Upcoming Tourism events in the Ards and North Down Borough.

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: ardsarts.com, 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: ardsarts.com, 028 9181 0803

Saturday 10 December, Christmas Crafts for Children in Ards VIC

Ards Visitor Information Centre, Regent Street, Newtownards


11am – 3pm

Make your very own snowman at this free craft activity. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Info: (028) 9182 6846, visitardsandnorthdown.com

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: ardsarts.com, 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: ardsarts.com, 028 9181 0803

Friday 16 – Thursday 22 December

Friday 16 December, Festive Swing with Swingabella
The Queen’s Hall, West Street, Newtownards

£12, includes mulled wine and mince pies

A close-harmony vocal trio bringing back the sassy sound of the ‘30s and ‘40s – the Swing era.

Info: ardsarts.com, 028 9181 0803

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

Make Someone’s Christmas



Exhibition: Toy Stories

Until 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

Until 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

Until 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.

Exhibition: Absorption

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.


Our Christmas Story at The Market Place Theatre, Armagh continues with the ever-popular ‘White Christmas With Cantilena’ on Wednesday 21 December at 8pm.

We all dream of a White Christmas and Happy Holidays so Armagh’s sensational a cappella group ‘Cantilena’ pour some festive spirit into our Christmas Celebrations as they ring in the festive season in their own inimitable a cappella style. This evening of well-known traditional carols and popular Christmas songs, accompanied by the festive atmosphere, mulled wine and mince pies, will definitely put a Christmassy glow in your cheeks. Early booking is strongly recommended for this ever-popular show that welcomes the holidays in true festive style. Tickets for this superb event are £19, which includes a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie.

If you fancy a bit of post-Christmas rock, why not join The Pat McManus Band on Thursday 29 December at 8.30pm. Following their sell-out gig here in February we just had to invite them back! The ‘Pat McManus Band’ are a powerful three piece blues | rock trio, headed up by the former ‘Mama’s Boys’ and ‘Celtus’ guitarist/violinist virtuoso Pat McManus. Pat is today considered to be one of the last remaining individual guitar heroes of a generation of Irish guitarists, after the sad and early loss of both Rory Gallagher and Gary Moore. ‘Mama’s Boys’ were one of the greatest rock bands to come out of Northern Ireland.

Pat has gone on to a hugely successful career with award-winning recordings and playing across the globe and here in Ireland including The Blues On The Bay Festival and Ballyshannon Festival. Tickets are priced £13 each.

Tickets for all performances can be booked through the Box Office on [028] 3752 1821, or online at www.marketplacearmagh.com And to keep up-to-date with the latest news at the Market Place Theatre, you can follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/marketplacearmagh) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/mptarmagh) where you will find all the latest information, special offers and video previews. For information on Christmas In Armagh visit www.ourstoryofchristmas.com | #ourstoryofchristmas


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.

  • Casino Night, Corick House Hotel & Spa, Co. Tyrone, from £85pps. Nestled in the heart of the Clogher Valley, where style and elegance meet country hospitality, this idyllic four-star 17th Century hotel offers a haven of tranquillity. Check in to a deluxe room for one night before partaking in a fun filled evening with roulette wheels, dice games and blackjack before enjoying a cooked breakfast the following morning.  Valid 16/17 December. Pre booking essential. To book 028 (85) 548216.
  • Marine Court Hotel, Bangor, Co. Down, from £70 per person sharing triple room. Looking for a night away with the girls? Beautifully situated overlooking the marina on Bangor’s seafront, this three-star hotel offers spacious bedrooms and a health and fitness club. Package includes overnight accommodation, a delicious four-course evening meal, afternoon cocktail making lesson, VIP entry to Calico Jacks Nightclub as well as access to the healthy suite and a fully cooked breakfast the following morning. Available until 17 December. To book call (028) 91 45 1100
  • The Heritage Break, Bishop’s Gate Hotel, Derry~Londonderry, from £135pps. The exquisite Grade B1 listed Bishop’s Gate Hotel is perfectly positioned within the historic city walls in the heart of Derry City’s Cathedral Quarter. The Heritage Break includes luxurious accommodation for 2 nights, full Irish breakfast each morning, a gourmet dinner in ‘The Gown Restaurant’ on one evening, walking tour of the historic city with Martin McCrossan City Tours and a visit to the Tower Museum or the new Siege Museum. Valid until 31 December. To book call (028) 71 140300.

For further information log on to www.discovernorthernireland.com/offers.

*All offers are subject to availability.


