Written by Beth McClements | December 11, 2014
The festive season is well and truly here. With presents galore and naff Christmas jumpers, it’s easy to get caught up in the season and forget to plan some fun things to do. Here are our top picks for days or evenings out across Ireland that are sure to keep the little people (as well as the grown ups) in your life smiling.
In Belfast, the classic Christmas panto at the Grand Opera House is always great fun. This years offering comes in the form of Aladdin with Faye from Steps taking the lead role. In Dublin, the Gaiety Theatre’s panto is Peter Pan and it runs until the 25th January, giving you plenty of time to carry on the festive cheer into 2015. In Londonderry, the Millennium Forum’s Jack and the Beanstalk runs until the 4th January and is sure to be a great laugh with William Caulfield as Dame Trot.
Everyone always seems to look forward to the Christmas Markets that feature an array of flavours from across Europe including French pastries, German beer and Spanish Paella. At Belfast City Hall, the market is expansive. Be sure to get down early to avoid huge queues. As an added bonus, if your little one posts a letter to Santa in the post box at the market (before the 17th Dec, he’s very busy!), they will get a personalised reply. The Belfast Christmas Market is there until the 21st December. The classic St.George’s Market always has a beautiful atmosphere at the weekend with a Sunday being a great day to visit on a family trip.
In Dublin, a similar concept is happening in St. Stephen’s Green and runs until the 22nd December. Up in Wolfe Tone Square, a market along with rides, food and game stalls is also in residence until the 22nd December. If you fancy something a little bit alternative, from the 12th-14th December in Smithfield Square (Dublin 7), a retro and vintage market is taking place. If you are a vinyl collector or are looking for the perfect chair for your home, this is one not to be missed.
Department stores are always a one stop shop for busy mums and dads around the festive season. In Belfast, Victoria Square’s House of Fraser offers everything from beauty to bedsheets. Our best advice is to get in early in the morning to avoid the crowds. Debenhams in Castlecourt is also a great place to buy Christmas presents for all of the family. In Dublin, the iconic Brown Thomas is worth a visit just to see the festive windows. The same goes for Arnott’s up on Henry Street. If you are looking for a unique present, the Powerscourt Centre is a great place to head, especially for the woman in your life, as it’s filled with clothes and jewels galore.
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