‘Tis the season to tuck into your favourite festive films, and Strand Arts Centre in East Belfast has lined up a selection box of some of the best.

Will Ferrell stars in the 2003 comedy Elf as Buddy, accidentally transported to the North Pole as a toddler and raised to adulthood among Santa’s elves. Unable to shake the feeling that he doesn’t fit in, the adult Buddy travels to New York, in full elf uniform, in search of his real father. As it happens, this is Walter Hobbs (James Caan), a cynical businessman. After a DNA test proves this, Walter reluctantly attempts to start a relationship with the childlike Buddy with increasingly chaotic results.

The Muppets perform the classic Dickens holiday tale in The Muppet Christmas Carol, with Kermit the Frog playing Bob Cratchit, the put-upon clerk of stingy Ebenezer Scrooge. There’s also a special Sing-A-Long version of the film on Christmas Eve at 3pm, when a very special guest, the Ghost of Christmas Present, will be the host with the most dishing out a few surprises on the day. Dressing up is encouraged with prizes for best dressed!

Tim Burton’s Christmas in Gotham is not exactly the season of goodwill in Batman Returns. The monstrous Penguin (Danny de Vito) joins up with wicked shock-headed businessman Max Shreck to topple Batman (Michael Keaton) once and for all. But when Shreck’s timid assistant, Selina Kyle, finds out, and Shreck tries to kill her, she is transformed into Michelle Pfeiffer’s sexy Catwoman. She teams up with the Penguin and Shreck to destroy Batman, but sparks fly unexpectedly when she confronts the caped crusader.

An angel helps a compassionate but despairingly frustrated businessman by showing what life would have been like if he never existed. Frank Capra directs and James Stewart stars in the classic tearjerker It’s a Wonderful Life.

And for all you Frozen fans out there, you’ll be pleased to hear that Strand Arts Centre just can’t let it go!

On Wednesday 28th December, the now ludicrously popular Disney animation gets another Sing-A-Long screening. Activities start at 12pm with a meet and greet (including selfies) with Elsa and Anna, followed by face painting, colouring-in and songs before the film at 1.30pm.

More info and booking online at or by phoning (028) 9065 5830.

All Wrapped Up At Magherafelt Christmas Market And Lights Switch On!

Magherafelt Christmas Market is back!

A fantastic array of 25 artisan food and craft stalls selling local high quality products, will be the centrepiece of the 2016 market, taking place from Friday 2nd to Sunday 4th December, and the first event to be held in the newly refurbished town centre.

Enjoy browsing and sampling the locally produced food and drink, or take time to unwind in the lounge, where you can experience a craft beer, hot mulled wine or just sit and relax. There will be lots of hints and tips for Christmas feasts and local bands and school children will perform in the marquee over the weekend.

You can vote for your favourite taste too, as local butchers will compete for the crown of “Magherafelt’s Best Banger” or why not enter the Christmas Jumper Competition taking place on Sunday 4 December?

All wrapped up in this smorgasbord of treats will be Magherafelt’s Christmas Lights Switch-on on Saturday 3rd December at 7pm, with Chair of Mid Ulster District Council and Santa of course, finishing the evening of festive fun with a spectacular fireworks display.

Once again, this Christmas, there will be reduced car parking rates in Magherafelt town centre and diversions will be in place for the duration of the market. Further details to be announced soon.

To find out more about other Christmas events across Mid Ulster, visit .

Glengormley’s Christmas Market in the Park

On Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 December Lilian Bland Community Park, Glengormley will be alive with lots of Christmas activities.

Kevin McCourt (Knags Prestige Catering), Nicole Garland (Bellevue), Iain Patterson (President of Glengormley Chamber of Trade), Paula McClinton (Bellevue) and David Kirkland (Wippy Yo) share some of the treats that will be on offer at the market with the Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor John Scott.

On Saturday from 12pm to 8pm and Sunday from 1pm to 7pm, the market will feature Christmas food and craft stalls from Bonkers Betty’s Bizarre Bazaar.  Local businesses including the Bellevue, Knags, The Loft, Flowers by Reids, Wippy Yo and Serendipity at Home will also have lots of food, drink and gifts available on their stalls.

