Date: 01 Dec 2023
Category: Things to do
As the temperatures drop, warm up with cosy activities for all the family in the Winter’s Den at 2 Royal Avenue this December.
The cultural centre, located at the former Tesco Metro premises next to Primark, is offering an array of free entertainment for all ages in the run-up to the festive season.
Work is currently underway at the rear of the building, supported by the Department for Communities, to create a second entrance area, creating a vital link between Royal Avenue and Bank Square, but the venue remains open 10am to 6pm daily during the work.
“Our Winter’s Den is in full swing, with plenty planned to get you into the festive spirit and enjoy spending time with friends and family,” said the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Ryan Murphy.
“Christmas can be a hectic time, but this beautiful space is a real hidden gem in the heart of the city centre, offering a bit of calm from the crowds while still soaking up the seasonal atmosphere.
“Chill out in the sensory igloo, write a letter with the elves at Santa’s Post Office, enjoy free music, crafts and other activities, or browse Christmas gift ideas from local independent traders at twilight, pottery and craft markets.”
Running daily until Sunday 17 December (opening times vary), Santa’s Post Office is the perfect place to post your letter to the North Pole.
Operated by the elves at Belfast One, little ones can enjoy arts and crafts and write their letter before posting it in the special mailbox and ringing the bell to let Santa know it’s on its way!
The Belfast Potters' Market is open on both Friday 1 and Saturday 2 December (10am-5pm), featuring works from 25 of Ireland’s top potters and sculptors, while a special pop-up market, is also planned for Monday 13 December, 10am-2pm.
Three Twilight Markets, organised by Little Fox Events, will also take place under the dome on Thursday 7, 14 and 21 December, from 5pm-9pm.
Featuring the best from local makers and producers, call in to browse fashions, jewellery and gourmet treats, alongside music and food, with free admission.
Belfast’s pooches will have the chance to shine at the Crufty Christmas Dog Fashion Show on Sunday 10 December (12pm-2pm) – back again following a hugely successful event in 2022.
All tickets to watch Belfast’s prettiest pups strut their stuff on the catwalk have now sold out, with proceeds from the event going to Community Search Rescue – one of the Lord Mayor’s chosen charities for his year in office.
For older visitors, a Christmas tea dance will take place on Tuesday 5 December (2pm-4pm), while families can still grab the last few remaining tickets for upcycling workshops throughout December, focusing on reducing waste and creating sustainable decorations, wrapping paper and cards.
2 Royal Avenue is also the ideal spot to escape the hustle and bustle of the city centre at Christmas.
Pop inside for a coffee or bite to eat at Yallaa Café, open 10am to 5pm Monday to Saturday and 12pm to 5pm on Sundays, or soak up a free musical performance from community groups from across the city.
Open Arts Community Choir, Ulster Sinfonia, Antrim School of Music, Age Ability and Sunnyside will be among the performers sharing festive favourites on various dates throughout December.
For more info on all events coming up at the Winter’s Den, visit belfastcity.gov.uk/christmas