13/11/2019

Your Guide To Northern Ireland's Christmas Markets

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It's that time of year again, and the Christmas countdown will soon be on. As the streets begin to sparkle with festive lights, the annual tradition of wrapping up warm and browsing the local Christmas market becomes top of the to-do-list again.

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.

Belfast Christmas Market
The popular Belfast Christmas Market will return to the city from Saturday 16 November, 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.

With over 30 international traders offering incredible foods and delightful gifts ideas, you'll never be stuck for choice! All your food favourites will be on offer, such as:

• French crêpes
• Dutch pancakes
• Belgian chocolates
• Exotic burgers
• Giant bratwursts from the iconic Schwenkegrill and much more!

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!

All the delicious foods are served alongside fantastic quality produce from local artisan food and craft producers and 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 16 are as follows:
• Monday- Wednesday: 10am-8pm
• Thursday- Saturday: 10am-10pm
• Sunday: 1pm-6pm

Not to leave the little ones out, a visit to the Christmas Market also offers the chance to meet the big man himself! Make it a family day out by visiting Santa's festive grotto and taking a ride on the vintage carousel or a slide down the Helter Skelter.

Handmade Christmas Market, Bangor
Whether you're looking for something different to hang on your tree or a quirky gift for a loved one, the Handmade Christmas Market in Bangor offers hundreds of unique and lovingly crafted treats.

The ever-popular event showcases the work of over thirty amazing artists, designers and makers from the local area and is a perfect opportunity to stray away from large retailers and support local independent makers.

When? Saturday 30 November, 1pm-4pm
Where? King's Church, Bangor

Entry will be totally FREE, but if that isn't Christmassy enough, you can enjoy a hot drink and delicious treat at the cosy coffee corner while you take in all the stands and plan your Christmas shopping.

Christmas Craft Market, Portstewart
If you're hoping to get in the festive spirit while also supporting local businesses, the Christmas Craft Market at the Flowerfield Arts Centre in Portstewart is the perfect solution. With live music, craft demonstrations and workshops for kids, there's something for everyone to get stuck into.

The sumptuous Naturally North Coast & Glens special Twilight Market in Flowerfield Park from 3pm - 6pm, with the chance to Meet the Makers and sample some food and craft delights!

Support local artists and makers and do your festive shopping right here! Back bigger and brighter with fabulous gifts from some of Northern Ireland's top makers. Whether you're looking for festive food, classic decorations, unique ceramics, glass, artwork or textiles, from stocking fillers to that very special gift, you'll find endless treasures of bespoke gifts at the annual Christmas Craft Market.

When? Saturday 23 November, 4-6pm
Where? Flowerfield Arts Centre, Portstewart

The Wonderful Winter Fair
Frock Around The Clock will be returning to Belfast's Cathedral Quarter and the stunning location of Belfast Cathedral on Saturday 16 November for The Wonderful Winter Fair.

This event will feature around 90 sellers of beautiful and original handmade, vintage and holistic treasures including Christmas decor and gifts, fashion and accessories, jewellery, homewares, collectables, textiles and decor, artisan food, art, crafts and much more!

The Leading Ladies, Northern Ireland's award-winning vocal trio will be performing and keeping you entertained throughout the day!

Get a head start on your Christmas gift purchases and do your festive shopping in splendorous surroundings. Included in the admission cost of £3 is an audio tour of the Cathedral, all proceeds of which will go towards it's upkeep.

When? Saturday 16 November 2019
Where? Belfast Cathedral
How much? £3

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 29 and Saturday 30 November 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.

When? Friday 29 & Saturday 30 November, 10am-5pm
Where? Ards Arts Centre

CS Lewis Square Christmas Lights Switch On & Market
Kicking off the festive celebrations in east Belfast, a two day programme of activities is scheduled for CS Lewis Square.

There'll be a unique Father Christmas Experience, festive market stalls, dining under the stars, music, arts and crafts, family entertainment and much more…

Put a date in your diary for 7pm on Friday 22 November for the Christmas Lights Switch On and evening of entertainment.

When? Friday 22 & Saturday 23 November, 12am-9pm
Where? CS Lewis Square

Festive Market at the Dunadry Hotel
Fancy avoiding the crowds with a more relaxing Christmas market experience this year? Explore the recently awarded 4 Star Dunadry Hotel And Gardens as you enjoy retail therapy at their spectacular Festive Market!

You'll find everything you need to get ready for the most wonderful time of the year, with over 20 craft stalls, live demos from in-house chefs, wreath making tips, a cocktail making master class and a sparkling, seasonal make-up demo!

Admission is free, and you will enjoy a complimentary delicious glass of mulled wine, mince pie and live music.

When? Friday 22 November, 6pm-9pm

Hillsborough Christmas Market
Another location set to be steeped in festive cheer is the Hillsborough Fort, Co Down, with the annual Christmas Market.

Stroll through the stalls along the magical Dark Walk at Hillsborough Fort as twilight sets in. The market will be filled with the sounds, sights and tastes of Christmas with an eclectic mix of food, arts and crafts.

You'll be joined by choirs and musical talent from local schools and community groups. There will be plenty to enchant the child in us all with interactive seasonal crafts with Santa's elves and you never know, Santa himself just might find time in his busy schedule to pop in for a chat!

When? Friday 13 December, 3pm-9pm
Where? Hillsborough Fort, 32 Main Street, Hillsborough.

(JG/CM)

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