The grounds of Belfast City Hall will be transformed this weekend with the opening of a magical starry trail of sparkling lights and festive lighting installations for families to enjoy and explore.

The Star Factory at City Hall is part of Belfast City Council’s Christmas programme, and will boast bespoke lighting installations perfect for capturing a festive family selfie – including giant stars, an immersive LED tunnel, neon sculptures, and interactive sound and light projections.

Tickets for the trail are free and are available by booking via Visit Belfast at (link opens in new window).

Lord Mayor of Belfast Alderman Frank McCoubrey said: “It has been a difficult year for everyone and we know that this Christmas will be a bit different than Christmases gone by; but I’m pleased that Council has been able to bring this new and exciting attraction to the city, and I hope that it will help to lift spirits and spread a little bit of festive cheer.

“The Star Factory has been designed with the current Executive restrictions and public health messages in mind, to allow families to explore this immersive trail and lights show safely. It’s something that can be enjoyed by all ages, and it’s great to bring some of that festive magic into the heart of the city, with the impressive backdrop of City Hall which will also be illuminated throughout the festive period.”

The title of the event takes its inspiration from local poet Ciaran Carson and is designed to reflect all that is unique about Belfast, including a specially-commissioned musical composition which visitors can hear as they explore the eye-catching sculptures on the City Hall lawns.

Earlier this week, streets across the city came alive with sparkling lights and twinkling stars as the city officially lit up for the festive season.

Alderman McCoubrey said: “This year, we weren’t able to hold our usual Christmas switch-on event which is always enjoyed by thousands of people; but Christmas isn’t cancelled and it’s important that we celebrate hope and the community spirit that has kept the city going in recent months, and send out the message that Belfast believes in Christmas.

“It’s important, too, that we support our retailers and local businesses who have been hit hard by the ongoing pandemic. Belfast’s retail heart remains open and shop windows are being transformed with festive displays to make shoppers’ experience extra-special in the coming days and weeks, so I would encourage people to buy local and support local businesses where they can.

“We have worked hard with businesses to put measures in place to help staff and customers stay safe, and I would remind people to continue to follow the public health advice when they’re out and about in the city.”

As well as The Star Factory at City Hall, there will also be special light projections at Bank Buildings and other festive experiences across the city.

The Star Factory will run from Saturday 21 November – Sunday 20 December.

For more information, and details on how to book free tickets, visit