50+ Festive Things to do in Newcastle 2023 (after Visiting Fenwick's Window)

Disclosure: Nobody has paid to be featured in this post but it does include some venues I have worked with recently / am currently working with. 

This is a question that pops up a lot in our Facebook groups so I thought I would share a few ideas for festive things to do in Newcastle which are ideal to extend your annual visit to see Fenwick's Window.

50+ Festive Things to do in Newcastle 2023 (after Visiting Fenwick's Window)

I have included events for both adults and children in this post as Fenwick's Window is definitely not just for kids (I know I love it more than my kids do!). 

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This post was updated at the beginning of October but will be shared across the full festive period. Apologies if any events you spot have sold out by the time you see this. I do keep them listed in case of cancellations / ticket returns. 

This post features ideas for events you can walk to from Fenwick's Window. If you're looking for festive events across the wider North East, make sure you check out my guide to North East Christmas Events for Kids

If you're looking for events in date order, please check back for my 'What's On in December' blog which will do just that - it will be published at the end of November. 

Finally, before we jump into the main post, please do follow North East Family Fun on Instagram as it's the first place I share new Christmas events I spot and what we get up to over the festive period. 

50 Festive Things to do in Newcastle 2023 

Support Feeding Families & those Experiencing Food Poverty 

Feeding Families is a charity close to my heart. They work tirelessly across the year to provide support, hope and security to those experiencing food poverty in our region.

They honestly provide life-changing work and the stories from the people they have helped over the years are trully inspiring. Here are a few ways you can support the charity this year: 

1 - Book A Breakfast with Santa at The Grand Hotel Gosforth 

This breakfast with Santa event (16 December) is much more than your average meet and greet. First of all, you'll enjoy a beautiful cooked hotel breakfast with a 45 minute spectacular magic show by local magician Graeme Shaw as well as festive crafts for all to enjoy.

This is followed by a visit from the main man himself. If you're looking for an authentic Santa visit, it has to be this one (see more photos on his website here). 

When you buy a ticket to this event, all £ goes directly back into the charity and the work they provide. Find out more and book: https://feedingfamilies.org.uk/2023/10/31/see-santa-with-feeding-families-book-your-tickets-now/

2 - Festive Afternoon Tea with Live Carols at The Grand Hotel Gosforth

This festive afternoon (16 December) will include a toasty drink to kick things off and a beautiful festive afternoon tea all set to live Christmas Carols performed by Chris from STORM at the gorgeous Grand Hotel Gosforth. 

Funds raised from ticket sales will go directly back into the charity to support families experiencing food poverty in our region. 

Find out more and book: https://feedingfamilies.org.uk/2023/10/31/christmas-afternoon-tea-with-live-singing-get-your-tickets-now/

3 - Provide a Christmas Dinner for another North East Family 

A key part of Feeding Families' work is to work with the North East Community. If you're looking to give something back this festive season, why not apply to donate a Christmas dinner to a local family who needs some support this Christmas.

We have done this ourselves a couple of times and it is so worthwhile and really makes a difference. You can get the kids involved too. Find out more about donating a Christmas dinner here: https://feedingfamilies.azurewebsites.net/give

Or do you know someone who is struggling this year and would benefit from receiving a Matched Christmas Dinner? Another local family will provide all of the ingredients they need for a Christmas Day Dinner and will deliver to their home. Apply to recieve a Christmas dinner here: https://feedingfamilies.azurewebsites.net/receive/individuals

The process has change a bit since this blog post (and the menu is smaller now) but you can read about our experience doing this here: https://www.northeastfamilyfun.co.uk/2018/12/donate-christmas-hamper-feeding-families.html

Christmas at The Common Room 

The Common Room is located just next to Central Station and they are running a fantastic programme of events for both children and adults (or a mix of both) this festive season. Here are some highlights: 

Tipsy Lego (9 Nov and 1 Dec) - Join like-minded adults for a LEGO building session in the 5Quarter Bar with a festive drink included. You'll get to build some of The Common Room's signature models which include some local landmarks and bridges. Full instructions and kits provided. 

