Can you feel it? Christmas is in the air across Belfast. The festive season is right around the corner and it’s full of dazzling and magical events for all the family. We’ve rounded up the best festive goings-on in the city this year, from musicals and pantos to carol concerts and Santa’s grottos. Here’s our top pick of Belfast Christmas Events for 2018…
1. Christmas lights switch on at Victoria Square
When: 10 November
Where: Victoria Square
Get into the festive mood at Victoria Square, as the fantastical Christmas lights at the shopping centre are turned on for the yuletide season. With face-painting, real reindeers and Christmas circus performers all entertaining the crowds before Santa’s big arrival, you’ll be dazzled by the final ‘Night Before Christmas’ parade and the final lights switch on from 6pm.
2. Head out of the city for festive activities at Rowallane Garden
When: 14 November – 25 December
Where: Rowallane Garden (Crossgar Rd, BT24 7LH)
Take a break from the city centre and head out to Rowallane Garden, just 35minutes drive from Belfast, to enjoy a multitude of events happening across the Christmas season.
Catch their yuletide market on 9 and 10 December and find all the stocking fillers you’ve been missing as local crafters and seasonal food stalls set up shop alongside carol singing, a festive bar a vintage carousel for all the family.
Plus, on 17, 18, 24 and 25 November, some festive family films will be showing from 2pm. Wrap up warm and grab a hot chocolate as you enjoy movie hits like Home Alone and Polar Express in the barn.
Finally, head down between 16 and 24 December to take part in some gingerbread man decoration.
3. Watch Belfast City Hall’s Christmas lights switch on
When: 17 November
Where: Belfast City Hall
Catch an evening of festive fun in front of Belfast City hall as Paw Patrol’s Sky and Marshall, Fireman Sam and Norman Price and TV presenter Andy Grey entertain the crowds before the big light switch on. Mini shows and traditional carols form part of the entertainment, as well as the Belfast Christmas Market which will be open from 12 noon.
4. Shop for last-minute stocking fillers at Belfast Christmas Market
When: 17 November – 22 December (Mon-Wed 10am-8pm, Thurs-Sat 10am-10pm, Sun 12pm-6pm)
Where: City Hall
Head to one of the most loved Belfast Christmas events in the calender and warm up with hot Gluhwein at the annual Christmas markets. Feast on Belgian chocolates, baklava and hog roasts and buy speciality meats and cheeses from across the continent at dazzling yuletide stalls bedecked with festive decorations.
With an outdoor food court serving global cuisines, a Continental Bar and a traditional Irish Pub, you can be sure the market will be filled with Christmas cheer throughout the festive season. Add to that live music, a chance to meet Santa in his grotto and plenty of fabulous craft stalls selling unique gifts to browse and buy, and this might just be one of Belfast’s best Christmas treats.
5. Laugh out loud to Elf the Musical at Waterfront Hall
When: 23 November – 24 November
Where: Belfast Waterfront Hall
Laugh out loud at this incredible adaptation of the family festive film, Elf. Follow Buddy’s tale as he explores the human world outside of the North Pole and attempts to reconnect with the human family he left behind when he crawled into Santa’s sack as a baby. Tickets from £20.
6. Meet Santa and his Elves at Titanic Belfast
When: 23 November – 23 December
Where: Titanic Belfast
Santa’s set up shop in the Titanic Belfast this year, and he’s brought an army of elves with him for you to meet. Enter the Magical Workshop with your children to start a dazzling Christmas adventure they’ll never forget. Watch the elves work, hear fireside stories from Mrs Claus and get creative making Christmas letters for Father Christmas, before heading into the enchanted forest to meet Santa Claus himself. Tickets from £16 for children and £5 for adults.
7. The Big Christmas Switch On
When: 29th November
Where: The Doyen
Enjoy a festive celebration unlike any other on the outskirts of the city at Doyen Belfast where there will be a selection of deliciously Christmassy cocktails served alongside a brilliant Christmas BBQ. Live music and private access to the VIP terrace upstairs make this an evening not to be missed in Belfast.
8. The Elves and The Shoemaker at The Mac
When: 27 November – 6 January
Where: The MAC
The MAC’s annual festive show for 2018 is sure to bring you some festive cheer, as the classic Christmas fairytale of The Elves and The Shoemaker is retold with laugh-out-loud moments. Tickets from £12.50 for adults and £10 for children.
