1. Toast Marshmallows at the Christmas Market
Belfast Christmas Market has everything you need to start feeling festive! From craft stalls selling handmade Christmas gifts to a giant inflatable snow-globe where you can get your picture taken, you’ll find plenty of ways to get in the Christmas spirit. One of our favourite things to do is toast marshmallows over the roaring fire pit and enjoy them with a milky hot chocolate. Then, wander through the labyrinth of illuminated chalets, enjoy international cuisines and simply soak up the atmosphere.
2. Stock up for a Festive Feast
‘Tis the season to eat! Find everything you need for that decadent cheese board or Christmas party spread right in the heart of the city. Sawers stocks locally made cheese, chutney, crackers and cured meats, while Avoca’s food market boasts oils, spices, tapenades and homemade desserts. Or visit St George’s market for fresh vegetables for your Christmas dinner and mince pies from a range of local bakeries. Finish it all off with delicious wine from Direct Wine Shipments and after-dinner chocolates from Co Couture.
3. Snuggle Up in an Igloo
The twinkly globes have returned to the idyllic riverside setting at Cutters Wharf! Cosily adorned with sheepskin rugs, tartan blankets and Christmas lights, the heated globes are the ideal night out with friends and the perfect way to start feeling Christmassy. You can book a food and drinks package, which includes mince pies, mulled wine and seasonal treats, or catch a Christmas film. Find igloo packages at the Perch Rooftop Bar, too.
4. Go Late Night Shopping
There’s something about a twilight shopping spree that feels particularly Christmassy. Belfast city centre shops are open until 9pm on weeknights from the start of December, and until 10pm from 16 December. Enjoy the twinkling decorations, blaring Christmas music and festive atmosphere while you shop; read our guide to the best places to find those all-important Christmas gifts and see the late night shopping times.
5. Watch a Christmas Movie
Sitting in front of Netflix with your slippers and a hot chocolate is pretty much everyone’s happy place in the winter. But don’t miss the magic of catching a Christmas movie screening in a cinema or quirky venue. From rooftop bars and restaurants to heated igloos, there are loads of unique venues screening festive classics this year. Watch It’s a Wonderful Life in the Crescent Arts Centre, or see Elf at Fratelli Belfast while tucking into a pizza. See the full round-up in our Christmas movie screening guide.
6. Sip on a Christmas Cocktail
Treat yourself to a seasonal tipple with Christmassy flavours! Go to Revolucion de Cuba for a selection of Christmas cocktails, including or Jingle Juice with rum, cinnamon and almond or a Gingerbread Old Fashioned with ginger, bitters and an oven-baked finish. Dirty Onion is serving up boozy hot chocolates with Kraken Spiced Rum, served with whipped cream and caramel syrup. Or go to Santeria, one of Belfast’s newest cocktail bars, where you can enjoy a Chocolate Orange Cream cocktail or Hot Apple Voddy.
7. Visit a Santa Grotto
Simply watching the joy on your little one’s face as they queue up to meet the mysterious man in red, sit on his knee and tell him what they would like for Christmas is enough to make you burst with festive cheer, so make sure it’s on your Christmas to-do list! He’ll be visiting lots of venues across the city, including CastleCourt, Victoria Square, Belfast Christmas Market and more. Read our guide to the best places to meet Santa for further ideas.
8. Listen to Christmas Music – Live!
Christmas music always dials up the festive feelings and there’s something even more magical about experiencing it live. Go along to a carol service in Belfast Cathedral, or see the Ulster Orchestra and Belfast Operatic Society perform classical yuletide pieces. There will also be pop-up live performances around the city centre from local choirs and bands under the Belfast Christmas Music Programme.
9. Stay the Night
Use your Christmas holidays to escape for a night for a luxurious hotel break Check out our range of fantastic hotel offers that include overnight stays with meals, drinks deals or even shopping vouchers. Enjoy bed and breakfast in the world famous Europa Hotel with a seasonal cocktail from just £95, or a four-course meal and overnight stay in the Fitzwilliam from £177.
10. Go Out for a Christmas Coffee
Take a break from shopping and catch up with friends over a Christmas coffee. Starbucks has their usual range of red cups favourites, like eggnog lattes, toasted marshmallow hot chocolate and toffee nut Frappuccinos. Or go to Clements for a Snowflake Cappuccino, orange hot chocolate, festive paninis and even a Christmas pudding scone.