There’s ‘Lots to Love’ about Belfast. It's a special city - packed with history, culture, exciting events, stylish bars, gourmet eateries, great shopping, stunning Victorian architecture and some amazing attractions, like the Titanic Belfast Experience. It makes for a fantastic city break!
If you Like HISTORY, you’ll Love:
Beating even the Eiffel Tower for the title of ‘Europe’s Best Visitor Attraction’ (European Group Travel Awards), the Titanic Belfast Exhibition is a must-visit! Learn the story of this magnificent and tragic ship as you are guided through nine interpretive and interactive galleries housed in an iconic six-storey building. Explore the sights, sounds, smells and stories of Titanic and the city that made her.
Home to a rich collection of art, history and natural sciences, the Ulster Museum is regarded as Northern Ireland's treasure house of the past and the present. See these collections brought to life through impressive galleries and interactive discovery zones; and hear the story of Northern Ireland’s people from earliest times to the present day. There’s something for all ages here and, best of all, it’s completely free to visit!
Built in 1845, this former working gaol (prison) only closed its doors in 1996. Now open for public tours, Crumlin Road Gaol is ranked the #1 Thing to Do in Belfast on TripAdvisor! Learn about the executions that took place in the Hanging Cell, visit the Hospital and Graveyard, and even walk the famous Courthouse Tunnel. For an even more intense experience, take one of the evening tours or a special Paranormal Tour, held on selected dates. Pre-booking recommended.
If you Like GUIDED TOURS, you’ll Love:
Die-hard Game of Thrones fans will know that Northern Ireland is the most important film location for this hit television series, chosen from a possible fourteen countries. Take this great tour to see the iconic sites from your favourite episodes, discuss tales of legend with your knowledgeable and enthusiastic tour guides, and see some great Northern Irish sights along the way! You’ll also be brought on two long location treks - one from Winterfell and one into Tollymore Forest. A must for true GoT fans!
Enjoy an escorted tour of Greater Belfast's historical sites with an experienced and knowledgeable local driver. Learn the story behind the political murals of the Falls, see the infamous Peace-line, hear of escape attempts at Crumlin Road Jail and Court House, pass by the grand City Hall, and stand on the dockside where the Titanic began her fateful journey. With nearly 1,800 five star reviews on TripAdvisor, this tour is a must do for anyone with an interest in the history of Northern Ireland and the ‘Troubles’.
Known as Titanic's ‘little sister’, the SS Nomadic was built at the same time and in the same shipyard as Titanic. A former floating restaurant in Paris, she has played a part in both World Wars. Now a visitor attraction completely restored to her original glory, you can find the SS Nomadic located across from the Titanic Experience. Take a tour, discover her 100-year history and hear her riveting stories!
If you Like FAMILY DAYS OUT, you’ll Love:
Ireland's award-winning science and discovery centre, W5 at Odyssey, features over 250 interactive exhibits and a changing programme of events, shows and exhibitions. With areas for kids under 8; an interactive area featuring nature and biodiversity; the chance to bring robots to life or play virtual sports; and Climbit - a unique 3D sculpture that is a cross between a maze and a jungle gym, there is truly is something for all ages and interests. W5’s new permanent exhibit, RoboThespian, is not to be missed ... this life sized, interactive robot moves, speaks, interacts and entertains!
This world-famous museum, set on 170 acres and overlooking Belfast Lough, tells the story of life in early 20th century Ulster. Wander through this re-creation of a typical Ulster town of the early 1900s, complete with costumed actors as guides. See history brought to life through the homes, shops, workplaces, churches and schools of this bygone era.
The Transport Museum creatively displays one of Europe's largest and most comprehensive transport collections, from horse-drawn carriages to mighty steam locomotives. Located less than a 15 minute drive from Belfast City, it’s a fantastic day out for all ages.
If you Like THE GREAT OUTDOORS, you’ll Love:
A popular place among locals, students and visitors, the Botanic Gardens are an important part of Belfast's Victorian heritage and are free of charge to visit. See the range of tropical plants, hanging baskets, seasonal displays and birds of paradise in the Palm House; or relax by a plant-filled sunken glen, flowering vines, tree ferns and leaf silhouettes in the Tropical Ravine. While there, why not have a look around the Ulster Museum located within the Gardens, also free to visit!
Just a 30-minute drive time will get you to this newly refurbished Neo-Classical House, and its famous grand gardens. Following a £7 million restoration project, visitors can tour the stunning former home of the 7th Marchioness Edith and her family, which boasts 2,500 items of family memorabilia including paintings, ceramics, furniture and porcelain. The Gardens are renowned for their grandeur and bold planting schemes, and feature many enjoyable walks or pleasant areas to sit and simply take in the surrounds.
If you Like TO SHOP ‘TIL YOU DROP, you’ll Love:
A must for shopaholics, Victoria Square Shopping is comprised of two covered, multi-level streets linked to a massive glass dome - which serves as the hub of this great shopping experience. Enjoy over 70 stores, cafes and restaurants, from Karen Millen and House of Fraser to Hollister and Topshop.
