Sightseeing in Belfast
Belfast Cathedral is a beautiful Hiberno-Romanesque style 20th century cathedral with beautiful external architecture and internal decoration including mosaics, sculptures and the largest Celtic cross in Ireland. You could also enjoy a stirring performance by the cathedral’s resident choir.
Castle Ward is an impressive 18th century manor house with Gothic and Classical style architecture and decorations. The site includes vast gardens leading down to the sea and the house itself contains interesting exhibits detailing its Victorian past. You can dress like a Victorian and even visit the livestock farm of horses, pigs and hens as well as the gift shop.
The Parliament Buildings are set in Stormont Park and are well worth a visit to admire their impressive façade and Great Hall. The gardens themselves are also worth spending some time in for a relaxing afternoon after all that sightseeing.
If you like visiting natural places of interest then be sure to climb Belfast Hills for panoramic views across the city from Cave Hill, Belfast Castle which is a glorious and impressive structure and Black Mountain.
There are even more fantastic buildings to see in Belfast including Belfast City Hall, which is a spectacular building of Classical-Renaissance architecture and a true Edwardian masterpiece.
There are also several museums and galleries to be seen in the city including the popular Ulster Folk and Transport Museum. The museum is set across 60 acres and tells the story of life and traditions of people from Northern Ireland in the early 1900s. There are authentic recreated houses, mills, shops, schools, churches and a transport museum so you really feel as though you have stepped back in time.
The Giant’s Causeway is also an inspiring natural sight and is one of Northern Ireland’s top attractions with several myths and legends surrounding it. It is made from columns of basalt packed tightly together leading, like stepping stones, from the base of the cliff to beneath the sea. Only an hour from Belfast, it’s the perfect way to enjoy a day out.
Not for the faint-hearted, Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge stretches across an 80ft deep chasm and links a tiny island to the mainland. This traditional rope bridge is not for everyone but if you’re brave enough to cross it you will be rewarded with stunning panoramic views.
If you’re on a short break and don’t have enough time to see everything then hop on a steam train tour which runs across the whole of Northern Ireland and is a perfect way to take it all in only a day.
Fun Seekers in Belfast
There are a vast range of activities to take part in Belfast including golf, biking, climbing and hiking with the landscape being perfect to try your hand at something new.
If you prefer being a spectator to taking part then there are several different sports teams that you can enjoy. Windsor Park Stadium is the home of Northern Ireland football team, there is the Coors Belfast Giants ice hockey team and Ulster Rugby Team so you can choose which ever one takes your fancy, or if you can’t choose why not catch a game of all of them.
Enjoy the Belfast shoping experience at Victoria Square and Castlecourt Shopping Centre, featuring many popular international brands and high street names so you have every opportunity to splash the cash.
During the day you can visit Dundonald International Ice Bowl which is a one stop shop for entertainment. There is an Olympic sized ice-rink, bowling alley, indoor adventure play world and many restaurants.
During the evening you can take in a show at many of the venues across Belfast with two of the most popular being Belfast Waterfront Hall and the Grand Opera House, where you can see performances of theatre, drama, musicals, ballet, opera, comedy and during the festive period, pantomimes.
The city centre of Belfast is awash with restaurants catering for all tastes and budgets. Apartment in Donegall Square is a trendy bar and restaurant popular with people of all ages and is reasonably priced. For the best in luxurious dining visit the Great Room Restaurant for indulgent cooking in opulent surroundings.
The nightlife of Belfast is focused in the city centre from the modern and stylish Café Vaudeville to Belfast’s premier clubs Milk or Yello. The city sees many popular, top class DJs play regularly in its clubs with names including Tim Westwood and Trevor Nelson frequently playing. If the club scene isn’t for you then there are also plenty of traditional Irish pubs where you can sit and relax with a pint of Guinness. Don’t miss the Crown Liquor Saloon, Northern Ireland’s best known pub. It’s ornate Victorian décor make it one of the National Trust’s greatest treasures.
Activities in Belfast
Top Tours in Belfast:
Greater Belfast Tour (Private Tour)
Set out on a sightseeing tour of Greater Belfast and see the major historical landmarks of the city...
