Soda and Champ’s Christmas Adventure
Daily from 16 November, Royal Avenue
Head to Royal Avenue to see a stunning light projection on the buildings opposite CastleCourt. The display will show a special animated story that tells the tale of Soda the cat and Champ the dog – an unlikely pair who embark on an exciting journey to make it home in time for Christmas.
Belfast Christmas Market
16 November to 22 December, Belfast City Hall
The Belfast Christmas Market is perfect for a festive day out with the family. Kids can visit Santa in his grotto, take a ride on the vintage carousel or a slide down the Helter Skelter. There’s also marshmallow toasting stations, sweetie stalls and tasty hot food to suit all tastes.
Father Christmas will be making an appearance at loads of places in Belfast and Northern Ireland this year. We’ve rounded up the top Santa experiences, grottos and places to visit the big man this Christmas.
It’s panto season… oh yes it is! Take your little ones to one of Belfast’s many pantomimes this season, including Beauty and the Beast at the Grand Opera House, a Christmas Carol at MAC or Waterfront Hall’s Frozen Princess Pantomime. There’s also a huge range of family friendly theatre and plays.
Santa Street at W5
30 November to 23 December, W5
W5’s Santa Street experience will take into magical streests of Snowtown, where you’ll wander through a maze of quaint shop fronts, seasonal displays and twinkling lights. Then, walk on the rooftops of Snowtown where you’ll feel the chill of the night air and see Santa set off on his big journey on Christmas Eve night. This endearing Christmas experience is included with admission to W5.
A Magical Christmas Experience at Titanic Belfast
24 November to 23 December, Titanic Belfast
Journey through the Enchanted Forest to find Santa, Mrs Claus, the elves and much more in Titanic Belfast’s stunning Christmas Experience. Kids can enjoy festive games, storytelling, arts and crafts, Christmas trails and letter writing before meeting Santa, posing for a photo and receiving a gift. They will also get the chance to step into the Old Curiosity Shop and see the elves in their workshop. A beautiful, festive day out not to be missed!
MAC Events for Tots
Various dates, MAC
The MAC has a fantastic range of events for babies, toddlers and children. Four to seven-year-olds can sing their hearts out at a Holly Jolly Singalong while four to 11-year-olds can get creative and decorate a clock at Tick Tock Christmas Clock. Kids can also enjoy wonderful winter stories at Festive Fables, where the storyteller will be doing a special reading of ‘Twas the night before Christmas’ on Christmas Eve.
13 December to 2 January, Writer’s Square
Tumble Circus’ ever-popular winter show is back. This breathtaking, family-friendly display is an all human, all skill and all thrill event. With modern high-skilled acts, including acrobats, aerialists and jugglers, the show features international circus artists and comedy characters that both young and old can enjoy. Step right up and prepare to be dazzled!
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Santa’s Post Office
Selected dates, 21 November to 15 December, Royal Avenue
Step into Santa’s Post Box and discover what goes on behind the scenes as his elves work round the clock to make sure letters reach the North Pole on time! Kids can write a letter to Santa, have it sealed with North Pole approval and post it in the magical post box.
Lisburn Light Festival
22 November to 25 January, Lisburn city centre
Lisburn Light Festival Returns! Come and see Lisburn City Centre transformed by amazing displays of light and sound. As well as the stunning light canopies and Christmas tree shows, there will be plenty of family friendly entertainment including Frozen Spectacular, a live Nativity and a Christmas character meet and greet.
Enchanted Winter Castle at Antrim Garden
6-22 December, Antrim Castle Gardens
The Enchanted Winter Garden event returns to the award-winning Antrim Castle Gardens, transforming it into a magical world of enchantment. Attractions include a big wheel, Victorian Helter Skelter, Victorian Wave Swinger, Wonderland Wood, The Enchanted Express and mallow pit.
Belfast Carols at SSE Arena
14 December, SSE Arena
With a delightful and versatile score ranging from traditional carols to show-stopping Christmas hits featuring special guests, Belfast Carols will bring an exciting new dimension to the story of Christmas. The show will feature an orchestra, a choir of over 1000 children and a hugely festive atmosphere.
