With its cobbled streets and deep historical roots, Alnwick is a magical place to visit any time of year. However, around Christmas, this Northumberland market town truly comes to life. 


Get ready to explore Alnwick in all its fairytale glory. From meeting Father Christmas at Alnwick’s favourite department store to perusing all manner of crafts and gifts at the Alnwick Christmas market, there’s plenty to get all of the family in the festive spirit.

Why visit Alnwick at Christmas?


Whether you’re a Northumberland local or live further afield, Alnwick has a lot to offer at Christmas. While there are things to see and do in Alnwick all year round, there’s something rather special about seeing this quaint location lit up with fairy lights and dusted with frost (or snow — if we’re lucky!)


With markets and lots of independent shops to browse, it’s a great spot for Christmas shopping, too. 


And, of course, there’s the stunning view of Alnwick Castle. As any Harry Potter fan will appreciate, Alnwick Castle epitomises winter magic. With its grand stone architecture and towering battlements, the castle has always exuded an aura of timeless majesty. However, its association with the Harry Potter films gives it an extra layer of enchantment.


Since starring as Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in two of the Harry Potter films, the castle's snow-draped courtyards and cloister instantly conjures winter scenes in the Wizarding World. Although Alnwick Castle is closed for visits this November and December, it still serves as a beautiful reminder of our favourite festive scenes and whimsical Christmas magic. 

Things to do around Alnwick this winter


If you’re searching for family activities in Alnwick this Christmas season, you’re in luck. Here are just a few events and experiences suitable for all ages.

Meet Father Christmas


What better way to get the little ones excited about the big day than to meet the man of the moment — Father Christmas? This year, he’ll be setting up a yuletide grotto in the heart of Robinson’s department store on Bondgate Within. 


As well as seeing Santa, children can marvel at animated reindeer and meet some mischievous elves. Refreshments will be available, too. Visit all through the run-up to Christmas, from the 1st to the 24th of December. Tickets are selling fast so make sure to book online soon!

Visit the Alnwick Christmas Fayre, Bar and Market


The sights, smells, and sounds of Christmas are best showcased at a festive market — and this year, you can enjoy two Christmas fayres in Alnwick. 


The Alnwick Christmas Fayre, Bar and Market is a fantastic event encompassing arts, crafts, gifts, food, drinks, live music and more. Plus, with one event running on November 17th, (before and after the Alnwick Christmas lights switch-on) and one on the 9th December, you have two opportunities to experience the merriment.


The market will be raising money for Northumberland Dog Rescue.

Get started on your Christmas shopping

Whether you’re an early-bird planner or you tend to leave your Christmas shopping to the last minute, fear not — Alnwick has you covered. 


Explore the town’s many independent shops, including Barter Books. As one of Europe’s biggest second-hand book shops, it’s the ideal destination for getting a present for your favourite book enthusiast. It’s also an impressive sight to behold. Housed in an old train station, Barter Books features several 40-foot murals, a model railway and a crackling fire lit in winter. 


Other lovely stores include Ruby Tuesday for gifts and homeware, Conroy’s Jewellery Boutique, and The Beehive — an antique shop that’s perfect for picking up unique presents.


Alternatively, for gifts that exude festive wonderment, take a look at the Alnwick Castle online shop. If you’re looking for a stand-out present for a Harry Potter fan, treat them to a Horcrux Bookmark Collection or go all out with the Hogwarts Express Train Set. We also have a range of beautiful Harry Potter Christmas decorations — perfect for bringing a touch of wizardry and witchcraft to your tree.

Warm up in a cosy Alnwick cafe 


After exploring Alnwick for your Christmas shopping, why not visit one of the town’s snug cafes for a coffee or hot chocolate?


The Strawberry Lounge is a popular choice or, further out of the town centre, there’s the Old Stables. This traditional tea room serves hot drinks, homemade cakes, breakfast and light bites as well as a full afternoon tea. Plus, if you’re searching for things to do in Alnwick with dogs, the Old Stables has a patio seating area suitable for your four-legged friends. 

Where can you stay in Alnwick around Christmas?


Are you planning to stay in Alnwick around Christmas? Whether it’s a romantic getaway just for the two of you or a festive holiday for the whole family, Alnwick has some fantastic accommodation options. From luxurious hotels and bed and breakfasts to self-catering cottages, you’re sure to find somewhere to your taste. 

Where are the best places to walk and explore around Alnwick?

The build-up to Christmas is an exciting time, but what about the limbo between Christmas and New Year? It can be tricky deciding what to do during the “Twixmas” period, but a refreshing winter walk can be the ideal way to brush off the cobwebs. 


Fortunately, there are some great walks around Alnwick. Hulne Park is perfect for a Boxing Day stroll. Set within 3000 acres, this 18th-century ornamental park is a peaceful space, once part of Hulne Priory. It has strong links to Alnwick Castle and was onced the prized hunting grounds of the Percy family. With a gothic tower and the Alnwick Abbey gatehouse, it’s a striking place to visit whatever the weather. 


(Please be aware that Hulne Park will be closed to the public on the 30th of December as well as a select few dates in the run-up to Christmas).


For a coastal adventure, head towards Alnmouth and embark on a 6 km circular walk. Along the route, you’ll cross beaches, fields and more — just remember to check the December tide times before setting off! 

Visit Alnwick and discover Alnwick Castle online

For a quintessential Christmas atmosphere, there’s nowhere quite like Alnwick. Whether you’re popping over for the day to browse the town centre or staying for the holiday season, let Alnwick’s festive ambience bring joy and warmth to your December. 


While Alnwick Castle is closed to visitors this winter, you can still harness the magic of this historical space through our online shop. From local history books to spellbinding Christmas tree decorations, we have gifts for all this festive season.


We look forward to welcoming you back to Alnwick Castle in Spring 2024.