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Belfast comes Alive with Christmas

13 Dec 2018
Belfast is counting down to the festive season with a stocking full of seasonal offers and events for all the family to enjoy in the run-up to the holidays.

The Belfast Alive with Christmas campaign – delivered by the council, Visit Belfast and other city partners - is now in full swing across the city centre, with new shop openings, family attractions and a shopping rewards app inviting visitors to come in and experience all that the city has to offer.

A new Primark store on Castle Street is now open for business, along with the latest additions to Belfast’s retail offering, Guiney’s at Castle Junction and Warren’s Bakery on Royal Avenue. Five businesses have also reopened along Royal Avenue/Castle Place – Argento, Skechers, McDonalds, DV8 and Spar – and a sixth, Cookie Box, also at Castle Place, will welcome back customers from this Saturday 15 December.

A pop-up store for British Heart Foundation opens next Thursday 20 December on Fountain Street and two other traders – City Picnic and Abacus Beads – are continuing to trade from their temporary premises at Donegall Place and Queen’s Arcade.

The Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Deirdre Hargey, is delighted to see the city buzzing: “It has been a difficult few months for city centre traders following the devastating fire at Bank Buildings, but it’s great to see Belfast buzzing again – the city really has come alive with Christmas.

“I’d encourage everyone to come in to Belfast and soak up the festive atmosphere. There is so much going on in terms of family entertainment and activities right across the city, including an opportunity to win fantastic prizes with our Your Belfast Rewards app.

“All our city partners and retailers have pulled together to make this Christmas extra special, and I hope people will enjoy a great day or night out, supporting our local businesses and making the most of the festive entertainment on offer.”

Thanks to the pedestrian walkway reconnecting Donegall Place and Royal Avenue, it’s now easier to get around the city’s streets, and discover Belfast’s great retail and hospitality offering using the updated signage and maps placed at key shopping junctures.

Visitors can win great prizes, ranging from concert tickets to £1,000 shopping sprees, by downloading the Your Belfast Rewards app from the App Store or Google Play and using it to scan QR codes at participating stores to enter a daily prize draw.

As well as providing a handy guide to what’s on in the city, over 200 retailers are also using the technology to highlight offers and promotions to savvy shoppers.

Three unique events will bring the city alive with colour and music this weekend, as part of a packed programme of family entertainment.

Northern Ireland's premiere gaming event - Q-Con Christmas Fair - comes to the city centre for the first time for two days of action at the former Belfast Telegraph building. Call in on Saturday (9am-6pm) and Sunday (1pm-6pm) for free tournaments, cosplay artists, console stations, amazing prizes and more.

The very best local musicians will be serenading shoppers on Saturday (11am-5pm) for the Big Belfast Christmas Busk Off - look out for festive performances to suit everyone's tastes. Then, on Sunday, Royal Avenue will be transported to sunnier climes for an Afri-Caribe Christmas from 1pm-4pm. Join the party at the stage outside CastleCourt with music and dancing, all with a Caribbean twist!

Families can maximise their day out in the city by taking advantage of great seasonal fares from Translink and enjoying free Elfish on the Shelf walking tours, festive crafts at Donegall Arcade and CastleCourt, or local music acts on the Magical Musical Christmas stage outside CastleCourt.

There’s also the chance to sample seasonal fayre at the extended Belfast Christmas Market at City Hall and Donegall Place, take a ride on the giant snow slide at Donegall Place, catch a bird eye’s view of Belfast from the observation wheel at Buoys Park (next to St Anne’s Cathedral), or jump on board the Santa Train and other fairground rides with the kids at both Castle Place and Buoys Park.

Other upcoming events include A Gift for All, a unique sound and light installation along Royal Avenue from 17-23 December, and Welcoming the Light, a special procession of colourful characters to mark the winter solstice on 21 December.

For more information on all events, visit www.belfastcity.gov.uk/yourbelfast
For details of Translink’s festive fares, visit www.translink.co.uk/christmas
Christmas lights at the Christmas Market at City Hall