Posted on Wednesday 31 October 2012 by Ulster Business

Belfast Christmas Market

As the days get shorter and Jack Frost is nipping at your toes, what better way to warm the spirit than with a delicious glass of Glühwein while exploring the wonders of the award-winning Belfast Christmas Market.

The Belfast Christmas Market opens in the gardens of the Belfast City Hall on Saturday 17 November, injecting its traditional blaze of colour and festive cheer. As the chalets start appearing it signals for many the start of Christmas and provides a boost to the City Centre of Belfast.

Market Place Europe (the company that brings the Christmas Market to Belfast each year) will be media partnered by U105 who will join them this festive season at the market. Tune in as U105 presenters sound out your favorite Christmas classics and report live from the bustling market to get you in the mood for the party season.

With over 80 traders, the Christmas market offers shoppers a Gastronomic journey around the globe. Offerings include: Crepes from France, Belgian chocolates and an exotic selection of ostrich, wild boar and crocodile burgers for those with a taste for adventure. Giant Bratwurst sold from the iconic Schwenkgrille, Spanish Paella, and nougat from Italy is also on offer for hungry festive shoppers. Show your support for the local retailers from St Georges Market (who make up over 30% of the traders) and see the best of what Northern Ireland has to offer too.

For those who want to buy loved ones something special, handmade gifts carefully crafted by traders from around the world are also showcased. Wrap up warm for winter in Peruvian clothing made out of genuine Alpaca wool, update your accessory collection with some Aztec jewellery or style your wardrobe with some Parisian fashion.

The Lord Mayor of Belfast, Alderman Gavin Robinson, said:

"The Continental Market is one of the year's most eagerly anticipated events, both by residents and visitors alike, and provides an invaluable boost to the city's tourism offering in the run up to Christmas. I look forward to another successful visit this year, and the associated benefit that it undoubtedly will bring to this city in these ongoing trying economic times."

This year, the shopping experience will be enhanced by the musical offerings of community choirs, with a very special treat in the form of the 'Pickwick Players', who will be performing traditional Dickensian carols (in authentic Victorian costume), as part of the Dickens 2012 bicentenary celebrations.

The Christmas Market has designated special time slots from 10am-12pm Monday-Wednesday for their 'Buddy Scheme', an initiative aimed at providing additional assistance for those who may require it, during their visit. After a walk around in the brisk winter air, the complimentary tea and coffee served in the Bobbin coffee shop as part of the scheme, provides a welcome treat.

Market Place Europe has kept with tradition by once again donating the famous Santa's Grotto, to help support the Lord Mayor's charity of choice, Barnardo's NI.

Director of Barnardo's NI Lynda Wilson said:

"We are delighted that the Lord Mayor has chosen Barnardo's NI as this year's beneficiary of the Christmas Market's Santa's Grotto. Christmas is such a magical time of year and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to add some extra sparkle by offering children the chance to visit Santa and his elves. We are looking forward to welcoming lots of children and their families to our Santa's Grotto - and those families will know that by supporting us they will also be helping many other children this Christmas too."

Open hours of the market are:

Mon – Wed 10am – 8pm

Thurs – Sat 10am – 10pm

Sun 1pm – 6pm

Belfast Christmas Market will be at the City Hall from Saturday 17 November until 20 December. 

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