The weekend’s festivities also includes free family entertainment for everyone.  There will be Christmas games, face painting, arts & crafts, a free carousel and swinging chairs, to ensure all ages get into the festive spirit.  Santa is hoping you will come and visit him in his grotto from 12pm until 4pm on Saturday and 1pm to 4pm on Sunday.  Children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian in the grotto and children aged 11 and under will receive a free treat from Santa.

In keeping with the December theme of Northern Ireland’s Year of Food and Drink 2016, you will be able to visit the bar and treat yourself to a delicious warm glass of mulled wine or sample a continental beer.  The bar will close 15 minutes before the event ends each night.

There will be no car parking available at Lilian Bland Community Park.  Parking is only available for blue badge holders.  All other visitors are advised to park at Tesco Northcott where a park and ride facility will be in operation during the market.

For more information about the event please contact Karen Steele on 028 9446 3113 ext 31376 or visit the Get into Glengormley Facebook page.

Check out all the Christmassy Christmas events coming up in Ards and North Down Borough Council!

Friday 2 – Thursday 8 December

Friday 2 December, Santa Parade and Family Fun
Donaghadee Town Centre

Free Event
Fireworks 6.45pm
Festive stalls and entertainment followed by the ever popular Santa parade.

Info:, 028 9188 8667

Friday 2 and Saturday 3 December, Creative Peninsula Christmas Craft Fayre
Ards Arts Centre, Conway Square, Newtownards

Free admission
10am – 5pm
Enjoy a unique shopping experience and purchase that perfect, handcrafted gift.

Info:, 028 9182 6846

Saturday 3 December, Christmassy Christmas Show of Christmassy Christmasses!

The Space/SERC, Castle Park Road, Bangor

£5 per person. Suitable for children aged 5+

2pm and 6pm

Presented by Squash Box Theatre, this show is a stuffed stocking of seasonal surprises, puppets, songs and comedy.

Info:, 028 9181 0803

Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 December, Santa in the Stables

Portaferry Visitor Information Centre

Free Event
Sat 10am – 6pm, Sun 1pm – 5pm
Children’s activities and Santa 1pm – 5pm (both days), plus your chance to buy something unique for friends and family this Christmas! Whilst in Portaferry, why not check out the festive activities at Exploris Aquarium and The Carol Ship on Strangford Lough. Full details on our website.

Info:, 028 9182 6846

Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 December, Magical Moments

Throughout Bangor Town Centre

Free Event
Sat 10am – 6pm, Sun 12noon – 6pm
A weekend of free, family, festive fun throughout the town centre with music, performance, children’s entertainment and much more!

Info:, 028 9127 0069

Sunday 4 December, Santa Fun Run, Community Carol Service and Christmas Switch On

Donaghadee Town Centre and First Presbyterian Church

Free Event
Fun run 2pm, carol service and switch on 7pm

Info:, 028 9188 8667

Friday 9 – Thursday 15 December

Friday 9 December, Silver Jewellery Workshop
Ards Arts Centre, Conway Square, Newtownards

£40 per person
10am – 4pm
Spend a day of fun in the workshop and create a silver necklace or earrings. Booking essential.

Info:, 028 9181 0803

Friday 9 and Saturday 10 December, Pip Utton is… Charles Dickens reading A Christmas Carol

Bangor Castle (Fri) & Portico, Portaferry (Sat)

£10, includes mulled wine and mince pies

After a sell-out show in Ards in 2015, we are delighted to welcome back Pip’s wonderfully atmospheric incarnation of Charles Dickens.

Info:, 028 9181 0803

Saturday 10 December, Festive Sculptural Textiles Workshop
Ards Arts Centre, Conway Square, Newtownards

£20 per person
10.30am – 3pm
Learn how to make your own festive robin using traditional textile techniques and skills in a modern and innovative way. Booking essential.

Info:, 028 9181 0803

Saturday 10 December, Christmas Arts Scheme
Ards Arts Centre, Conway Square, Newtownards

£15 per child
10am – 3pm
This creative workshop will include Christmas arts and crafts, Jumping Clay and festive drama games. Suitable for children 6-12. Booking essential.

