Christmas - and unicorns - are on their way to Beamish as festive celebrations get under way

Beamish is getting set for its Christmas celebrations.

Beamish is getting set for its Christmas celebrations.

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It's known for giving visitors a look at the traditions of life in the past.

But Beamish Museum is preparing to welcome a grand Christmas parade which will feature two unicorns as it launches its festivities this weekend.

Father Christmas will arrive at the attraction on Saturday in a magical parade accompanied by the mythical creatures.

Crowds will line the 1900s Town street to cheer on the magnificent procession, before gathering around the Christmas tree to count down to the lights switch-on.

The event marks the launch of Christmas at Beamish, which runs until Sunday, January 3.

After taking part in the grand parade at noon on Saturday, Father Christmas will take up residence in his grotto at Pockerley Waggonway, where he’ll be

every day until Christmas Eve, along with his reindeer.

Visitors can also step into Christmas past with festive entertainment, traditionally decorated homes and shops and delicious seasonal food and drink.

Paul Foster, Beamish’s historic events officer, said: “We’re really excited to be welcoming Father Christmas this Saturday, to mark the official start of Christmas at

Beamish.

“We hope everyone will come along to see him in our magical parade, with a sleigh pulled by unicorns, and join in the fantastic festive celebrations.”

A Frost Fair will take place this year for the first time, featuring a real ice rink, steam Gallopers, shuggy boats, stalls and delicious festive food and drink.

Each year, Father Christmas finds an exciting new way to arrive at Beamish.

In previous years, he’s called upon an RAF Sea King helicopter, a nativity parade with real camels, and his reindeer-pulled sleigh.

Christmas daytime celebrations at Beamish are included in the unlimited pass, where visitors pay once and come back free for 12 months.

A small extra charge applies for Father Christmas's grotto, ice skating and fairground rides.

Christmas celebrations are followed by traditional Twelfth Night festivities at Pockerley Old Hall, from Boxing Day until January 3.

Beamish is open seven days a week, from 10am to 4pm, until January 3 and is closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, after which it will be open five days, when it will be closed Mondays and Fridays, until Friday, February 12.

For full details of Christmas at Beamish, including opening hours, visit www.beamish.org.uk.