On Friday evening, over 6,000 marketgoers crossed the gates of The Dark Walk to join in on the festivities at Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council’s Royal Hillsborough Christmas Market. Lining The Dark Walk through to Hillsborough Fort was a whole host of artisan food and drink producers, street food trucks, art, craft and beauty offerings from traders located across the council area and further afield.

On offer was a delicious array of festive flavours from some of Northern Ireland’s finest artisan producers including local favourites Spontaneous Deuce’s new Round House Bakery, Kin & Folk Fine Treats, Ispini Charcuterie & Deli and Jack’s Fudge. Other seasonal offerings included chutneys and preserves, speciality cheeses and rare breed meats, as well as bakes, organic teas, juices and much more – everything you would need to fill your table on Christmas day.

Commenting on the success of the event, Alderman Allan Ewart MBE, Chair of the council’s Development Committee said, “After the success of last year’s Royal Hillsborough Christmas Market the excitement was high for this year and once again it didn’t disappoint. It was great to see so many families and friends brave the cold to show support for their local artisan producers and makers. Local businesses in the village extended their opening hours and it was great to see everyone get into the Christmas spirt right across Royal Hillsborough. Both the market and business traders welcomed high numbers of customers who enjoyed their goods! ”

On making their way down The Dark Walk and through to Hillsborough Fort marketgoers were greeted by a great choice of street food vendors offering seasonal burgers, crepes, pizzas, chowders and much more for visitors to enjoy whilst perusing the stalls.

In addition to the fabulous choice of food and drink on offer, visitors also had the opportunity to purchase some last-minute Christmas gifts from the many designer crafts, artists and skincare makers taking part such as Jewellery by Gill, Watt’s Illustration, Ruth Osbourne Art and Lauren Fowler Handcrafted Company.

After it being such a hit last year, the council pulled out all the stops once again by calling upon the local community to provide the seasonal entertainment. The sweet sounds of the Downshire Primary School Choir, Beechlawn School and local acoustic musicians filled the air in the picturesque setting. Children enjoyed seasonal craft activities where they could make their own unique Christmas decorations with the help of Santa’s elves. There was even a visit from a very famous face, Santa Claus himself!