Info:, 028 9181 0803

For a full listing of our Christmas events within Ards and North Down Borough Council see

Make Someone’s Christmas



Exhibition: Toy Stories

Wednesday 30 November – Sunday 29 January

Long Gallery, North Down Museum, Bangor

This fun exhibition will look back at toys enjoyed by all from across the decades.

Exhibition: All Wrapped Up for Christmas exhibition

Saturday 3 – Saturday 24 December

Ards Crafts, 31 Regent Street, Newtownards

A showcase of handcrafted gifts and ideas for Christmas at this free to visit exhibition.

Exhibition: Juniper

Thursday 8 December – Saturday 21 January

Ards Arts Centre, Conway Square, Newtownards

A series of atmospheric richly detailed and fantastical illustrations depicting the story of Juniper and her companions.

Friday 9 December 2016 – Saturday 21 January 2017

Sunburst Gallery, Ards Arts Centre, Conway Square, Newtownards

A solo exhibition of unique, textured and colourful sculptures by Ellie Niblock.

Ballymoney – Enjoy our town!

Unique shops and quality customer service make Ballymoney a great place to visit this Christmas.

Everyone is invited to ‘Enjoy Our Town’ as the festive spirit starts to build.

The Naturally North Coast and Glens Artisan Market pays a visit to Castlecroft on Friday 2nd December from 11am to 3pm offering a fantastic array of local art, craft and food produce.

Look out for Santa as he takes up residence on Church Street. Santa’s House will be open each Saturday from December 3rd – 17th, from 2pm- 4.30pm and there’ll be reindeer to feed in Castlecroft also.  A selection of buskers will be on hand each Saturday to entertain, so make sure you wear your Christmas jumpers as you may receive a prize, all of which has been organised by Ballymoney Chamber of Commerce.

Julienne Elliott, Economic Development Officer for Town Management said: “Saturday 3rd December is also ‘Small Business Saturday’ and Ballymoney has a wealth of independent local businesses. I would encourage everyone to think about using your local small business providers on this day but also right throughout the year.”

Street entertainment will be on offer from 1pm – 3pm on Saturday, December 10th and December 17th. Look out for surprise characters Dora and Fireman Sam, Olaf, Minion and Penguin as well as balloon modelling and glitter tattoos to keep the little ones entertained.

For further details on all events in the Ballymoney area and the rest of the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough pick up your free brochure from various outlets or visit

Aladdin arrives in Antrim for Panto Season!

A touch of the Middle East warmed up the wet streets of Antrim as the cast from Aladdin arrived in town ahead of this year’s Pantomime.

Mr Hullabaloo and The Old Courthouse Theatre presents Aladdin from Tuesday 6 – Saturday 17 December. Featuring an outstanding cast of live performers, puppetry, dazzling sets and lavish costumes, children of all ages can join in the excitement and enter a whole new world as our spectacular story unfolds.

Full of laughter and full of fun, Aladdin will be an exciting adventure that will have you and your family singing, dancing and clapping along.  Don’t miss out on the truly magical experience of a Christmas Pantomime.

To book tickets please contact Box Office; T 028 9442 8331 or online

Countdown to Christmas across the Causeway Coast and Glens

With the festive season upon us, Santa has managed to find time in his busy schedule to switch on the Christmas lights in a number of towns around the Causeway Coast and Glens.

Festive entertainment is planned in each town or village to celebrate his arrival, including music, cuddly characters, DJ’s, live bands and carol singing from local choirs.

Santa will also distribute a small pre-Christmas gift to children who are primary school age and below and accompanied by an adult.

He’ll be accompanied on his journey by the Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Alderman Maura Hickey.

She said: “Myself and Santa will be stopping off in nine separate locations, and I am very excited for the festive celebrations that are planned for the towns and villages across the Borough. Christmas is a special time of the year and I hope everyone will come along to the festivities to help get the season off to a fantastic start! Santa and I are very much looking forward to meeting everyone along the way as we stop off and we hope that all the children have a really magical and safe Christmas.”