Light Up Christmas Cards (9 Dec) - This looks like a lovely family STEM activity to enjoy together. It's reasonably priced too at £5 (for 1 adult and 1 child - you can add additional guests onto this for a reduced price). Use a dash of science and a sprinkle of creativity create your own illuminated Christmas Card to take home. 

The Snowman and the Snowdog Double Bill Family Festive Screening (16 Dec) - Enjoy a heartfelt festive morning with the family in the historic Wood Hall. Again, tickets are super reasonable at £7.50 (for 1 adult and 1 child - additional children and adults can be added at a reduced fee).  Tickets include a festive sweet treat for children. Additional festive drinks and snacks will be available to purchase on the day. 

Check out the full programme of events and book here: Book festive events at The Common Room 

The Northern Lights Light Trail at Leazes Park 

This BRAND NEW light trail takes place in Leazes Park over the festive period and it looks fantastic. Featuring a fully accessible 1 mile route featuring stunning light displays, music, choreography and more. This is a chance to see Newcastle all lit up like never before.

There will be a Christmas Village at the end of the trail with local festive local food and drink vendors (all vendors will have a smaller and cheaper children's option available too). 

Book now for dates between 23 November and 1 January: https://northernlightsnewcastle.com/

Christmas at International Centre for Life 

There are lots of festive activities to enjoy at the International Centre for Life this Christmas. Of course there is the popular ice rink which is an excellent choice for skating in central Newcastle.

Ice Skating

Expect festive tunes and ice skating fun for all ages and abilities (skate aids are available to hire and wheelchairs are welcome - quieter sessions are generally the first hour over weekends). The outdoor ice rink is open from 11 November - 7 January.

It's best to book ahead if you can but walk ins are sometimes available. You can also book a package deal to include a festive plantarium show 'What Santa Sees'. 

The Santa Experience with Festive Planetarium Show 

Join Santa in his stunning planetarium and gaze upwards as you watch him deliver gifts around the globe. Then visit his house to meet the main man himself and see some exciting demonstrations.

Children will receive a gift, sweet treat and hot chocolate and adults will receive a complimentary hot drink. Relaxed sessions are available. 

Find out more / book christmas activities at Life here: https://www.life.org.uk/whats-on/special-christmas-events/

Christmas in Victoria Tunnel 

Taking place in the Victoria Tunnel in Ouseburn, this year's festive theme is 'The Lion, the Witch and the Tunnel'. Enter the door to the tunnel and follow the clues to Aslan where you'll find Santa in the depths of the tunnel. Suitable for all ages and includes a gift for all children. 

Find out more and book: https://www.ouseburntrust.org.uk/event/christmas-in-the-tunnel

Family Christmas Events at St James' Park 

Festive Film Screenings take place at St James' Park on the following dates: 
Santa Sunday Lunch at St James' Park

Santa Sunday Lunch takes place at St James' Park on 3 & 10 December. Diners can enjoy a pitch side view, three course lunch and a visit to Santa's Grotto where children will receive a complimentary gift. Find out more and book here.

The Grump's Christmas Breakfast at St James' Park 

Tuck into a delicious breakfast whilst listening to some festive tales from the Christmas Grump on 17 December. Find out more and book here. 

Kids Festive Party at St James' Park 

Join in with a festive disco and party games with Santa and a kids party tea on 17 December. Find out more and book here.

Moosenwirt Alpine Bar 

The Moosenwirt Alpine Bar will be back for 2023. Located in the heart of the Christmas Markets near Grey Street, kids and dogs are welcome too and it's the ideal spot to enjoy a hot chocolate or mulled wine around a fire pit. Walk ins welcome but booking is recommended for the igloo. 

Find out more: https://www.moosenwirt.co.uk/

Festive Events at Seven Stories 

As you'd expect, there is a full programme of Christmas activities available to book at Seven Stories this festive season. Highlights include: 

  • Breakfast with Mrs Claus 
  • Stocking Making Workshop 
  • Toy Making Workshop 
  • Willy Wonka Afternoon Tea 
  • Wreath Making Workshop 
  • Christmas Storytime Sessions 
  • Jack and the Giant Mystery Mini Panto 
Find out more and book onto a festive event here: https://www.sevenstories.org.uk/

Visit Newcastle Christmas Markets 

Newcastle Christmas Market opens on 18 November this year and opens daily from 10am-8pm until 23 December. This year there will be a new performance area around grey's monument which will host choirs, music and entertainment and there will be street performers visiting over weekends too. 

