This is my favourite time of year, all of the community events and Christmas spirit makes my little heart so full!
Every weekend of mine is currently chocker block with festive days out in County Durham and so I’m sharing some of the simple ways I plan to get festive in County Durham during the season.
None of these are excessive or necessarily expensive, they’re just small ways you can festive up your weekends, plan a cute date night or catch up with friends this Christmas.
1. Hire a Pod at Boathouse, Durham
£25 for two hours in these heated, cosy little pods. They’re decked out beautifully with Christmas scented candles burning, furry throws and twinkly lights.
If you hire a pod, you get some special offers and discounted drinks!
2. Have a Festive Afternoon Tea at Auckland Cupcake Company
I’ve tried to add as many ways to support small businesses in this list too, because I think it so important. This gorgeous little spot is based in Bishop Auckland and do THE BEST cakes you’ve ever tasted.
This year they’re offering a bargain of a festive afternoon tea. £10.95 per person, you can choose any hot drink, any flavour of cupcake, any flavour chocolate kiss and get Christmas themed sandwiches, pie, pigs in blankets, scones and so many more drool-inducing sweet treats. Pre-bookings only, so make sure you get in touch before you rock up…
3. Alpine Lodge and Ice Skating at Rainton Winter Wonderland
This year, Rainton Meadows Arena have erected their very own winter wonderland which is perfect for families. Amusements, rides, a Santa’s Grotto and a few festive food and craft stalls.
But its not just for those with kids, they also have an ice skating rink and a ski lodge themed tipi with a bar serving up mulled wine, roaring fire pits and live entertainment.
Entry to the fayre is free but you do have to pay for the skating and Santa’s Grotto.
4. Visit Steam Machine Brewery’s Upcycled Winter Wonderland
The team behind some of my favourite craft ales have used recycled and upcycled materials to festive up their brewery based in Newton Aycliffe. It’s like a magical, yet industrial, winter wonderland. And looks cosy as shit!
5. Order your Christmas Eve Box from Bloom and Graze
I got my hands on a couple of these amazing little numbers as soon as I knew about them. Because as the Bloom and Graze team say; ‘why should adults miss out on the Christmas Eve fun?’
£25 for a box that feeds two, your picky tea before your final sleep till Santa is sorted!
Bloom and Graze also offer unique and luxurious grazing tables and grazing boards for every size event. And you’ve really never seen anything quite so incredible…
6. Visit the Christmas Walkabout Weekend in Durham
Between the 14th and 15th December, you can see an array of traditional Christmas performers and walkabout acts adding live entertainment to the cobbled streets of Durham. It’s free to attend!
7. Take advantage of Dine In Durham
A four day event offering promotions and offers across Durham, you can grab a bargain from some of the best eateries, cafes and restaurants in the city.
Only available from the 19th until 22nd, keep an eye out on the Durham BID website for more details about the festive menus available during the event.
8. Grab a Festive Drink and Homemade Goodies at Caps Off
Caps Off are another independent based in Bishop Auckland. They promote and sell some of the best locally produced drinks across the North East.
This Christmas they’re offering a delicious hot drink menu including a Chocolate Orange Mocha, Roasted Chestnut Latte and a Candy Crush number. They also have spiced mulled cider and a cracking range of craft lagers and beers to warm you up as the temperatures continue to drop. Plus a ever-changing offering of homemade tray bakes and sweet treats available. And they’re dog friendly!
They also sell Christmas gift boxes for the craft ale lover in your life too…
9. Wander around Durham Cathedral after Sunset
I really don’t think theres anything more magical than this. Once the darkness hits, talking a walk through the Cathedral and around the Cloisters feels so much more special.
You can hear the choir practising, or stick around after 5.00pm for Evensong and pretend you’re in Home Alone.
The cathedral is entirely free to enter but they do rely on donations, which is entirely to your discretion.
10. Get stuck into a Christmas Hanging Kebab from Tomahawk, Darlington
You may have seen this, it went pretty viral, but Tomahawk Steakhouse in Darlington have created in the ultimate Christmas indulgence.
A skewer of turkey and pigs in blankets hanging over a giant Yorkshire Pudding filled with winter vegetables, a side of sweet potato fries, gravy and cranberry sauce. Do I honestly need to say anything more?
What have I missed? What simple, easy or free things do you do to help you feel festive this time of year?
Let me know in the comments!
Lots of love, LB x