A CHRISTMAS festival is planning a very different event this year, replacing the busy marquee with a virtual one, with the aim of encouraging shoppers to visit a selection of independent traders’ websites while Christmas shopping from the comfort of their home.

With support from the City of Durham Parish Council, Durham Christmas Festival is set to transform its website into an online marquee with access to the ‘stalls’ of 50 regular Christmas Festival traders, including homemade food and drink, handcrafted gifts and art, clothing, accessories and homewares

Colin Wilkes, of Durham Markets Company which co-organises the event, said: “This year, more than ever, it’s vitally important to spend money with independent businesses in the run up to Christmas. So many of these businesses have been denied their usual seasonal opportunities so we want to bring them to the shoppers. And we’d like to say thank you in advance to everyone who visits the virtual Christmas festival."

The virtual festival will run from November 27 to December 6 at durhamchristmasfestival.com