posted on November 3rd, 2023

Belfast prepares to switch on for festive season on Saturday 18 November

Belfast City Hall will once again be the focus for the city’s Christmas lights switch-on, which will take place on Saturday 18 November.

The event is returning to its pre-Covid format for the first time since 2019, with the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Ryan Murphy, joining residents and local artists and performers to illuminate the city and begin the countdown to the festive season.

Tickets for the switch-on, entitled Let’s Glow Belfast, will be released at 10am next Wednesday 8 November from, on a first-come, first-served basis (limited to six per booking).

This year’s event will focus primarily on local music and arts performances, with a line-up that includes leading NI soul bandManukahunney, characters from the Lyric Theatre’s Christmas pantomime Hansel and Gretel, emerging electro pop queen FYA Fox, an upbeat routine from Belfast Boys, DU Dance NI’s youth dance group, and a singalong medley of popular Christmas songs from Fortwilliam Musical Society.


Pete Snodden, Rebecca McKinney and Paulo Ross from Cool FM’s breakfast show will also act as comperes on the evening.

“I’m really looking forward to welcoming families back to our traditional lights switch-on at City Hall and officially marking the countdown to Christmas,” said the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Ryan Murphy.

“Our beautiful tree at City Hall, the colourful illuminations and the opening of the Belfast Christmas Market are all key elements of the festive season here in Belfast, so it will be great to get everyone together again for what promises to be a really fun evening.

“This time around, we’re putting our city’s own amazing talent front and centre, with a great line-up of music and live performance planned, sure to get everyone into the Christmas spirit.

“Our Winter’s Den at 2 Royal Avenue will also open its doors on Saturday 18 November, with activities and events for all ages in the run-up to Christmas, including festive markets, family performances, Santa’s post office, tea dances, upcycling workshops and lots more.”

David Tighe, Managing Director with Bauer Media Audio NI, said: “We are really excited to see the return of the traditional Christmas lights switch-on to Belfast, with a real focus this year on local acts and family entertainment.


“Cool FM’s Pete, Paulo and Rebecca will bring that magic Christmas touch to the festivities on stage, with Downtown’s Neal McClelland starting the countdown earlier in the day with the music you’d expect from the station that’s the Home of Christmas.”

Tickets for the Let’s Glow Belfast switch-on, limited to six per booking, will be released at 10am on Wednesday 8 November from, on a first-come, first-served basis.

You must click through to download the ticket as the email confirmation will not suffice.

Wheelchair accessible platform viewing for the event can be booked by calling 028 9024 6609 on Wednesday 8 November – these are limited to two per booking due to restricted capacity. Terms and conditions apply.

The Let’s Glow Belfast event on Saturday 18 November will start at 6.30pm, and last for around an hour. There will be road closures in effect in the city centre from earlier in the afternoon, so please allow extra time for your journey, with gates opening at 6pm.

The annual Belfast Christmas Market will also open in the City Hall grounds on Saturday 18 November, starting at 12 noon. The market will continue until 6pm on Friday 22 December.

The Winter’s Den at 2 Royal Avenue begins on Saturday 18 November and continues until Sunday 7 January with events for all the family. It includes Santa’s post office, operated by Belfast One, which runs from Saturday 18 November to Sunday 17 December, and is free to visit.

For full details of the Let’s Glow Belfast switch-on event, visit

For details of other festive events in Belfast city centre, visit