Been to Belfast recently? Why not see an alternative side to the city on your next visit. Belfast is the perfect place to go for a lively weekend break whether its with a group of friends or with that someone special, you can be guaranteed a weekend to remember in the buzzing capital city. We’ve put together a quick insider’s guide to some of the city’s hidden gems from trendy bars to unique visitor attractions.
With regular bus services running daily from Dublin to all major towns & cities – you’ll be here in no time and without the cost of petrol or parking! Belfast City centre is very easy to navigate and you will find shops, pubs & restaurants are all withing walking distance. Check out some ways to come and visit us at buseireann.ie, www.irishrail.ie and translink.co.uk
Take the Train
Leave the car behind and have one less thing to worry about on your short break. Irish Rail are offering great discounts on train travel between Belfast & Dublin – with fares starting from €14.99, be sure to book online & in advance of your journey!
Titanic Segway Tour
For many visitors, no trip to Belfast is complete without a tour of Titanic Belfast – which has just welcomed it’s one millionth visitor. And for those adventurous types – we’ve got a great alternative touring solution…a Segway Titanic Tour! Not only will you visit all the keys sites of the Titanic and discover and it was built. But you will do all this on a Segway! The titanic Segway Tour is the only city segway tour in the UK. Find more here: segwayni.co.uk/segway-titanic-tours
Street Art and Murals
The Murals’ of Belfast are fast becoming a must-see experience for visitors. These pieces of public art, (often appearing on gable walls of residential houses) provide the visitor with an insight into the culture and traditions of Northern Ireland. The world famous Black Taxi Tour is an ideal way to find out all about the city’s history including the famous murals of belfast and other visitor highlights like Queen’s University, Titanic Quarter and more. You’ll find plenty of hidden gems around every corner in Belfast by foot too, a stroll though the buzzing Cathedral Quarter will lead you to Conor Harrington’s magnificent wall mural at the Black Box and just opposite the popular Duke of York bar you’ll find a tribute to some of Northern Ireland’s most famous faces.
Belfast really is a foodies paradise, the city offers a huge range of delicious delights from local dishes to the more exotic. St. Anne’s Square, located in the Cathedral Quarter is a beautiful Georgian style open square which offers a wide range of great restaurants and cafes including local favourite Coppi. The Square is the perfect spot for dinner or to relax with a coffee during the day. A new addition to Belfast’s growing restaurant scene is Ox, located on Oxford Street in the city centre, overlooking the River Lagan, Ox offers fine dining at excellent value. For those looking for a more relaxed dining experience – Alley Cat also in the Cathedral area of the city offers fantastic burgers and a great selection of world beers. For something a bit more exotic there is Cafe Havana, Belfast’s first Cuban styled Cafe/ bistro based in the city centre. Fantastic, iconic Havana decor and great food. Serving breakfast, lunch, dinner and deli menu from early morning through to late night opening. Other chic eateries include Home Restaurant, Mourne Seafood Bar and Deanes.
Belfast Bred Tour
And if you fancy finding out a bit more about the city’s culinary history, try the Belfast Bred Tour. A walking tour with a difference: on the Belfast Bred Food Tour you will discover the city’s fascinating culinary history in the company of Barney, a chef from RMS Titanic – and you’ll sample some great Belfast food along the way. This mouth-watering dramatic tour includes free samples at each location, Gourmet delights at the century-old Sawers Deli, established 1897, Northern Ireland’s celebrated seafood at the Mourne Seafood Bar, Superb artisan beers at the atmospheric John Hewitt Public House, Sizzling Hot Rock Steaks at the 300 year old McHugh’s Bar. The tour finishes up at St. George’s Market, one of the finest food markets in the UK or Ireland. Belfast Restaurant Week is another culinary highlight – taking place from 5-12 October 2013, is a tasty celebration of local food and culinary events in fabulous restaurants across the city.
Belfast is home to many legends and heroes including George Best, Van Morisson, David Holmes and the god father of punk music Terri Hooley. For the football fans out there – a visit to George Best’s birth home in East Belfast will probably be top of your list of things to do in Belfast. The family home is even available to rent for 1 – 14 nights for visitors to experience life for George when he left to join Manchester United in 1963. Music fans can enjoy the Belfast Music Tour – a rolling journey across the city that reveals the music, the artists and the landscape that have brought character to the city. The trip lasts two hours – a chance to visit the locations that have birthed some legendary songs. Find out more about Belfast music here: belfastcity.gov.uk/belfastmusic
Belfast city does not disappoint when it comes to a night on the town and for anyone new to the city – a night in the Cathedral Quarter is a must. Boasting a huge range of bars, restaurants, cafes and music venues including the well known Duke of York, Black Box and The Spaniard. Belfast has got a fantastic live music scene and great venues including The Limelight which is host to many local and international acts. For those you fancy a night of pure luxury a visit to the exclusive Ollies in the Merchant Hotel is a must. Love a laugh? Then head to The Empire in the Queen’s area of the city for a night of comedy.
Not to be missed
Belfast Music Week
11-17 November – Citywide
Belfast Music Week 2013 is a celebration of home-grown musical talent with more than 250 events running at over 70 locations in the city. From intimate venues to the grandeur of the Ulster Hall, this year’s programme includes classical, dance, folk, rock and acoustic performances as well as industry panel events with some of the leading figures in the international music scene.
Check out this video of the highlights from Belfast Music Week 2012
Places to stay
The city offers excellent value on hotel breaks starting from just £49 per room and all in an excellent locations including the Ramada Encore, Premier Inn, the 4* Fitzwilliam and Europa Hotel. And if you are on a strict budget then try Vagabonds Hostel – regularly voted as top hostel in UK and Ireland. This street chic hostel comes highly recommended and is located within minutes walk of the city centre. For more information on accommodation in Belfast go to: discovernorthernireland.com/accomfinder/Belfast
Have you been to Belfast recently…What have been your highlights? Tell us in the comments below…