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Wedged between Ireland’s breathless scenery and the sea, Belfast is a city that will revitalise even the most world-weary traveller. Cultural lodestone and educational centre, it's filled with remarkable Victorian architecture, tributes to the “Titanic” … and effusively friendly locals!
Queen Victoria granted Belfast city rights in 1888. Over a century on, this city hall is one of the city’s legacy buildings – from its beautiful frescoes and marble columns, to its stained glass windows and checkerboard floor. Gather in the Titanic Memorial Garden, admire the neo-Gothic façade, then tour the Main Room to see paintings of the city’s councilmen and women.Accommodations near Belfast City Hall
Think you’ve died and gone to foodie heaven? These indoor markets have been in operation for over a hundred years and are showing no sign of letting up! Pick up fresh Portavogie fish and Cookstown pork, antiques, bargains and artisanal products. There’s a great chipper atmosphere with lots of music and cheer, especially from the red-nosed, tweed-jacketed farmers!Accommodations near St. Georges Market
Belfast’s own version of “Big Ben”. This clock tower holds a central position in Queen’s Square, surrounded by trees, fountains and sculptures. Its two-tonne bell was designed by famous Irish clockmaker Francis Moore. Telling the time since 1869, the clock tower was erected as a memorial to Prince Albert by order of Queen Victoria.Accommodations near Albert Memorial Clock
“Kiss the fish”. Subject of endless “selfies” and city icon, this statue is located on the shores of the Lagan River. The outer shell of the fish is constructed with turquoise-tinged ceramic tiles, which are painted with images that relate to the history of Belfast. According to folklore, you’ll gain the “wisdom of the fish” if you stick your tongue in its mouth!Accommodations near Big Fish
St. Anne’s is part of the heritage and spirit of Cathedral Quarter. It was built in the neo-Romanesque style at the turn of the twentieth century. Bright and compact, it’s filled with magnificent artworks. Don’t miss the chance to see the Titanic Pall, embroidered with gold crosses and Stars of David in remembrance of the people who lost their lives on the Titanic.Accommodations near St. Annes Cathedral Belfast
If walls could talk. Some 4-km of concrete walls separated the Protestant North and Catholic South. They’re covered with pastiches of revolutionaries at arms, political slogans, images of knights and soldiers, and more. Since this site is a former conflict zone, we recommend taking a tour with a qualified local guide – the Black Taxi Tour Company is one of many.Accommodations near Belfast Murals
Enter the world of C.S. Lewis. This was the environment that fuelled the imagination of one of Ireland’s greatest writers. The campus holds hundreds of Victorian-era buildings, all pleasant porticoes, Doric columns and lancet windows. The Lanyon Building is literally un-missable, a masterpiece of Victorian-era architecture that’s beautiful as the sunset spills over it.Accommodations near Queen's University Belfast
Tree-enthusiasts take heed – they’re all here in the city’s largest botanic garden! This public garden has been attracting locals since the Victorian-era, filled with fields of rambling roses and bordered by herbaceous perennials. During the warmer months, the gardens are filled with the sound of students from the neighbouring Queens’ University caucusing between classes.Accommodations near Botanic Gardens
Forget the James Cameron film – this mesmerising museum casts a spell all of its own. Through interactive exhibits and artefacts, some of which were salvaged from the sea, you’ll learn the story of the S.S. Titanic’s fateful maiden voyage across the Atlantic – from the builders who toiled on its construction, to mementoes from survivors and those who perished aboard the ship.Accommodations near Titanic Belfast
Sunset at Belfast Castle. It might be something of a cliché to some, but this is really the city’s most romantic spot. This mid 19th-century Scottish baronial-style manor is surrounded by ambling parkland, well-tended gardens and views over Holywood and the Lagan River. The stillness is interrupted only by the sounds of wedding parties, or dogs rustling through the grass.Accommodations near Belfast Castle
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All activity in Queen’s Quarter seems to pivot around Queen’s University. Most of the University’s faculty and students live in this area, which is filled with grand Victorian houses, inviting parks and laid-back cafés. While you’re there, see the historic Lanyon Building on-campus, stroll in the Botanic Gardens or visit the Ulster Museum.Accommodations in Queens Quarter
Take a trip to Old Belfast. The old trade and warehousing district is rife with hip bars, like The Duke of York and The Dirty Onion. Stroll past the city’s oldest buildings and churches on Waring Street and Hill Street, shop in Victoria Square for brand-name clothing, or visit Kelly’s Cellar for live Gaelic music and a pint or two of Guinness.Accommodations in Cathedral Quarter
Every Belfastian had a family member that worked on the Titanic's construction. History's largest luxury liner was constructed here a century ago in Harland and Wolff’s shipyards. Visit the Titanic Museum and Titanic Studios, see some of the sets from TV's "Game of Thrones" in The Paint Hall, or stroll around Belfast Harbour Marina.Accommodations in Titanic Quarter
If you’re hankering for a taste of ‘ole Ireland, here’s your chance. This area's patriotic residents live in idyllic surroundings. Sometimes, you'll spot artfully-designed political murals on the park walls. The Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich is located here – it's a well-known cultural centre that preserves Gaelic arts and culture.Accommodations in Gaeltacht Quarter
Louise recently took an Emerald Isle road trip and the non-stop rain failed to dampen her spirits!
