If you, like me, we’re looking forward to visiting the Belfast Christmas Markets in 2020, you’re in for a land.
It’s just been announced that, for the first time in 15 years, they won’t be going ahead. Yes, what a massive pain in the hole.
A visit to the markets is up there with the best things to do in Belfast, so, like most, we were hoping that they would get the nod in 2020.
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The Belfast Christmas Market 2020 will no longer be going ahead
We had hoped that, despite the current situation, the Belfast Christmas markets would take place in Belfast City Hall for the 16th time in 2020.
Things were looking positive up until last week, with a number of Christmas markets in Ireland stating that they’d be proceeding with new measures in place.
However, it just wasn’t to be. In a statement on their Facebook page, the organisers explained that “despite everyone’s best efforts, in the interests of public health and safety it has been decided that it will not be appropriate to go ahead with the Belfast Christmas Market this year.”
The first time in 15 years
The team went on to express their disappointment, saying, “this will be the first time in 15 years that Market Place has not had a presence in the city, however, given the current health crisis we do believe this is the correct decision.
They went on to say, “Wishing you all well and thanking you for your continued support. We hope you have an amazing Christmas and hopefully we will see you next year.”
Belfast Christmas Market 2021
If all goes to plan, the dates for the 2021 Belfast Christmas markets should be Saturday, November 13th, 2021.
I’m basing that on the dates for when the markets last ran. Now, whether they’ll go ahead or not, with everything going on, is anyone’s guess (surely we’ll be out of this soon…).
What the markets are usually like, in a nutshell
The grounds of Belfast City Hall come alive during the last 6 weeks of the year thanks to the arrival of the Belfast Christmas markets.
The festive markets boast a combination of top-notch international cuisine and a curated mix of handcrafted goods, bespoke artisan products, and yuletide tipples.
The markets are made all the more aesthetically pleasing by their backdrop – the iconic City Hall.
If you’ve never visited Belfast at Christmas, here’s what to expect
There’s a fair bit to the Belfast Christmas markets. From food and drink to crafts, stuff for kids and more, there’s a bit of something for everyone.
Now, the section below contains things that were present at the previous markets, and we can’t be certain if they’ll be there in 2021, however, this is just to give you a sense of what’s been there during previous years.
For the food lovers
If you’re fond of a festive bite, point your nose in the direction of the outdoor food court. Here you’ll find a clatter of options to sink your teeth into.
The food court is home to cuisines from over 32 nationalities from across the world. Expect everything from crepes and pancakes to ostrich, wild boar, and crocodile burgers.
For those visiting with kids
There’s a heap of things on during the Belfast Christmas Markets to keep the kids amused. Here’s a little of what you can expect:
- A vintage helter-skelter
- An observation wheel (at Cathedral Gardens)
- A Santa train
- A busy-bee carousel
- A large snow-slide
- An Olaf ride
- Loads more
For those fond of a pint
I tend to visit Christmas markets in Ireland for 3 reasons: To soak up a bit of a festive buzz, to eat my body weight in those churro yokes and to drink creamy pints in cosy pubs
If you fancy a festive pint in a traditional pub, hop into our guide to the best pubs in Belfast – it’s packed with historical pubs you’ll (hopefully!) love.
The Belfast Christmas Markets: Are they actually worth visiting?
One of the joys of this website being independently owned is that I’m not pressured into giving attractions, events, or places positive reviews.
If something is crap, I’ll tell you it’s crap. If it’s good, I’ll tell you it’s good. If it’s… you get the picture.
So, I’ve never been to the Christmas markets in Belfast personally, but I know a lot of people that have. And the reviews have been mixed.
Very mixed. The ones that visited the markets and that loved them are friends that visit Germany for markets every December.
They love the festive buzz and they thought that the Belfast Christmas markets were great. Others have said that they were grand, but that they saw everything there was to see within 45 minutes.
My two cents
Personally, I don’t think that you should ever visit a place just to visit a Christmas market. I think you should combine it with other touristy stuff.
I love the Galway Christmas markets, and I visit them each year, but if we didn’t spend a good chunk of time in pubs, out walking around the city, or spinning about Connemara, we’d be bored after a few hours.
If you’re visiting the Belfast Christmas markets, pair your visit with a tour of the city. Or even better, pair a visit with a mini road trip along the Causeway Coast.
That way you’re dipping into the market, soaking up the buzz, seeing all you want to see, and then you still have other things to look forward to.
If you’re planning on visiting and you fancy kicking back somewhere different, hop into our guide to 11 of the most unique Airbnb Belfast has to offer!
Other Christmas markets in Belfast
Yep, there’s more than one Christmas market that takes place in Belfast. Another solid option is the Hillsborough Christmas Market.
This takes place in the Dark Walk at Hillsborough Fort and usually kicks off on December 13th.
Another good option is the St. George’s Market Christmas Craft Fair that takes place, normally, from December 20th to 24th.
The final alternative market to the one at City Hall is the Christmas Cracker at Rowallane Garden, that usually runs from the 7th to the 24th of December.
FAQs about the Belfast Christmas Markets
We’ve had a mountain of emails about the markets in Belfast over the last few years. In the guide below, I’ve done my best to tackle the most frequently asked.
Have a question that needs answering? Feel free to ask away in the comments section and I’ll do my best to help.
Are the markets really cancelled for 2020?
Yes, unfortunately so. The people that organise the markets confirmed recently that they would not be going ahead in 2020.
Are there any markets taking place in Belfast?
There are other Christmas markets that take place in Belfast each year. We’re waiting to hear if they’re going to go ahead, but I doubt there’s much hope at this stage.