Step into Christmas with Braemar's Festival de Noël

Braemar’s Festival de Noël returns this December (9-11), with a packed three-day programme of events for all ages, top quality food, drink and crafts and some of Scotland’s best musicians.

The Celebration of Christmas concert takes place on Saturday evening.
The Celebration of Christmas concert takes place on Saturday evening.

Support from the Regional Food Fund, delivered with funding from the Scottish Government, means a bigger and better festival for 2022 — with twice the number of workshops and activities for kids, alongside a wide array of artisan makers and food and drink producers taking part.

Festivities kick off on Friday, December 9 with a Frozen Disney singalong in the Village Hall and a pop-up Christmas Supper Club and Jazz Cafe in the Highland Games Centre, with top local fare served up by the team from Tarmachan Cafe and Scots Jazz Awards finalist, singer Rachel Lightbody accompanied by pianist Tom Gibbs.

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Saturday’s programme features wreath-making and photography workshops, a ‘Jingle Bell Jaunt’ for charity, woodworking demonstrations, weaving workshop, dried flower decoration and brewery tour, all taking place in various venues throughout Braemar.

The Fireworks Finale will bring the Festival to a close.
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From mid-afternoon, food carts outside St Margaret’s will serve up roast pork rolls, fresh focaccia and indulgent puddings before a Celebration of Christmas concert featuring Aberdeen University Chamber Choir, Albyn School Ensemble and Mercury Brass – hosted by singer Fiona Kennedy.

On Sunday morning, festival-goers are spoiled for choice between chocolate tasting, willow weaving and tours of Mar Lodge as three specially curated Christmas markets featuring 40 local vendors open their doors for business.

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St Margaret’s plays host to a seasonal Ghillie’s Larder, with festive food to stock the larder before Christmas from Drumturk Cheese, Royal Deeside Honey and Oakwood Market Garden.

The Village Hall hosts a craft fair, with Coo Hill Studios, RhoRho Illustration, Ellie Ratenburg Jewellery and many more exhibitors besides.

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The Festival will get locals and visitors alike in the mood for Christmas

The Highland Centre once again is transformed into a mecca for drinks connoisseurs, with the Ghillie’s Tipple market selling Braemar Brewing Co ales and other specialist beers, spirits and wines.

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Families will be ferried around the Deeside village by horse and carriage as they do their Christmas shopping, stopping at Santa’s Grotto, to decorate yuletide cookies or to pen their letters to Santa.

As the sun sets on the weekend, an array of food carts, mulled wine and fire-pits will offer people the chance to enjoy a fireworks display launched from the tower of St Margaret’s – rounding off a spectacular weekend.

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Braemar’s Festival de Noël is a joint venture by St Margaret’s Braemar, the Ghillie’s Larder (Braemar’s Farmers’ Market), Braemar Village Hall, Braemar Tourism Group and a range of local partners and suppliers.

Commenting, festival organiser Colin Hunter said: “There is nowhere better than Braemar in December to get you in the Christmas spirit and we are delighted to unveil a packed programme for this year’s Festival de Noël.

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“There’s exceptional music, everything from swinging jazz, to carols by candlelight; some great workshops and festive craft activities; and of course a whole array of stuff for the kids too – a frozen singalong, toy train rides and Santa’s grotto.

“Sunday sees not just one, but three specially curated markets offering the best of Scottish food, drink and crafts – a shopping experience without the stress of venturing downtown in December!

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“There’s charity fundraising events, a pop-up supper club, photography, beer and chocolate tasting, winter walks, carriage rides and – to round it all off – a spectacular fireworks display to the music of a live brass band.

“Braemar’s Festival de Noël is truly a weekend for all the family with so much to enjoy over three action-packed days. Check out the programme now and see you in Braemar this December!”

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The full weekend programme is now available at stmargaretsbraemar.org.uk. Booking is advised for all ticketed events.

Friday, December 9

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Frozen Sing-Along; 5pm

Tarmachan Christmas Supper Club; 7.30pm

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Paul Anderson and Friends; 7.30pm

Jazz Cafe; 9pm

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Saturday, December 10

Wreath making; 9-11am

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Photography Workshop; 10-12pm

Jingle Bell Jaunt; 11-1pm

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Woodwork Demonstration; 12-3pm

Kids wreath making; 1-2pm

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Weaving Workshop; 1-3.30pm

Dried Flower Decorations; 3-5pm

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Meet the Maker; 3-5pm

Food Carts, Mulled Wine and Fires; 3.30-6pm

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Christmas Concert; 6-8pm

Christmas Folk; 8.30-late

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Sunday, December 11

Chocolate Tasting; 10am

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Tour of Mar Lodge; 10am

Ghilles Larder; 10-3.30pm

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Christmas Teas; 10-3pm

Santa’s Grotto; 10-3.30pm

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Carriage Rides; 10-3pm

Cookie Decorating; 10-3.30pm

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Santa Letter Writing; 10-3pm

Santa Train; 11-3pm

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Willow Workshop; 11-1pm

Woodwork Demonstration; 12-3pm

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Food Carts, Mulled Wine and Fires; 3-5pm

Fireworks Finale; 4.30pm

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Paul Anderson and Friends; 7.30pm