FREE and Cheap Christmas Events for Children, Families, and Individuals across Northern Ireland 2019

November 14, 2019

With presents to buy, a fridge which needs stocking full of food, and various celebrations to attend with work, family, and friends, the cost of Christmas can quickly add up. Thankfully Northern Ireland is a brilliant place to celebrate Christmas and all that this season has to offer on a budget. Here are our pick of the very best events happening across the country this festive season.

BELFAST

Christmas Lights Switch On

When and Where: City Hall (16 November, 6.30pm)

Cost: Free

Always a highlight in the city’s Christmas calendar, Belfast’s big Christmas Lights Switch On will take place on November 16th. If you are lucky enough to have secured a ticket for the event, you can look forward to an evening packed full music and entertainment, hosted by presenters from Cool FM. If you cannot attend the Switch On itself, you will still be able to enjoy the lights as they will be shining down on shoppers through until the New Year.

Christmas Market

Belfast Christmas market

When and Where: City Hall (16 November – 22 December)

Cost: Free

There is nothing quite like a trip to the Christmas markets to get everyone in the festive spirit. The grounds of the City Hall will once again play host to Belfast’s Christmas Market where an array of tempting treats and handmade gifts will be available for sale. Both sweet and savoury food from around the world will be served, along with a range of warming festive beverages such as hot chocolate, gluhwein, and mulled cider. With a Santa’s Grotto, a carousel, and a Helter Skelter, the Christmas markets are perfect for even the youngest members of the family.

Belfast Santa Parade

When and Where: CastleCourt (16 November, 11.50am)

Cost: Free

An eagerly anticipated event, this year’s Santa Parade will follow a route through the city from Writer’s Square, leading to CastleCourt where Santa will take up residence until Christmas Eve. Guaranteed to be a magical event, the parade will see a Santa and his entourage embark on a hour long route around the city accompanied with music and a whole host of festive cheer.

Titanic Belfast Switch On

When and Where: Titanic Belfast (24 November, 12.30 – 3.00pm)

Cost: Free

Titanic Belfast will switch on their illuminations this November, and you are invited to join what promised to be an action packed afternoon. There will be a brass band, entertainment, as well as a wide selection of food and drink available for purchase. As an added bonus, Santa will be there accompanied by his reindeers to join in the celebrations too!

Enchanted Winter Gardens

When and Where: Antrim Castle Gardens (6 – 22 December, 4.30pm – 9.30pm)

Cost: £4 per adult, £2 per child (if booked in advance. Attraction prices vary)

The Antrim Castle Winter Gardens return once more to spread some festive cheer. With something for the whole family, the Enchanted Winter Gardens are a must-do event for many Belfast residents at this time of year. Foodies will be delighted with the mouth-watering selection of food available at the Festive Fayre, while thrill seekers will be itching to jump aboard the imposing 35m Ferris Wheel. Younger members of the family are also catered for with child friendly fairground rides, a trip to Santa’s Workshop on the Enchanted Express, and even a marshmallow pit!

DERRY-LONDONDERRY

Christmas Winterland Markets

When and Where: Guildhall Square (12-15 December)

Cost: Free

The Christmas markets will once again return to Guildhall Square to delight shoppers with an array of unique handmade gifts, gastronomic delights, and warming beverages. Whether you are looking to shop, eat, or just soak up the atmosphere, a trip to the Christmas markets are a must at this time of year.

Christmas Lights Switch On

Christmas Lights Switch On

When and Where: Guildhall Square (24 November, 4.00pm – 6.00pm)

Cost: Free

Wrap up warm and take the whole family down to ring in the start of the festive season when the Christmas lights are officially switched on. Organisers are promising a ‘very special guest’ will be in attendance to help flick the switch on the night!

LISBURN

Christmas Lights Switch On

When and Where: Market Square (21 November)

Cost: Free

Lisburn’s Christmas Lights Switch On is set to be bigger and better than ever this year. As always there will be a parade and additional entertainment taking place throughout the evening. New for 2019 is a funfair for the youngest members of your family which will be set up on Smithfield Square.

Lisburn Light Festival

When and Where: City Centre (22 November – 25 January)

Cost: Free

As part of Lisburn Light Festival, several areas of the city will be a glow as part of a breath taking lights display. A 10 minute light canopy show will take place on Bow Street on the hour, while Lisburn Square will play host to a light tunnel. The centrepiece of Lisburn’s Christmas installations, the Christmas tree on Market Square will treat spectators to a show at fifteen minutes past the hour until 8.15pm each night until early January.

Magical Window Trail

When and Where: Lisburn City Centre (12 – 13 December)

Cost: Free

You are invited to ‘Share the Magic of the Season’ this Christmas by taking part in the Magical Window Trail. Selected shops across the city will have their window displays transformed into a festive live spectacle with music, dance, and performances from local theatre companies. All storefronts will be themed around the ‘12 Days of Christmas’ ensuring plenty of festive cheer and sparkle.

Meet Santa

Girl opens a present with Santa

When and Where: The Irish Linen Centre and Lisburn Museum (30 November – 24 December Excluding Sundays)

Cost: £1.00 minimum donation

Children are invited to meet Santa himself as he takes his place in his Victorian Grotto in The Irish Linen Centre and Lisburn Museum. After telling Santa their wishes for Christmas, all children will be given a gift and you will have the chance to take photographs. To be doubly sure Santa doesn’t forget, make sure you post your letter to him in the special postbox before you leave!

Lawrence O'Hara

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