BELFAST DAYS

Experience the city that launched a thousand dreams

Ever been charmed by a city? Allow us to introduce Belfast. Experience ultimate immersion in Titanic’s hometown where you’ll be dwarfed by dry docks, fly high on a gantry ride and hop aboard the world’s last remaining White Star Line Ship. Follow your senses and find treasures under the arches of a Victorian market. Get your hands on a prized antique, that elusive first edition or a piping hot bacon sandwich. By night, toast with locals under the hum of gaslight in a pub so perfect, it hasn’t changed for centuries.

Spontaneous, surprising and sensory: be charmed by Belfast.

TITANIC: THE SHIP OF DREAMS

Introducing Titanic’s birthplace and the city that knew her best

“It’s amazing…and celebrates the history of Titanic in Belfast, ”
JAMES CAMERON, TITANIC MOVIE DIRECTOR

The NASA of its day, this was the city leading the Edwardian charge across the Atlantic Ocean. Titanic – and her sisters Olympic, Britannic – are Belfast born and the city’s docks, tours and museums will never forget it. Such was its ship-building prowess, it’s said that the ship could be seen by every soul in the city, no matter where they stood. Keen to uncover the secrets, methods and controversies of Titanic and the White Star Line? Belfast is the place.

Built on the slipways where the ship herself was constructed over 100 years ago, Titanic Belfast isn’t just a museum – it’s an experience. Inside its shimmering walls, nine galleries boast interactive exhibitions, an underwater cinema and gantry rides. This is the whole story, from dream to tragedy. Later, give a nod to Samson & Goliath (Harland and Wolff’s yellow cranes) and Head to Hamilton Dock to see Titanic’s little sister, the SS Nomadic now fully restored and offering a unique onboard time-travel experience. Built in Belfast, Nomadic was the first and second-class passenger tender for the Titanic at Cherbourg. Pre-booking is advised

ST GEORGE'S MARKET

Quirky crafts, unique antiques and foodie treats: step into St George’s Market.

“…it was great, the food, the incredible atmosphere.”
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC TRAVELER ON BELFAST

Seafood, pastries, cheeses, meats, coffee… you name it, you’ll find it at St George’s Market. There has been a market on this spot since 1604, so this is a shopping experience with pedigree. In 2014, St George’s Market was named the UK's Best Large Indoor Market 2014 by the National Association of British Market Authorities. Open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, the market isn’t just about food. You’ll also find antiques, jewellery, artworks, books, photography and much, much more.

You must try

  • Follow the guides at The Ulster Folk and Transport Museum (Never seen a DeLorean up close? You will here.)
  • Get in the spirit, perhaps hum a Van Morrison tune as you get acquainted with the Belfast Music Tours.
  • The Merchant Hotel’s Great Room – exudes charm, history and sophistication, and serves classically inspired dishes. You’re in for a gastronomic (and atmospheric) treat.
  • Molly’s Yard – with a focus on fresh and seasonal dishes, the intimate surroundings of Molly’s are designed for romantic meals accompanied by vintage wine.
  • The Rayanne House - tuck into the Titanic’s First Class menu (all nine courses of it) in charmingly Titanic-themed surrounds.

You have to see

  • City Hall – a centerpiece on Belfast’s skyline, the City Hall, its surrounding gardens, and various statues are hugely popular amongst visitors and locals alike.
  • Crumlin Road Goal – this 19th century prison closed in 1996 and now hosts tours and an eerie atmosphere. Discover what prison life was like and even visit the gravesites of condemned prisoners.
  • Cathedral Quarter – this is Belfast’s cultural hub; a dynamic mix of culture and arts along with plenty of fascinating architecture (the Gothic St Anne’s cathedral is a real treat), narrow laneways and cobbled streets to explore.
  • The Titanic Memorial - marvel at the sculpture sitting on a grassy patch at City Hall, dedicated to the Belfast souls who were lost during Titanic’s sinking.

Festival Happenings

For over 50 years, the annual Belfast Festival at Queen's combines a huge line-up of all things arts: music, theatre, literature, comedy and some very special one-off events. Food lovers should follow the flavours of the culinary events during Belfast Restaurant Week in October. And for those who love music with a large order of culture in its back story, Belfast Music Week (November) plays out on the streets, concert halls, pubs and in the 80-odd clubs that dot the city.

A BELFAST EVENING

Exploring Belfast’s artistic culture

Creative Central

Belfast has a rich creative legacy, and is birthplace to many renowned artists. When evening arrives, it’s the perfect time to experience some of this history for yourself at intimate venues such as the Queen’s Film Theatre in Queen’s University. The legendary, Irish poet and playwright, Seamus Heaney once bestowed his creative wisdom as a lecturer here, and the university now has a dedicated Seamus Heaney Poetry Centre, with courses taught by some of Ireland’s most distinguished writers.

“If you can’t have a good time in Belfast, you can’t have a good time”
JOOLS HOLLAND

The MAC (Metropolitan Arts Centre) is in the heart of Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter. It is a mix up of music, theatre, dance, exhibitions and experimental art. The majestic Grand Opera House has been around since 1895 and is a world-class theatrical experience of drama, opera and musicals. The Lyric Players Theatre (The Lyric) brings local issues and characters to the world stage and has hosted the writing and acting talents of Liam Neeson, Brian Friel among others.

ELEGANT EVENINGS

  • Black Box – for a perfect night of theatre, the Black Box features everything from visual art to cabaret.
  • The Fountain bar – this traditional Tudor bar survived the Second World War, and is now a cozy location for premium drinks and meals.
  • Ulster Hall – something for everyone: sit back and enjoy the sweeping concertos of the Ulster Orchestra or enrich your mind with an art exhibition.

Culinary Delights

  • OX – this superb restaurant on Oxford Street offers dining with seasonal creativity.
  • Mourne Seafood – serves fresh local seafood and a mouthwatering European cuisine; everything from buttered lobster to prime sirloin to blow your taste buds.
  • The 4th Wall – overlooking the MAC, this is the perfect place to go for a pre-theatre bite or a lavish evening meal.
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