Belfast is the biggest city in Northern Ireland and the capital of the region. It’s a beautiful town with a rich past and full of tourist attractions. Many of its buildings have been restructured after the period of the Troubles, a 30-year conflict that caused a lot of pain and suffering to the Northern Irish population. However, the city has regained its peace and expanded to become one of the most important ports in the UK. The number of tourists has increased exponentially since the 80s, so it’s safe to say that one day in Belfast is now an ideal solution if you’re craving a short vacation. Here’s a list of locations to visit and fun activities to do in 24 hours.
What’s the best time to visit Belfast?
The best time for visiting Belfast is summer, although you may find more tourists during that time in the city. The temperatures are optimal: 85 degrees Fahrenheit (30 Celsius) in July with low chances of precipitations. Nevertheless, you can also visit it all year round since the temperatures are mild. The climate is slightly humid due to the proximity of the bay. Therefore, it may get a little foggy in the morning. Also, you may want to visit during the weekend because that’s when Belfast’s best entertainment locations are open.
A few facts about Belfast
Here are some intriguing facts about the city of Belfast:
- Belfast’s Obel Tower has 27 floors and is 262 feet (80 meters) tall and is the highest storeyed building on the island of Ireland.
- C.S. Lewis got his inspiration from Belfast for the novel “The Chronicles of Narnia.”
- The symbol of Belfast is a glowing seahorse. The emblem comes from the history of the city, an important port in Northern Ireland.
- Liam Neeson had his first stage appearance in Belfast, in the Lyric Theatre.
- Because of its linen production in the 19th century, Belfast gained the nickname “Linenopolis.”
- Belfast’s twin towns are Nashville and Boston in the USA, Shenyang and Hefei in China.
- The first time Led Zepplin performed “Stairway to Heaven” was in Belfast at the Ulster Hall in 1971.
One Day in Belfast Itinerary
Start your day at Saint George’s Market
On weekend mornings, the life of Belfast moves to Saint George’s Market. So start your one day in the city by visiting this fantastic place. The remodelled structure hosts the shops of 150 traders, and you can buy anything from antiques to bread, from seafood to candy. On Saturdays, a band plays live jazz while you taste the essence of Belfast.
Walk to Belfast City Hall
From St. George’s Market, you can walk to the City Hall, a civic building in the heart of Belfast. In 1906, the local administration decided to allow the public to visit the monumental structure. Additionally, Belfast City Hall tells myths and stories with its stained glass windows.
The Great Famine is one of the legends depicted on the glass. The City Hall has a garden on its eastern wing, the Titanic Memorial Garden. The 1,512 victims of the tragedy are commemorated on the bronze plates while nature’s green is an homage to life.
Have Lunch At Darcy’s Belfast
Near the city centre, you’ll find a top-rated restaurant: Darcy’s Belfast. Just Google 10 Bradbury Place, Belfast BT7 1RS Northern Ireland, and you can get to it on foot.
The restaurant is reasonably-priced and offers Irish, British, and European food. It has two levels, and the interior design takes you back in time through the history of Belfast. Just remember to book a table the day before.
Visit Titanic Belfast
Next, hop on a bus and go to Queens Road. Here you’ll find Titanic Belfast.
The museum is dedicated to the world-famous ship, which was built in the port of Belfast. The construction is a massive building with a design that resembles the renowned craft. It has nine galleries that take you through the story of the Titanic.
The guided tour starts with a presentation of the Titanic’s construction. Then, you’ll find out more about the launch, sailing, and the tragedy of the 14th of April 1912. If you love the movie Titanic, this museum is a must-see.
Explore the Ulster Museum
If you take a bus to Stranmillis Road, you’ll find another Belfast landmark: the Ulster Museum. The council invested millions of pounds into the development of the structure, and today the Ulster Museum is a tourist attraction.
The exhibition presents archaeological pieces that connect to tell the story of the Irish population since the discovery of fire: clothes, tools, art, and more. Moreover, the museum holds the tapestry used in the making of the Game Of Thrones series.
Relax at the Botanic Gardens
The Botanic Gardens are a two-minute walk from Ulster Museum. The architect is Sir Charles Lanyon, a local star of 19th-century civil architecture.
The Botanic Gardens present a wide range of flowers, trees, such as hornbeam-leafed oaks and geraniums. You can also find a bowling place and a playground between the tropical trees. So, if you want to be surrounded by nature, consider visiting these gardens.
