Antrim & Newtownabbey Borough Council is pleased to showcase Antrim Lough Shore Park in all its winter glory by transforming it into a true Christmas Wonderland.

The festive season will be in full swing when the park is transformed into a Winter Wonderland on Thursday 10 December. There will be something for all the family to enjoy between 6pm and 8pm and admission to the event is free.  There is a £1 per child charge for Santa’s Grotto which includes a small gift.

Santa will be arriving by boat along the Six Mile Water River around 6.15pm, with a little help from his friends at Lough Neagh Rescue, who will also be fundraising on the night for their lifeboat station. Children will be able to take part in a range of activities including festive train rides, face painting and a Christmas Puppet Show. There will be lots of Christmas music from the Cool FM Radio Roadshow and free arts and crafts activities.  There will also be a Christmas Mobile Playground for the first time at the Lough which will add an extra sparkle to the evening.

Extensive car parking will be available at the Lough Shore Park with disabled parking for blue badge holders only. Overflow car parking will be available at the Education Authority, North Eastern Region, Lough Road, Antrim, with a free shuttlebus in operation.

For further information about all the Christmas events in the Borough visit or please phone 028 9446 3113 or 028 9034 0000.

Titanic Belfast’s Magical Christmas Experience brings joy to families affected by cancer

Local families whose lives have been impacted by cancer had the chance to enjoy some festive cheer at the exclusive launch of Titanic Belfast’s Magical Christmas Experience on November 26.

5. The Matthews family from Newry who are supported by local charity Cancer Fund for Children got the chance to immerse themselves in festive cheer at a sneak preview of Titanic Belfast’s Magical Christmas Experience last night. Pictured with Father Christmas is Q Radio’s Stephen Clements and Cate Conway along with Jack (11) Ryan (10) Cara (6) and Shane (8).

Children whose parents have been diagnosed with cancer and their families were invited by Cancer Fund for Children to the world’s largest Titanic visitor experience to see Father Christmas arrive and abseil down the iconic building to launch the Magical Christmas Experience. The families had the chance to go back in time, explore a traditional Christmas Street, look up their names in the naughty or nice list and meet Father Christmas in his Old Curiosity Shop.

Mingling with a host of well-known Northern Ireland faces from the world of sport and entertainment, including Q Radio breakfast team’s Stephen Clements and Cate Conway who  played Mr and Mrs Clause on the night, the families were first to preview this year’s event.

The young people enjoyed festive games, dressing up, decoration making, story-telling and watching movies from a bygone era in the Ye Olde Picture House.

Cancer Fund for Children’s Services Manager Angela Rodgers, said: “We are so grateful to Titanic Belfast for inviting our families to be involved in the Magical Christmas Experience for the second year running.  At Christmas issues faced by families affected by cancer can become even more of a struggle. It is wonderful for families to be given a break from the stress of hospital visits, treatment and isolation through this unique event. Titanic Belfast and Cancer Fund for Children brought families together for a fun evening where they were able to relax, enjoy family time together and create lasting memories.

“This is just one of the ways we help make the lives of those affected by cancer a little more bearable at Christmas time. We also provide breaks at Daisy Lodge, our Therapeutic Short Break Centre in Newcastle Co. Down and offer self-catering breaks at our Cottages in Coleraine as well as giving families the opportunity to enjoy varied events and parties over the festive season.”

Titanic Belfast’s Chief Executive, Tim Husbands MBE, commented: “Christmas is a truly magical time of year and our Experience is all about embracing festive cheer and creating unique memories. Therefore, we are delighted and very pleased to add something special to the lives of these very deserving families this Christmas!”

Titanic Belfast’s Magical Christmas Experience runs until December 23. To book, visit For more information on Cancer Fund for Children and how you can fundraise so the charity can support more families, visit

Santa’s Magical Elves, New for Navan for 2015

The Navan Centre & Fort, Armagh has a new Santa experience for 2015, Santa’s Magical Elves.  Running on various dates throughout December this promises to be a fantastic family Christmas experience.

Santa’s Magical Elves ‘at Navan Centre & Fort, Armagh will take you on an enchanted Christmas Journey with Santa’s little helpers who arrive on their very own Elf Mobile!

