3 Days In Belfast
Belfast, Northern Ireland. Maybe not one of the most famous or glamorous holiday destinations, but it has a lot to offer an open minded tourist. If you are in Europe, the low cost of flights to Belfast alone is a reason to pay this port city a visit. I went twice in 2017: once in June and once in September, and the return flights from London cost me 30 euros both times. The flight company Ryanair offer great deals and it is always worth putting some dates in and seeing what bargains are out there.
Why Go There?
Like most capital cities, Belfast has everything from great nightlife, to museums, to 5* restaurants and hotels. It also has a stunning University, Queens, where you can wander around for free and bask in it’s stunning architecture.
It is also one of the countries where the hugely popular TV series Game of Thrones is filmed and there are several fantastic day tours that you can go on to see the locations around the coast. But what makes Belfast so unique in maybe all the world is the people. They are just so friendly.
Belfast today is a city prospering enormously. With large thanks to funding from the European Union it is now one of the most fastest growing economies in Europe, with a huge influx of International students studying there for part or all of their higher education. And where students live, money flows. Compared to other capital cities Belfast is much more affordable, and you can have a lot of fun while not breaking the bank.
So then, you’re now convinced to spend a long weekend visiting Belfast but what exactly should you do there?
3 Days in Belfast, an Itinerary
Belfast has two airports. The ryanair flights that I took from London arrives at the George Best International airport. The airport is small. Directly outside the front you will find the airport express bus that for 11pound return will take you to the city centre and back again. After 40 minutes the bus drops you at the Central bus station. The other airport is even more centrally located and transport to and from the centre is easy.
Belfast city itself is small, and I walked everywhere. If you have someone in your party that has mobility problems then taxis are average price and easy to catch.
Where To Stay
I stayed in the Clayton hotel, and I cannot recommend it enough. I stayed in an executive room and the luxury and space of the room was really worth the upgrade. The hotel is centrally located and the town centre is a 10 minute walk away.
The hotel breakfast was delicious, and if you have never had an Irish/English breakfast before then you are in for a treat. Just imagine a plate filled with fried eggs, sausages, bacon, tomatoes, beans and mushrooms. It’s a big filling breakfast ready to set you up for a day of exploring the city. To check out their amazing deals or book your own hotel stay check out their website at https://www.claytonhotelbelfast.com
What To Do By Day
If you want culture, Belfast has it in spades. I visited two of its museums, but I could have visited more.
The Ulster museum is free, and I would say is Belfast’s best. From dinosaurs, to Ancient Egyptian Mummies, to a full tapestry of every major scene of the Game of Thrones series, Ulster museum can keep you interested for hours.
The other museum, and a very different experience, was the Titanic museum. This is dedicated to the tragic sinking of the famous Titanic ship, immortalised by the Leo Decaprio film. The film is heartbreaking, and the museum even more so. Prices aren’t cheap at €20, or half price if you go for a late saver ticket around an hour before the museum ends like I did. I wont spoil the experience of visiting this emotional place, but the highlights for me were reading the transcribes of the last ever SOS messages sent from the ship, and the interactive features allowing you to feel like you are actually on board.
If museums aren’t particularly your cup of tea (as us English would say) then maybe you prefer shopping, eating some fantastic food, or watching the two Belfast football teams play a Football match.
What To Do By Night
Belfast comes alive at night. If drinking was a sport in the Olympics, the Northern Irish would be favourites for the Gold medal every time. Not only do they have the delicious pint of Guinness, produced and shipped just over 100miles South acorss the border in the Reuplic of Eireland, but they have all the whisky, vodka, and lagers you could ever hope to consume.
The bars and clubs are fantastic. Every Friday and Saturday night without fail they will be jam packed by happy and rather inebriated locals and tourists alike, with queues outside many of the establishments after 11pm.
There are too many bars or clubs to name, but some of my favourites were as follows:
The Dirty Onion. This is a huge bar, with a fantastic outside area and a restaurant upstairs. You can get a great deal on chicken and wine or beer for two people. In the daytime on weekends you can expect to find live Irish music being played and in the evening you can expect a bar full of people. A good ‘craic’ as the Irish would say.
For a bar with a view, head to the Perch rooftop bar.
Upon entering the building you need to go up in a cool elevator just to get to the bar, which is a bit of fun even before you have had a drink. The bar itself has an outside/inside theme with fake grass, and flowers everywhere. It is only open until 1am on weekends so this isn’t a club, but it gets very busy and is an interesting place to visit. Who doesn’t love a quirky bar, right?
I went to plenty of other bars, and I am sure you will too when you visit. The pubs have names like “Filthy McNastys” and who can miss checking a place like that out. They of course have a Wetherspoons too whcich is always worth a visit for a few cheap pints, and if you don’t know what that is just ask any Brit.
Finally, to party way into the night head to the Limelight Complex which stays open until 3am on weekends. Now I have partied in some of the best clubs in the world, and no Limelight is not on par with the Ibiza superclubs, but it certainly does it’s best to give you a night full of entertainment. With a live DJ on the stage and events on almost every day of the week, it was truly worth its 5euro entry fee. Think cold steam being blasted from shoots in the celling, smoke machines, lasers and fire. For anyone who loves a good dance at a club, it is not to be missed of a weekend.
Belfast has all this to offer and more, for more information on what to do head to www.visitbelfast.com
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