Belfast may not be the first idea when you think weekend break but it’s definitely a hidden jewel of the UK. Belfast has had a turbulent past, called the troubles and now that it has settled it has allowed the city to grow and flourish. With its beautiful landscape, whiskey, beer, lively bars and restaurants, Belfast has a great mix of outdoors and fun!
Here are 11 Things to do in Belfast, Northern Ireland…
1. Visit Crown Liquor Saloon
The Crown Liquor Saloon has been around since 1884, it’s a Victorian gin palace with an ornate Victorian exterior, carved-mahogany booths and etched-glass. Even if you don’t drink you have to go! Just grab a Coca-Cola and enjoy this absolutely beautiful bar, it is super busy being a tourist attraction in itself so be prepared for the crowds and to be on the lookout for one of the private booths.
Being one of the mightiest gin places so you have to grab a gin whilst you are there.
2. Grab some food at St Georges Market
St Georges Market is another example of a Victorian-era building built between 1890 and 1896. It’s open on Saturdays and Sundays offering countless food options, coffee, stalls and arts & craft.
In Northern Ireland, Ulster fry is the dish to try. A fried meal with bacon, eggs, sausage, black pudding, white pudding, tomatoes, mushrooms, soda bread and potato bread. Just leave out the meat if you are a veggie and try the slices of bread! If you are there for breakfast or brunch I would recommend grabbing an Ulster Fry.
Coffee lover? I recommend trying Java Man coffee.
3. Enjoy the nightlife in Cathedral quarter
Cobblestoned streets, nightlife scene, restaurants, pubs and beer gardens. This is where the main nightlife area is, head out to one of the local bars or pubs like:
The Dirty Onion is one of Belfast oldest buildings and has been repurposed as an authentic Irish pub with a modern twist. It has the biggest beer garden in Belfast, if you are heading there in winter it does have a cover (so you won’t get wet) and lots of heaters to keep you cosy and warm.
Duke of York is located down a cobbled street, it has a great atmosphere and décor to match with the paraphernalia of the printer’s trade, mirrored whiskey bar and old advertising signs.
The Garrick is known to have a great selection of beers and a welcoming, classic pub vibe.
4. Visit the Titanic Museum
The Titanic quarter is where the famous ship was built at the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast. It is now home to the Titanic Museum and has one of the world’s largest urban-waterfront regeneration projects.
5. Wander around the Botanic Gardens
Enjoy a stroll around the Botanic Gardens. Along the way check out the Palm House, an example of a glasshouse made from curved iron and glass.
Psstt… nearby is Boojum’s it’s Belfast’s most famous Burrito place. It’s a sin not to have a Boojum when in Belfast.
7. Take a day trip to the Giant’s Causeway
The Giant’s Causeway is possibly the most famous landmark in Northern Ireland and worth a day trip during your visit to Belfast. It’s worth mentioning that the Giants Causeway is free, there a local path that you can take and you don’t need to pay the tour fee of £11.50.
It’s not the only famous landmark you can also visit Carrickfergus Castle, the Dark Hedges, Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge and Dunluce Castle.
I recommend renting a car so you can explore the true extent of what Northern Ireland has to offer.
Checkout out my article – A Day Trip Exploring Northern Ireland.
8. See the Belfast Murals and peace wall
Explore the history and culture of Belfast and Northern Ireland through the murals. The murals are scattered around the city but the most famous mural is the peace wall.
The peace lines or walls were installed to separate the Catholic and Protestant neighbourhoods. The Falls Road and Shankill Road is the most famous part of the peace wall. Here you will find murals reflecting those communities’ that have a pro-British stance or more recently sectarian slogans.
Other murals to visit:
The Titanic area has a painting showing Captain Smith overlooking the ill-fated liner (for those who don’t know he was the captain of the Titanic). The mural is located on the corner of East Belfast’s Dee St and the Newtownards Rd.
Who else grew up reading Narnia books? CS Lewis was Belfast-born writer and there are some murals that feature scenes from his books The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. This is also in the Titanic area and you can find the of East Belfast’s Dee St. and Ballymacarrett Rd.
9. Take a black taxi tour
Belfast is famous for its Black cab tours. Why not get to know the city with a local guide, taking it you around Belfast’s historic sites and history behind the city.
10. See some of the Game of Thrones filming locations
Northern Ireland has some of the most fantastic Game of Thrones filming locations right on their doorstep from Winterfell to The Dothraki Sea. Even if you’re not a big GOT fan the sites themselves are incredibly beautiful. There are over 25 filming locations like Cushendun Caves, Murlough Bay, Ballintoy Harbour, Larrybane, Antrim plateau, Castle Ward, Inch Abbey and Downhill Strand are featured in the series.
Looking for a tour for Game of Tour? I recommend the ironically named tour company Game of Thrones Tours. There are three tours you can choose from:
- Belfast Winterfell Locations Trek
- Belfast Iron Islands, Giants Causeway and Rope Bridge Adventures
- Belfast Iron Islands, Giants Causeway and Castle Adventure.
11. Taste some Whiskey
Try some Irish whiskey, even if you’re not a whiskey lover you can opt for an Irish Coffee. I recommend trying Bushmills it is the oldest licensed distillery.
What were your favourite places in Belfast to visit? Let me know in the comments below!