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Christmas comes to Belfast with lights switch-on and start of the Continental Market

Everything you need to know about this weekend's event

By Claire Williamson

Published 12/11/2015

Christmas lights switch-on coincides with the opening of the Belfast Christmas Continental Market
Christmas lights switch-on coincides with the opening of the Belfast Christmas Continental Market
Lord Mayor Nichola Mallon with cartoon characters Ben and Holly
Santa talks to the crowd
Actress Bronagh Waugh watches the lights switch on
Belfast Christmas lights switch on in front of the City Hall, Belfast. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Belfast Christmas lights switch on in front of the City Hall, Belfast. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Belfast Christmas lights switch on in front of the City Hall, Belfast. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Belfast Christmas lights switch on in front of the City Hall, Belfast. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Belfast Christmas lights switch on in front of the City Hall, Belfast. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Belfast Christmas lights switch on in front of the City Hall, Belfast. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Belfast Christmas lights switch on in front of the City Hall, Belfast. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Belfast Christmas lights switch on in front of the City Hall, Belfast. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Belfast Christmas lights switch on in front of the City Hall, Belfast. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Belfast Christmas lights switch on in front of the City Hall, Belfast. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Belfast Christmas lights switch on in front of the City Hall, Belfast. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Belfast Christmas lights switch on in front of the City Hall, Belfast. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Belfast Christmas lights switch on in front of the City Hall, Belfast. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Belfast Christmas lights switch on in front of the City Hall, Belfast. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Belfast Christmas lights switch on in front of the City Hall, Belfast. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas - as this weekend thousands are expected to turn out to see the lights switched on at Belfast City Hall.

The Christmas lights turn-on coincides with the opening of the much anticipated Belfast Christmas Continental Market which has become a firm festive favourite for Northern Ireland drawing crowds from both near and far.

The event starts at 6.45pm, with roads around the City Hall closing from 5.30pm.

Large numbers of pedestrians are expected in the area around City Hall as Belfast Christmas Market is opening from noon and motorists are advised to exercise appropriate caution.

  • One lane in Donegall Square North will be closed throughout the day, to allow for the building of the stage for the family friendly event, which will kick off the city’s Christmas celebrations in style
     
  • Wellington Place, Donegall Square North and Chichester Street will be closed to through traffic, as will Donegall Place from 5.30pm.
     
  • Traffic diversions will be in place, and there will be alternative drop off and pick up points for Translink Metro services click here for information on these alternative arrangements.
     
  • The permanent public hire taxi rank on Donegall Square North will be relocated and operate from 2pm-9pm from Donegall Square East on Saturday.

Joining the Lord Mayor Arder Carson at the switching on ceremony is storybook favourite The Gruffalo.

They will be joined by Captain Barnacles and Kwazii from The Octonauts who will perform their mini show ‘To Your Stations’ as well as some of the cast from Cinderella, the Belfast Waterfront’s Christmas pantomime. 

Cool FM Breakfast presenters Pete Snodden, Paulo Ross and Rebecca McKinney will be the comperes on the night.

The Continental Market begins on November 14 and finishes on December 20.

Opening Hours

Monday - Wednesday: 10am - 8pm

Victoria Square Belfast's 2015 Christmas parade
Victoria Square Belfast's 2015 Christmas parade
Victoria Square Belfast's 2015 Christmas parade
Victoria Square Belfast's 2015 Christmas parade
Victoria Square Belfast's 2015 Christmas parade
Victoria Square Belfast's 2015 Christmas parade
Victoria Square Belfast's 2015 Christmas parade
Victoria Square Belfast's 2015 Christmas parade
Victoria Square Belfast's 2015 Christmas parade
Victoria Square Belfast's 2015 Christmas parade
Victoria Square Belfast's 2015 Christmas parade
Victoria Square Belfast's 2015 Christmas parade
Victoria Square Belfast's 2015 Christmas parade
Victoria Square Belfast's 2015 Christmas parade
Victoria Square Belfast's 2015 Christmas parade
Victoria Square Belfast's 2015 Christmas parade
Victoria Square Belfast's 2015 Christmas parade
Victoria Square Belfast's 2015 Christmas parade
Victoria Square Belfast's 2015 Christmas parade
Victoria Square Belfast's 2015 Christmas parade
Victoria Square Belfast's 2015 Christmas parade
Victoria Square Belfast's 2015 Christmas parade
Victoria Square Belfast's 2015 Christmas parade
Victoria Square Belfast's 2015 Christmas parade
Victoria Square Belfast's 2015 Christmas parade
Victoria Square Belfast's 2015 Christmas parade
Victoria Square Belfast's 2015 Christmas parade
Victoria Square Belfast's 2015 Christmas parade
Victoria Square Belfast's 2015 Christmas parade
Victoria Square Belfast's 2015 Christmas parade
Victoria Square Belfast's 2015 Christmas parade
Victoria Square Belfast's 2015 Christmas parade
Victoria Square Belfast's 2015 Christmas parade
Victoria Square Belfast's 2015 Christmas parade
Victoria Square Belfast's 2015 Christmas parade
Victoria Square Belfast's 2015 Christmas parade
Victoria Square Belfast's 2015 Christmas parade
Victoria Square Belfast's 2015 Christmas parade
Victoria Square Belfast's 2015 Christmas parade
Victoria Square Belfast's 2015 Christmas parade

Thursday - Saturday: 10am - 10pm

Sunday: 1pm - 6pm

Santa's Grotto will be open:

Monday - Friday 11am - 7pm

Saturday 11am - 7pm

Sunday 1pm - 6pm

If you post Santa a letter in his post box (in the grounds of the Belfast Christmas Market) by December 18, you’ll receive a letter back from him.

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