Hot Chocolate Stop 

Just walking around the city and stopping for a festive hot chocolate feels special at this time of year. How about a stroll around Exhibition Park and a hot chocoalte from Urban Green Cafe or why not treat yourself to a hot chocolate from Fenwick after admiring the window? 

Festive Mac n Cheese from Redheads 

Redheads Mac n Cheese in the Grainger Market usually bring out some kind of christmassy mac n cheese over the festive period. Think pigs in blankets, sage, cranberry.......perfect for warming up on the go. Keep an eye on their social media for this year's offerings. 

Shop Local / Independent 

Pop up Christmas Card from Tian's Gifts

There are some gorgeous independent shops to support over the festive period. Here are some of my favourites (click on the blue links for their website/address):

  • Tian's Gifts in the Grainger Market for the most beautiful pop up Christmas cards, decorative notebooks and gifts. 

  • The Glamourous Owl is a gift shop in Old George Yard (just off the Bigg Market) featuring over 40 local artists with leatherwork, jewellery, art and more. 

  • Newcastle Museum Shops for local gifts and quality toys for children. The profit made in these shops goes directly back to the museums too.
  • BALTIC gift shop is the place to go for unique gifts. Expect a mix of local and contemporary art, homeware and quirky gifts. 

  • Science at Life Gift Shop  is the best shop to visit for a wide range of Science and STEM themed gifts.
  • UpSide Down Presents is an independent gift shop on Side down by the Quaysdie. Expect lots of local gifts and cards. 

  • Geordie Gifts is located in the Grainger Market. You'll find a wide range of Geordie Gifts and Cards with original illustrations. 

  • Flea Circus is such a unique place. They describe themselves as a department store for independents and creatives in Newcastle. Expect gifts, homeware, plants, comics, clothes, everything really! You just don't know what you'll find next. An ideal place to pick up a gift for those who are hard to buy for. 

  • Nil Living is a zero waste shop in Newcastle. Perfect for Christmas shopping which has minimal impact on the environment.

  • Don't forget the Newcastle Quayside and Jesmond Markets too. Both continue across the festive season. 

Disney On Ice 

Disney On Ice, 100 Years of Wonder is skating into Newcastle from 6 - 10 December. Taking place at Utilita Arena, you can expect lots of your favourite Disney characters including Encanto, Toy Story and Moana.

Find out more and book your tickets here: https://www.disneyonice.com/en-gb/100-years-of-wonder

Christmas Tipsy Tea Party at WC

WC Newcastle serve some of the best cocktails in Newcastle and you can enjoy a festive version featuring festive themed cocktails in December. I've booked this one myself and can't wait. 

Hotel Chocolat Christmas Cocktails from All Bar One 

Hotel Chocolat usually team up with All Bar One to create the most delicious Christmas Cocktails. They are so good! No announcements for this year yet but I have my fingers and toes crossed they'll be back. 

Pick Your Cheeseboard from Matthew's Cheese 

Christmas isn't Christmas without a Cheeseboard and my go-to place is Matthew's Cheese in Newcastle. Located in the Grainger Market, there is SO much choice! I recommend booking in advance if you can as they are super popular. 

A Christmas Carol by Candlelight

At just over £30 a ticket, this isn't a cheap option but I do think it looks really good and the reviews from last year were fab. I've actually booked this one myself.

Taking place at Alderman Fenwick's House which has been dressed in full mid-Victorian decoartion, this intimate performance of A Christmas Carol will take place with less than 50 guests in attendance. Suitable for ages 12+. 

Find out more and book here: https://www.niltoni.com/event-details/dickens-by-candlelight

Watch a Christmas Film at the Cinema 

Newcastle is blessed with multiple cinemas including Tyneside Cinema, Everyman and Cineworld and most host a range of christmas classics over the festive period as well as new festive releases. We love to do this over the festive period and it can be a cheap afternoon out if you combine with offers such as Meetkat Movies. 

Donate to a Newcastle Food Bank 

Christmas is a time for giving and Newcastle foodbanks run several Christmas specific campaigns which help those in need over the Christmas period. I will link any campaigns I spot here once they start being announced. 

