Belfast’s Continental Christmas Market is one of the best on the island of Ireland and is sure to fill you with Christmas cheer.

Until 22 December, the grounds of Belfast’s imposing City Hall will be transformed into a sparkling Christmas market, which will welcome over a million visitors.

Famous for its extensive range of international cuisine, the market is a wonderful spot to while away an afternoon or evening.

French crêpes, Dutch pancakes, Belgian chocolates, Spanish paella, Italian sweets and giant bratwursts from the Schwenkegrill are just some of the mouth-watering continental treats on offer.

Gourmets will also delight in the more unusual specialities that can be enjoyed such as ostrich, wild boar and crocodile burgers. A number of new vegan stalls will also join the market this year.

Little wonder that Belfast Christmas market was recently named best Christmas market in the UK for international food by Condé Nast Traveller.

The market’s beer tents provide a cosy respite from the winter chill and will be serving local and continental drinks such as hot Gluhwein and mulled cider, helping everyone get into the festive spirit. And there will also be warming hot chocolate, with or without a shot of Bailey’s Irish liqueur.

But it’s not all about food. Among the 100 stalls are many selling beautiful crafts, fashion, handcrafted cosmetics, jewellery, garlands and art, making it a great place to pick up some brilliant Christmas presents.

For added fun, the giant helter-skelter is back this year, as is the colourful carousel and, of course, Santa’s grotto.

Belfast’s other famous market, St George’s, also gets into the Yuletide mood in December. This Victorian-era covered market is one of the city’s oldest attractions and is packed with local fare, arts and crafts, and vintage collectables. Live music adds to the vibrant atmosphere.

New for Belfast this year is the Twilight Market at 2 Royal Avenue (1 and 8 December). This small indoor market will feature 20 of the best local makers, vintage items, art and treats galore, promoting local talent and sustainable shopping.

And in Victoria Square, the city’s premier retail destination, a Christmas Fayre takes place from 26 November – 24 December. Showcasing the best in local crafts and handmade items, the fayre takes place in the centre of the shopping area which is bedecked with a dazzling display of Christmas lights.

C/O Tourism Ireland