Coleraine town centre is next in Santa’s diary with the switch on taking place on Friday 25th November.  The fun begins at The Diamond area at 6.00pm with Beatz Entertainment, assisted by a local primary school who will be singing Christmas carols to add to the atmosphere.  The Good King Wencelas Parade will accompany the Mayor, Santa and his Clydesdale horses through the town to the Diamond area. Here, Santa and the Mayor will dismount and switch on the lights at 7.00pm before Santa makes his way to the Grotto to hand out gifts to all in the Santa queue.  At this point, the crowd will be entertained by local band The Groove Robbers.

The next town to be lit up will be Dungiven on Saturday 26th November where the DJ will commence at 5.30pm at Dungiven Community Centre.  Santa and the Mayor will arrive on his Clydesdale horses in time for the lights switch on at 6.00pm.  The DJ will keep the crowd amused while the children queue up to see Santa and receive their special Christmas parcel.

Following a couple of days rest, Santa will be taking off again on his trusted Clydesdale horses to the seaside town of Ballycastle on Thursday 1st December.  The night will start with the interdenominational Community Carol Service organised by Ballycastle Church Action from 6.30-6.50pm. Beatz Entertainment will be entertaining the crowds from 6.30pm.  The Mayor and Santa will arrive at the stage about 7.15pm.  Once the lights are switched on Santa will make his way to the Grotto to distribute gifts to the children.

Staying at the seaside, he will then visit the town of Portrush on Friday 2nd December.  Local entertainer Brian Moore will commence the evening at 6.30pm at Station Square with the help of local primary school choirs.  All this carol singing will get us in the mood for Santa who will be arriving with the Mayor on the Clydesdale horses ready to turn on the lights at 7.30pm.  Once the lights are turned on the children may queue to see Santa in his festive themed grotto.

The festivities continue the very next day in the market town of Kilrea.  Entertainment will begin at 4.00pm with carol singing under the tree from local primary schools who will be belting out some festive tunes. Santa and the Mayor will make their  way to the stage to switch on the lights at 5.00pm before Santa returns to his Grotto to meet the excited children who have come to see him.

Next in Santa and the Mayor’s busy schedule is a stop in Garvagh on Monday 5th December.  The entertainment kicks off at 6.30pm.  Carol singing will be provided by local primary schools in anticipation of the Christmas lights switch-on at 7.30pm. Santa will then take up residence in his grotto to hand out some small gifts to the children.

The last stop in the borough is Portstewart on Saturday 10th December.  The fun and games begin here with Brian Moore at 4.00pm.  Festive characters will help add to the atmosphere before the arrival of the Mayor and Santa, with the light switch on scheduled for 5.00pm. The entertainment on stage will continue while Santa gives out special Christmas packages from his grotto.

For more Christmas events click

We hope to see you all there, enjoying the festivities and getting into the Christmas spirit!


Northern Ireland boasts a unique collection of irresistible places to stay including quirky B&Bs, luxurious spa hotels and hidden gem properties for an ideal short break and Discover NI has selected the best offers of the week for you to choose from.

  • Autumn Getaway, The Valley Hotel, Co. Tyrone, from £95. The three-star Valley Hotel is situated at the gateway to the famous Fermanagh Lakelands, a perfect base to explore many of the tourist attractions such as Marble Arch caves, Belleek Pottery and the award-winning Ulster American Folk Park. Check in and enjoy two nights’ accommodation in a double room, full Irish cooked breakfast the following morning, a sumptuous four-course evening meal on one event and a bottle of wine for two people. Subject to availability.  To book call (028) 89 521505.
  • Pedal Power, Slieve Donard Resort and Spa, Co. Down, from £120 per room. Situated on six acres of private grounds, the magnificent four-star Slieve Donard Resort and Spa is nestled in the heart of County Down where the ‘Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea’. Explore the Mourne Mountains or country roads on an electric bike, then relax overnight in a luxurious room before enjoying a full Irish breakfast the next morning. *Helmets and maps included with bike hire. Available until 30 November. To book call (028) 43 721066.
  • Destination Deluxe, Galgorm Resort & Spa, Co. Antrim, £89pps. Explore the great outdoors this autumn with a stay in one of Northern Ireland’s premier resort’s & spa’s. Ideally located as a base close to the stunning Causeway Coastal Route and with a range of onsite activities including golf and the unique indoor and outdoor Thermal Spa village, you will be spoilt for choice at the four-star Galgorm. Stay in a luxurious deluxe guestroom, with canapés on check-in, free mini-bar, late check-out and gastronomic breakfast. Experience the best of NI’s produce with an autumnal afternoon tea in the stunning conservatory and access to the award-winning spa facilities. Valid until 30 November. To book call (028) 2588 1001.

