Your Guide To Northern Ireland's Christmas Markets

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The Christmas countdown is on, so why not kick-start the celebrations with a wander through one of Northern Ireland's Christmas markets to really get you into the festive spirit. From browsing unique gifts, to sampling mulled wine or meeting Santa, Christmas markets are an excellent way for people of all ages to start the season.
Some may be enticed by the smell of cinnamon and roasted chestnuts alone, but if that isn't enough, the details below should have you filling your festive diary in no time.

Ballycastle Christmas Artisan Market
On 09 December the North Coast and Glens step into Christmas with an artisan market in Ballycastle that offers many hand crafted treats and a rumoured visit from Santa.
Head to the town's Marine Hotel anytime between 11am and 5pm for some festive indulgence and a taste of what the finest local artists have to offer.
A "fabulous fanfare" is in store at the free event, with home-made festive treats, quirky gift ideas, aromas of mulled wine and many eclectic treasures that won't be found anywhere else.

The Creative Peninsula Christmas Fair, Newtownards
For a unique shopping experience, craftspeople and artists from the Ards Peninsula will be showcasing their designs at the Creative Peninsula Christmas Fayre in Newtownards.
This free event runs on Friday 30 November and Saturday 01 December from 10am-5pm, the perfect way to start the merry month.
When browsing the Georgian and Sunburst galleries of the Ards Arts Centre you are sure to get some gift inspiration from the vast array of unique handcrafted items on offer, and maybe even tick-off the pickiest family members from your shopping list.
Seasonal interludes, complimentary gift wrapping (to save you struggling with sellotape on Christmas Eve) and festive refreshments are also on offer!
Donations will be accepted in aid of the chosen charities of the Mayor of Ards and North Down Borough Council.

Belfast Christmas Market
The popular Belfast Christmas Market will return to the city from 17 November- 22 December, giving you plenty of time to squeeze in your annual wander through the grounds of the City Hall to absorb the sights and smells of the season.
Enjoy a hot mug of Glühwein (mulled wine), taste the delicate meat flavours from around the world, indulge in some mouth-watering chocolates or feast on a hog roast…the choice is yours!
Bring the kids to visit Santa in his magical grotto and support a local charity before taking a ride on the vintage carousel, or if you're feeling brave, enjoy a birds eye view of the market from the top of the helter skelter.
The Belfast market really does have something for everyone…you can also sample some foreign beers at the Continental Bar or hear some great live music at Lavery's traditional Irish bar.
The opening times from Saturday 17 are as follows:
• Monday- Wednesday: 10am-8pm
• Thursday- Saturday: 10am-10pm (Open 12noon on Saturday 17 December. Closes 6pm on Saturday 22 December)
• Sunday: 12pm-6pm
Santa's Grotto will be open Monday to Wednesday 3pm-6pm, Thursday to Friday 2pm-7pm, Saturday 11am-7pm and Sunday 12noon to 6pm.
Get in quick and post Santa a letter by Tuesday 18 December (in his very own post box in the grounds of the market) to receive a letter back!
For more information on the market, visit Belfast Christmas Market

Christmas at St. George's Market
Festivities will begin at one of Belfast's much loved weekly markets on November 24, when Father Christmas makes his grand arrival to May Street.
While Santa spreads festive cheer, traders will have a wide variety of seasonal treats on offer. From locally grown ingredients to take home for your Turkey dinner, to unique handmade gifts for that perfect present, St. George's market has Christmas covered this year.
A selection of live performances from local musicians are also scheduled for the advent period at the market, which runs until 23 December, along with a selection of children's activities to bring a touch of magic for the little ones.
As if that isn't enough, clear your calendar for the evening of Tuesday 11 and Wednesday 12 for the Christmas Twilight Market, where you will step into a winter wonderland of your favourite local traders with an added touch of Christmas sparkle.
St. George's Market will be open as usual over the festive period, during the following opening hours:
• Fridays 6am-3pm
• Saturdays 9am-3pm
• Sundays 10am-4pm
• Extended opening hours on Christmas Eve, Monday 24 December, from 8am-2pm.

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