From the moment I stepped into the huge white marquee in Exhibition Park and smelled my favourite White Company Winter Candle, I knew the Living North Christmas Fair was going to be just the thing to get me into the Christmas spirit. Having been to the Fair at its previous venue, Newcastle Racecourse, I was intrigued to see how they were going to fit everything that was great about the fair into one giant marquee!
Minutes away from Jesmond metro, and with free parking on the Town Moor, getting to the Living North Fair this year was pretty easy. Even so, the range of exhibitors at the Fair were definitely worth travelling for. With over 250 carefully selected exhibitors and vendors showcasing the best products of the North East and beyond, Living North pulled it off again.
There was everything from beautiful handmade Christmas wreaths, to stalls advertising Winter Spa Packages at some of Northumberland’s most well-known hotels and spas. We saw exhibitors selling ‘Pawsecco’ (prosecco for dogs – how cool?), curry Christmas hampers, fine art and lots of candles – not all on the same stall though! Although most years I don’t start my Christmas shopping until early December, on Thursday I gave in and picked up a few bits and bobs. How could I resist? The atmosphere was so festive!
I was thrilled to see Edinburgh Gin had a stall there, alongside other distilleries and breweries. I picked up some EG miniatures to try out over the Christmas period with friends and family – I can’t wait to try the Plum and Vanilla Gin Liqueur! There were so many different food and drink stalls, and the great thing about events such as this is that you have the opportunity to try before you buy. Even though we tried titbits of this and that at most of the food stalls, we were still hungry and decided to have a bite to eat at the Mary Berry Bistro at the back of the marquee. What a treat it was! Alongside hog roast sandwiches, salads and Thai curry, there were some delicious-looking Charcuterie and seafood boards. We love our Mediterranean food, so of course we went for the meat board, and thoroughly enjoyed it (particularly the pesto spread on top of the Brown Ale Bread!)
Alex and I sampled lots of different foods whilst looking for something to contribute to the buffet at a family party happening next month, but we were really blown away by Blacks Cheeses! The staff at Blacks Cheeses, or ‘The Mouses of Parliament’, have created some truly imaginative flavoured cheeses and it was a struggle to pick a few to take home with us. We eventually settled for a Caramelised Onion and Rioja Mature Cheddar (our favourite overall), a fiery Piri Piri Mature Cheddar, a Little Winker, Ale and Mustard Cheese and an unusual yet delicious Sticky Toffee Cheddar!
The marquee really is enormous, and after wandering through the rows and rows of stalls and vendors, the sight of The Holly Bar was certainly welcome. We absolutely loved the ‘Pimp Your Prosecco’ idea, and both went for the ‘Winter Fizz’ drink, which consisted of an Elderflower Liqueur topped up with Prosecco – so yum!
The Living North Christmas Fair is still running this weekend, with the last day being Sunday 5th November. There is still time to get yourself to the lovely Exhibition Park, start your Christmas shopping and fit in a few glasses of Winter Fizz too! If you haven’t pre-bought a ticket, on the door it’s £8 for adults and £5 for concessions. Don’t miss out on the North East’s biggest Christmas Fair this year!