I’m crazy about uncovering unique finds and that’s why I love St George’s Market. Buzzing with activity on Fridays and Saturdays, its stalls sell food, jewellery, books … and almost anything else going! Check out live music and feast upon some homemade Irish scones when you’re there.Accommodations nearby
Now enjoying city life, Jayne grew up in the country and still loves finding the odd tree to climb!
I’ve always loved long walks and nature, so when I was living in Belfast, I would venture out to Cave Hill and Belfast Castle. It’s perfect for escaping the hustle and bustle, having a stroll through the forest and enjoying city views.Accommodations nearby
Emily visited Ireland with her family and loves to finish a long day sightseeing with a cup of tea.
I’m always drawn to quirky, independent cafés like this hidden gem, which is great for brunch. Harlem features little details like cow-shaped milk jugs and table tops filled with seashells. Have a chat with the barista - he may adorn your coffee with some specially requested latte art!Accommodations nearby
Jack can’t resist a good bar and can often be found hanging out in the city’s coolest spots.
Filthy McNastys is a fun spot to get a bit of everything. Its décor is alternative with pianos for tables and wine served in watering cans! It has a great atmosphere, accompanied by live acoustic music and a cocktail bar.Accommodations nearby
Booking.com asked travelers...What makes the people from Belfast so friendly? Tell us your story.
We couldn't find a certain restaurant so called in at a fast food outlet to ask directions. One chap promptly used his phone to pull up directions on Google Maps and then one of the ladies said it wa near by and actually walked us part of the way.See all 26 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...What is it in Belfast that makes history come to life?
United States of America
Black taxi tour was wonderful. Our guide Brendan was very passionate. Hands on tour at City Hall. Again friendly informative guide.See all 28 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...What are the best attractions to see on a tour in Belfast?
Via Odyssey tours - The Giant's Causeway, locally the Titanic Museum and the Transport & Folk Museum at Cultra.See all 7 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...Is there more to shopping in Belfast than just brand-name stores?
Belfast shopping is varied and interesting great selection of shopsSee all 16 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...Describe what other people like you would like about shopping in Belfast.
Easy to get around, stylish shops and restaurantsSee all 28 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...How can you enjoy the sights in Belfast while avoiding the crowds?
Get out there earlySee all 22 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...Where should people go if they don't want to eat in a tourist trap?
Six and stonesSee all 11 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...What was the most entertaining thing you saw in Belfast?
MorrisseySee all 8 answers
Located 18 miles north-west of Belfast, the city’s international airport is also known as Aldergrove Airport. The fastest connection to the centre is via the Airport Express 300 bus, which runs 24 hours a day and leaves every 15 minutes from outside the terminal exit. The journey time to the city centre is around 30 to 40 minutes. You can buy tickets in the arrivals hall or on the bus, costing GBP 7.50 for a single, or GBP 10.50 return.
Belfast has 4 main railway stations: Belfast Central, Great Victoria Street, City Hospital and Botanic. There are regular connections to nearby cities such as Derry, Bangor, Portadown and Larne. Enterprise trains from Central Station to Dublin Connolly depart every 2 hours, offering links to SailRail services which connect you to UK cities such as London. Tickets are bought online, at station ticket desks or in the Visit Belfast Centre in Donegall Square.
Pink and white-coloured buses are run by Translink and main stops include Donegall Square, City Hall and Queen Street. You buy tickets on board and small change is given. Fares range from GBP 1.40 to 2.20 depending on the destination, while Metro Day Ticket fares start at GBP 3.40, depending on when you travel. Top-up Smartlink Travel Cards cost GBP 1.50 to purchase and you can include 10 journeys for GBP 10.50, or 7 days’ unlimited travel for GBP 16.
Taxis can be picked up at main points across the city and most offer credit and debit-card paying facilities. They generally have a “Taxi” sign on their roof, have a yellow license plate and a taxi meter. Fares begin at around GBP 3 per 0.25 miles, although this will increase at night and on holidays. Black Hackney-style cabs are also available but are generally used for tours around Belfast with the drivers offering great insight into the city’s history.
Belfast’s ferry terminal is a 10-minute drive from the city centre and is just off the M2 Motorway. Follow signs to the Stena Line if you’re driving there. Ferries go to Cairnryan in West Scotland, to Birkenhead near Liverpool and on to the Isle of Man.
Parking is restricted in many areas and some are designated for residents only. Street parking is generally limited during weekdays until 18.00 and the city centre is made up of “Pay and Display” zones. Here you can pay for an allotted time at machines (with coins only) and rates vary per area. Your ticket should then be displayed on your windscreen, otherwise you may get a fine. Multi-storey car parks are available across the city but tend to be more expensive.
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