Tourism NI has put together a list of 10 exciting things to do in Northern Ireland next week (December 12 – December 18).

  • Christmas Moonlight Paddle on the Lagan, Belfast, until December 14. Are you in charge of the staff Christmas party? Enjoy an alternative Christmas party with a paddle on the River Lagan, followed by cookies and hot chocolate to wind down and warm up! Booking essential  To book call (028) 90 461711 or email info@brysonlagansports.org.
  • Made in Liverpool, Millennium Forum, Derry~Londonderry, December 17. Uniquely and unlike other Beatles tributes ‘Made in Liverpool’ are resident in the very place where pop/rock history’s greatest band were discovered. Born and bred in Liverpool the band performs to audiences World-wide. Their performance as The Beatles is unique, uncontrived and mind blowing, the show has an electric atmosphere and is not to be missed!
  • A Magical Christmas, Castle Coole, Co. Fermanagh, until December 18. Castle Coole will be home to Santa and Mrs Claus from 10-18 December as they welcome children into their magical Christmas home – the perfect way to get into the festive spirit. Start your journey through the magical tunnel with one of Santa’s elves up to the elves’ workroom where Mrs Claus will greet you. Meet Santa in the kitchen where he’ll get everyone gathered up in front of the range for a chat where each child will leave with a special gift.
  • Zat you Santa Claus?, Roe Valley Arts and Cultural Centre, Limavady, Derry~Londonderry, December 15. Named after the Louis Armstrong Christmas classic, come and celebrate the magic and miracles of the festive season with Dublin-based Emilie Conway and her acclaimed band. The perfect warm up to your winter wonderland Christmas, this will be in our candlelit, cabaret style set-up and is a BYO event.
  • Christmas Unwrapped with the Ulster Orchestra, Alley Theatre, Co Tyrone, December 17. Join the Ulster Orchestra for a very special performance of enchanting carols and festive music. This hugely popular and lively sing-a-long Christmas show will include all of your festive classics and promises to be fun for all the family – so have your tinsel, bobbles and sleigh bells at the ready for a Christmas cracker of a show!
  • The Mystery of the Christmas Star, Armagh Planetarium, Co. Armagh, until December 21. Join Armagh Planetarium this Christmas and journey back more than 2000 years to Bethlehem, and seek to discover an explanation for the star the Wise Men followed to find the baby Jesus in “Mystery of the Christmas Star”. The Star of Bethlehem is an iconic astronomical event whose true origin remains unknown even today, in spite of years of speculation and research.
  • Santa at Shean’s Experience, Sheans Horse Farm and Heritage, Co. Antrim, until December 18. Explore the indoor magical forest and the village square where the elves will roast you some marshmallows and offer you some tasty treats. Hop on the Santa Express to the Nativity scene followed by a visit Santa’s grotto where each child will receive a festive present.
  • Raucous – Presented by Tumble Circus, Writer’s Square, Belfast, until December 15 – 17. Join in the fun and enjoy a Gala Cabaret Circus Club featuring daredevil acrobats, jaw dropping trapeze, stand-up comedy, cheeky burlesque dancers, special guests and live DJ. Let the exciting mix of local and international acts charm you and leave you wanting to see more under the heated Circus big top in Writers’ Square, in the heart of Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter. Food and bar will also be open through-out the show.
  • Comber Farmers’ Market Christmas Special, Comber, Co. Down, December 15. Get all your essentials for the Christmas period at Comber Farmers’ Market Special Christmas Markets and support local producers.  The market opened in July 2014 and has built up a strong reputation for selling fresh, seasonal, award winning food and plant products.
  • Messiah by Candelight, St Patrick’s Roman Catholic Cathedral, Co. Armagh, December 15. For over 200 years Handel’s Messiah masterpiece has been enthralling audiences worldwide and leaving them humming along to The Trumpet Shall Sound and Hallelujah. This performance will be presented by The Palestrina Choir, Dublin along with four soloists and the Lyric Opera Ensemble.  For tickets contact (028) 37 522813.