St. Patrick's Grave and Mount Stewart House (Private Tour)
Visit the grave of the patron saint of Ireland and explore the famous Mount Stewart gardens...
Fermanagh Lakes and Belleek Pottery (Private Tour)
Visit the picturesque lakelands of Northern Ireland and the famous Belleek Pottery visitor centre...
Giant's Causeway and North Coast Tour
Marvel at the incredible rock formation of the Giant's Causeway and tour the North Coast...
Tour of the Walls of Derry (Private Tour)
Learn the art of cooking Mediterranean
Family Fun in Belfast
There is a huge choice of family attractions to keep everyone entertained on a family holiday to Belfast. Belfast Zoo is always a popular choice and has over 160 species of rare and endangered animals to amuse and enthrall. The zoo contains a monkey park, gorillas, free-flight aviary, underwater views of penguins and sea lions as well as a restaurant, snack shop and playground.
The Exploris Aquarium is also very popular with families as it is Northern Ireland’s only public aquarium and seal sanctuary where you can sea demonstrations and learn about the rehabilitation of sick, injured and orphaned seals.
Another favourite is the Armagh Planetarium which is popular with people of all ages. There is a digital theatre for 3D shows across the dome, exhibition halls and space models so you can learn all about space; you can even launch your own rocket!
Pirates Adventure Golf is a 36 hole crazy golf course where you have to guide your golf ball past obstacles including waterfalls, fountains and a ghostly pirate figure. Children will also love the Lagan Valley Lisburn Leisureplex where there is a leisure pool and slides as well as a diving pool and fitness and health suites for a fun afternoon splashing around.
If you and your kids loved The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe then you will love to go on a C.S. Lewis trail. Discover the locations and landscapes that inspired C.S. Lewis’ love affair with Belfast.
One of the most popular and highly recommended attractions in Belfast is W5 in the Odyssey Complex. This millennium project is a huge interactive discovery centre with 160 hands-on exhibits, live science demonstrations, group challenges and quests that are sure to excite and thrill the kids.
If you’re visiting in May then the annual Belfast Children’s Festival will be on. With performances, workshops and exhibitions aimed specifically at children, this is one not to be missed.
Romantic Breaks in Belfast
There is no better way to start a romantic city break than by checking in to the city’s choice of fantastic accommodation whether that be a luxurious city centre hotel or a quaint cottage away from the hustle and bustle of the capital. Belfast is the perfect destination for couples looking to get away with a range of things to see and do.
Put together a picnic and dine al fresco in Stormont Public Park with the grand Parliament Buildings as a backdrop. Hold hands and take the exhilarating walk to the top of Belfast Hills where you can’t help but be in awe of the staggering, panoramic views across Belfast.
There are a number of spa hotels in the city of you fancy some pampering to get you looking and feeling great. Have a romantic meal at a fine restaurant such as Cayenne or Nick’s Warehouse for fantastic cuisine and one of the best views in Belfast. Try the Restaurant Michael Deane on Howard Street, for Irish and British cuisine of Michelin starred standard.
To finish off an evening you could enjoy a cocktail in the exclusive 5 star surroundings of The Merchant Hotel, the perfect ending to the perfect romantic city break with Jet2.com.
Top Tips for Belfast
Take in the key areas of the city including Belfast City Centre, Titanic Quarter, Cathedral Quarter, political districts (Murals/Shankill Road/Falls Road), Queen’s Quarter on an Open Bus Tour.
If you are interested in the recent history of Belfast you can even take a ‘Belfast in Conflict’ cab tour around the Catholic and Protestant parts of Belfast most affected by the troubles, stopping to have the famous political wall murals explained.
The Garrick is one of Belfast's oldest bars, retaining a Victorian feel with dark wood ceilings and a bar boasting copper pumps and pipes. This is the perfect environment for sampling the local brew in suitably traditional surroundings.
Here are a few key phrases to help you decipher the local lingo...
Am I some pup or what? – I'm feeling rather pleased with myself
Catch yourself on! – Please refrain from talking nonsense
My bangers went – At the last minute I decided it was an extremely bad idea
Hasn't a baldy notion – Lacks the required intellect or know-how to perform a particular task
Cost of a pint of beer: £1.90