Belfast is, without doubt, an easy city to love and a must-visit destination! No matter where your interests lie, there’s always something to do in Belfast and there’s definitely no danger of you getting bored!
Before Game of Thrones, Northern Ireland wasn’t taken seriously as a film industry hub in the UK. Thanks to GOT and it’s estimated £206 million boost to the local economy over the eight series, Belfast, in particular, is becoming an increasingly popular filming destination. In 2018 alone, there were nine TV dramas and six feature films shot in Belfast and the surrounding area, including Mrs Wilson, Derry Girls and hit BBC series Line of Duty. This once-troubled powerhouse is now a vibrant, cultural city, with Titanic Studios and Northern Ireland Screen playing a huge part.
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The former Harland and Wolff headquarters has been transformed into the architectural gem that is the Titanic Hotel. There luxury rooms are a blend of art deco, hanging ship lanterns and brass-cornered wooden furniture, an obvious ode to the ‘White Star Liner.’ Right in the heart of the Titanic Quarter, this hotel is ideally located from anyone working/filming at Titanic Studios, which is less than a 5-minute walk away or even those going to the SSE Arena!
Located in the heart of Belfast City Centre, the Maldron Hotel Belfast City is the perfect spot for visiting the beautiful sights of Northern Ireland. This 237 bedroom hotel is just 900 yards from the epic Belfast Empire Music Hall and is the perfect base for visiting Cathedral Quarter, Queen’s University and the iconic Belfast Town Hall. This hotel is also one of the best for accessibility, housing 12 fully accessible rooms, this hotel’s accessibility features are second to none!
Nestled in the revitalised Gasworks business area of Belfast, the Radisson Blu Belfast, combines a tranquil riverside setting with easy access to the heart of the city! This 120 bedroom hotel is a handy 10 minute stroll into the main city centre, so you can experience the city without the hustle and bustle! Don’t forget to sit and relax in the open-plan foyer, complete with light woods, warm rugs, leather sofas and giant chrome reading lights.
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Tucked away in the backstreets of Cathedral Quarter is The Muddlers Club, named after the secret society that met there over 200 years ago. Former OX chef Gareth McCaughey handpicks the best homegrown produce daily to ensure the quality of food is top-notch! The salt-aged steak is so perfect it will move you to tears, so it’s no surprise The Muddlers Club has just become the third Northern Ireland restaurant to receive a Michelin star!
The RGB Bar and Grill, located in the Park Inn by Radisson, offers up stunning New York-style décor and exceptional service! The menu tempts diners with a selection of classic, international and signature dishes from the grill, so your options are truly endless! It’s also right in the heart of the city, so stop by for a snack in your lunch break or an intimate dinner in the evening. This restaurant is also handy for anyone working in BBC’s Broadcasting House!
AMPM, located in Upper Arthur Street, combines an intimate, unique, cutting edge ambience with stylish design and wholesome cuisine. The combination of sumptuous cuisine and friendly service make AMPM one of the best eateries in the city, especially seeing as they’ve also been voted the best ‘Fine Dining Restaurant in Belfast’!
Nestled down the cobbled streets of the Cathedral Quarter is the Duke of York, home to Northern Ireland’s largest whisky selection! The Duke of York is a traditional Belfast bar, crammed with original mirrors and memorabilia and of course offering up a great pint of Guinness! Try to go Thursday-Sunday for some of the best live music around, you might even discover the next Snow Patrol, who played their first gig here!
The Crown Liquor Saloon is by far Belfast’s most famous bar, dating back to 1885 and is owned by the National Trust! The most eye-catching marvels in this joint are the Victorian wooden booths, which with their carved lions’ and gryphons’ heads, are a mixture of a church pew, confessional box and horse stall! Another unique feature is that there are bells on the booth walls, to summon service!
Located on the top floor of the Bullitt Hotel, is Babel, a rooftop bar, complete with a view to die for! Babel’s creative shrub cocktails use ingredients and garnishes inspired by it’s living walls, which contain over 300 plants. Taking inspiration from 1950’s design, the bar is complete with deep green and ocean blue plush velvet and leather interiors, with a retractable roof and a luxe corner VIP room.
must see sights
A relatively small city, Belfast is divided into quarters, each known for its own distinct character. You’ll probably spend most of your time in the Cathedral Quarter in the heart of the city, with streets filled with buzzing pubs, shops and top-notch restaurants. Further on you’ll find the Queen’s Quarter, home to the Botanical Gardens, Ulster Museum and Queen’s University.
To the east of the city on the other side of the river, you’ll find Titanic Quarter, named after the infamous ship built there. It’s now home to the Titanic Museum, the Odyssey Complex and of course Titanic Studios. If you’re a bit of a culture junkie, head to the Gaeltacht Quarter in the west of the city, to experience Irish language and culture.
Slightly further out of the city and worth the trip is Crumlin Road Gaol, a 19th-century jail, that once housed murderers suffragettes and loyalist and republican prisoners for over 150 years.
Now, as for how to end your trip with a bang? Well, that’s another blog post for another time!