Belfast Christmas Markets 2020: What We Know So Far

belfast Christmas market 2020
Photos by stenic56 (Shutterstock)

Thinking about visiting the Belfast Christmas Markets in 2020? 

Yep, me too, however, with everything that’s gone on over the last six months it’s hard to know what way things are going to go.

A visit to the markets is up there with the best things to do in Belfast, so, like most, we’re hoping that they’ll get the nod in 2020.

In the guide below, we make a few assumptions based on what other Christmas markets in Ireland have announced recently. 

The Belfast Christmas Market 2020

Christmas markets belfast 2020
Photo by Aleksandar Antich (Shutterstock)

If all goes to plan, the Belfast Christmas markets will return to Belfast City Hall for the 16th time in 2020.

In the guide below, you’ll discover what the dates for the market should be, what to expect based on previous years along with where to eat, sleep and drink.

Belfast Christmas Market 2020 dates

If all goes to plan, the dates for the 2020 Belfast Christmas markets should be Saturday, November 14th 2020.

I’m basing that on the dates for last year. Now, whether they’ll go ahead or not, with everything going on, is anyone’s guess.

However, some Irish Christmas markets, like Winterval, have confirmed that they’ll be going ahead in 2020, so there’s hope for the ones in Belfast.

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

What's on at the markets
Photo by Mcimage (Shutterstock)

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 2020, however, this is just to give you a sense of what’s there.

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. 

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.

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?

Christmas market belfast 2020
Photo by stenic56/shutterstock.com

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 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.

Final verdict

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

belfast Christmas market 2020
Photos by stenic56 (Shutterstock)

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 taking place in 2020?

It’s yet to be confirmed. Hopefully, all going to plan, we’ll see them return on the 14th of November 2020.

What are the Belfast Christmas market opening times?

The Belfast Christmas markets run from 10:00 – 22:00 on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, from 10:00 – 20:00 on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and from 13:00 – 18:00 on Sundays (I’m basing this on the opening times from last year).

What is there to do in Belfast at Christmas?

  • Saunter around the Christmas Markets
  • Visit the Titanic museum
  • Head for a walk at Cave Hill
  • Take a black cab tour
  • Check out Belfast Castle
  • Ramble around the Botanic Gardens

Howaya! Thanks for visiting the Irish road trip! This site exists to inspire and guide you on an Irish adventure that’ll give birth to a lifetime of memories (sounds very arsey altogether, I know!) You'll find everything from things to do in Ireland to where to stay in Ireland (unique and unusual places) if you have a nosey around!

8 COMMENTS

    • 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.

  1. 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!

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