Northern Ireland venues provide feast of family fun over festive period

Families in Northern Ireland have been getting their fair share of festive cheer with a number of special Christmas events going on in Northern Ireland.

Friday, 17th December 2021, 1:44 pm
Updated Friday, 17th December 2021, 5:19 pm
Poppy and Laura Drummond from Ballymena at the Winter Skate at The SSE Aren, Belfast. Photo by Darren Kidd / Press Eye

The Enchanted Winter Garden at Antrim Castle Gardens has proved a popular attraction since opening at the end of last month and this weekend has brought visitors to Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park for Santa’s Night Safari, an outdoor theatre experience.

Families can also experience the magic of Christmas with family and friends at Hillsborough Castle and Gardens’ glittering outdoor illuminated Ttail.

And next week, ice skating returns to the SSE Arena after a year’s break due to the pandemic.

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Elves Jessica and Giovanni celebrate the return of the Enchanted Winter Garden, at Antrim Castle Gardens. Picture by Darren Kidd/PressEye

Running on selected dates in December and early January, Winter Skate gives members of the public the opportunity to skate at the home of the Belfast Giants which had been used as a mass vaccination centre between March and August.

The venue said capacity had been slightly reduced to give everyone a little more space.

It is expected up to 7,000 people will get their skates on for the sessions which begin on Wednesday and run until Tuesday, January 4.

Claire Cosgrave, head of experience at the SSE Arena Belfast, said: “We’re excited to bring public ice skating back to The SSE Arena next week, giving people the chance to enjoy a fun, family day out in the heart of Belfast right up until early January. “

Santa's Night Safari in Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park

She added: “Following the huge popularity of Disney on Ice and the winning form of the Belfast Giants in recent weeks, Winter Skate is set to inspire people to lace up and have their own on-ice moment with family and friends.”

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Lady Alice's Temple and lake lit by Culture Creative Christmas at Hillsborough Castle and Gardens. Photo Credit Brian Morrison @Sony Music

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