Frosty cars and wooly hats have arrived. Let’s get those Christmas lists out, eh? Sam Wonfor is starting her shopping efforts with a bringing together of Newcastle and Gateshead’s best Christmas Markets to book into your yuletide prep plans right now. Get yourselves a sherry and strap in.
Despite it seeming like it was only last week that (for the 15th time since becoming a grown up) I thought about initiating some sort of a seasonal wardrobe system in our house*, it is apparently already mid-November.
(*Our family wardrobe system remains characterised by year-round chaos.)
And so here I am, realising that the loveliness of Christmas is but one calendar flip away and feeling once again wobbly in the knowledge that I’ve done bugger all.
But. Having resolved at the turn of 2019 to put panic to one side in favour of channelling any anxious energy into actually getting stuff done, I decided a list of upcoming Christmas markets and associated festive gatherings would be an excellent idea. Bloody love a list.
And as well as helping me on my way to the dream Christmas Eve scenario (the one which doesn’t involve ANY wrapping and massively involves slippers, sherry and watching Elf), this list will also enable me to tick another 2019 resolution box – namely to shop local as much as possible and support the region’s independent people and businesses wherever I can.
HELLO CHRISTMAS SHOPPING!
So, here’s a round up of Christmas markets and pop up festive shopportunities across Newcastle and Gateshead in the coming weeks. (I’ll be doing one devoted to the bricks and mortar shops you should make it your business to visit during the season of goodwill a bit later).
Do feel free to give me a shout with any corking ones I’ve missed, won’t you?
DONE AND DUSTED Thoughtful Night Market
Thought Foundation, November 16th, 5.30pm-9.30pm
Organised and co-hosted with modern craft masters, The Crafthood, this fifth outing of the Market, which kicks off at 5.30pm, will be fit to burst with a thoughtfully selected range of stalls from some of the region’s best creative businesses to ensure shopping urges and Christmas lists are well catered for.
Furniture, jewellery, artwork, food, drink, ceramics and accessories for body and home are among the many delights which will be available for perusing – and purchasing, obvs.
There’ll also be live music, lush food and drinks, demonstrations, taster sessions and this triple treat of Christmas-flavoured workshops:
5:30pm – 6:30pm : KLB designs (expect Christmas bauble and decoration making)
5:30pm – 6:30pm : All is Calm self-care workshop with Simple Happy Life
7:30pm – 8:30pm : Gardener’s Winter Garland Workshop with Perennial Favourites
If all this wasn’t enough, the wonderful-sounding Tranquil Treatments will also be available and (good)willing for 20-minute mini reflexology and/or Indian head massage sessions for an extra injection of Christmas chill.
All workshops and treatments are available for pre-booking at Eventbrite, so don’t spare the reindeers if you’re interested.
Anyone who’s had the good fortune to attend one of the Thoughtful Night Market events gone by will undoubtedly be wondering what the crack is with the goody bags for 2019… and we have good news. They’re back!
As has been the form in previous markets (and why fix it if it isn’t knackered?), there will be two goody bag drop slots during the evening where the first 25 shoppers will receive a little bonus treat. The first will be at 5pm and the second at 7pm. Sharpened elbows at the ready, if you please.
Entry is £3.50 with a percentage of every ticket being devoted to St Oswald’s Hospice.
DONE AND DUSTED Baltic Shop Christmas Discount Weekend
November 16th and 17th, 10am to 6pm, Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead Quays
An early Christmas shopping boost is on offer at the BALTIC shop, which is having a big old discount weekend, offering customers the chance to take 15% off their bill at the till.
True, you’ll have to spend over £40… but given the BALTIC’s wide and very lovely variety of jewellery, home accessories, toys, prints, posters and (at this time of year) Christmas decorations to adore, we don’t think that will be an issue.
Ooh, and don’t forget that the BALTIC Kitchen will be offering delicious winter warmers throughout, meanwhile the 60-strong Rock Choir will be singing off their Christmas socks on throughout the day on Saturday.
