8 Festive photo spots in and around Belfast

There are so many amazing festive photo spots across Belfast to act as the backdrop for your Christmas snaps! Tick these 8 top picks off your bucket list in 2021 and enjoy a memorable winter season with lots of bright and colourful pictures to look back on.

Joys Entry

This hidden entryway is a must see during the festive season!

Running alongside The Jailhouse Bar, Joys entry is decorated with lights and foliage to create a magical winter wonderland. The perfect backdrop for a festive picture to brighten up your instagram feed!

We recommend grabbing a takeaway hot chocolate to keep your hands toasty and going for a stroll down this memorable entryway.


Europa Hotel

The Europa Hotel pulls out all the stops when it comes to decorating for the Festive season! Visit this iconic Hotel this Christmas and indulge in their Festive Afternoon Tea throughout December or enjoy their Festive dining menus. With plenty of opportunities for photos against the many decorations throughout the hotel!

Victoria Square

It just isn’t Christmas unless you’ve shared a picture of the impressive Christmas Tree at Victoria Square!

With no expense spared when it comes to their iconic Christmas lights, this is the ideal spot to indulge in a little Christmas shopping with a beautiful festive backdrop.

Venture up to the top floor and enjoy views all across Belfast to see how many Christmas trees you can spy!

Christmas Markets

Visit the Belfast Christmas Market in the City Hall grounds from 20 November for an award-winning taste of Christmas and snap some festive pictures.

Support for local food and craft has increased with a number of St George’s Market traders joining in the festive fun. Some local favourites will also be returning including Pappas Minerals and Tapitas, Rossi’s Ice Cream and the incredible social enterprise Outside In who will be donning their tinsel and Santa hats to help the homeless.

As well as even more local flavour, the Market still offers something a little bit different with 32 nationalities from all over the world bringing all sorts of unusual foods and gift ideas: crêpes from France, Dutch pancakes, Belgian chocolates, an exotic selection of ostrich, wild boar and crocodile burgers, giant bratwurst from the iconic Schwenkegrill, Spanish paella and sweets from Italy.

Bright Lights Botanic

Join us for the most wonderful time of the year at the first Bright Lights Botanic as Botanic Gardens are transformed into a magical Winter Wonderland, and the magical winter trail lights up the evening skies from November 2021 to January 2022.

This amazing new event for Belfast is being produced by the same people behind the phenomenally successful “Wild Lights” at Dublin Zoo which attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors annually.

Botanic Gardens in Belfast is a special place to visit at any time of the day or year, but the festive light show will give it an enchanting and magical twist, as the long trail through the garden sparkles with over 18,000 light bulbs,25,000 meters of neon tubes, 10,000 meters of tree lighting, and some 160 lantern artisans never seen in Northern Ireland before.

Walk the route at a leisurely pace with friends and family enjoy after-dark festivities as you are taken on a Christmas Journey and follow the trail of BOBO the gnome. Share the cute gnome’s journey as he uses his magic to make his way through Botanic Gardens.

BOBO’s journey is captured in larger than-life illuminations our enchanted Christmas trail will lead you for the first time through the beautifully illuminated 80,000 square meters of the Botanic Gardens which will take some 71,200 working hours together with 15,000 meters of silk, 40 tons of steel and 20,000 meters of electric cable to bring Northern Irelands first lantern display to life.

Get in the festive mood as you stroll through the gardens taking in the starry lanterns, large, illuminated Christmas characters. Along the route, vendors will offer tasty festive delights, from hot food and sweet treats to spiced winter warmers of hot chocolate.

Bright Lights Botanic – A Christmas Journey runs from 11 November to 9 January from 5pm to 9pm daily.


Grand Central Hotel

The opulent Grand Central Hotel will be adorned with decorations upon decorations this festive season and offers a truly memorable backdrop for all of your Christmas experiences.

We recommend visiting The Observatory on the 23rd floor for a Festive Afternoon Tea and unrivalled views across Belfast, including a birds eye view of the continental Christmas Market at City hall!

Cathedral Quarter

The famous Cathedral Quarter is another area to tick off your Christmas photo bucket list this year. Every twist and turn in this area unveils further festive delights, and gorgeous backdrops for a Christmas photo shoot.

Call into one of the many bars and warm up with a hot toddy or mulled wine!

Hillsborough Castle

It’s the most wonderful time of the year when twinkling lights and seasonal sounds fill the air with festive fun at Hillsborough Castle and Gardens.

Look forward to some time with friends and family as you discover sparkling tunnels of light, walk under giant baubles and beneath trees drenched in jewel-like colour. For a moment of reflection pause at mesmerising flickering flames in the fire garden and gaze at the specially chosen illuminations.

There’s no better way to kick start your festive celebrations.

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