Christmas in Newcastle

by Alessia Scappaticci

I have to admit, I had pretty high expectations for being in Newcastle during Christmastime. I’ve seen tons of photos of dreamy fairy lights, specialty Christmas food, and garland draped over every shop and café to not get overly excited. And luckily, Newcastle absolutely didn’t disappoint. Right after Bonfire Night on November 5th, the city switches into holiday mode, and we get to enjoy it all the way up until New Year’s Day. With so much to do and see around Newcastle, here are some of my favourites:

The Fenwick Window
Fenwick is one of the largest department store franchises in the UK; think Hudson’s Bay meets Nordstrom. And every year, flocks of people will walk to the Fenwick in the city centre of Newcastle to watch the annual unveiling of the Christmas window display. Each year has a different theme, and the anticipation leaving up to the reveal is insane. Not to mention, they also invite celebrities or public figures to come and help with the unveiling. Some people wait all day in the (kind of) cold for the best spot. This year’s theme was, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory- each window was a different scene form the movie. The windows were also lit up and playing music. It’s really nice to walk by while getting some Christmas shopping done.   

The Christmas Light Switch-On
Just like the Fenwick window unveiling, the annual Christmas Light Switch-On in Newcastle attracts hundreds of people and some special guests. The lights are set up around the city ahead of time to raise excitement, but they don’t get turned on until the night of the event. Because the lights are set up in different spots around the city, people watch from everywhere. This year, my friends and I chose to watch from the top of Grey St., the most famous street in Newcastle. The weather was perfect for standing outside in early November, and seeing the lights turn on all around Newcastle was one of the most magical sights. And remember those special guests I mentioned? This year’s celebrity appearance was from Sam Fender! It was a night I definitely won’t forget.

The Christmas Market
The Christmas market is definitely a must-do in Newcastle around the holidays. The best part is that the market runs all throughout the busiest streets in Newcastle, so each stall and attraction is within walking distance. Speaking of stalls, the market has everything you can think of- unique little trinkets, vintage pieces, and all the different foods you can think of. Whether you’re in the mood for a traditional British pork roll, or a cookie the size of your head, you can find it at the market. One of my favourite treats is the toffee apple cider; it feels like a hug in a cup! But if browsing through the food stalls and shops aren’t your thing, there are also super fun attractions set up around the market as well!

Photo taken by Alessia Scappaticci

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