It’s hard to believe the Belfast Christmas Market has been taking place at City Hall for 10 years. What started as a small group of gazebos and a handful of traders has grown into one of our best-loved festive events.

Nowadays the grounds of City Hall are transformed into a traditional festive German style market complete with 90 hand crafted wooden chalets and other structures, twinkling lights and the aroma of the traditional spirit-warming Glühwein.

This year the multi-award winning Belfast Christmas Market which generates millions of pounds in economic benefits for the City of Belfast each year opens its gates on Saturday 15 November at 12noon, signaling for many the start of the Christmas season in Belfast City Centre.

Over 800,000 visitors are expected to enjoy the gastronomic delights at this year’s market which include: Crepes from France, Belgian chocolates and an exotic selection of ostrich, wild boar and crocodile burgers for those with a taste for adventure. Giant Bratwurst are cooked and sold from a brand new iconic Schwenkgrille, Spanish Paella, and nougat from Italy is also on offer for hungry festive shoppers.

Close to 30% of the market is made up of local traders (many who started at the award winning St George’s Market) selling products such as non alcoholic cordials, hand carved name plaques, locally produced chocolate and original art. Suki Tea will be brewing up in the festive village for the 10th year themselves, as it was at the very first Christmas market that Oscar Woolley and his team first dipped their toes in the tea trade.

Wrap up warm in preparation for the threatened chilly winter in Peruvian clothing made out of genuine Alpaca wool, update your accessory collection with some Aztec jewellery or style your wardrobe with some Parisian fashion. Handcrafted gifts such as soaps, wooden toys and decorations are also showcased, perfect as unique stocking fillers.

The young at heart can visit our famous Santa’s Grotto and help support the Lord Mayor’s charity, Youth Link, the inter-church youth service for Northern Ireland established in 1991, to provide support and training for youth workers and community relations experiences for young people.

The Christmas Market ’Buddy Scheme’ runs from 10am-12pm Monday-Wednesday, the initiative aims to provide additional assistance for those who may require it, during their visit. After a walk around in the brisk winter air, the complimentary tea and coffee (served in the Lavery’s beer tent as part of the scheme), provides a welcome treat.

Spoil your inner child and take a ride on the carousel made especially for the Belfast Christmas Market by the Goss family, or have a picture taken in the Snow Globe before relaxing in one of our continental bars, serving drinks from around the world late into the evening.

Open from 10am each day (1pm on Sundays), the Belfast Christmas Market runs until 21 December and for those who want to squeeze in that extra bit of shopping, St George’s Market is operating on additional days, for more information visit belfastcity.gov.uk

Don’t miss your chance to make this Christmas an extra special one. For information on any of our initiatives follow us on Facebook and twitter or visit www.marketplaceeurope.co.uk

Opening hours of the market

Mon – Wed 10am – 8pm

Thurs – Sat 10am – 10pm

Sun 1pm – 6pm