In the heart of the city, CastleCourt is home to over 80 stores and 15 eateries including high-street brands like Dorothy Perkins, Miss Selfridge, Evans, Gap and Burton Menswear.
One of Belfast’s oldest attractions, built between 1890 and 1896, St. George’s Market hosts a weekly Friday Variety Market, the Saturday City Food and Craft Market and the Sunday Market. Named the UK's Best Large Indoor Market 2014, market-goers can browse through stalls selling fresh produce and unique, local crafts; along with food stalls; antiquities and collectibles; and clothing.
Browse the beautiful jewellery made from sea glass sourced from Northern Ireland’s beaches; handmade driftwood accessories, bog oak and turf carvings; and homemade skincare. Enjoy the aromas of speciality roasted coffee, savour a Malteser crepe, or choose from an array of traditional Spanish tapas.
If you like ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT, you’ll Love:
Northern Ireland's premier theatre presents an outstanding programme of drama, dance, opera, comedy, musicals and family shows. Highlights of the 2015 calendar include The Sound of Music, The Bodyguard, Swan Lake, Turandot, Lord of the Flies and the Comedy Dinner Show series.
The Odyssey Arena is one of the premier concert venues in Northern Ireland, having hosted some of the world's best known bands and artists over the years. 2015 sees huge names like One Direction, Imagine Dragons, Neil Diamond, Jason Derulo and lots more take to the stage! In addition to music acts, the venue will also hosts a variety of other entertainment including Disney on Ice, WWE Live, Jason McIntyre and the BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2015.
For side-splitting entertainment, head to The Empire Comedy Club on Botanic Avenue or Queen’s Comedy Club, University Road. Over the years, these two great venues have hosted the best in new and established comedy acts between them, including Peter Kay, Dylan Moran, Jason Byrne, Ardal O’Hanlon, Dara O’Briain, Lee Evans and Michael McIntyre.
If you Like GOOD FOOD, you’ll Love:
Housed in an old church building, this glamourous and elegant restaurant is designed in luxurious golds, greens, purples and blues. Enjoy mouth-watering mains like Fillet of John Dory with Crab and Artichoke, or a Fillet of Beef with Heritage Potato Terrine and Wild Garlic. Full wine list, cocktail menu and dedicated Vegetarian Menu.
Quirky and stylish restaurant with Moroccan and South East Asian inspired lighting, local art and a bohemian feeling offering a pre-theatre menu, dinner menu and dedicated Vegetarian Menu. Make sure to save room for dessert - who can resist a medley of Champagne Jelly, Poached Pears, Rich Vanilla Custard & Baby Meringues; or a Banana Tarte Tatin with Crème Anglaise?
Enjoy an authentic Indian dining experience created by award-winning chefs and staff who come from Indian five-star hotel backgrounds. Lovers of Indian food will be treated to some of the best classic regional dishes, as well as modern fusion cooking. The top-quality food here is complemented by carefully selected wines and classic cocktails.
Sourcing all their shellfish from their very own shellfish beds, Mourne’s meals are as fresh as it gets! With everything from Oysters and Piri-Piri Prawns to Beer Battered Fish and Chips or Spanish Style Cod, there’s something here for every fish-lover! A small, intimate venue, booking is recommended for dinner (walk-ins only for lunch).
This friendly, modern coffee house in the city centre is the perfect place to relax. Savour a Red Velvet cupcake, chocolate tart, or lemon cake; or enjoy something savoury from the lunch menu. You could always indulge in a little bit of everything with their special Afternoon Tea, offering an assortment of sandwiches and sweet treats.
If you Like GREAT NIGHTLIFE, you’ll Love:
One of Belfast's oldest bars, Kelly's Cellars dates back to 1720, and still retains all the charm and authenticity from that period. Located in the city centre, Kelly's is popular with locals and visitors alike for its traditional Irish music in front of an open fire and great pint of Guinness.
The only pub in the UK owned by the National Trust, the Crown is probably the most well-known of all of Belfast's pubs. A former coach house, it features a listed, ornate interior, traditional mahogany snugs with antique bells for alerting staff (!) and a welcoming old-worlde feel. Choose from an extensive range of authentic ales and relax for an afternoon in a 200-year old booth, surrounded by friendly locals.
The cultural hub of Belfast's city centre, the Cathedral Quarter is home to fantastic pubs, restaurants and hotels; and hosts many of the city's arts and entertainment events. Stroll around here in the evening time to soak up the lively atmosphere and check out some of the city's best pubs and clubs.
A relaxed yet elegant bar, Muriel's attracts a stylish and eclectic clientele with its impressive array of premium spirits and some of the city's best cocktails. Located in an old Milliners, it features velvet seats, dark drapes, mirrors and chandeliers, all lending to its Victorian vibe.
Just a short walk from the vibrant Cathedral Quarter, and located over three floors with a huge smoking area, the Hudson offers an unrivalled array of craft beers and whiskeys. This is a busy spot, so make sure to arrive early, especially on a Friday or Saturday night.
What’s the one thing you’d recommend to see/do on a visit to Belfast?
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