With shorter days and a nip in the air, the countdown to Christmas is well underway. Tourism Northern Ireland is encouraging shoppers to get in the festive spirit and pay a visit to the ever popular Belfast Christmas Market. This is the 12th year of the Christmas Market, which runs daily until 22nd December, and has grown from 30 chalets when it first opened in 2004 to well over 100 this year.
The grounds of Belfast City Hall have been transformed into a traditional festive market complete with wooden chalets and twinkling lights. Soak up the seasonal atmosphere as you wander around the stalls, where you will find an exciting selection of continental food, decorations and a wide range of festive arts and crafts from across Europe and beyond. A visit to Santa’s Grotto is sure to delight younger visitors to the Market, who can also enjoy a ride on the carousel or have their picture taken in the snow globe.
This year the Market also features lots of local food and craft producers to celebrate Northern Ireland’s Year of Food and Drink 2016. The chalets along the perimeter have a particular focus on local food and craft from Northern Ireland, including local companies such as the Belfast Beard Company, producers of the finest quality natural beard care products and Rossi’s Ice-Cream, selling their unique Ice-Cream Chimneys.
In addition to the local traders, the Market brings together 32 nationalities from all over the world offering unusual foods and gift ideas; crepes from France, Dutch pancakes, Belgian chocolates, an exotic selection of ostrich, wild boar and crocodile burgers, giant bratwurst from the iconic Schwenkengrill, Spanish paella and sweets from Italy. Visitors can also treat themselves to a spirit warming Gluwein or hot chocolate or end the day in one of the bar tents which serve a range of local and continental craft beers and drinks.
Tourism Northern Ireland’s Market Manager (ROI), Fiona Cunningham said: “The Belfast Christmas Market has become a firm festive favourite, offering visitors a unique shopping experience and helping create a really special seasonal atmosphere in the city. The Market offers something for everyone with an excellent array of stalls with crafts, handmade gifts, decorations and mouth-watering food both from local Northern Ireland producers and from further afield around Europe and beyond.”
“With a great selection of festive markets, boutique shops and award winning restaurants, a festive getaway to Belfast is sure to provide you with plenty gift inspiration”, Fiona added.
The Belfast Christmas Market runs daily until December 22nd from 10am – 8pm Monday to Wednesday, 10am – 10pm Thursday – Saturday and from 1pm – 6pm on Sundays. With so much to see and explore this Christmas in Northern Ireland, why not make a short break of it and avail of one of Tourism Northern Ireland’s special seasonal offers – visit discovernorthernireland.com or Callsave 1850 230 230 for further details.