Jacqueline from whatsonni.com shares her pick of What’s On this weekend across NI


Ride on the Lapland Express Steam Train through the County Down countryside, and visit Santa in his magical workshop. Kids get to meet Santa, tell him what they want for Christmas, and get a gift bag. You can also visit the buffet for drinks and snacks, our museum buildings, shop, and model railway.  Trains run every Saturday and Sunday until 18th December from 1:30pm-4:30pm each day – doors open about 1pm. www.downrail.co.uk/santa


Make your family’s Christmas story magical this year with a visit to Santa’s captivating Wonderland at Kinnego Marina, Oxford Island, where you’ll enjoy a festive journey that you and your little elves will never forget!   You’ll believe you’ve been transported to the North Pole as the cosy Yurts at Kinnego are transformed into a Christmas-themed world where you can spy on Santa’s elves as they lovingly craft toys, post that all-important letter to Santa and, of course, meet the jolly man in red himself to share your Christmas wishes in person!  Santa’s Wonderland is open Thursday-Sunday from 8th December until 18th December.


Make magical memories at Castle Coole when you come to visit Santa! Castle Coole will be home to Santa and Mrs Claus from 10th to 18th December as they welcome children into their magical Christmas home – the perfect way to get into the festive spirit. Start your journey through the magical tunnel with one of Santa’s elves up to the elves’ workroom where Mrs Claus will greet you. Meet Santa in the kitchen where he’ll get everyone gathered up in front of the range for a chat. Each child will receive a special gift from Santa and he will be checking with parents just exactly how good they’ve been all year! Grown-ups can enjoy a warming mulled drink and a mince pie from the kitchen range as the children meet Santa and Mrs Claus.


Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas in the Burnavon Cookstown without Carol and Jimmy’s Christmas Cracker! Join Carol Doey and Jimmy Cowan for an unforgettable night of chat and craic, music and mischief, and plenty of fun and festivities this Friday 9th December.


Christmas will be launched in spectacular style in Maghera with the Christmas Festival on Saturday 10 December from 12-7pm.  There will be plenty of family entertainment throughout the day including a festive, fun afternoon treasure hunt around the town centre, craft workshops, face painting, balloon modelling and prize draws- there will even be a Polar Bear Dunk!  The hub of the festival will be on the Coleraine Road where the Chair of Mid Ulster District Council and Santa will turn on the lights at 5pm at the newly relocated Christmas tree.  At 6pm the Lantern Walk will take place in the Walled Garden followed by Story Telling and Hot Chocolate in the Lurach Centre.


Raceview Mill’s Indoor Food and Craft market will turn all festive on Saturday 10th December from 11am – 3pm, with a host of artisan market traders offering an array of bespoke and handcrafted Christmas items, ideal for the home or for last minute gifts. Of course no seasonal event would be complete without a visit from Santa and some carol singers to liven the spirit. Raceview tenant, The Dog Stop Spa Boutique, will also be running a very special photoshoot…for your pet dog!


Lilly’s Magical Christmas comes to the Crescent Arts Centre from 9th to 11th December.  A magical enchanted Christmas story created for children and their families full of magical sounds, dance and sensory stimulation . Join Lilly to see what she discovers along her way to a very magical Christmas, one that will make you want to jump out of your seat to dance!

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

Maghera lights up for Christmas!

Christmas will be launched in spectacular style in Maghera this year with the Christmas Festival taking place on Saturday 10 December from 12-7pm.

There will be plenty of family entertainment throughout the day including a festive, fun afternoon treasure hunt around the town centre, craft workshops, face painting, balloon modelling and prize draws- there will even be a Polar Bear Dunk!

The hub of the festival will be on the Coleraine Road where the Chair of Mid Ulster District Council and Santa will turn on the lights at 5pm at the newly relocated Christmas tree.

At 6pm the Lantern Walk will take place in the Walled Garden followed by Story Telling and Hot Chocolate in the Lurach Centre.

Don’t forget that you can be prepared with a lantern you made earlier by signing up to the Lantern Making workshop at the Lurach Centre.

To find out about Christmas events across Mid Ulster visit www.midulstercouncil.org/christmas.

Enchanted Winter Garden returns to Antrim Castle Gardens

The Enchanted Winter Garden returns to Antrim Castle Gardens for an extended period from Thursday 8 to Sunday 18 December, 4pm until 8pm each day.

: l-r Angela Mullholland (Cancer Fund for Children) Aimee Rodgers, Charlene Rodgers with Santa & his Elf

Make magical Christmas memories as you enjoy the Stunning Light installations, the Forest of Fire, Christmas Train, Reindeer Trail and of course Santa’s Grotto. You’ll also be enthralled by our dazzling new attraction the Wonderland Wood, where a stroll through the twinkling trees will reveal magical delights and sights as the fairies have sprinkled their dust to create a captivating kingdom!

For this year’s event we have teamed up with The Cancer Fund for Children who will be running Santa’s Grotto. In high demand during the Christmas season, Santa will have the help of charity volunteers who will make sure any visit to the Grotto is extra special.  Donations from the Grotto will go to the charity and help raise valuable funds for this worthy cause.

