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Entertainment: Things to do in Belfast this weekend, November 26-28

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The Christmas season has fully kicked in, and many of us are out meeting friends, getting our families into the yuletide spirit, or just thinking about sorting those all important presents.

There's plenty going on in Belfast this weekend for those who are heading in.

Here's everything to look out for if you're in the city this weekend:

Belfast Christmas Market, City Hall, November 22-December 23

A colour photo of a close up of the crowd at the Christmas Market outside Belfast City Hall, Northern Ireland in December 2014 © NurPhoto via Getty Images A colour photo of a close up of the crowd at the Christmas Market outside Belfast City Hall, Northern Ireland in December 2014

The Christmas Market has once again returned to Belfast's city centre after a two year wait! With dozens of international traders, local favourites such as the Dutch pancakes and kangaroo burgers, and plenty of arts and crafts and trinkets that would make the perfect Christmas gift, the Market is already bringing a massive buzz to the city once again.

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And for those who just want to go in and have a drink to themselves, the beer tents are back - offering exotic tipples, steiners and much more.

Robin Robin Adventure Trail, Window on Wildlife, November 24-January 10

This Christmas season RSPB NI is inviting families to get in the festive spirit and celebrate their inner robin at the brand-new Robin Robin themed adventure trail at Belfast’s Window on Wildlife.

Robin Robin is Aardman’s new festive stop-motion musical tale about a young robin trying to fit in, which debuted on Netflix on 24 November. RSPB has partnered to host a bespoke fun-filled adventure trail, which will allow the whole family to experience the festive joy of Robin Robin, all while spending time in the great outdoors.

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Running from 24 November to 10 January, young adventurers will learn to sing like a robin, find their very own superpower and use all their senses to connect with the robin within. Families taking part can also listen to the exclusive audio trail voiced by Bronte Carmichael, the voice actor for Robin Robin. An optional activity booklet can help children complete all the challenges and be rewarded with a certificate for completing the trail and becoming a brilliant robin.

Santa's Grotto at CastleCourt

Visitors will even get the chance to meet with the star of the show, Father Christmas himself, at Santa’s Grotto © Winter Funland Visitors will even get the chance to meet with the star of the show, Father Christmas himself, at Santa’s Grotto

Located on the first floor (opposite the food court), you can find Santa and his busy elves in the Winter Wonderland grotto, ready to meet and greet the children with joy.

From November 20th, children will be able to find out if they're on the nice list, right up until December 24.

Bus-burning protests cannot become the new norm in NI, minister warns

  Bus-burning protests cannot become the new norm in NI, minister warns Two vehicles have been hijacked and torched this month in violence linked to loyalist opposition to Brexit’s Northern Ireland Protocol. Picture date: Monday November 1, 2021. Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon said it was “deeply frustrating” that many evening services had been suspended and rerouted due to the recent incidents of vehicle hijacking and burning.Ms Mallon, who has responsibility for the public transport network, stated her determination to ensure services were provided to every community in Northern Ireland and vowed not to be deterred by “thugs and cowards”.

Visits are priced at £6.50 per child, to include your grotto visit and an age appropriate gift.

Elf Factory, 49-51 Royal Avenue

Join Big Telly Theatre Company this Christmas as they turn Belfast into ‘Elf’ast with an interactive installation that puts visitors right at the centre of the action.

Christmas spirit is at an all-time low and Christmas Eve is fast approaching - Santa needs YOU to step up and save the day, in this miniature world full of tiny chutes and slides where magic is made and chaos is craic. Shrink down to elf size and join your fellow goblins in completing impossible and ridiculous tasks, resulting in lots of madness, mayhem and a very exasperated Mrs Claus! Become a magic maker this Christmas simply by being your best Elf.

'Wish Upon A Christmas Star' Trail, various locations throughout Belfast City Centre, November 27 onwards

Embrace everything magical about Christmas with the Belfast One ‘Wish Upon a Christmas Star’ trail, from 20 November – 23 December. This free, family friendly trail will take kids and adults safely around Belfast City Centre collecting clues based on fairy tale favourites.

Who is the referee for Celtic v Aberdeen and Livingston v Rangers? All SPFL Premiership games this weekend plus Scottish Cup selection

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Newtownards Christmas Market and Light Switch-On, November 27

The Christmas Market makes a merry return to Newtownards on Saturday 27 November. Conway Square will be a festive wonderland with performances from church groups, local schools and community groups throughout day. Enjoy the music, dancing and more as you shop, and see the Christmas lights officially switched on at 5.30pm by a special VIP guest.

Enjoy a taste of Ards and North Down with celebrity chefs offering cooking demonstrations and browse for unique, artisanal gifts from local producers around the market.

Pinocchio: The Greatest Wonder of the Age, November 27-December 31

The creative team behind the Lyric’s hit shows Alice the Musical return with a brand new musical version of the greatest magical adventure of all time; Pinocchio The Greatest Wonder of the Age.

Paul Boyd’s all-new musical re-imagining of Carlo Collodi’s classic tale is the magical story of a real live wooden boy on an incredible journey to find his true family. Featuring a spectacular circus company of sensational musicians and unforgettable characters, including the amazing conjuror Mr. Fox, the world-famous acrobat Lady Cat, and prima donna opera star the Red Lobster.

Gary Barlow, SSE Arena, November 27

Gary Barlow will take Simon's place © BBC Gary Barlow will take Simon's place

Gary Barlow, singer, national treasure and former Take That sensation, is set to perform at the SSE Arena this weekend for a night playing all his hits.

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