Book Festive Afternoon Tea 

Afternoon Tea at Dreamworld Cakes

There are a few venues who usually offer festive afternoon tea in Newcastle. My personal favourite is Dreamworld cakes - their cakes in particular are just a delight and it feels like such good value. Keep an eye on their social media for 2023 announcements.

Other venues confirmed to be hosting festive afternoon tea in Newcastle include the Maldron Hotel,  Vermont Hotel and Jesmond Dene House Hotel. 

Enjoy a Festive Burger from Fat Hippo 

Fat Hippo Specials are just the best and their Christmas offerings are no exception. Last year's Christmas Burger is pictured. Stay tuned to their socials to see what's on offer this year. 

Jesmond Dene House Christmas Market 

This special Christmas Market takes place on Sunday 3 December. Tickets are £8 per person and include a complimentary glass of mulled wine on arrival. Find out more here. 

Watch the Newcastle Christmas Light Switch On 

This FREE event takes place in Newcastle around Grey's Monument on Tuesday 14 November from 6pm-7:30pm. Hosts Steve and Karen will provide entertainment, music and games before the big countdown.

The reveal date of Fenwick's Window has not been announced yet so if you're wanting to do both on the same night, do check the window will be open nearer the time. 

Enjoy an Early Christmas Meal with Festive Fayre 

Christmas at Hibou Blanc

I absolutely love a Christmas meal in Newcastle. This year we have gone off-piste and booked Pinocchios as it's somewhere the whole family love.

My personal recommendations for festive fayre menus are Hibou Blanc, Blackfriars and Cote Brasserie. All stunning and I bet I end up booking one of those too. 

Catch a Festive Show at The Glasshouse (formerly The Sage) 

There is a bumper programme of festive events available to book now at The Glasshouse including the classic Snowman and Home Alone both accompanied by the Royal Northern Sinfonia Orchestra.

 There's also Aljaz and Janette at Christmas, Big Family Festive Gigs, Demon Barbers The Lock In Christmas Carol, A Jazzy Christmas, Fairytale in New York and more. 

Check the full programme and get booking here: https://theglasshouseicm.org/seasons/christmas-at-the-glasshouse/

Visit Newcastle Cathedral 

You can expect a packed programme at Newcastle Cathedral too with traditional events such as the Advent procession of Light and Carol Services / Christmas Choirs as well as more contemporary offerings including a St Nicholas Family Fun Day and Christmas at the Cathedral. 

Find out more / book : https://newcastlecathedral.org.uk/whats-on/

Watch a Christmas Panto / Show 

We are spoilt for choice in Newcastle! Highlights include: 

A Christmas Night at the Medieval Tavern 

This one is for over 18s only. On 16 December, you can step back in time and visit Newcastle's Medieval Tavern.

Expect to be entertained by jesters, storytellers and musicians and feast on traditional Medieval Tavern grub which can of course be washed down with a pint of Medieval Ale. A night not to forget! Find out more and book here: https://www.newcastlecastle.co.uk/whats-on

Medieval Christmas Evening Tours of Newcastle Castle 

Or how about a Medieval Evening Tour of the Castle on 22 Dec? Also stictly for adults only, this is a chance to explore the castle after hours with a dedicated guide and hear some of the stories from festive times at the castle in years gone by....... Find out more and book: https://www.newcastlecastle.co.uk/whats-on

Christmas Films at Newcastle Castle 

Alternatively, bring the family and enjoy a festive film screening in a unique location. This year's highlights include Elf and The Muppets Christmas Carol. Find out more and book: https://www.newcastlecastle.co.uk/whats-on

Afternoon Tea with Santa at Fenwick 

Afternoon Tea with Santa is available on selected dates throughout November and December. Tickets are £29.50 per person. Find out more and book here. 

Santa's Supper Club at Fenwick 

Santa's Supper Club takes place on selected dates across November and December. Tickets are £29.50 per person. Find out more and book here. 

Breakfast with Santa at Fenwick 

Breakfast with santa takes place on selected dates in November and December. Tickets are £22.50 per person. Find out more and book here. 

