Christmas starts in earnest in Newcastle this week with a whole host of new additions to the festive celebrations courtesy of NE1 Ltd who have made it their mission to grow Christmas in the city.
NE1 Ltd, the Business Improvement District company, has teamed up with Newcastle City Council to add some extra sparkle to the city’s seasonal activities.
Excitement is building in Newcastle with the return of the festive fairground on Northumberland Street. This year NE1 has tripled the number of fairground sites – instead of just one, there will be three sites at the top, middle and end of Northumberland Street offering fairground rides including candy cane trampolines near the Haymarket, a Ferris Wheel, a Snow Globe and Christmas games near Primark, with the return of the much loved Helter Skelter from last Christmas and a children’s carousel ride at the bottom of the street near Blackett Street.
All these rides will be installed this week (w/c 12 November) and will be fully operational by this weekend. Priced between £2.50 and £5 a turn the rides will sparkle with festive lights and decorations as well as playing classic Christmas songs.
To coincide with the installation of the festive fairground NE1 will be launching a website dedicated to all things Christmas in Newcastle. Www.newcastleschristmas.com will be a one-stop shop for information and advice on what is going on in Newcastle over the festive season. The website goes live next week, w/c 19 November and will provide a map identifying key Christmas events throughout the city as well as an exhaustive list of every Christmas event taking place in NE1. The map will be downloadable from the website as well as available through various sites across the city as a leaflet and via NE1’s Street Rangers detailing festive must sees and dos.
SEARCH FOR SANTA
NE1 is also adding a number of new festive events to its Christmas calendar including a Search for Santa trail, an interactive children’s event that will take place on Saturday 1 December. NE1 has teamed up with Active Newcastle to run this Christmas Search for Santa trail. Participants will be given a map to follow as they make their way around the city looking for clues on their quest to find Santa. Starting at the War Memorial near the civic centre children can follow the route and when all the clues have been found, Father Christmas might make an appearance! The last stop on the trail will see the children taking part in craft activities with the help of Santa’s elves and after meeting Santa will leave with a Christmas goodie bag to commemorate their efforts. Children will also be able to write a letter to Santa and will have the chance to be entered into a free prize draw to win various Christmas prizes from around the city.
The Search for Santa trail is free to attend and is suitable for children under 8 years old. 200 places are available with tickets bookable via Eventbrite at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-search-for-santa-trail-tickets-51706240758?fbclid=IwAR0LE3hu2TqG5BHz06hwa0PyTKzoMz0tnOIZKOJ8cC641nXkFTCJ8ma48DM.
SANTA’S FESTIVE FRIENDS
From Monday 17 December to 21st, NE1 Ltd is bringing Santa’s Festive Friends to the city. In the run up to Christmas there will be a small petting zoo set up on Grey Street in front of the Monument to allow visitors to pet and feed various animals.
CHOIRS AT CHRISTMAS
To maintain the festive cheer in the city when the Christmas markets depart on 16 December, NE1 will be welcoming back a host of festive choirs to sing at the Monument in the evenings starting from 17 December. The choirs were a welcome addition to the city last year and this year will help raise money for good causes with donation boxes during their performances.
24 DOORS OF CHRISTMAS
Another new addition to Newcastle’s Festive celebrations will be NE1’s advent calendar with a difference. From 1 December – NE1 will be working with businesses and organisations across the city to open a door a day to give the public a rare insight into historic buildings across the city.
Among the buildings that will be showcased are the Victoria Tunnels and St James’ Park where a limited number of visitors will be taken to Rafa’s match day office, the players’ lounge and the chairman’s suite. Members of the public will be able to register to visit these buildings and view the full calendar of advent events on the www.newcastleschristmas.com website.
In addition to the festive fairgrounds, Northumberland Street will be transformed with seasonal planters and trees, a Christmas extension of NE1’s summertime pocket parks. In the week before Christmas street entertainers will also keep shoppers and visitors entertained with festive performances up and down the street starting at 5pm in the evening. Among the street entertainers will be Spark!, an exciting street theatre show combining high impact drumming with spectacular visuals.
Stephen Patterson, Director of Communications at NE1 Ltd said:
“We are delighted to be working with Newcastle City Council to transform Newcastle’s Christmas experience ensuring that the city’s festive celebrations continue to evolve and rival any other UK or European city. We have redoubled our efforts this year making Christmas in Newcastle a wonderful experience for young and old – it is such a huge priority for us to grow the festive experience of the city and make Newcastle a destination of choice when people are considering how to get into the festive spirit. The foundations are in place with Newcastle’s Christmas Markets, Ice Skating at Life and the Fenwick window – there’s a huge appetite to make Christmas even bigger. It’s important for there to be something for everyone to enjoy in the run up to Christmas from fun, free activities for children to historic open days for those who want to get a rare glimpse into the city’s history and lots more in between. The Newcastle’s Christmas website will provide an exhaustive list of what’s on in the city. ”
Cllr Ged Bell, cabinet member for employment at Newcastle City Council, said: “The festive programme for Newcastle this year is the biggest and best yet, with a wide range of events and activities taking place throughout the Christmas period.
“People really enjoyed the village green installations on Northumberland Street and the family fun activities held during the weekend closures of Blackett Street this summer and I am sure the festive activities will be just as popular.
“It’s vital that we promote our city and support the retail trade to ensure that we have a vibrant and attractive city along with solid foundations for future growth.
“We are very pleased to be working with NE1 on this exciting programme of events and we hope people enjoy the festive season in the city.”
NE1’s Christmas festivities dovetail with a full programme of seasonal events and city-wide Christmas activities including the Christmas Village at Times Square, Newcastle’s Christmas markets at the Monument, Fenwick’s window and other activities in and on the store, as well as a festive timetable of films, pantomimes and other events at venues across the city.
All the details of what’s on and where will be available online at NE1’s new Christmas website at www.newcastleschristmas.com
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