With over 1 million people expected to visit the Belfast Christmas Market this year, the Market Place Europe team (operators of the market) are already preparing for the opening on Saturday 19th November at 12noon.

The Belfast Christmas Market attracts visitors from across Europe and the UK and has become a significant contributor to the local economy, regularly attracting over one million visitors and contributing an economic impact to the city in and around £75.m, demonstrating the citywide benefit of such a large and well organised event.

Allan Hartwell, Managing Director of Market Place Europe Ltd said: “We’re delighted that once again the sights and sounds of the Belfast Christmas Market will form a focal point for the city centre during the festive season, having just been awarded the contract for a further three years we have made a renewed investment in the market to make sure it feels as special as ever.”

As well as even more local flavour, the Market still offers something a little bit different with 21 nationalities from all over the world bringing all sorts of unusual foods and gift ideas: crêpes from France, Dutch pancakes, Belgian chocolates, an exotic selection of ostrich, wild boar and crocodile burgers, giant bratwurst from the iconic Schwenkgrill, Spanish paella and sweets from Italy. Visitors can also treat themselves to the well known Hug in a Mug of Gluhwein from the prize winning Kochem vineyard located in the Mosel Valley, Germany, or end the day in one of the bars serving local and continental drinks to get even more into the Christmas spirit.

This year the food court at the Market with bench style seating makes a welcome return, as does the much-loved carousel and vintage Helter Skelter, offering stunning views right across the market.

Support for local food and craft has increased with a number of St George’s Market traders joining in the festive fun. Some local favorites will also be returning including Pappas Minerals and Tapitas, Rossi’s Ice Cream and the Toasted Marshmallow stall

Belfast Christmas Market is proud to be supporting one of the Lord Mayor’s charities, Pretty n Pink. The breast cancer charity works tirelessly to support people affected by breast cancer across Northern Ireland, providing financial support and services to patients with breast cancer and their families. They also work to advance education of breast cancer awareness and breast care, and to improve the lives of breast cancer patients and their families. Lord Mayor of Belfast Councillor Tina Black said: “I’m very proud to announce Pretty n Pink as one of my charities for the year, and I’m so pleased that it will be supported by visitors to Santa’s Grotto at the Christmas Market, at City Hall. The charity does such amazing work, and over the years has supported so many families who are going through a cancer diagnosis and treatment; so this is a great way for people to give something back and people can be assured their donations are going to a fantastic cause.”

Councillor Black added: “The market is hugely popular and its arrival always heralds the start of the festive season for the city. It’s lovely to take a stroll through the stalls, soaking up the atmosphere and taking in all those delicious smells. And every weekend in the run-up to Christmas, we’ll have lots of free festive fun for families so, young or old, if you’re coming in to visit the market, shopping, having a bite to eat or just to see the Christmas lights, there’ll be plenty to see and do.”

This year the winners of the Jolly Big Business Boost competition (previously Pitch Perfect), judged by the charismatic Gourmet Boys, are The Little Salty Seahorse, offering hand crafted pictures and trinkets made from seaglass and pebbles

There is so much on offer throughout the city this year and the Christmas Market is just one of several events launching as part of the Christmas festivities. To keep track of Christmas Market news, and the ever-important weather updates, follow the official Facebook page at Belfast Continental Christmas Market and keep an eye out for our fabulous social media activity in conjunction with our media partners Q radio who will be offering spot prizes and lots of opportunities to engage.

Belfast Christmas Market will be at the City Hall from 12noon on Saturday 19 November until 6pm on 22 December.

Opening hours are:

Monday – Wednesday 10am – 8pm

Thursday – Saturday 10am – 10pm

Sunday 12noon – 6pm