As the twinkling lights adorn the oak chalets lining Durham’s cobblestone streets, a longtime local tradition emerges kicking off the festive season. The annual Durham Christmas Market offers over 100,000 annual visitors authentic charm and customs since starting years ago.
History Behind the Beloved Durham Tradition
When envisioning a Christmas market, Europeans think of handcrafted gifts, steaming mugs of mulled wine and the sound of Christmas carols in the crisp, winter air. The Durham Christmas Market stems from that continental inspiration…
Transporting Old World Charm
Inspired by timeless Victorian and German aesthetics, stepping into the market ignites all the senses…the sight of ornate chalets with twinkling lights, the sound of carolling choirs and brass bands, the smell of mulled cider and roasted chestnuts. You’re enveloped into a quintessential winter wonderland storybook scene.
Through the decades of locals and tourists attending the market, its seen generations of families making the event part of people’s annual traditions. Kids grown up, now returning with their own little ones. It’s an incredibly nostalgic event for many.
The Durham Christmas Market captures the sentimental spirit of the season. But look closely to uncover unexpected delights!
Unique Discoveries Worth Treasuring
Part of the magic comes from exploring one-of-a-kind finds. While you’ll discover popular festive decor, it’s the unconventional artisans that set Durham’s market apart.
Behind the painted glass bulb ornaments you can sample is David from Canny Candy Gadgies offering Durham’s unofficial Christmas dessert – melt-in-your-mouth handmade fudges, honeycombs, brittle, coconut ice. All products are made with no palm oil or artificial colours, flavours or preservatives.
Supersyrups stand offers a variety of spiced hot drinks and a homemade spiced mulling syrup to bring home with you.
Looking for something savoury? Check out the Nova Scotia Farm produce offering freshly-baked pies, mushy peas, mash and gravy.
Insider Ideas for Market First-Timers
Everyone from college students to boomer couples join the festivities. But how do you make the most of your trip? Get the inside scoop from long-time patrons!
- Come Thursday evening – way less crowded, especially if you avoid weekends. Then locals can actually shop!
- Snap a photo in front of the big ornament arch when lit up at night – it’s stunning!
- Grab a hot spiced drink first to keep yourself warm and ignite the appetite.
Start New Holiday Traditions
Beyond shopping, food and nostalgic charm, creative travellers discover opportunities for new customs…
Make selecting those signature glass bulbs or ceramic ornaments into your unique heirloom collectible tradition. Display them proudly on your tree year after year.
Pick up hearty hand-knitted mittens, aromatic herbal teas or award-winning fruit preserves as heartfelt mementos for faraway loved ones.
The allure of Durham’s Christmas Market is the fine detail and sentimental moments that become treasured new memories.
May you find your own unexpected magic there this Christmas!
Visiting Durham with a family? Consider staying at Plawsworth Serviced Apartments a short drive away from the Durham city centre. Gather with your loved ones in your own living space and enjoy unpacking and savouring the goodies you picked together at the Durham Christmas Market.