With so many things to do in Belfast, a bit of planning can go a long way! This short guide is what we recommend to get the most out of your trip. To start, we highly recommend then taking a black taxi tour of the city (especially if you have never been to Belfast before). 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, you could try the area of Stranmillis, on the south side of the city. This is the university area of Belfast. 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 and perhaps sitting for a while to bask in the beauty of the gardens if time permits. 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 one of our favourite places in Belfast.
So now its lunch-time! There is a plethora of great cafe’s and restaurants in Belfast, including……
Victoria Square Shopping Centre also has a large range of café’s and restaurants and is in the centre of the city, a short walk from City Hall and the Tourist Information Centre.
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.
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.
Restaurants here include:
The Merchant Hotel- worth going in for a cocktail in the Great Hall and perhaps a bite to eat in Bert’s Jazz Bar
Coppi – excellent menu and next door to The Mac (theatre)
Also, a favourite is Zen Restaurant- Japanese and Asian
Sunday morning should always 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 senses. Butchers, bakers, candlestick makers – you’ll find them all here. As well as a music stall trading vinyl, antique’s stallsVietnamesese scarves and art, 2nd handbooks, and more. Amidst all this trading ia s 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). Once you’ve had your fill of the shops head to Muriels for lunch. The style here is a little boudoir 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!!