Planning a weekend in Belfast this year?
This month we have decided to offer some suggestions of activities, places to eat and drink in order for you to make the most out of our great wee city.
First things first, be sure to book your room in Maranatha House (of course!!) in advance to avoid disappointment. Here we offer free wi-fi, fantastic breakfast, parking and a great location as well as helpful and friendly staff.
After a long day of travelling we suggest you check out some of our local pubs. We recommend the Errigle Inn – easy to get to from Maranatha House, live music on set nights, good food and efficient staff. Relax and have the craic over a few drinks before returning to your room here in the guesthouse.
Get up for a delicious breakfast the following morning to fuel up for the day. We highly recommend then taking a black taxi tour of the city (especially if you have never been to Belfast before). Our receptionist will be more than happy to arrange this for you and you will be picked up from the guesthouse and dropped off wherever you want to go. The tour offers a fantastic insight into the history of Belfast, with a large focus on The Troubles. All of the drivers providing these tours will regail fascinating stories of incidents past and bring you to see the infamous Belfast murals and peace walls. The black taxi tour is certainly something you will remember long after you depart from Belfast.
Once the tour is over, ask the driver to drop you off in Stranmillis, on the south side of the city. This is the student area of Belfast. We highly recommend going to ‘Got Milk?’ for a milkshake. Here they have almost every flavour of milkshake imaginable. Think of any chocolate bar or sweets and they will have it as a milkshake. Once purchased take your milkshake and exit left down the hill. You are now walking towards Queen’s University – an astounding beautiful building. Beside Queens is Belfast Botanic Gardens. It is well worth taking a stroll through the gardens (while enjoying your delicious milkshake) and perhaps sitting for a while to bask in the beauty of the gardens if time permits. If milkshakes and gardens are not your thing, we recommend taking a walk through the Ulster Museum (located beside the Botanical Gardens). Entrance into the museum is free and we can personally attest to it remaining on of our favourite places in Belfast.
So now its lunch-time! There is a plethora of great cafe’s and restaurants in Belfast. If we have to decide on recommendations for one weekend in the city, however we suggest Soul Food on the Ormeau Road for healthy food of very high quality. All of the cakes and traybakes in Soul Food are homemade and delicious! The cafe is located no more than 15 minutes walk from Maranatha House – a delightful walk through the park – should you wish to return to the guesthouse for a mid-afternoon nap (you are on holidays after all).
If you find yourself full of energy and longing for further activities to occupy you until dinner time we suggest heading to the Titanic Belfast. Jump in a taxi or alternatively take a jaunt down along the path by the river (this will take about 50mins). With over 800,000 visitors in its first year, the Titanic Tour is sure to be very interesting and undoubtedly memorable. It will take you approx. 3 hours to get through the centre so make sure you’re time is budgeted well.
You shouldn’t have any problems getting a taxi from outside the exhibition centre back to Maranatha House where you may wish to return to at this stage to change and get ready for dinner.
If you are a fan of seafood, we highly recommend Mourne’s Seafood Bar located in the city centre. Mourne’s is nationally and internationally recognised for excellence. For this reason, you will need to book your table in advance. During the summer months you may need to book at least 2-3 weeks in advance, especially for a weekend night. It will be worth it! Pop next door to Kelly’s Cellars for pre/post dinner drinks. Kelly’s boasts to being one of the oldest bars in Belfast and you will quite often find yourself walking through the door to a traditional Irish music session. Up for a night out in the city? Head for the Cathedral Quarter for your choice of excellent bars and pubs.
Sunday morning should be spent at St. George’s Market. This is a wonderful craft market that takes place every weekend. A stroll through the market is a real feast for the sense. Butchers, bakers, candlestickmakers – you’ll find them all here. As well as a music stall trading vinyls, antiques stalls, vietnamese scarves and art, 2nd hand books, and more. Amidst all this trading is live music set up in the centre of the market where you can buy a coffee sit and listen to the music and bustle and people-watch.
From here it is a 3 minute walk to the city centre (city hall). Perhaps take the opportunity now to do some shopping. We recommend heading to Victoria Square Shopping Centre. Once you’ve had your fill of the shops head to Muriels for lunch. The style here is a little boudouir and chic, cosy and comfortable. The food is excellent (we especially recommend the mussels) and they offer an extensive cocktail menu. If you are finding it difficult to choose off the menu, ask about their cocktail of the month. It is usually safe to assume that this will be delicious.
If there is a game on, head out to Ravenhill Stadium after lunch to catch an Ulster rugby game. Home to Ulster Rugby, an afternoon in Ravenhill is a great day out. Good fun, good entertainment, and a bar (for those of you wanting a pint). Once again you are within minutes of Maranatha House should you wish to return to your room before dinner.
For night number 2’s dinner we recommend D’arcy’s at Shaftesbury Square. Reasonably priced, the food here is beyond excellent in terms of both taste and value. Quite often, D’arcy’s will have a deal on if you order before 7pm. The food is hearty and wholesome (just what you might need after a late night on the town the night before). Pop next door to Lavery’s bar for a post-dinner drink. You will never have a problem getting a taxi from directly outside the door here.
As you can surmise from the length of this entry, our wee city of Belfast has lots to offer and we found it very difficult to pick out only certain things to recommend to our readers. Perhaps in future entries we will discuss topics separately – restaurants, pubs, outdoor activities, indoor activities. Be assured, in any case, that should you come to stay with us – be it for a day, a weekend, a week, or a month – we will not run out of recommendations and suggestions for you!! We look forward to welcoming you…..