Blogmas: Festive Fun At The Virtual Durham Winter Fayre

Despite Christmas being very different for us all this year, the magic of Christmas markets doesn’t have to be a distant memory from December’s past for 2020. Earlier in the week This Is Durham launched their virtual Durham Winter Fayre online, to bring Durham’s best and most festive businesses, stays, eats, days out and experiences to you in the comfort of your home. 

Durham CathedralPIN IT
Photo provided by This Is Durham

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by This Is Durham, but as always all opinions are my own and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed browsing what Durham has to offer since the winter fayre launched.

The interactive online experience let’s you and your family enjoy the fun of the market, while you catch the train, visit the sweet shop and shake the snowglobe from your sofa. Here’s what you’ll find at the virtual Durham Winter Fayre.

BeamishPIN IT
Photo provided by This Is Durham/Beamish

Durham Winter Fayre Online

The fayre is split into four market sections – Durham Days, Durham Stays, Taste Durham and Durham Gifts. You can enter each one separately, which will take you to that section of the market and there you’ll be met with a different backdrop that reflects the different areas of Durham.

Spot the deer and High Force Waterfall, Durham Cathedral and the coastline to name a couple. You can click on different aspects of the location too. 

Durham Days

Click through to Durham Days, and once you’ve caught the train, opened the sweet shop and shook the snowglobe, have a browse of the days out you can enjoy in Durham. Places like Beamish, the Bowes Museum, Seaham Hall, and Raby Castle have stalls here, as well as many others.

By visiting each locations stall you will find the gift vouchers, offers and memberships available to buy for each one. I’m desperate to visit Beamish so the pass for their looks good to me, and so do the spa vouchers for Seaham Hall and NUSPA at the Raddison. 

Have a browse of all of the ‘Durham Days’ stalls to see what takes your fancy, and for those last minute Christmas gifts. Days out and experiences like this are some of the best presents to give this year, as it’s always nice to have something to look forward to, even more so this year.

Twilight Spa at Seaham Hall Serenity SpaPIN IT
Seaham Hall spa days

Durham Stays

Throw snowballs, turn the lighthouse light on, and open the door to the Cosy Inn when you visit the Durham Stays section of the market, before venturing in to see what stays are on offer. This one is my favourite section, as there are so many beautiful hotel breaks to be found across the region.

I’ve personally visited Seaham Hall and Headlam Hall, both are beautiful hotels with fabulous spas and top quality food. I’ve been to but not stayed at the High Force Hotel as this is where you park to walk to High Force waterfall, so it’s a good one for exploring the area and a walk by the river. 

South Causey Inn and Redworth Hall Hotel are both so high up on my list to visit, I’ve had stays at both of them planned at different points this year but unfortunately have never made it due to local and national lockdowns. I’m sure they’ll both be worth the wait so I’m very interested in their offers – especially the South Causey Inn vouchers for the unique rooms they have.

There are a huge range of stays, vouchers and experiences to purchase from each of these places, including overnight breaks, lodges, unique room stays, spa stays and afternoon tea with bubbly experiences. A lovely treat for anyone who deserves a break in the New Year.

South Causey InnPIN IT
Photo provided by This Is Durham/South Causey Inn

Taste Durham

A beautiful scene awaits you in this section of the market, make sure you turn the clear skies dark, set High Force flowing, and the deer galloping across the snow, before you venture in to the tastiest part of the market.

Explore the range of cuisine and drinks on offer from the region here, including Durham distillery, Durham Coffee, two cheese stalls – Weardale Cheese and Teesdale Cheese, Dalton Moor Farm, Tea Enthusiasts and South Causey Inn restaurant, as well as a few others.

They’re offering all your festive essentials, distillery gift packs and sloe gin, Durham Heritage range of coffee which includes seven flavours, cheese hampers and even a Christmas tea brew. There are some non seasonal gifts and products available too, afternoon tea at South Causey, and some interesting day experiences at Dalton Moor Farm.

All stalls here are worth a browse, remember you’re helping local businesses with every purchase you make as well as getting good quality food and drinks.

Afternoon TeaPIN IT
Photo provided by This Is Durham

Durham Gifts

A lovely one to visit last, as you watch the snow fall in front of the Durham Cathedral rose window, hear the carol singers, and switch on the Christmas tree lights. This is where you’ll find gifts and souvenirs from the region and it’s iconic landmarks.

Purchase merchandise from the Cathedral gift shop, Locomotion Museum and Lumiere – the light festival, or gift vouchers for a day at Raby Castle or Dalton Park shopping centre. My favourite stall here has to be the Beamish gifts, they’re selling a Beamish version of Monopoly! And dog biscuits I know Arthur would devour in an instant.

You can find plenty more gifts in this section of the market too, from other local businesses so as I said previously in a year where so many independents have been hit hard, it’s a lovely way to ensure they can keep going.

Beamish GiftsPIN IT
Photo provided by This Is Durham

It is such a shame we can’t visit the Durham Markets and wonderful offering of hospitality, businesses, historical sights and beautiful nature across the region in person this December. But the Virtual Durham Winter Fayre is a great way to still enjoy each one from home. Get cosy on the sofa with your festive tipple of choice – Durham gin obviously, and enjoy browsing through planning future adventures. At least it will be there waiting for us when we can get back out again. 

Click through to visit the Virtual Durham Winter Fayre here now.

Other posts you might like:

A Twilight Spa Experience at Seaham Hall Serenity Spa

A Day Out at Raby Castle

Hill Top Huts and High Force Waterfall

Blogmas: 43 Things To Do In December

Blogmas: 15 Good deeds to do this festive season

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