07 Jun 2017
Introduce yourself to Belfast, by exploring this vibrant city on foot.
It's the home of the Titanic, a dynamic arts scene, an incredible musical heritage and great places to eat. They always say great things come in small packages...
Natural beauty and a vibrant cultural scene defines Northern Ireland's capital city by the sea. With world-class museums, a vast array of authentic Ulster tastes, and some of the world's most engaging visitor attractions, Belfast – and its amazing history and personality – will spring to life before your very eyes
Belfast has an unmistakable grandeur, from the impressive Titanic Quarter to its 19th century food market and magnificent buildings rich with historic architecture.
It's the Titanic Quarter, and you'll want to stick around a while, so set yourself up for the day with a real Ulster Fry (a traditional fried breakfast) at Belfast Bakery Company, winner of the Food Awards Bakery of the Year! Titanic, the tragic Ship of Dreams is at the centre of Belfast's history and was conceived and created in the city, so make a date with Titanic Belfast, named the World’s Leading Tourist Attraction at the World Travel Awards. Spanning six floors, with nine fully interactive galleries, this intriguing building with its glinting aluminium exterior is an absolute must-see. Outside, walk the Titanic Slipways and Shipyard, go on a Titanic Discovery Walking or Boat Tour, or even take a Segway to see the SS Nomadic and HMS Caroline. This is maritime history at its most intriguing.
IF YOU HAVE MORE TIME
Jump onto The Wee Tram Tour, a tour that loops around the Titanic Quarter in trams that are replicas of the ones used to transport the builders of the Titanic!
A true taste of Belfast
Feeling hungry? St George's Market, established at the turn of the 19th century, is a buzzing gathering of over 150 traders. Open from Friday until Sunday each week, the market offers a selection of artisanal oils, hand-crafted sweets, rare teas and coffees, as well as antiques, clothing, jewellery and art, making it a cornucopia of treats. Oh and music fans; did you know that St George's Market often rocks with live music from local bands?
SAMPLE SOME LOCAL SEAFOD
Seafood dominates the menu at Deanes Love Fish with rock oysters, marinated sardines and fritto misto on the menu from 12-10pm Monday to Saturday.
Splendour at the heart of Belfast
An iconic fixture of the Belfast skyline, City Hall is the copper-domed marvel that dominates its surroundings with its Baroque style and glittering white walls – tours are free and well worth it for history buffs. Check out the Good Food & Wine Company in the Queen's Arcade across the road – it specialises in Northern Ireland favourites like Yellowman toffee and crisp shortbread.
Dine out in the delectable Stix & Stones for tasty treats such as Portavogie mussels or salt-aged rib eye steaks – yum.
Delightful 19th-century gardens, oddities from antiquity, and nuggets of local knowledge – Belfast's not-so-well-kept secrets are sublime...
What's rare is wonderful
Nothing beats the beauty of a morning stroll among the blossoms. Completed in 1852, the Botanic Gardens in south Belfast are a horticultural masterpiece. Containing some of the oldest plants on the island, the gardens and Palm House conservatory are a pleasure to explore. And you certainly can't come to this part of town without taking in the stunning red-brick architecture and magnolia trees of Queen's University.
IF YOU HAVE MORE TIME
Lunch at Molly's Yard is a delight – try Molly’s seafood chowder with Hilden Stout wheaten bread or Molly’s burger mór on pesto toast to keep hunger at bay!
The weird and the glorious
Have you ever wanted to meet Ireland's only dinosaur? Or get up close and personal with an Egyptian mummy? With free entry, the Ulster Museum comes with a host of weird and wonderful oddities, offering snapshots of history, from international to local. Take a break at the Girona Restaurant at the Museum, and grab a coffee and a freshly baked scone, to get yourself ready for your next stop!
Your own personalised tour
Pick up a Black Taxi Tour of the city’s murals. With local knowledge and buckets of charm from the driver, it’s an experience that’s really unique to this quirky capital. With an unflinching look at Belfast's past and a celebration of its modern achievements, all tours are jam-packed with local insights and knowledgeable titbits that you can take with you as you explore the city further.
Ulster American Folk Park
Altan at the MAC
Crumlin Road Gaol
Expect the unexpected – let your imagination run wild with stories of the paranormal, and incredible creative showcases, before seeking tranquillity just outside the city.
Dance, sing, discover!
At the centre of Belfast's Cathedral Quarter and filled with everything your imagination could ever desire, the MAC (Metropolitan Arts Centre) is a hub of creative diversity with dance, art, music and theatre. Once you've taken in as much art and culture as you can, call in to Native – the resident café – which serves up delicious food from local produce!
IF YOU HAVE MORE TIME
Gaze up at the soaring crenellations of St Anne's Cathedral, before hopping across the road to celebrate Belfast's literary scene in Writer's Square, where quotes from famous local writers CS Lewis, Hanna Bell and John Hewitt are carved in the stone underfoot.
Underground tunnels, execution chambers, and rooms dedicated to flogging – there's a reason that Crumlin Road Gaol is one of the most haunted sites on the island of Ireland. Closed since 1996 for prisoners, it now hosts visitors seeking a paranormal journey through 150 years of history.
A slice of heaven on the Antrim coast
Head slightly outside Belfast, and discover Cave Hill Country Park – a park with views overlooking the city, waves crashing against the coastline, and an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Its most famous feature is the craggy crenellation known as Napoleon's Nose, which is said to have inspired Jonathan Swift's Sleeping Giant in Gulliver's Travels. See for yourself, before exploring the intriguingly named Devil's Punchbowl, McArt's Fort and Carr's Glen.
Dine in the Cellar Restaurant inside Belfast Castle as the sun sets over the hills surrounding this gem of a city.
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