Matthew Allen, Corporate fundraiser for Cancer Fund for Children commented: ‘We are delighted to be working in partnership with Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council on their Santa’s Grotto at the Enchanted Winter Garden. As the chosen charity for the Council last year, we know the hard work the Council do in creating fantastic events and fundraising. This year, Cancer Fund for Children will benefit from all proceeds from this year’s Santa’s Grotto, so I would encourage everyone to come down between 8 -18 December, visit Santa while also supporting a fantastic local charity.’

Be enthralled and amazed in our Enchanted Winter Garden, where a sprinkling of Christmas sparkle has transformed the Gardens into a winter wonderland full of delights for all the family.

The Enchanted Winter Garden runs from Thursday 8 until Sunday 18 December from 4-8pm daily and there is no admission charge.



Tickets On Sale Friday, 9 December at 9am



– New 2017 Stadium Dates To Start 27 May in Ireland with 18 More Dates Scheduled Across
The UK and Europe; Tour Returns To North America on 30 July in Minneapolis, MN with 15 Additional Dates Scheduled. Subject to licence.

LOS ANGELES (5 December 2016) – The resurgent Guns N’ Roses and their massively successful Not In This Lifetime Tour continue to show no signs of slowing down as the legendary band storms into 2017 with more than 30 stadium shows lined up across Europe and North America.  Starting on Saturday 27 May 2017 at Meath’s Slane Castle, the Live Nation produced tour will then steamroll into 18 more cities across the UK and Europe including shows scheduled in London, Paris, Madrid, Vienna, Copenhagen and more.  Following the European leg of the tour, the acclaimed band will once again return to North America for even more stadium dates starting on 30 July at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, MN and then move along to 15 more cities across the US and Canada including Denver, Vancouver, Edmonton, Montreal, St. Louis, Miami and more.  Tickets go on sale this Friday 9 December at 9am.

Speaking on the announcement Lord Henry Mountcharles stated “We are really thrilled to have one of the most excitIng rock n’ roll bands in the world coming back to Slane 25 years after they first played, the same month in 1992 which was critically considered to be one of the best Slane’s ever.”

While Lord Henry’s daughter Lady Tamara Conyngham is thrilled by next years headliners “I’m just so excited that I will finally get the chance to see one of the greats. I missed them the first time round the fact I get a second chance is pretty incredible.”

While son Alex recalled the last time Guns N’ Roses visited Slane “They were massive for us at the time and an amazing act to witness. I remember Axl coming out on stage and the crowd just going bananas. The energy was incredible.”

The Not In This Lifetime Tour has sold over 2 million tickets throughout 2016 while also grossing over $200 million to become the year’s most successful rock tour proving beyond a doubt that the attitude, spirit and influence of both Guns N’ Roses and the rock & roll genre are as strong as ever.  The history-making Not In This Lifetime Tour, which visited 21 cities (25 shows) in less than 2 months, wrapped the first North America leg last summer before setting its eyes on South America.  In South America, the band completely sold out all 15 dates of the tour including 13 stadium dates.

Following the group’s 1985 formation, Guns N’ Roses injected unbridled, unrivalled, and unstoppable attitude into the burgeoning Los Angeles rock scene. The spirit went on to captivate the entire world with the release of their 1987 debut Appetite for Destruction –the best-selling U.S. debut ever, moving 30 million copies globally.  In 1991, the seven-time platinum Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II occupied the top two spots of the Billboard Top 200 upon release. Over the course of the past decade, Guns N’ Roses have performed sold out shows and headlined festivals worldwide following the critically acclaimed release of 2008’s RIAA platinum-certified Chinese Democracy. Six studio albums later, Guns N’ Roses are one of the most important and influential acts in music history and continue to set the benchmark for live performances connecting with millions of fans across the globe. Guns N’ Roses’ are Axl Rose (vocals, piano), Duff McKagan (bass), Slash (lead guitar), Dizzy Reed (keyboard), Richard Fortus (rhythm guitar), Frank Ferrer (drums), and Melissa Reese (keyboard).