For further information log on to

*All offers are subject to availability.


Tourism NI has put together a list of 10 exciting things to do in Northern Ireland next week (November 28 – December 4).

  • Carols Together, Stormont Parliament Buildings, Belfast, December 2. Join Carols Together and celebrate the start of the festive season. This wonderful evening promises to get you in the Christmas spirit with seasonal readings and entertainment from the fabulous Methodist College Chapel Choir, Mezzo Soprano, Helen Aiken and Opera singer Roland Davitt. Following the concert, guests will be treated to mince pies and mulled wine, there will also be optional tours of the chambers.
  • Magherafelt Christmas Market, Magherafelt Town Centre, Derry~Londonderry, December 2 – 4. Showcasing over 25 local artisan food and craft stalls, the market will be the first event to be held in the new refurbished Magherafelt Town Centre.  Come along and enjoy browsing and sampling the locally produced Artisan food and drink; or take time to unwind in the lounge, where you can experience a craft beer, hot mulled wine or even just sit and relax.
  • Santa’s House, Castle Ward, Co. Down, December 3. Travel along the illuminated avenue of lights, enjoy the festive sights and sounds in the stableyard, have a go at some Christmas crafts or write a letter to Santa before you head to the basement of the big house where Santa is waiting to say hello and give all the boys and girls a special gift. A truly magical experience for kids.
  • Schools Orchestra Winter Concert, The Waterside Theatre, Derry~Londonderry, December 1. String, wind and brass players from across the schools in the North West come together to perform an eclectic mix of seasonal favourites combined with traditional and contemporary repertoire as a celebration of the young talent in our region.
  • Christmas Markets at An Creagan, An Cregan, Co. Tyrone, December 1 – 2. Step into a world of festive delights at this two-day festive market. Experience the sights, sounds and smells of the season in inspiring surroundings and find unique and high quality gifts from over 30 handmade crafters. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to find special presents for special people, the perfect place to work your way enjoyably through your Christmas list.
  • Castle Espie Ladies Nights, WWT Castle Espie, Co. Down, December 1. Enjoy festive fashions with pop up shops from Sarah Alexandra Boutique and KoKo Boutique, hair and make-up sessions with Nicholas Graham Hairdressing and beauty advice and tips from Roamer Holistic! Pick up fabulous stocking fillers from one of our specialist stalls or get something for yourself on this special ladies’ night out.
  • Christmas Cooking Neven Style, Belleek Pottery, Co. Fermanagh, December 2. Enjoy an afternoon of everything Christmas with local celebrity chef Neven Maguire as he helps you to solve all your Christmas Cookery Crisis’s with lots of hints and tips on how to make that all-important Christmas Day Meal an unforgettable success.
  • Belmont Road Walking Food Tour, Belfast, December 3. Taste everything from Portavogie scampi to Guinness cake and from Irish tapas to award winning raspberry sorbet! Along the way, Tracey, your enthusiastic Tour Guide will enlighten you with stories about famous people from this area and about local food and drink from Belmont Road and surrounding area.
  • Christmas Fair, The Argory, Co. Armagh, December 3. The Festive period is not complete without a visit to The Argory’s Christmas Fair, featuring a number of craft, food and drink stalls, as well as traditional festive entertainment. Soak up the wonderful atmosphere and see the house decorated for the festive season.
  • Ronnie Greer Blues Band, Ballymoney Town Hall, Co. Antrim, November 30. Blues Guitar Legend Ronnie Greer makes a welcome return to Ballymoney with his powerhouse band some of the country’s leading musicians. Expect a night of blues, roots soul and a little jazz based music, played with style and conviction by the best in the business.

