Visiting the Christmas market in Belfast is a great way to discover food from all over the world and pick up some Christmas presents.
I love to visit the Christmas markets and normally make a visit to the Newcastle Christmas market every year. That visit usually coincides with a viewing of Fenwicks windows which are a brilliant animated musical display that brings joy to Northumberland Street. Sadly this year I haven’t managed to make a visit, due to illness and having to fly over to Belfast unexpectedly.
I was only in Belfast a very short time, literally one day. While I was there I managed to pop into the Christmas Market in Belfast. It was interesting to compare the two markets, Newcastle market is in the shadow of Grey’s monument. Belfast Christmas market is set up outside Belfast City Hall.
Belfast City Hall is in Donegal Square right in the centre of town and next to the bus stations. It is a Victorian building which was completed in 1906 and is now used for registering births, marriages and deaths among other things.
Wandering round the market there are all manner of interesting stalls. These are overshadowed by the city hall and the statues which are in the grounds, which at times feel surreal. The atmosphere is festive and continental with stalls from Europe selling their wares.
Food stalls can be found with offerings from around the world. You will not go hungry at this market. We found churros, which are delicious hot and steaming fresh from the pan. There were also noodles, crepes being cooked on griddles in front of us, big steaming pans of paella and German sausages being cooked on a hanging griddle. The aroma made me hungry as I wandered round.
There were plenty of stalls selling sweets, some of which offered local products like fudge made in Belfast. There were more exotic offerings like Turkish delight which could be selected piece by piece like a pick and mix. These came in exotic flavours like orange and rose rolled.
French pastries were on offer, hand baked this morning, filled with fruit and custard and glistening with glaze. We also found cheeses from France, different flavours of olives and a German stall selling different varieties of Bratwurst.
If food is not your thing there are plenty of crafts to look at. Candles made locally in Castlehill, exotic jumpers from Peru made from llama wool, wooden carved bears and robins which were gorgeous to look at. Some of these would have been difficult to carry home.
If you wanted to stop and have a drink you could enjoy mulled wine or beer in an exotic wooden shelter. We even found Santa’s grotto, guarded carefully by nutcrackers.
It was lovely to visit the Christmas market in Belfast and spend a while browsing around the different stalls. Visiting the markets always makes me feel that Christmas is round the corner and it is time to get the decorations out. Have you been to a Christmas market this year? What was it like?