Where are the best Christmas markets near Sunderland and Durham?

Christmas is comingChristmas is coming
Christmas is coming

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With Christmas now just a month away, shopping is well underway - and festive fairs and markets are springing up across the region offering something different.

Here's a quick look at events in and around Sunderland:

Christmas Market, Park Lane, Sunderland, until Christmas Eve

Starting on Friday November 24 and running every weekend with late opening on Thursdays until 8pm, this is a big event new to Sunderland for 2017.

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Shoppers can browse stalls offering decorations, handmade gifts, festive novelties, food, drink and crafts.

The Christmas Market runs every Thursday to Saturday and most Sundays up until Christmas Eve, when it closes at 3pm. Check here for the full list of dates.

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Christmas Craft Fair, Washington Arts Centre, Saturday December 2

Filled with a variety of stalls selling products created by local artists and crafts people, including jewellery, cards, bags, home baking and more.

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There will be carol singing by Community Choirs, based at the centre, and craft sessions to attend, as well as a chance to meet the characters from Washington Theatre Groups Jack and the Beanstalk.

Durham Christmas Festival, December 1 - 3

A big event in the historic city, with more than 300 market stalls spread through five markets in the city centre as well as special activities and events.

:: In the Cloisters of Durham Cathedral, discover a Local Food Producers Market featuring more than 30 traders. It's open Friday December 1 from 10am to 5pm, Saturday December 2 from 9am to 5pm and Sunday December 3 from 12noon to 4.30pm. Free entry.

::A Craft and Gift Marquee is open Friday December 1 from 10am to 6pm, Saturday December 2 from 9am to 6pm, and Sunday December 3 from 10am to 4.30pm. Tickets are £3 on Friday, and £4 on Saturday and Sunday. Discounts available for booking in advance.

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:: Durham Market Hall will also be open each day of the Christmas Festival, and there will be additional Festive Markets in the Market Place and Millennium Place.

:: An annual festival highlight is the Children’s Lantern Procession which will leave the Market Place on at 3.45pm on Saturday 2nd December, winding its way up to Palace Green behind the Chester-le-Street Salvation Army Band, and arriving at the Cathedral in time for the St Nicholas Service at 4.10pm.

Visit http://www.durhamchristmasfestival.com/ for more information or to book a lantern for the procession.

Brancepeth Castle Christmas Craft Fair, November 24 - 26

A popular annual event inside the historic walls of Brancepeth Castle, with all manner of craft, food and drink stalls.

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The fair is open Friday 10am - 5pm, Saturday 10am - 5pm and Sunday 12pm - 5pm

Haven Point Christmas Fair, South Shields

A free event with stalls selling beautiful arts and crafts, jewellery, trinkets, decorations and unique festive food.

Jarrow Hall Festive Food and Gift Fayre, December 2 and 3, 10am to 4pm

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Original prints and paintings, custom cards, Christmas decorations, handmade jewellery, bespoke gifts and unique stocking fillers plus festive food and drink, artist demonstrations and creative children’s activities are some of what's on offer.

Starting at 1pm in Whitburn Church Hall with a range of interesting stalls.

Christmas Fayre in aid of St Clare's Hospice, at the Masonic Hall in South Shields, 11am, Sunday November 3

Complete with a raffle, tombola, games, refreshments and "human jukebox".The Masonic Hall is situated just off Morrisons car park, in South Shields, between Morrisons and Brigham & Cowen Social Club. Ramp access available.