Visit and Experience the Magic of Christmas in Northern Ireland

Christmas in Belfast

Northern Ireland’s Year of Food and Drink 2016 comes to an end this month. It’s been a fantastic success story  for the food and drink producers and businesses throughout  the region. They really got behind the initiative and its twelve fantastic monthly themes. 

During the action packed year, there were restaurant weeks, markets, game fairs, food tours, ‘catch and cook’ events, and even a world record pancake flip attempt! This amazing year of promoting the regional foods and drinks of Northern Ireland has celebrated everything from breads, meats, seafood, craft beers and ciders, to dairy produce and Comber earlies. In fact anything edible or drinkable that could be served up, was served up – and then some! And it all wraps up beautifully this month, with a great big sparkly celebration of Christmas.


Belfast is the place to enjoy the fantastic Christmas Market at the City Hall. Lots of stalls include food, drinks and crafts from across Europe. Just outside the main gates of City Hall, a special market of twenty stalls will showcase local food, drinks and crafts

Christmas in Belfast

Expect a continental experience all round, with a cornucopia of nationalities blending harmoniously in this historic venue of a fabulous city! 

Make a break of it before Christmas, with an overnight stay in the iconic Europa Hotel right in the heart of Belfast, close to all the famous sights. You can shop till you drop then retire to the hotel for cocktails in the Piano Lounge and dinner in the restaurant. Find out more about the Europa Hotel on their Good Food Ireland review page here. 

Details for the market are as follows:

The market is open:

• Monday - Wednesday: 10am - 8pm

• Thursday - Saturday: 10am - 10pm (market finishes at 8pm on Thursday 22 December)

• Sunday: 1pm - 6pm.

Santa's Grotto and Post Box

Santa's Grotto which will be open during these hours:

• Monday - Wednesday: 11am - 6pm

• Thursday - Friday: 11am - 7pm

• Saturday: 11am - 6pm

• Sunday: 1pm - 6pm.

If you post Santa a letter via his post box (in the grounds of the Belfast Christmas Market) by 21 December, you can expect to receive a letter back from Father Christmas!


The historic walled city of Derry is a wonderful place to experience the sparkle of Christmas. A special festive Walled City Market, running on 16th-18th December, will have the Guildhall Square twinkling under fairy lights as you shop. Just in time for last minute bits and bobs, you’re bound to find a few things you want to add to the festive table or wrap up and give as a gift. 

Christmas in Derry

If you’re organised enough to have an overnight getaway before the action kicks off, Good Food Ireland members in the Derry area include Beech Hill Country House in the suburbs of the city, read more about them here or the Everglades Hotel, just a couple of miles outside the city. 

Beech Hill Country House Hotel, Londondery

Both venues place good local food at the centre of their menus and are situated conveniently for exploring the Christmas Walled City Market and historical sights of Derry, with good access to the immediate region if you want to wander a bit further afield. Grab a bag and off you go!

To find out more about the Everglades Hotel have a read of their review here. 

We’d like to congratulate everyone at Discover Northern Ireland and all the participating businesses, food experts and chefs, for the wonderful initiative that now has everyone talking about the regional specialities of this richly diverse area of production. Well done and Merry Christmas to all! May the success of the Year of Food and Drink in Northern Ireland initiative carry you into a happy and prosperous New Year.  

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