Guide to a Belfast city getaway

We love Belfast. It’s perfect for a city getaway. From Dublin it’s only 2 hours and 30 minutes by train from Connolly Station and less than two hours if you’re travelling by car. For those travelling from far, we highly recommend combining a city trip with some of the the nearby cities around Belfast. Driving through Northern Ireland’s countryside is absolutely stunning and offers some of the most breathtaking landscapes. 

But first of all, what to see, do and eat in Belfast?

Belfast Black Cab tours

The legendary Belfast Black Cab tour is a must do when visiting Belfast. We’ve taken this tour quite a number of times with visitors from home. In your own private taxi an experienced local driver will take you through Belfast’s historical sites, such as the Shankill Road and Falls Road neighborhoods, the political murals, and the peace wall. There’s a lot to see and you can either choose what you want to see or leave it to the driver. Drivers are funny, engaging, and very knowledgeable – it’s pretty remarkable to hear the stories from people who grew up in Belfast during the conflict.  

St George’s Market

East Bridge St, Belfast BT1 3NQ

St George’s Market was built between 1890 and 1896 and is one of the city’s oldest attractions. The market has previously been named one of the best indoor markets in the UK. The popular market is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday and hosts over 250 traders each weekend selling everything from fresh, local food to handmade crafts, photography, and vintage clothes.

The Friday Variety Market is open 6am to 3pm. The 250 market stalls sell a diverse range of products from fish, fresh fruit, bread, and crêpes to jewelry, crafts and antiques.

The Saturday City Food and Craft Market is open 9am to 3pm. The market stalls specialize in artisan food.

The Sunday market is open 10am to 4pm and is a mixture of the traditional Friday Variety Market and Saturday’s City Food and Craft Market.

The Botanic Gardens and University Quarter

First opened in 1827, the gardens are popular among locals and visitors as the gardens are an ideal place to enjoy a moment of tranquility in the very center of Belfast. Near the gardens is the Queen’s Quarter – named after Queen’s University. Walk around and enjoy the lively quarter. There are plenty of restaurants, bars, cafés and shops.

Titanic Belfast

1 Olympic Way, Queen’s Road, Belfast BT3 9EP
website

No trip to Belfast is complete without visiting the Titanic museum. The interactive museum takes visitors from the Titanic’s design and construction to the disastrous disaster. Don’t miss a visit to the restored SS Nomadic, which allows visitors to experience first-hand what it was like to be a passenger boarding Titanic. As Titanic was too large to dock in Cherbourg in France, SS Nomadic was built to ferry first and second class passengers to Titanic. Famous Nomadic passengers include John Jacob Astor and Molly Brown. It is now the last remaining White Star Line vessel in the world. Personally my favourite part of the Titanic experience.

Belfast City Hall

Donegall Square N, Belfast BT1 5GS

The City Hall was completed to celebrate Belfast’s new status as a city in 1906. There are free guided tours every day. From late November to late December there’s the annual Christmas market outside the City Hall. The market is a mix of stalls serving tasty treats such as German Bratwurst, French crépes, Belgian waffles, chocolate to stalls selling everything from nibbles to handmade jewelry. The market also has a German-inspired beer tent where you can stock up on beer and warming cups of mulled wine.  

Crumlin Road Gaol

53-55 Crumlin Road, Belfast, BT14 6ST
website

Explore the infamous Victorian prison, Crumlin Road Gaol and learn of the lives of those who were imprisoned throughout the 150 years of operation. The one hour guided tour will take you through the prison, the cells, execution chamber, and down the tunnel beneath the prison that connects the Gaol to the courthouse. 

Well worth a visit. For ultimate spooky chills – try to get one of the late tours.

A bit outside Belfast

Old Bushmill Distillery

2 Distillery Rd, Bushmills BT57 8XH
website

The famous distillery is about an hour north of Belfast. At Bushmill visitors can have a look inside one of Ireland’s oldest distilleries and observe the craft and skills of making Irish whiskey. As huge fans of Irish whiskey we’ve visited quite a few distilleries throughout our years in Ireland. While it’s interesting to visit the bigger distilleries, in our experience it’s more interesting to visit the small distilleries. But if you are interested in whiskey and have time to spare then definitely do pop by the distillery. 

Game of Thrones

The hit HBO series “Game of Thrones” is filmed in Belfast and across Northern Ireland. If you’re a fan of the show, there are a number of different tours that’ll take you to the numerous Game of Thrones filming locations. It’s of course also possible to do visit the locations on your own. 

Giant’s Causeway

Formed 50-60 million years ago, the dramatic landscape of the stunning rock formations is commonly called the 8th wonder of the world. It’s the only Unesco world heritage site in Northern Ireland. Make a trip out of it and drive along the coast line.

Where to dine and drink in Belfast

The Ginger Bistro

68-72 Great Victoria St., Belfast
website

Award-winning restaurant with a relaxed and cozy environment and simply good food. Their sticky toffee pudding with toffee sauce is out of this world. Still one of the best puddings we’ve ever had. Make sure to book ahead.

OX

1 Oxford Street, Belfast BT1 3LA
website

Fantastic dining experience – and simply a must for food fans. OX opened in 2013 and secured a Michelin star in 2016. Great service and very down to earth. Go for their tasting menu and splurge with the matching wine tasting menu.

Home Restaurant

22 Wellington Place, Belfast BT1 6GE
website

Vibrant and busy restaurant with a good choice of dishes that include a vast number of vegetarian options. Also good for lunch.
The restaurant has held Bib Gourmand status since 2014.

Molly’s Yard

1 College Green Mews, Belfast BT7 1LW
website

Awarded with the Michelin plate. This lovely little restaurant is situated in a restored Victorian stables courtyard. Cozy ambiance and good, fresh food.  

The Merchant hotel 

16 Skipper Street, Belfast BT1 2DZ
website

The five Red Star Merchant Hotel is situated in the heart of Belfast city center’s historic Cathedral Quarter. Head for cocktails at the award-winning cocktail bar. A big of a splurge, but drinks are lovely and the surroundings are stunning.

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