DONE AND DUSTED Ouseburn Open Studios
November 23rd and 24th, various venues across the Ouseburn from 10am to 5pm
Twenty four years after first putting an ‘OPEN’ sign on the studios and workspaces of artists who have made their creative home in the Ouseburn, the much-loved Ouseburn Open Studios returns for its pre-Christmas weekend event.
Taking place between 10am and 5pm on Saturday and Sunday, those who make the wise decision to have a mooch about will be offered the opportunity to go behind the finished works of a huge crowd of local artists and design-makers, and buy from a ridiculous range of affordable and original work.
Paintings, ceramics, sculpture, jewellery, furniture and prints are among the delights which you could end up stroking lovingly in the comfort of your own home… or giving as very special Christmas presents.
Suitable for all ages, eight venues have signed up to welcome the hundreds upon hundreds of people who are expected.
Biscuit Tin Studios on Warwick Street
Meet and enjoy the work of artists, printmakers, ceramicists, designers, musicians and makers who spend their days in the Biscuit Tin Studios.
The Biscuit Factory, Stoddart Street
A snow-sprinkled programme of workshops and pop ups will on the menu. Visitors can get among some bauble painting and weaving sessions as well as some serious shopping and sampling of winter warmers from the cafe.
B.Box Studios, Stoddart Street
The latest addition to the Biscuit Factory family is firmly in the Ouseburn Open Studios mix with its gathering of designers, makers and painters.
Northern Print, Stepney Bank
Check out the latest gallery exhibition, meet studio artists, sign up for workshops and tasters. Oh yes, and take your shopping bag!
36 Lime Street , erm, Lime Street
Explore five floors of bustling creativity in the heart of the Ouseburn. There’s an exhibition, a raffle, a café, demos to enjoy, workshops and stuff to buy left right and centre. Workshops, demos and performances include:
- Piano Recitals with Steve Luck (Level 2)
- Lithograph demonstrations at Hole Editions print studio (Level 2)
- Play with light and glass with Laura Johnston (Level 5)
- Upcycle a chair demo using proggy (traditional textiles) and Make a brooch with Ali Rhind (Level 1)
- Pot-throwing demonstrations on the potter’s wheel at Ouseburn Pottery
- Papercutting, folding and more with Bethan Maddocks (Level 1)
Jim Edwards Studio Gallery, 59 Lime Street
Best known for his striking and distinctive depictions of some of the North East’s most iconic buildings and bridges, has been working and exhibiting out of this studio gallery since 2015. Expect to see his latest paintings, a crowd of limited edition prints and wide range of greetings cards.
Kiln Ouseburn, Hume Street
Fancy some pre-Christmas pottery studio fun times? You couldn’t be in more luck. The Kiln is issuing an open invite to people of all ages to go down and get to grips with clay and play throughout the weekend.
Mushroom Works, St Lawrence Road,
Ouseburn Open Studios wouldn’t be Ouseburn Open Studios without an appearance from the friendly artists and designers who make the Mushroom Works their daytime home. And with five new studios to wander around, there’s even more to see for 2019.
So there you have it… what’s not to love?
Helpful hint: If you haven’t had the good fortune to visit before now, we strongly suggest you take cash as not everyone has card payment facilities.
DONE AND DUSTED Low Fell Food Market
November 23rd and 24th, Saltwell Park, Gateshead
A goodwill and good food-filled weekend is planned in for a special festive incarnation of the Low Fell Food Market.
Carols will be ringing out across Saltwell Park as a wide variety of food, craft and gift stalls set up camp for two days of Christmas cheer.
A heated marquee will make sure there’s always somewhere warm to go and recharge (may we recommend the hot cider) in between browsing some of the region’s top food producers and filling up courtesy of a tasty selection of street food vendors.
Santa will also be knocking about if he can pull himself away from the mulled wine and mince pies.
Entry is £2.50 for adults; youngsters under 14 can get in free and it’s a 100% pay on the door situation.
DONE AND DUSTED Shipley Christmas Craft Market
November 30th, Shipley Art Gallery, Gateshead
The annual Christmas gathering at the Shipley is as popular as ever – and why wouldn’t it be? There’s a stockingful of local artists and craft makers who will be offering a tempting collection of gift and craft ideas.
