Yuletide cheer is in full swing in Belfast as we approach 25 December. So, if you’re in the city and looking for something fun and festive for the whole family, read on.
Whether you’re a local or visiting for a winter city break, Belfast is the place to be this festive season. From seasonal artisan markets to Santa’s arrival in the city, there is lots for all to see and do.
From late November, Christmas spirit spreads throughout the city. Shop windows turn snowy and sparkling, Christmas lights line the streets, and there’s a sense of magic in the air.
So, if you’re on the lookout for something fun and festive to do in the city, here are the ten best things to do at Christmas in Belfast.
10. Discover Christmas Past – a truly magical experience
The Ulster Folk and Transport Museum is a must-visit at any time of year, but even more so at Christmas.
Discover Christmas in Belfast of yore as you stroll the cobblestoned streets adorned with traditional decorations and chat to actors who will give you the inside scoop on historical Christmas traditions.
Address: 153 Bangor Rd, Holywood BT18 0EU
9. Gruffalo and Santa Guided Walk – one of the best things to do at Christmas in Belfast with kids
If you have little ones, you no doubt know the story of the Gruffalo. If you’re travelling with kids this Christmas, then you need to visit the Gruffalo and Santa Guided Walk in Colin Glen Forest Park.
Tickets are priced from £15.50. Kids will get to meet Santa and receive their very own selection box before seeing the characters of the Gruffalo come to life.
Address: 163 Stewartstown Rd, Dunmurry, Belfast BT17 0HW
8. 12 Pubs of Christmas – one for the adults
This adults-only activity is surely one of the most popular ways holiday revellers get into the Christmas spirit.
Belfast is known for its fun and lively pubs. So, don your favourite Christmas jumper and set your route.
Address: Throughout the city
7. Go Christmas Shopping – find the perfect gifts
With a range of small independent retailers to big high street chains, Belfast City Centre is home to an array of shops selling everything from clothes to games to homeware and more.
Spend a day in the city, making the most of the goods on offer. We’re sure you’ll find the perfect gifts for your friends and family.
Address: Shopping Centre, Victoria Square, Belfast BT1 4QG
6. Visit Santa – another great one for the kids
For those under a certain age, there is nothing more exciting than paying a festive visit to the big man himself.
There are plenty of opportunities for kids to meet Santa throughout Belfast. One of the best is Santa’s Grotto in Castlecourt Shopping Centre, where the little ones can get an early gift and a photograph with the man in the red suit.
Address: Royal Ave, Belfast BT1 1DD
5. Marvel at the Christmas Lights – see the city light up
Towards the end of November, the streets of Belfast City Centre light up with gorgeous twinkling Christmas lights.
From the huge Christmas Tree lighting up Victoria Square Shopping Centre to the glittering lights lining Royal Avenue, you will be awed at the beautiful display.
Address: Donegall Square N, Belfast BT1 5GS
4. Enjoy a Festive Afternoon Tea – for a luxurious afternoon
A luxurious Afternoon Tea has got to be one of the best ways to spend a slow afternoon at any time of year. However, come Christmas, many venues around the city serve up fantastic festive afternoon teas.
Hotels such as the Merchant and Grand Central offer delicious menus, making for one of the best things to do at Christmas in Belfast.
Address: Various locations
3. Bright Lights Botanic – a brand new festive experience
New for 2021, the creators of Wild Lights at Dublin Zoo have transformed Botanic Gardens into the brilliant Bright Lights Botanic light trail.
Discover illuminated figurines and twinkling fairy lights at this fantastic winter wonderland trail.
Address: College Park Ave, Botanic Ave, Belfast BT7 1LP
2. See the Christmas Pantomime – for a hilarious night of colour and song
For an evening of endless laughs, groundbreaking special effects, and festive singalongs, you need to book a ticket for one of the Christmas Pantomimes taking place across the city.
Two of the most popular take place at the historic Grand Opera House and the modern Waterfront Hall. Both thrilling festivities are not to be missed.
Address: 2-4 Great Victoria St, Belfast BT2 7HR
1. Continental Christmas Market – with something for everyone
Topping our list of best things to do at Christmas in Belfast is, without a doubt, the iconic Continental Christmas Market that takes over the grounds of City Hall every November and December.
Filled with traders from all over the world serving up delicious delights, handmade crafts, and more, this is one of the most highly anticipated events of the year. This is the perfect way to soak up the Christmas spirit.
Address: Donegall Square N, Belfast BT1 5GS