Check out the Peace Walls
The Peace Walls are a series of decorated walls full of peace-themed paintings and graffiti. The walls were raised to separate the Nationalists from the Loyalists, and today it divides the majority of Belfast. Nevertheless, the Northern Ireland administration wants to remove the structures that were initially needed to prevent violent attacks.
By 2023, the walls will exist as museum pieces or just in small portions, like the Berlin wall. You can decide to walk from your hotel to Shankill Road, or you can hop on a bus to get there.
Dine at Holohans At The Barge
If you want to taste local Irish food, try Holohans At The Barge, at the address 1 Lanyon Quay, Belfast BT1 3LG Northern Ireland.
The prices are reasonable, and the food helped the restaurant earn a stellar reputation. Moreover, the place is colorful, trendy, and on a boat. You can see the city lights and the sea through the window, at night. Just remember to book your table a day before.
Go to Crumlin Road Gaol, if you dare
Suppose you’re looking to see the after-dark Belfast: try The Crumlin Road Gaol. It’s the most visited and ghostly place in Belfast. You can participate in the Paranormal Tour, which reveals the most paranormal sites: the execution room, flogging room, and other torture chambers. It was closed for more than 150 years until 1996, when the city council opened it for public tours, weddings, and concerts.
Enjoy high-class entertainment at the MAC
If you don’t want to be spooked, end your one day in Belfast with The Metropolitan Arts Centre Belfast (MAC) opened in 2012. Take the road to Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter, and you’ll find the center.
The structure is a theatre, a concert and exhibition venue. At MAC, you can find a full spectrum of entertainment: musicals, theatre pieces, live music, magic shows, documentaries, and more. Additionally, the building is a venue for local and international exhibitions with art pieces by renowned artists.
Where to stay in Belfast, UK?
After you make arrangements to spend your one day in Belfast, you can try finding a place to stay. Here are three excellent locations.
Clayton Hotel Belfast
22 Ormeau Avenue, Belfast, BT2 8HS
Clayton Hotel is one of the best in Belfast. The staff is warm yet professional, and the rooms are clean. It’s in the city center, so you don’t need a car to move around. The Peace Walls are near, and so is Titanic Belfast. However, even if you have a car, there is plenty of parking space around the hotel. You can find the location on 22 Ormeau Avenue, Belfast BT2 8HS Northern Ireland.
Jurys Inn Belfast
Great Victoria Street, Belfast, BT1 6DY
Jurys Inn Belfast is a four-star Inn in the heart of the city. It’s affordable, clean, and it provides you with free wifi and a flat-screen TV. The hotel even offers a wake-up service and a bar&lounge area. You can find it at the address Fisherwick Place Great Victoria Street, Belfast BT2 7AP Northern Ireland.
Great Victoria Street, Belfast, BT2 7AP
Europa Hotel is world-famous and offers a luxurious stay. The rooms are clean and sophisticated, the beds have Ralph Lauren fabrics, while the staff offers the best services. Additionally, the hotel provides free high-speed wifi, a nightclub, and even a fireplace in your room. You can find it at Great Victoria St., Belfast BT2 7AP Northern Ireland.
9 University Road, Belfast, BT7 1NA
Wonderfully decorated, Vagabonds is the best hostel pick in Belfast. It offers continental breakfast every morning to its guests, and it’s located reasonably close to the Ulster Museum and the Botanical Gardens. The guest room is equipped with all sorts of games, and there’s even evening entertainment you can enjoy. So, if you’re traveling on a budget, consider booking a room here.
Day trips from Belfast
If you ask the locals or your tour guide, you’ll find many locations near Belfast that you can visit if you decide to stay another day or two. Many areas in Belfast and around it are part of UNESCO World Heritage, so you have plenty of options that you can choose for your day trip.
The Giant’s Causeway is a famous location where you can find rocky beaches and basalt columns, near the sea. Close by is the Carrick-A-Rede Bridge, a rope bridge with a few boards that connects the mainland to this small island.
Gobbins Cliff Path is similar, although much sturdier, and a wonderful day trip from Belfast if you want to enjoy spectacular sceneries.
Extra tips for visiting Belfast
If you travel to Belfast, make sure you have an umbrella with you, especially if you’re visiting the city during cold months.
The best way to move around Belfast is on foot. Alternatively, you can take one of the many hop-on-buses.
More so, book a hotel in the center of the city, as that’s where most tourist attractions are.
Lastly, if you come from abroad, remember that the currency is the pound sterling. So exchange some money, as you may need cash for some locations such as St. George’s Market.
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