Storytime with the Elves at Fenwick 

Book now for selected dates between 25 Nov and 24 Dec. Tickets are £9.50 each and include festive refreshments/treats, festive storytime with the elves and a photo op. Sessions last 45 minutes. Find out more and book here. 

Christmas Cinema at Fenwick 

Christmas Cinema at Fenwick is BACK! Tickets are £17.50 per person inclusive of festive refreshments on selected dates in November and December. Find out more and book here. 

Made Up North Winter Market at the Boiler Shop 

Taking place on 3ed December, you can expect over 60 local small businesses and creatives in attendance. Entry is £2pp (under 16s go free). Find out more here. 

Kids Christmas Disco at Holiday Inn Jesmond 

Taking place on 10th and 17th December, you can expect a 2 course buffet, family fun, disco and games. Find out more and book here.

Bobby's Hospice Christmas Market at Exhibition Park 

Entry by donation, find out more here 

FREE Mini Train Rides at Exhibition Park 

Join TSMEE on 10 December for their public running day (they're just next to Wylam Brewery in Exhibition Park). Not specifically festive but if you pop your Santa Hats on it will be cute! Donations welcome. Find out more here. 

The Cumberland Day of Christmas Doings at The Cumberland Arms 

Taking place on 10 December with a Christmas Choir. More info to follow, find out more here 

Breakfast with Santa at Hard Rock Cafe

Join Santa for a special breakfast at Hard Rock Cafe on 23 December. Find out more and book here 

Breakfast with Santa / The Grinch & Frozen Afternoon Tea at Caledonian Hotel 

Laffs4Kids at Newcastle City Hall 

Suitable for ages 16+, Laffs 4 Kids is an annual Christmas Comedy show with lots of special guests raising money for this important charity. Find out more and book here. 

Leona Lewis - Christmas with Love at Newcastle City Hall 

Taking place on 5 December, you can expect lots of Christmas Classics alongside Greatest Hits. Find out more and book here. 

Family Wreath Workshop at Fork in the Rose

This family wreath making workshop at Fork in the Rose looks lovely. A range of natural materials and refreshments will be provided. Find out more and book here: https://www.forkintherose.co.uk/workshops

Cumberland Christmas Craft Night at The Cumberland Arms 

Join the Cumberland Arms on 7 December for an evening of Christmas Crafts. Book your place here 

Calligraphy for Christmas at Newcastle Arts Centre 

I love the idea of this Christmas activity where you'll learn how to script the alphabet - perfect for a traditional Christmas. Find out more and book here 

Festive Events at Vermont Hotel 

The Vermon Hotel go all out with their festive events and this year is no different with lots of options available to book now including Breakfast with Santa, Afternoon Tea with Santa, Afternoon Tea with Frozen & Santa Sunday Lunch. Prices are pretty reasonable too. 

Christmas Events at Blackfriars 

These are mostly for adults and are always excellent. Highlights include: 

  • Wreath making workshops 
  • Cheese and wine matching 
  • Festive wine tasting 
  • Christmas pudding and pastry workshop 
  • Vegetarian Christmas cookery club 

Kids Christmas Disco and Crafts at The Cumberland Arms 

A special festive disco aimed at kids aged 7 and under is taking place at The Cumberland Arms on Friday 22 December. Sounds like a fab place to meet up with friends and celebrate the end of term to me. There will be a few crafts too and of course, the bar will be open. Find out more and book here 

Christmas Pop Up Choir at Cobalt Studios 

Join a pop up christmas choir at The Cobalt Studios. Suitable for ages 12+, no experiences is neccessary. Find out more and book here 

Non-festive (but still fun ideas) 

If you need more ideas check out this post: 75 things to do in Newcastle with kids 

  • YuMe World Arcade (in the Gate) 
  • Virtual Darts at WonderBar 
  • Gorilla Bowling 
  • Lane 7 Bowling 
  • Newcastle Escape Room 
  • Eldon Square Soft Play 
  • Visit Newcastle Castle 
  • Mr Mullighans Crazy Golf 
  • Newcastle City Pool
  • Discovery Museum 
  • Seven Stories
  • Great North Museum : Hancock 
  • Ouseburn Farm 
  • Exhibition Park & Urban Green Cafe 


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