DONE AND DUSTED Etsy Made Local Newcastle
November 30th at Trinity Church Gosforth; December 1st at Tyne Bank Brewery, Walker Road
A double festive helping of the Newcastle Etsy Made Local events is in store to make sure we can get up close and personal with a roomful of North East creative wonders only too happy to show off the fruits of their labours.
And it’s totally worth going to both events, by the way as there’ll be a range of sellers at each… just remember to treat others as well as yourself!
Biscuit Factory: Christmas Lates
December 4, 11 and 18 at the Biscuit Factory, Stoddart Street
A trio of festive late-night shopping events to ink into your advent calendars, the Biscuit Factory is making it as easy as (mince) pie to tick items off your Christmas shopping list.
First up is a mash up with the Thought Foundation and The Crafthood on December 4th for a second bite at the Thoughtful Night Market – dreamy news for anyone who couldn’t make the first one over at Thought Foundation HQ in November (as gushed about above).
Expect a similarly curated collection of stalls filled with furniture, jewellery, artwork, food, drink, ceramics, hand and body lovelies and loads of treats for homes everywhere.
Next comes the chance to Fill Your Stockings on December 11th.
A neat idea offering the chance to either make or buy your own stocking fillers for under £20.
There are drop in and pre-booked workshops (necklace knitting with The Crafthood and Ceramic Tree Ornaments with Kirsty Adams Ceramics to name two); crafty sessions for the kids courtesy of Little Biscuits and a seasonal silent disco from Forum Books in the new neon gallery, Light Up North.
The Factory Kitchen will be supplying winter nibbles.
The last of the Biscuit Lates comes but a week before the big day. The Calm Before Christmas is encouraging and facilitating all out festive cosiness as well as a chance to put that Christmas shopping list to bed.
Entertainment will come via a 20-piece choir, snuggly hot chocolates on the terrace and a luxury raffle.
And if you needed more warm and fuzziness, a slice of the shopping and raffle spoils will be going to the Biscuit Factory’s nominated good cause.
Anarchy Alt. Market #03: Xmas Time!
December 7th, Benfield Business Park, Walkergate, Newcastle, 12pm-6pm
The third instalment of Anarchy Brewery’s Alt Christmas Market will once again see the award-winning brew house fill up like a perfectly pulled pint, thanks to new and returning traders.
Fashion, accessories, jewellery, art, homeware, gifts, dog treats and a boatload of food and drinks to make your mouth merry will all feature
You’ll find the market in Unit A1 of the business park – right next to Walkergate Metro Station.
Make and Mend Handmade Christmas Market
December 7th, Grainger Market, Newcastle, 9am to 5pm
The Christmas incarnation of the always-popular Make & Mend Market is coming to the Grainger Market in December.
A hamperful of unique pressie ideas and the lovely people who make them will be waiting for customers all day long.
Handmade jewellery, unique local art, gorgeous scented bath and body products, Christmas cards, one off fashion finds and lots more will be on the Make and Mend menu. Enjoy!
Christmas at The Cumberland
December 8th, 1pm to 5pm, Cumberland Arms
An afternoon of good food and drink and music to match will be on offer at the Cumbie at the end of the first week in December.
What a perfect backdrop for a big dollop of Christmas shopping among a carefully assembled selection of stalls.
Known and loved for its warm atmosphere and year-round programme of extra curricular smashingness, this is always particularly special. Well, it’s Christmas innit?
Alphabetti Christmas Market
December 14th, 12pm to 4pm, Alphabetti Theatre, St James’ Boulevard, Newcastle
The brilliant people at Alphabetti Theatre are bringing their popular Christmas Market back into the festive mix.
Stalls boasting a heady melting pot of food, drink, crafts, gifts and photography will all be present and correct… as will the bar staff who will serve up a variety of seasonal tipples and mince pies throughout the day.
There will also be a double helping of choir performances at 12pm and 3pm… meanwhile if you want to hang around afterwards, the Alphabetti Christmas Party kicks off at 5pm. No booking required. Jingle bells indeed.