How did the Elves come to be at Navan?  How did they help Santa make Christmas?  Be captivated by the secrets of the Elves as you journey with them from Navan to the wonderful ‘Elf-ville’

On your travels the Elves will stamp your Christmas Ticket allowing you unlock the gates on ‘Elf-ville’ to meet with Santa in his home, where he has gifts for all the boys and girls!

Cost: Adult £5.15, Child £10.30 and Under 1 £5.15, this will include a gift for children and tea-time treat for adults to take away and enjoy.  There is 10% discount for parties of 12 or more, when made as one booking.

Pre-essential is essential.  For dates, times and booking

For information please contact: Navan Centre, 81 Killylea Road, Armagh.  BT60 4LD.  Tel 028 3752 9644


The Market Place Theatre in Armagh is kicking off the festive season at the start of December with two fantastic Christmas themed dramas.

Dyad Productions, creators of ‘Austen’s Women’, ‘I, Elizabeth’, ‘The Diaries Of Adam And Eve’ and ‘Female Gothic’, are bringing their latest production, ‘Christmas Gothic’ to The Market Place Theatre in Armagh. Christmas is a time to remember the past, celebrate the present, and look to the future; a time of feasts and festivities; of holly and mistletoe; a time of visits and visitations. A time of ghosts. Come in from the cold and enter into the Christmas spirit as a dark and spectral woman tells haunting tales of the festive season, lighting a candle to the frailties of human nature and illuminating the cold and chilling depths of the bleak, wintry dark. Dyad Productions resurrects a Victorian tradition by presenting three seasonal tales of terror to scintillate the gooseflesh for dark Christmas nights. ‘Christmas Gothic’ will be staged on Friday 4th December at 8pm. Tickets are priced £13 and £11 (concession).

Then on Friday 11th December, book yourself in for a merry little Christmas with Wireless Mystery Theatre’s ‘A Christmas Carol’. With live music, hand cranked sound effects and authentic ’40s radio jingles and Christmas commercials, this is the perennially favourite tale of Ebeneezer Scrooge and his spectral Christmas visitors, with a twist – its set in a ’40’s radio studio! A real heart-warming Christmas treat with a quirky vintage style. ‘A Christmas Carol’ will be staged on Friday 11th December at 8pm. Tickets are priced £14 and £12 (concession).

Details of all events can be found online at, and tickets can be booked by contacting the Box Office on [028] 3752 1821. And to keep up-to-date with the latest news at the Market Place Theatre, you can follow us on Facebook ( and Twitter ( where you will find all the latest information, special offers and video previews.


With Christmas fast approaching, Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council is getting Switched On with its biggest ever Christmas extravaganza, bringing festive fun for all the family in the run up to the big day.

From Santa’s arrival to live music, great food and a dance party, Lisburn & Castlereagh has everything you and your family need to get you into the festive spirit. Offering a fantastic variety of businesses across the City Council area, catering for all types of customers it really is the ideal place to shop, eat and stay this Christmas.

From local retailers offering bespoke Christmas gifts & vouchers to over 120 independent retailers, Lisburn City Centre is bursting with stores waiting to meet your Christmas Shopping needs. Alternatively fuel up on a spot of lunch or a relaxing evening meal at one of Lisburn & Castlereagh’s many outstanding restaurants, offering a fabulous selection of culinary delights.

On Saturday 28th November, Santa will arrive with his reindeers to meet excited children at his grotto located in the newly refurbished public realm at Market Square. The Square will come alive and host a range of other activities for a spectacular Switch On event. So, why not come along and meet Santa from 12pm to 3pm. From Monday 30th November, Santa will take up residency in his living room at the Irish Linen Centre and will be open from 11am to 4.30pm Monday to Saturday.

Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council have a whole host of events planned for the month of December with something for everyone. From craft markets, food & music, family fun days and carols by candlelight to name but a few – there really is something for the whole family. So come along and get switched on to Lisburn & Castlereagh this Christmas and make it your number one destination for festive shopping, dining out and family fun.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @visitlisburn for more details on all Christmas events. Visit our website: #LisburnSwitchedOn

Offer of the week – from Stena Line


Santa Line makes it an early Christmas for all of its passengers

Stena Line is offering customers 20% off all motorist fares to Britain* this Christmas on their Belfast to Liverpool and Belfast to Cairnryan routes.

