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Belfast Christmas Market 2023: Dates + What To Expect

Belfast Christmas Market 2023: Dates + What To Expect

The Belfast Christmas Market 2023 is returning this November.

It’s been a choppy few years for Christmas markets in Ireland but everything was back to normal last year (thankfully…).

The Christmas markets in Belfast have been running for over 15 years and there’s plenty to see and do while you’re there.

Below, you’ll discover everything you need to know about this year’s markets – dive on in!

Some quick need-to-knows about the Belfast Christmas Market 2023

Belfast Christmas markets 2023

Photos via Shutterstock

Although a visit to the Christmas markets in Belfast is reasonably straightforward, it’s worth taking 20 seconds to read the below points:

1. Location

As is the case with every year, the Belfast Christmas markets 2023 will take place within the grounds of Belfast City Hall at Donegall Square in the city.

2. Dates

The Belfast Christmas Market 2023 will return around November 19th and it’ll run until around December 22nd. Dates are still TBC.

3. Opening times

So, the opening times have yet to be announced (will update this when they have). Here are last years opening hours to give you a sense of what to expect:

  • Monday to Wednesday: 10am to 8pm (bars open until 9pm)
  • Thursday to Saturday: 10am to 10pm (bars open until 11pm)
  • Sunday: 12noon to 6pm

4. Make a weekend of it

There’s some great hotels in Belfast City Centre if you fancy staying nearby. Personally, I wouldn’t visit the city just to see the markets. Luckily, there’s heaps of other things to do in Belfast while you’re there.

About the Christmas market in Belfast

Christmas markets belfast 2021

Photo by Aleksandar Antich (Shutterstock)

Now entering its 18th year, the Belfast Christmas Market first hit the city back in 2004 and it has gone from strength-to-strength since.

Over 1,000,000 were expected to have attended last year’s event, with over 40,000 visitors alone passing through the stalls on the opening weekend.

Visitors to the market can expect over 100 exhibitors from 28 counties, beer tents and all of the usual festive bits and bobs, like crafts and sweet treats.

What to expect from the 2023 Belfast Christmas Markets

belfast Christmas market 2021

Photos by stenic56 (Shutterstock)

Now, although the format of the the Belfast Christmas Market 2023 has yet to be confirmed, we can be fairly certain that it’ll follow the format that it usually does.

We’ll update the below when things have been fully confirmed, but here’s a rough sense of what you can expect.

1. Food, glorious food

If you’re fond of a festive bite, point your nose in the direction of the outdoor food court at the Belfast Christmas Markets. 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. 

If you fancy a fine feed where you can plonk yourself down for a bit, nip into our guide to the best restaurants in Belfast or our guide to the best spots for afternoon tea in Belfast.

2. Family activities

There’ll be heaps of things on during the Belfast Christmas Markets 2023 to keep the kids amused. Here’s a little of what we’re predicting will be at this years event, based on previous years:

  • 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

3. Beer tents

Now, there were beer tents at the markets last year, so they’re likely to return. Just keep in mind that they can get pretty busy.

If you don’t fancy battling the crowds to grab a pint and you like traditional pubs, hop into our guide to the best pubs in Belfast – it’s packed with historical pubs you’ll (hopefully!) love.

Other Christmas markets in Belfast

What's on at the markets

Photo by Mcimage (Shutterstock)

Yep, there’s more than one Christmas market that takes place in Belfast. Another solid option is the Hillsborough Christmas Market (still TBC)

This takes place in the Dark Walk at Hillsborough Fort and usually kicks off on December 13th (date may change).

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.

Are the Belfast Christmas Markets actually worth visiting?

belfast castle

Photos via Shutterstock

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.

Mixed reviews

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 OK, 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.

FAQs about the Belfast Christmas Market 2023

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘What are the Belfast Christmas Market opening hours?’ to ‘Where do you park?’.

In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.

What date does the Christmas Market start in Belfast?

The Belfast Christmas Market 2023 will return around November 19th and it’ll run until around December 22nd. Dates still TBC.

Is the Belfast Christmas Market worth visiting?

We’ve heard mixed reviews about it over the years. In our opinion, it’s worth visiting, but pair a visit up with food in the city or a visit to one of Belfast’s many attractions.

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Mary Taylor

Monday 20th of September 2021

Hi all. I am a trader on the Christmas Markets and can confirm that, as it stands, it will be open every day. Normal hours are 9.00 am to 8 pm Monday to Wednesdays with 10 pm closing on Thursday to Saturday. Sunday’s are usually 12 noon to 8 pm.

Katya Ivanova

Friday 6th of December 2019

I am going over tomorrow, think for like 3rd or 4th year in a row =) Also going ice skating in Dundonald

I love the market in Belfast!


Tuesday 3rd of December 2019

Do u have to have sterling instead of euros

Mary Taylor

Monday 20th of September 2021

Hi Laura, it depends on what each individual trader will accept. Many are happy to accept euros


Friday 22nd of November 2019

Would the belfast christmas market be pet friendly?


Saturday 23rd of November 2019

Hi Danilo,

If it was me, I wouldn't bring my dog, as the big crowds would scare him. You'll have a lot of people milling about the place, so it mightn't be the best place to have them walking alongside you.

Rachel Rutter

Sunday 17th of November 2019

Are the markets on every night or just weekends

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