Instagram loves it: Belfast Christmas Market ranked among the most 'grammable
Belfast Christmas Market is among the most Instagrammable - ranking sixth out of 56 in the UK.
The ranking was based on the number of Instagram posts tagged with location-specific hashtags and Belfast's Christmas Market has been tagged in 10,089 posts since opening two days ago.
The attraction in the grounds of Belfast City Hall is ranked higher than the London Christmas market, according to research by event insurance provider Protectivity (www.protectivity.com).
It returned on Saturday November 18 for the 18th year and will remain open until December 22.
Last year a record 1.3 million visitors streamed through the gates and large crowds are expected again this year. Visitors can browse 100 chalets showcasing artisan gifts and cuisine from 30 countries.
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The family-friendly attractions include a carousel, helter-skelter ride and Santa's grotto.
This year the market has partnered with local charities Kids Together and Friends of St Gerard's to run an inclusive Santa's grotto.
Children can visit Santa and choose a gift to the value of £10 per child or £15 for two, with proceeds going to support children with disabilities. Photos with Santa are £5 each.
Kids Together is also working with organisers on sensory-friendly adaptations like a quiet room to make the experience more accessible.The goal is to provide an inclusive environment that reduces anxiety.
Belfast City Council said: “You can enjoy a warming mug of hot Glühwein, feast on hog roast or indulge in some mouth-watering Belgian chocolates, baklava and crêpes.
“Or sample specialty cheeses and savor the delicate flavors of meats from across the continent, all in an atmosphere overflowing with Christmas cheer.”
The market ushered in Belfast's festive season, coinciding with the Christmas lights switch-on and parade during opening night.
The Belfast Christmas Market has become a major draw for tourists, with an estimated economic impact of £75 million.
The Times ranked it one of the top UK Christmas markets for bringing a "glittering glow" to City Hall grounds.