It’s the perfect money-saving excuse you need to catch up with loved ones before Christmas.  Whilst onboard you can take advantage of the great deals in the shop where savings can be up to 50% when compared to the high street.  Or perhaps you just fancy a break before the madness of the festive season really kicks in – whatever your reason you can take 20% off thanks to Stena Line!

The motorist fare offer is available on any day and any sailing until 20 December but you must book by November 30 2015.

For further information or to book go to call 08447 70 70 70 or visit your local travel agent.

*Subject to availability. Terms and conditions apply.


Tourism NI has put together a list of 10 exciting things to do in Northern Ireland next week (November 30 – December 6).

  • Christmas At The Castle, Hillsborough Castle, Hillsborough, Co. Down, December 4. There’s nothing more magical than a castle dressed for Christmas. So don’t miss your chance to enjoy an unforgettable day of festive experiences at Hillsborough Castle. With viewing of all the state rooms, drinks reception and a fabulous chorale group singing in the Throne Room, it’s a majestic way to start the season. Bookings essential. From 7pm.
  • Christmas Lights Switch On Ballycastle, The Diamond, Ballycastle, Co. Antrim, December 3. Everyone welcome to join in an evening of festive celebrations that offers something for all the family. The Christmas event will commence at 6.30pm with the annual interdenominational Community Carol Service followed by the ‘Big Switch-on of Christmas lights by Santa Clause. Santa will be in his grotto inviting children to meet him and receive an early Christmas present. A DJ will be entertaining the crowds with lots of fun and music until 9pm. Shops will be open late offering special discounts.
  • Limavady Christmas Artisan Market, Roe Valley Arts & Cultural Centre, Limavady, Co. Londonderry, December 5 Fresh aromas, vivid colours, eclectic treasures, buzzing crowds – a mere stroll amongst the many stalls of an Artisan Market are enough to invigorate the senses and whet the appetite. These markets aim to keep things authentic, providing a rare but enchanting opportunity to meet the many food and craft producers and suppliers from the North Coast and Glens area. From 11am to 4pm.
  • Enniskillen’s Christmas Craft & Food Fair, Townhall and The Diamond, Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh, December 5. This event provides the perfect opportunity for shoppers to browse a wonderful range of high quality food and craft products. There will be fun for all the family with face painting, street performers and Christmas characters from 12pm to 4pm so come along and get in the Christmas spirit!
  • Santa’s Pony Parade, Sheskburn House Car Park, 7 Mary Street, Ballycastle, Co. Antrim, December 5. Come along and delight in this wonderful parade of horses with riders in festive fancy dress make their way through the town, stopping off in the Diamond area where they will assemble to sing Christmas songs. And don’t forget to bring your pooch as there will be a fun dog show with prizes for the best dressed. Santa will also be in attendance giving away children’s goody-bags. Horses and ponies will assemble in Sheskburn House car park at 12pm and depart at 1pm.
  • Off The Cuff at Contained Village, Contained Pop Up Village, Donegall Quay, Belfast, December 1. Looking for a bit of craic on a Tuesday night? Off the Cuff is Belfast’s only free entry open-mic night for anyone and everyone. All styles, levels and mindsets of music are welcome. Each week will feature an improv session that is open for all instruments.  6pm til late.
  • Days Of Christmas Past at the Folk Park, Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh, Co. Tyrone, December 5-20. This festive season take the family back in time to experience the magic of a truly traditional Christmas. Looking for a traditional Christmas Santa experience where the kids meet Santa, Mrs Claus and all their festive friends. This event will take place on different days from 11am to 4pm.
  • Santa’s Magical Elves @ Navan Centre & Fort, 81 Killylea Road, Armagh, Co. Armagh, December 5-22.  Armagh will take you on an enchanted Christmas Journey with Santa’s little helpers who arrive on their very own Elf Mobile! On your travels the Elves will stamp your Christmas ticket allowing you unlock the gates on ‘Elf-ville’ to meet with Santa in his magical kingdom, where he has gifts for all the boys and girls!
  • Santa’s Magical Workshop, McCrum’s Court, Armagh, Co. Armagh, December 5-22. Make a Christmas Wish and truly magical memories in Santa’s workshop. Experience the magical lights and trees as you make your way to see the elves in Santa’s workshop, take photographs with Santa, make a wish and hang it up for all to see. Register on the day only in the Mall Shopping Centre during workshop opening hours as listed. Registration is essential as availability can be limited.
  • A Christmas Carol The Musical – Ardhowen Theatre, 97 Dublin Road, Derrychara, Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh, December 3-12. Enniskillen Light Operatic presents A Christmas Carol, The Musical. The classic Dickens tale of the miserly Scrooge redeemed by visits from the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future has been adapted for the stage by Lynn Ahrens and Alan Menken. The show is perfectly suited to getting you in the mood for the festive season. Show begins at 8pm and on Sat 5th December 3 and 8pm.

