Birthplace of the Titanic and with arts and culture around every corner, not to mention a vibrant nightlife, Belfast is the ideal spot to spend your next mini-break. To help you out with your planning, we’ve put together a list of where to visit in Belfast.
As the world’s largest Titanic visitor experience, the Titanic museum offers an incredible opportunity to learn more about one of history’s most talked about ships. Spanning across nine floors, each featuring an interactive gallery, the Titanic Museum is the perfect destination for a family day out. Wander through time and listen to stories from the onboard passengers, marvel at recovered artefacts, discover the inner workings of the vessel and capture a moment on the replicated staircase from the film. The experience includes special effects, full-scale reconstructions and interactive rides. Take a walk outside and board the decks of the last remaining White Star vessel, the SS Nomadic. This truly is a day out unlike any other and not to be missed!
Take a tour in an old black cab and drive around the most significant areas from one of the darkest periods in Belfast’s recent history known as ‘The Troubles’. Visit the famous Peace Wall separating the two opposing sides of the city, Falls Road, Shankhill, and the Sinn Fein headquarters, where you’ll see murals of Bobby Sands, the Great Famine, Provisional IRA and odes to the Easter Rising. Hearing stories about the Troubles, first-hand from a local is truly one of the most moving experiences you’ll encounter in Belfast.
Dividing the commercial and business districts of the centre, the City Hall is the civic building of Belfast City Council and is free to enter for the public at certain points during the year. Designed by architect, Sir Alfred Brumwell Thomas, take a free 45 minute tour of the Baroque revival building. Starting at the grand staircase, the guide will take you through to the Council Chamber, the Rotunda and along the walkway with portrait clad walls featuring faces from the past. Head outside for a stroll around the Titanic Memorial Garden and make sure to come back at night when the building is lit up with a combination of different coloured lights.
Once the literary heart of the city, the cobbled streets of the Cathedral Quarter is bustling with life. The area is home to the HQs of local newspapers The Belfast Telegraph and The Irish News, lending to its reputation as the city’s main cultural and artistic hub. Visit The John Hewitt, a pub named after the legendary poet and venture into Writer’s Square opposite St. Anne’s Cathedral and notice the quotes carved into the stones under your feet. You should also spend some time having a look around the MAC – Metropolitan Arts Centre, one of Europe’s leading arts exhibition spaces. Settle down for the evening in one of the many traditional pubs, contemporary restaurants and trendy bars.
Built in 1921, this historic landmark is home to the Northern Ireland Assembly and is open for public visits. Book a free guided tour of the Great Hall and take in the spectacular landscaped estate of this perfectly symmetrical building is set in. Enjoy a meal prepared by award winning chefs in the Member’s Dining room. Just be sure to note that the building is closed on the weekend. Squeeze this one in during the weekdays and you won’t be disappointed.
Known by the locals as “Gorgeous St George’s” this is the last surviving Victorian covered market in Belfast. The sophisticated red-brick building is located close to the River Lagan and Waterfront Hall and dates back to the 19th century. The award-winning market stalls are open from Friday to Sunday with traders selling local produce and crafts. Even if you’re not going there to shop, this is a great place to spend a relaxed afternoon breathing in the bustling atmosphere and mouth-watering aromas of the place.
Take centre stage with a behind the scenes tour of the Grand Opera House, the oldest one of its kind in Northern Ireland. Go backstage and uncover the day-to-day life of a working theatre. Built by the renowned theatre architect of that decade, Frank Matcham, the grade A listed building opened in 1895 and hosts an impressive programme of musicals, ballets, opera, plays and incredibly successful pantomime shows. Wander through its historic halls and become a part of its history.
Visiting Belfast soon? Tag us in your pictures of what to do in Belfast using the hashtag #ryanairstories for a chance to be featured on Ryanair’s Instagram feed.
Flights to Belfast
- Lucy Norris