Jacqueline from shares her pick of What’s On this weekend across the NI


Its back! The annual Comber Christmas Fair in the Square returns this Thursday 24th November from 4.00pm to 8.00pm. Join in the festive spirit and enjoy time browsing the different local stalls including gifts, jewellery, crafts and a kid’s zone. Santa will make an appearance as well as carol singers before the official turning on the Christmas lights.


On Georgian Day, Saturday 26th November, a festive market will bring the city to life, with stalls offering high quality gifts and locally produced food and drink. The city streets will offer something different on every turn including period characters, demonstrations, live music, street theatre & performers, walking tours, horse & carriage rides, mulled wine, mince pies, hot chestnuts and much more.  The Children’s Market at The Shambles Yard will offer a family friendly experience with traditional fairground games & rides, festive stalls with treats & gifts suitable for little people, real reindeer, light sculptures, workshops & crafts all served with lashings of sprinkles and glitter!  As the city grows dark, the dramatic Light Show, will burst to life, illuminating the backdrop of the Georgian Market House and creating a festive atmosphere with contemporary and seasonal music. A must see for all visitors to the City!


Christmas officially starts in Enniskillen on Saturday 26th November with the Christmas lights switch-on in the town centre at 5.30pm. The town will become a hub of live entertainment from late afternoon to mark the start of the Christmas shopping season so come along and get into the festive spirit!   A programme of festive family entertainment at The Diamond includes Street Entertainers and Face Painters, Balloon Modellers, Marty Fay Band, Silver Bands, Cross Community Choir, Santa and much more.  Access via Water Street will be restricted from 4.00pm. Santa will leave The Town Hall to meet and greet families in The Diamond from 4.30pm with the lights switch on taking place at 5:30pm.


Tim McGarry “Goes Over The Top” at Burnavon Theatre this Friday 25th November  with a brand new stand-up show about our history.  This time instead of taking on all of Irish history Tim will concentrate on the bits that we think matter the most. And because of the year that’s in, it can only be the 1916 Easter Rising and the Battle of the Somme.  In 2016 we have be inundated with worthy and serious dramas and documentaries about the meaning of 1916.  There has been much chin stroking and nodding of heads sagely.  Tim McGarry doesn’t want that. He wants to give you jokes.


The third annual Ballymaguigan Christmas fair will be on Saturday 26th November, from 12.00 – 4.00 at St Trea’s football club hall, Ballymaguigan.  You will find a whole host of amazing handmade products, from jewellery to clothes to art and gifts. Everything is made with love, care and time as the makers of handmade products all share one thing; a passion for what they do.  There will also be some independent stall holders, children’s entertainment and ladies doing your makeup, hair and nails. The Fairy Workshop will be in attendance for a 2-3 hour kids special Christmas workshop ‘Making your own fairy door’.


The action kicks off in Market Square Antrim this Thursday 24th November for the Christmas Tree Switch On, with musical entertainment hosted by Sonya Mac from Q Radio, a visit from Santa at 7.00pm and the special Children’s Prize Draw with some great prizes to be won. A spectacular fireworks display will round off what will undoubtedly be a perfect festive evening for all the family.


The Folktown Market is a farmers and variety market running every Thursday from 9am to 4pm with stalls selling locally grown fruit and vegetables and locally produced meats and breads. You can also find coffee, hot food and local crafts. The market is in one of the most central spaces in Belfast, Bank Square, only a few yards from the main shopping streets, Castle Court shopping centre and multi-storey car parks. Surrounded by two of the oldest churches, Mourne Seafood Restaurant and traditional pubs, one dating back to the 18th century, the square is steeped in character and heritage – a perfect place for people meet and do their shopping – crossing barriers and reconnecting the city.

For more details on these events and to add your events free go to Follow us on twitter @whatsonNI and on facebook at for news, competitions and what’s on near you.