Please note some of the events require pre-booking. For more details on these and other events click on, visit your local tourist information centre or log onto

Jacqueline from shares her pick of what’s on this weekend across NI


Watch Holywood light up this Christmas with a day of festive fun in the town centre this Saturday 28th November. Featuring a Christmas Market, Open House choir, a synthetic ice-rink, a visit from Santa, a giant snowman, activities in the library and street theatre, the event promises to be a great day out for the whole family. The market will trade from 11am – 6pm and the lights will be switched on by the Mayor at 4.30pm.


Georgian Day this Saturday 28th November will see the Ancient Cathedral City of Armagh transformed with market stalls offering beautiful indigenous crafts and food as well as the scent of warm mince pies and mulled wine combined with the sound of local musicians to ensure a truly unique atmosphere to get the festive season started. See Armagh in all its festive glory, as it back to its Georgian roots for a unique Christmas experience that cannot to be missed!


Irvinestown Christmas lights are being turned on Saturday 28th November. PJ the D J will be providing music with his famous snow machine filling the main street with snow. There are special appearances from Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Peppa Pig, George and The Arc Centres Racoon. Get into the spirit of Christmas and have the children dress up in Fancy Dress and there is free face painting on the day.


Celebrate Thanksgiving at the Ulster American Folk Park this Thursday 26th November. At this time of year, Americans across the world turn their thoughts to home and family as they prepare to celebrate the cherished American holiday of Thanksgiving. Join the Partridge family in Slippery Rock, Butler County as they prepare their Thanksgiving dinner of 1863 and explore how the celebration first started. Taste seasonal dishes of succotash and pumpkin and shoofly pie. Normal admission pricing applies.


The annual speciality Christmas market returns to Magherafelt this weekend with more than 35 food and drink suppliers. Browse and sample locally produced Artisan food and drink, or unwind in the lounge, with a craft beer or hot mulled wine with entertainment by local bands & school children. Be inspired and amazed by the variety, quality and originality of the hand-made craft products and gifts available. All wrapped up in this smorgasbord of treats will be Magherafelt’s Christmas Lights Switch-On on Saturday the 28 November at 7pm. This promises to be a captivating evening of festive fun, with the Cool FM Roadshow, prize giveaways, that will finish with the traditional, spectacular fireworks display and of course, Santa!


The Courtyard Theatre Ballyearl presents Jack and the Beanstalk beginning this Friday 27th November. From the creative team that brought you Snow White, Aladdin, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty: Jack and the Beanstalk will have you and your family singing, dancing and clapping along! Featuring an outstanding cast of live performers, puppetry, dazzling sets and lavish costumes, children of all ages can join in the excitement and fun as our spectacular story unfolds. Full of laughter and fun, don’t miss out on the truly magical experience of a Christmas pantomime. There is also a special visit and present from Santa at the end of the show! Show Times: Weeknights at 7pm; Weekends at 1pm, 4pm & 7pm


Frock Around The Clock will be returning to beautiful Malone House Belfast for the ‘Wonderful Winter’ Vintage & Handmade Fair on Sunday 29th November and will feature 45 stalls of vintage, handcrafted & upcycled fashion, furniture, homewares and collectibles, textiles and decor, jewellery, sweet treats, toys, art, craft, gifts, artisan food, children & baby wear & much more!

Add your events free at Follow us on twitter @whatsonNI and on facebook at for news, competitions and what’s on near you.


L’Derry’s “Browns” has become the first restaurant in Northern Ireland to be included in the prestigious “Ireland’s Blue Book” association of hotels and restaurants.

Browns Restaurant and Champagne Lounge, L/Derry

Browns, already named by critics as the best in the northwest and one of the best in Ireland, joins a select handful of Northern Ireland hotels, including the Bushmills Inn, Newforge House and Ardtara Country House, in the elite guide. Ardtara Country House in Upperlands is also owned by Browns owners Marcus Roulston and Chef Patron Ian Orr, making this a double Blue Book feather in their caps.

