore for kids and the chance to hop on the sleigh. And for nine days in December the Sunderland Christmas Market will see around 40 stallholders to bring festive cheer to the area.
Santa’s Christmas Village in Market Square, 14 Nov – 24 Dec, 9am-8pm
Sunderland Christmas Market, High Street West, 5 – 13 Dec
There is a huge range of great one-day Christmas markets available in Middlesbrough this year. The traditional Christmas Frost Fair is a surefire success, with a range of homemade gifts and local produce as well as lots of fun activities including the chance to meet Father Christmas. Perhaps most notable is the regular Food Craft and Gift Market located in the heart of the Town Centre; the quarterly market features hand-crafted unique gifts as well as a variety of irresistible food from across the region. You can explore some of the other markets running here.
Christmas Frost Fair, Stewart Park, 14 Dec, 11am-4pm
Food Craft and Gift Market, Corporation Road, 6-7 Dec, 9am-4pm
The Victorian Christmas Market in North Shields returns for the fifteenth time over the weekend of December 14-15. You can look forward to a traditional festive atmosphere with music, food and drink and a huge range of stallholders.
Victorian Christmas Market, Northumbria Square, North Shields, 14-15 Dec
Durham’s award-winning Christmas Festival has a wide range of festive entertainment for all the family, based in and around the World Heritage Site of the castle. The market features an enormous Craft and Gift Marquee with over 190 traders offering a wide variety of Christmas gifts. A Local Food Producers Market will also be held in the beautiful setting of Durham Cathedral Cloisters on both the Friday and Saturday, to pick up some great local produce.
Christmas Festival, Palace Green, 6-8 Dec, 9am-5pm
Local Food Producers Market, Cathedral Cloisters, 7-Dec, 9am-5pm