# # #





Saturday, May 27, 2017 Meath, Ireland Slane Castle
Tuesday, May 30, 2017 Bilbao, Spain San Mames Stadium
Friday, June 2, 2017 Lisbon, Portugal Passeio Martimo De Alges
Sunday, June 4, 2017 Madrid, Spain Vincente Calderon Stadium
Wednesday, June 7, 2017 Zurich, Switzerland Letzigrund
Saturday, June 10, 2017 Imola, Italy Greenfield
Tuesday, June 13, 2017 Munich, Germany Olympiastadion
Friday, June 16, 2017 London, United Kingdom London Stadium
Tuesday, June 20, 2017 Gdansk, Poland Stadion Energa Gdansk
Thursday, June 22, 2017 Hannover, Germany Messe
Saturday, June 24, 2017 Werchter, Belgium Classic
Tuesday, June 27, 2017 Copenhagen, Denmark Telia Parken
Thursday, June 29, 2017 Stockholm, Sweden Friends Arena
Saturday, July 1, 2017 Hämeenlinna, Finland Kantolan tapahtumapuisto
Tuesday, July 4, 2017 Prague, Czech Republic Letnany Airport
Friday, July 7, 2017 Paris, France Stade de France
Monday, July 10, 2017 Vienna, Austria Ernst Happel Stadion
Wednesday, July 12, 2017 Nijmegen, Holland Goffert Park
Saturday, July 15, 2017 Tel Aviv, Israel Hayarkon Park

North America

Sunday, July 30, 2017 Minneapolis, MN U.S. Bank Stadium
Wednesday, August 2, 2017 Denver, CO Sports Authority Field at Mile High
Tuesday, August 8, 2017 Miami, FL Miami Marlins Stadium
Friday, August 11, 2017 Winston-Salem, NC BB&T Field at Wake Forest University
Sunday, August 13, 2017 Hershey, PA Hersheypark Stadium
Wednesday, August 16, 2017 Buffalo, NY New Era Field
Saturday, August 19, 2017 Montreal, QC Parc Jean Drapeau
Monday, August 21, 2017 Ottawa, ON TD Place Stadium
Thursday, August 24, 2017 Winnipeg, MB Investors Group Field
Sunday, August 27, 2017 Regina, SK New Mosaic Stadium at Evraz Place
Wednesday, August 30, 2017 Edmonton, AB Commonwealth Stadium
Friday, September 1, 2017 Vancouver, BC BC Place Stadium
Sunday, September 3, 2017 George, WA The Gorge
Wednesday, September 6, 2017 El Paso, TX Sun Bowl Stadium
Friday, September 8, 2017 San Antonio, TX Alamodome
Sunday, September 10, 2017 St. Louis, MO The Dome At America’s Center

Tickets for Slane Castle are priced from €89.50 incl. booking fee and on sale this Friday, 9th December at 9am from www.ticketmaster.ie. Subject to licence

About Live Nation Entertainment

Live Nation Entertainment (NYSE: LYV) is the world’s leading live entertainment company comprised of global market leaders: Ticketmaster, Live Nation Concerts, Live Nation Media & Sponsorship and Artist Nation Management. For additional information, visit www.livenationentertainment.com.

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If you like your Christmas gifts to be handmade, unusual or beautifully original then come along to Flowerfield Arts Centre in Portstewart, where for a fourth year the popular Christmas Craft Market and Exhibition is open.

A showcase for local craft makers and artisans who, joined with named artists display and sell their work. Choose from ceramics, accessories, glass, decorative art & jewellery to name but a few tempting goodies.

The Centre offers plenty of free parking with no admission charge, and the market is now open daily Monday to Saturday, until 20th December 2016. Filled with inspirational ideas for unique presents, spotting the perfect gift couldn’t be more enjoyable.

On Friday 9th December come along to a free Christmas floral demonstration by Jennifer Mitchell. Starting at 11.00am, Jennifer will demonstrate seasonal floral arrangements and give some tips on the same. Tea & Coffee with shortbread will be offered compliments of the house.

The Flowerfield Christmas Market and Exhibition opens each day, Monday – Friday 9.00am-5.00pm and on Saturday from 10.00am -3.00pm

Christmas Carol Concert

Come and explore the magic of Christmas in the Antrim Forum on Saturday 10 December at 3.30pm at the annual Christmas Carol Service hosted by Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council.

The Education Authority Youth Concert Band will add musical magic to the voices of the children from primary schools throughout the Borough, capturing the true spirit of Christmas through readings and song. This year’s event will be compered by Claire McCollum.

Admission is free however there will be a door collection with all proceeds donated to the Mayor’s nominated charities: Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust, Lighthouse and Help for Heroes.

For more information on the Christmas Carol Concert please T. 028 9446 3113 ext. 31368 or email Kerry.Brady@antrimandnewtownabbey.gov.uk