With Christmas just around the corner, what better way to spend a fun day out with friends and family than by exploring one of Northern Ireland’s Christmas Markets or Fayres which are always overflowing with festive goodies, unique gifts, and you may even meet the man himself, Santa Claus.
Ruth Burns, destination marketing and PR manager at Tourism Northern Ireland explains why everyone should venture out to their nearest market for a day of joy and cheer with loved ones:
“Christmas markets are an excellent way for the whole family to get into the festive spirit – the smells alone of cinnamon and roasted chestnuts, are enough of a draw for most of us. From browsing gifts, to sampling mulled wine and watching the delight on your kids’ faces as they meet Santa, Christmas really is a magical time in Northern Ireland.”
Tourism NI has listed some markets that are available to visit all over Northern Ireland:
The Fine and Dandy Christmas Market, University Rd, Belfast, December 6 and 20, 11.30am – 3.30pm. This monthly market usually showcases the work of independent artists, designers and crafters as well as a wide collection of records, books, vintage wares, quality local food and drink and produce. On December 6 and 20 the market will have a Christmas theme with lots of festive goodies for visitors to explore and buy.
Frock Around the Clock, Belfast Castle, December 13, 12pm – 5pm. This magical Christmas Vintage and Handmade Fair will feature 45 select stalls of handcrafted and upcycled fashion, home wares and collectibles, textiles, décor, jewellery, sweet treats, toys, art, photography and much more. Go along with friends and enjoy the stunning views across Belfast as you bag a bargain.
Victorian Christmas Market at Ballance House, Glenavy, December 5. Take a step back in time at the Victorian Christmas Market at Ballance House and enjoy a glass of delicious mulled wine whilst browsing the craft stalls for gifts. Kids can visit Santa in The Parlour before treating themselves to a delicious mince pie in the Tea Barn.
Corrymeela Christmas Open Day Market, Ballycastle, December 12, 2pm – 6pm. This Christmas themed market will host a range of local produce and handcrafted goods. There will be lots of activities for children including games and face painting and even Santa will be making an appearance.
Christmas Fair, The Argory, December 5 and 6, 11.30am – 5.30pm. The Argory will host a range of crafts and food stalls as well as festive entertainment, afternoon tea and of course guests of honour - Santa and Mrs Claus.
Shambles Variety Market, The Shambles Yard, Armagh, December 22. Christmas revellers can immerse themselves in all the wonderful sights and sounds of the festive period including songs, treats and mulled punch.
North Down Festive Market, Bangor, now until December 5. North Down is hosting a range of festive activities in the run up to Christmas including the Christmas Fair in the Square and Christmas Market in Bangor in November 28 and Sunday 29.
A Christmas Market will be hosted in North Down Museum which will have everything needed for special stocking fillers. Local artists and crafters will provide a range of goods and little ones will have the chance to make something special at the ‘craft to go’ stalls.
Combers weekly farmer market Christmas special will take place on December 3 at St Mary’s Parish Church, Comber. Revellers should pop in to ensure they are well stocked up for the Christmas period.Christmas in Donaghadee, December 4-6. Get into the festive spirit in Donaghadee at their Christmas lights switch on and celebrate the arrival of Santa. As well as the VIP arrival, there will be festive stalls and lots of entertainment followed by a parade.
Families can also expect a fantastic fun time at the outdoor synthetic ice rink on Shore Street in Donaghadee before enjoying songs by the Community Carol Service and watching the Deputy Mayor of Ards and North Down switch the Christmas lights on.
Enniskillen Christmas Craft and Food Fair, Townhall and the Diamond, Enniskillen, December 5, 10am – 5pm. Shoppers can enjoy browsing a wide range of high quality food and craft produce. There will be fun for all the family with face painting, street performers and lots of Christmas characters to entertain the kids.
Limavady Christmas Artisan Market, Roe Valley Arts and Cultural Centre, December 5, 11am – 4pm. This market creates a rare and wonderful chance for Christmas revellers to meet the many food and craft producers and suppliers from around the North Coast and Glens area. Visitors can discover new flavours and crafts whilst savouring the unique buzzing atmosphere.
Christmas Craft Market at Flowerfield, Portstewart, November 14 – December 19, 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday, 10am – 2pm on Saturday. This award winning arts centre welcomes another fun Christmas Craft Market and exhibition. Get into the Christmas spirit by taking in the unique handmade crafts for sale at very reasonable prices.
Christmas Wonderland, Dromore, December 4 – 12. Families will love this Christmas Wonderland experience as they will get the chance to visit Santa and his elves as they prepare for their busiest time of year in their quaint country cottage. Follow the special reindeer trail for lots of fun surprises and enjoy some festive nibbles and entertainment. Time slots are issued on booking.
For more information on things to do in Northern Ireland click on www.discovernorthernireland.com or visit your local tourist information centre.