Durham will have an extra festive feel with a choice of produce from three markets at the city’s annual Christmas Festival this weekend (Dec 1 - 3).

Two markets have this year combined to make Palace Green, between Durham Cathedral and castle, the perfect destination for Christmas shoppers. 

But the city will play host, in all, to three festive markets and more than 225 independent small traders providing gifts, treats, decorations, festive food and drink and more.

Not only will there be the usual array of stalls in Durham Market Hall and the Festive Outdoor Market, in the Market Place, but there will also be a Craft and Producers’ Marquee on Palace Green.

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Traders who at previous festivals operated stalls and stands in the Cloister of the nearby cathedral will this year join the ranks of producers in the Palace Green marquee, making it a ‘one-stop-shop’ for Christmas goodies.

Alice Wilkes, of Durham Markets Company, which organises the festival together with Durham University, said: “We’re delighted to this year incorporate our creative and gift traders along with the region’s finest food and drink producers in one market on Palace Green.

“It’ll be the ideal Christmas shopping spot! 

“We know that all our participating small businesses, over 225 in total, are already working hard getting ready for the festival.

“For visitors, seeking a quieter visit, we’d recommend coming to Durham on the Friday (December 1).

“It is especially good for carers visiting with those they care for as the carer will be entitled to free entry to the Craft and Producers’ Marquee. 

“On Saturday and Sunday (December 2 and 3) there will be lots of festive music throughout the city.

“It will include a Christmas ‘Carolathon’, on the Saturday and free entertainment for children in Children’s Corner, both on Palace Green.

“Our traders in the Craft and Producers’ Marquee will be costumed to add to the festive atmosphere.”

For families, the Children’s Lantern Parade will once more fill the city centre with light on the Saturday afternoon.

Children, bearing their lanterns, together with their families, will head from the Market Place at 2.30pm, arriving at Durham Cathedral for the 3pm St Nicholas Service.

This year’s parade will be led by Chester-le-Street Salvation Army Band with an escort by members of Durham Fire Cadets.

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There is a £4 entry fee for the Craft and Producers’ Marquee at the entrance.

Carers coming to the festival with those they care for will be admitted free of charge to the Craft and Producers’ Marquee when the cared for person pays to enter.

The offer is also available as discounted entry when bought in advance via: www.durhamchristmasfestival.com, the festival website.