9. Catch a train to Winterland at W5
When: Various dates throughout November and December (Check website for more details)
Take your kids on the magical miniature train ride at W5 through the enchanted forest and into an icy cavern before emerging in the magical courtyard of Winterland Castle, where more than a few surprises await! The train ride is free with general admission to the science and discovery centre but booking is recommended.
10. Watch The Snowman accompanied by a live orchestra
When: 01 December
Where: Belfast Waterfront Hall
Enjoy a unique cinema experience at Waterfront Hall as the beloved family favourite The Snowman is reinvented with an accompanying orchestra playing the soundtrack alongside the movie. Tickets from £11.50.
11. December Christmas Lunches for Friends and Family
When: Throughout December (12pm – 5pm)
Where: The George Best Hotel
From festive business dinners to relaxed family meals, The George Best Christmas lunches are perfect for bringing a touch of Noël magic to your day in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
Tuck into delicious lunches throughout December, choosing between a two-course or three-course meal in a stunning new restaurant, enjoying traditional dishes alongside innovative plates. £24.95 for three courses, £19.95 for two courses. Call 0151 236 0166 to book.
12. Boo, hiss and cheer to Jack and the Beanstalk
When: 1 December – 13 January
Where: Grand Opera House
Catch Belfast’s biggest pantomime at the Grand Opera House, as the classic fairy tale of Jack and the Beanstalk is brought to life on stage. With stand-out performances from May McFettridge as Dame May Trot and double Olivier award-winning actor David Bedella as the ultimate baddie, this larger-than-life pantomime is packed with all the ingredients for a fabulous family trip out.
13. Join in with charity Christmas carols at Ulster Hall
When: 4 December
Where: Ulster Hall
Feel the festive spirit at Ulster Hall with a worthy Belfast Christmas Event that gives back to society. Alzheimer’s Society are hosting a magical evening of carols and yuletide songs to raise money and awareness of dementia. Featuring local choirs, and all our favourite Christmas tunes, tickets cost £15. If you have dementia and would like to bring a guest, two tickets cost £20.
14. Enjoy a dazzling Christmas party
When: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays throughout December
Where: George Best Hotel
Step into Christmas with style at a sparkling party hosted by our sister venue, The George Best Hotel.
Enjoy a three-course meal and live entertainment throughout the evening, as you kick off festivities with a dazzling Christmas celebration. £35 per guest. Call 0151 236 0166.
15. Catch Belfast Operatic Company’s Night of Music and Song
When: 8 December
Where: Waterfront Hall
Get your tickets quickly for the award-winning Belfast Operatic Company’s Night of Christmas Music and Song – last year they sold out! Enjoy performances from the Belfast Pops Orchestra as they bring your old and new Christmas music to kick start your festive season. Tickets from £22.
16. Stock up for the season at St George’s Market
When: 11 – 12 December
Where: St George’s Market
Head down to St George’s on 11-12 December for the Christmas Twilight Market. Sample local foods and beverages and pick up unique gifts from the craft stalls, while enjoying live entertainment and cookery demonstrations inside the historic hall.
17. Head to Writer’s Square Big Top for the Winter Circus
When: 14 December – 1 January
Where: Writer’s Square
The Tumble Circus Troop are back in Belfast for a wonderful, wacky performance of acrobats, aerialists and jugglers to entertain you with their award-winning modern circus show. Tickets from £9.25 for children and £13.20 for adults.
18. Celebrate Christmas Day with the George Best Hotel
When: 25 December
Where: George Best Hotel
Relax and enjoy Christmas dinner at our sister venue, The George Best Hotel, as you tuck into a decadent three-course festive meal on the most wonderful day of the year.
Serving at 1pm, 2pm, 3pm and 4pm, this incredible Christmas feast is the perfect opportunity to kick your feet up this festive season and enjoy quality time with friends and family while indulging in delicious food, drink and a side-helping of festive cheer. Just £79 per guest, and £23 per child (aged 5-12). Call 0151 236 0166.
We can’t wait to celebrate Christmas in Belfast at The Crum Hotel in future years – at Signature Living, the festive season represents everything we love best about our hotels bringing family and friends together in Christmas cheer.
Until we’re up and running, make sure you check out all the seasonal offers from our sister hotel, The George Best, which opens its doors for the first time this festive season!
Looking for more things to do in Belfast before the year is out? Read our guide to the top exhibitions in the city you shouldn’t miss.