There are many reasons why Belfast should be on your bucket list for you next weekend getaway. The culture, the arts, the history, the scenery, the shops and much much more. Being Northern Ireland’s largest city and capital there is naturally much to see and explore in lively Belfast and you should not miss your chance to see it for yourself. With this in mind I have listed some of my favourite and tested attractions to help you plan your trip. Enjoy!
Titanic Experience – one of the city’s newest attractions the Titanic Experience opened in April 2011, the 100th anniversary of the demise of this famous ship. Situated in the heart of Belfast’s shipbuilding quarter, it offers an unique insight into the lives of those who built, worked and ultimately perished on the ship. With 9 galleries, interactive displays and a cable car all within this modern and sleek attraction – this is one to not be missed! And if you are there on a Sunday – why not pre-book Afternoon Tea in the Titanic suite which features the Grand Staircase made famous in the Titanic movie!
Ulster Museum – located in the Botanic Gardens, this museum is free to visit. Its collection is rich and varied and offers exhibits on art, natural sciences and history – spanning from Ireland to the South Pacific. It has 3 interactive discovery centers for kids of all ages, a coffee bar and restaurant and a wonderful shop with a great array of books offering further insights on things you have seen. Every visit has revealed something new to me and I love combining a visit here with a visit to the Botanic Gardens too!
Black Taxi Tour – one of the coolest ways in my opinion to see the city! Sit back and tour the city in a famous Black Taxi with the local driver/guide driving you around the city, where you learn the history of this troubled town and see the political murals as your guide shares their history and accounts of the city. Real and authentic, with humour and depth this was for me one of the best things to do in Belfast!
Dome at Victoria Square – Belfast is great city for shopping and really has something to suit all budgets and tastes! One of my favorite spots to hit is Victoria Square –not only for the great selection of shops but the view from its Dome! There is no charge to hop in a lift and ascend to the top of the complex for some of the best views of Belfast! No need to worry about the famous Irish weather as the Dome is covered in! Shopping and sightseeing in one! Brilliant!
Crumlin Road Gaol – dating to 1845, the jail closed its doors in 1996 – so ending a chapter in the political and social history of Belfast City. Take a guided tour and learn the history from when children and women were incarnated to more recent times and the political segregation of loyalist and republican prisoners. This tour offers a real insight into the history and politics of Belfast during the city’s darkest days.
St. George’s Market – this is one of Belfast’s oldest markets. A market has been on the site since 1604, with the present market built between 1890 – 1896 – a true Victorian gem. Vibrant and colourful, there are some 248 stalls selling everything from fish to fruit, antiques to candles. You will certainly not leave empty handed!
Crown Liquor Saloon –I just love this pub! Built in 1826 and refurbished in 1885 in an ornate Victorian décor, it is truly different and unique, just like stepping back in time to the Victorian era as you cross the threshold. With beautifully crafted stained glass and woodwork – thanks to the Italian craftsmen brought over especially for the job – this is the most authentic of Victorian era Gin Palaces and a real experience not to be missed!
City Hall – this is probably one of the city’s most famous landmarks – situated right in the heart of the city. There are free guided tours which take you around this gorgeous building and which explore both the history of the building and the city. There is an excellent coffee shop and exhibition area which further expands the story of this building which was completed in 1906. Make sure you take in a visit at night too as it is brilliantly lit up and looks even more splendid!
As you could see Belfast is a beautiful diverse city with much to see. I hope you find your way to it one day, because it’s really a great place to explore. And if you have a little bit of spare time at hand, you should not forget to visit the Giant’s Causeway and the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge! Both are stunning and can be easily reached from Belfast.
If you want to go as soon as possible now you can find accommodation in Belfast here