Sallyanne Clarke, President, Ireland’s Blue Book and proprietor of Dublin’s ‘Ecrivain Restaurant said “We are particularly delighted to have Browns, the first restaurant in Northern Ireland, join our collection.”

John McGrillen, CEO of Tourism NI, said “We are pleased to see Browns Restaurant as the first Northern Ireland restaurant invited to join the elite group of properties in Ireland’s Blue Book. This honour is particularly fitting as we approach the Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink 2016.  Congratulations to Ian Orr, Chef Patron and Marcus Roulston and their team.”

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, offered “Congratulations to Browns Restaurant on being the first Northern Ireland restaurant to join the prestigious Blue Book collection. Ireland’s Blue Book has long been known for representing properties of unique and individual style which offer the best in hospitality, so the inclusion of Browns for the first time in 2016 is testament to its high standards and the superb experience it offers our overseas visitors. Ireland’s Blue Book undoubtedly helps to give the island of Ireland significant “stand-out” in the very competitive international marketplace. We look forward to continuing to work closely with Ireland’s Blue Book, to promote Browns Restaurant and all of the other wonderful properties in the collection, around the world in 2016.”

Marcus Roulston and Ian Orr, Co Owners, Browns Restaurant said “Browns is delighted and humbled to be Northern Ireland’s only restaurant to have been invited to join the elite collection of hotels and restaurants in Ireland’s Blue Book. This is a gratifying complement to the “Best Restaurant in Co. L’Derry” award received every year from 2010 to 2015 from Ireland’s Restaurants Association and with our sister restaurant, “Browns in Town”,  to be the only two restaurants in the City to be recommended in the Michelin Guide 2016. In light of these awards, Browns is particularly proud of the restaurant’s accessibility to all with arguably the best value for money in the northwest. We thank our loyal customers over the years for their continued support and friendship.”

The addition of Browns bring to 49 the number of boutique hotels, restaurants and country houses in one of Europe’s premier collections — membership of which is notoriously difficult to achieve and highly-regarded as a result.

Giant’s Causeway crowned UKs Best Heritage Attraction

The National Trust Giant’s Causeway is the UKs Best Heritage Attraction according to voters of the nation’s largest consumer poll, the British Travel Awards.

Northern Ireland’s best-loved landmark scooped gold at the glamorous gala awards ceremony held in London on 25 November attended by close to a thousand travel industry people.

The National Trust Giant’s Causeway is the UKs Best Heritage Attraction. Picking up the prestigious British Travel Award 2015 at the gala ceremony in London are Esther Dobbin, Commercial and Visitor Operations Manager, Alastair Walker, Giant’s Causeway Site Manager and Catherine McAuley, Retail Supervisor.

The Giant’s Causeway, comprised of thousands of interlocking basalt columns – evidence of a dynamic and transformative period in our earth’s history – is Northern Ireland’s first World Heritage Site as well as its most visited tourist attraction.

The National Trust team at the Giant’s Causeway regularly welcomes thousands of daily visitors offering a first-class visitor experience and a warm welcome to travellers from across the world.

Esther Dobbin, Commercial and Visitor Operations manager, said: ‘Our team have worked so hard to deliver exceptional customer service. This is the first time it has been won by a Northern Ireland attraction. The awards are voted for by visitors which makes them all the more special. We are really passionate about what we do, and I’m so proud of our entire team. This is great for the National Trust and for Northern Ireland’.

This is the second year that the Giant’s Causeway has been nominated in the awards, having won bronze last year. It is also the first ever win for the National Trust in this category. The Giant’s Causeway had competition from National Maritime Museum Cornwall and Sterling Castle and last year’s winner, Edinburgh Castle.

British Travel Awards’ chief executive Lorraine Barnes Burton said: ‘More than a quarter of a million consumers voted this year to determine the winners of the 2015 British Travel Awards – it’s the largest awards program in the UK and to win is a clear statement that companies are providing excellence in travel to the discerning consumer. The travelling public regard the British Travel Awards winners logo as the benchmark for excellence when it comes to finding out who are the best travel companies and National Trust Giant’s Causeway is to be congratulated on their achievement.’
The British Travel Awards is a proudly independent organisation, verified by leading global accountancy practitioners Deloitte.