Christmas Family Activities at Hillsborough Castle
Selected dates, 14 December to 4 January, Hillsborough Castle and Gardens
Join Hillsborough Castle for festive family fun this Christmas! Celebrate the festive season with family-friendly activities, including arts and crafts, storytelling, dancing and music, inspired by the theme of the 12 days of Christmas. Plus, take a Festive Castle Tour to see Hillsborough Castle transformed for Christmas with 12 special Christmas installations.
Wildlife Wonderland at Belfast Zoo
14-15 December, Belfast Zoo
The little animal-lovers in your family will love this family day out at Belfast Zoo. Kids can wrap presents for the animals and see Santa deliver them around the 55-acre site. They can also take part in Christmas crafts, win prizes, meet a selection of animals and pose for photos with Santa and Mrs Claus. Book in advance or come early – last admission is at 2.30pm.
Winter Freeze at W5
Selected dates 14 December to 5 January, W5
Take a deep breath and come with W5 on a journey to a world of low temperatures, where you can watch science demonstrations so cool, they’re absolutely freezing! Watch a kettle boil at room temperature, touch a cloud, make it snow and hammer a bendy blu-tac nail into solid wood! Best of all, the show is free with normal admission to W5.
Festive Castle Tours
2-13 December, Hillsborough Castle
Hillsborough Castle has been transformed for the festive season! Explore the stunning State Rooms and discover twelve special installations decorated according to the traditional song, Twelve Days of Christmas. Guided by expert Explainers, soak up the seasonal atmosphere and discover another side to this elegant Georgian home in this 45 minute tour. While you’re there, the kids can enjoy Christmas Family Activities, with storytelling, Georgian dance, drumming workshops and Christmas arts and crafts.
Christmas at Cultra
Until 22 December, Ulster Folk Museum
Experience a truly traditional Christmas dating back over 100 years at the Ulster Folk Museum. Explore the candlelit Ballycultra village – with traditional decorations in the period buildings, seasonal smells fill the air from peat fires, spices and baking on the open hearth. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit Santa at Ulster Folk Museum, too.
Christmas at the Ulster American Folk Park
Until 5 January, Ulster American Folk Park
Take your family back in time to experience the magic of a traditional Christmas at the Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh. Walk around the winter landscape of the museum and explore a 19th century Christmas in rural Ulster and Pioneer America. Taste seasonal treats, and learn all about the making of traditional decorations like paper or popcorn chains.
Christmas at the Ark Open Farm
Until 24 December, Ark Open Farm
There are loads of festive activities for the kids at Ark Open Farm this season. Pet and feed the reindeer, see the farm’s twinkling Christmas lights, toast marshmallows, take part in the nativity scene with real animals, join the elves in their workshop, cuddle rabbits and watch Santa appear from the chimney and join him in his grotto!
High Rise Christmas Party
11-12 December, High Rise
Join High Rise for a programme of festive fun including their Christmas parties, with entertainment, party food and a visit from Santa. The party on Thursday 12 December will be a dedicated SEN and autism-friendly relaxed Christmas experience, with one-to-one Santa visits and time in the sensory room.
Santa and Gruffalo’s Grotto at Colin Glen Forest Park
14-15 and 21-22 December, Colin Glen Forest Park
Visit Santa in his grotto, listen to the Gruffalo story and take a guided trail walk through the forest to the Gruffalo, meeting all the characters from the book. Kids can also enjoy storytelling and festive arts and crafts, and will receive a gift and certificate stating that they met the Gruffalo!
Winter Skate at SSE Arena
21 December to 3 January, SSE Arena
Skate at the home of the Stena Line Belfast Giants during the festive season! The SSE Arena is open for ice skating sessions from 21 December to 3 January, which can combine with a family pass for the more activities in the Odyssey Complex for extended family fun.
Win a Family Pass to Winter Circus!
Enter our competition to win a family pass to see the spectacular Winter Circus in Writers Square!