Trip idea: Belfast and beyond

Titanic Belfast

Belfast is the perfect getaway, with warm city welcomes and exciting action-packed adventures

Buzzing nightlife, great restaurants and a unique history – Belfast has it all. And once you've explored the city, there's so much more to see and do. Make Belfast your base as you head off to discover nearby gems that will wow you with their lush beauty and intriguing history.

Belfast and beyond

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Discover Belfast

Stay in the city and explore Belfast’s rich history and warm hospitality.

A driving 7 mins
Black taxi tour
Black Taxi Tour

A local expert’s view

There’s no better way to get under Belfast's skin than with a Black Taxi Tour. So let a local expert guide you through the fascinating history and vibrant present of a city fast becoming known as one of Europe’s coolest destinations. Beginning with a complimentary pick-up at your hotel – or any city centre location – your tour will take in the famous peace wall, colourful political murals and some of Belfast’s most iconic attractions.

If you have more time

Explore the dark history of a Victorian-era prison at Crumlin Road Gaol, with its grim tales of imprisonment and executions.

B driving 6 mins
Belfast botanic gardens
Botanic Gardens

An oasis of calm and beauty

Ask your taxi driver to drop you off at Queen’s University and wander the stately grounds that are home to 100 listed buildings. You’ll find a trip to the adjoining Botanic Gardens is like hitting the reset button – you’ll want to dedicate a few hours to this exotic oasis nestled in the heart of the city’s leafy Queen’s Quarter.

If you have more time

Take in spectacular views of the Botanic Gardens and Ulster Museum at nearby fine-dining eatery, Deane’s at Queens. Don’t forget to book in advance.

C walking 13 mins
Belfast city hall
Belfast City Hall

Victorian grandeur aplenty

Situated in Belfast’s cultural Linen Quarter is the imposing architectural masterpiece of Belfast City Hall. Take one of the free daily tours and marvel at the sublime Baroque exterior and ornate stained glass windows – or just grab a coffee at AMPM Bohemian around the corner and admire the elegance of this showstopper from the front lawn. Just a short walk from here you’ll find a bastion of Victorian elegance at the Crown Liquor Saloon. Take a seat in one of its cosy snugs and bask in the friendly atmosphere.

Don't miss

A unique gastronomic adventure awaits at St George’s Market – open since the 1890s and still a must-see attraction for foodies.

St Anne's Cathedral

A spire of hope and inspirational writers

At the centre of Belfast's Cathedral Quarter and filled with everything your imagination could ever desire, the MAC (Metropolitan Arts Centre) is a hub of creative diversity. Gaze up at the soaring crenellations of St Anne's Cathedral, before hopping across the road to celebrate Belfast's literary scene in Writer's Square, where quotes from famous local writers CS Lewis, Hanna Bell and John Hewitt are carved in the stone underfoot. Rather apt for an island that does get the odd shower or two, keep watch for 'Umbrella Laneway', AKA Commercial Court.


Join the award-winning Belfast Food Tour that kicks off from St George’s Market, visiting traditional pubs, world-class shops, and eating and drinking some of the best local food and drink along the way.

Titanic Belfast

Titanic city

Take in the sights and sounds of the city’s remarkable Titanic Quarter and sample another side of Belfast.

E walking 1 min
the Titanic experience
Titanic Belfast

Titanic by name, Titanic by nature

Previously named as the World's Leading Tourist Attraction at the World Travel Awards, Titanic Belfast sheds light on the history of Belfast’s shipbuilding traditions. This beacon of modern design stands on the site where the Titanic was built, and boasts nine multimedia galleries over six floors showcasing the famous ship’s history and construction. An interactive experience not to be missed.

If you have more time

Grab a sophisticated bite amidst rich history in the room where the Titanic was designed at Titanic Hotel Belfast.

the ss Nomadic
SS Nomadic

All aboard for a maritime adventure

Why not further investigate the inspiring legacy of Belfast’s maritime and industrial past at Titanic’s little sister, the SS Nomadic. Climb aboard and soak up the history of the world’s last remaining White Star Line ship, where time seems to have stood still.

If you have more time

Just a short jaunt from here you’ll find HMS Caroline, a Royal Navy ship used during both World War I and II.

Gobbins Cliff Path

A change of pace

Time to slow things down. Leave the city and discover diverse history and culture as you head north to The Gobbins cliff path.

G driving 11 mins
Carrickfergus castle
Carrickfergus Castle

King of the castle

Drive north from Belfast and follow a stretch of idyllic beauty along Belfast Lough to one of the best-preserved medieval structures on the island of Ireland, Carrickfergus Castle. And take some time to explore the charming village of Carrickfergus, packed with history, great pubs and quaint cafés.

If you have more time

Discover the tumultuous events of the town's history at Carrickfergus Museum.

H driving 12 mins
whitehead railway
Whitehead Railway Museum

The giants of steam

Let your imagination run wild as you learn about Whitehead’s fascinating railway past. At Whitehead Railway Museum, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time. Jump aboard a 19th century steam locomotive and explore the historic carriages. Hear dark tales of butter smuggling, pull levers in the signal cabin, or just wind down with a bite to eat in a period-style tearoom.

Don't miss

Savour fresh seafood and local crafts at The Bank House Café.

I driving 34 mins
The Gobbins
The Gobbins

Tubular thrills at The Gobbins

Just north of Whitehead along the Causeway Coastal Route is The Gobbins: a spectacular narrow path that hugs the rugged County Antrim coastline. Step through Wise’s Eye at the beginning of the path and enter a timeless, magical place that is home to an array of seabirds and rich biodiversity. Pass a natural aquarium of seawater teeming with marine life, explore a secret smugglers’ cave, and cross the tubular bridge that’s suspended above the choppy waters of the Irish Sea below.

Ox Belfast
Ox Belfast

Michelin magic by the water

After all that fresh air, it’s time to head back to Belfast for some refined refueling. With such incredible produce on its doorstep, it’s no surprise that Belfast’s has a reputation as a flourishing foodie haven. Overlooking the shimmering River Lagan, there's something for every palate at the Michelin-starred restaurant, Ox. Seasonal fare amidst a relaxed atmosphere is the name of the game here. Arrive hungry: you’ll want to try everything!

Don't miss

If there’s one thing Belfast does well, it’s great pubs. With its odd flat-iron shape and red-brick exterior, Bittles Bar is a picture-perfect curiosity not to be missed.

Dunluce Castle

A legendary landscape

Marvel at the the rich, green Glens of Antrim and cruise the Causeway Coastal Route, declared a Best in Travel region by Lonely Planet.

K driving 50 mins

Delve into the Glens of Antrim

As you travel north from Belfast, take your pick of pretty villages dotted through nine glens, each with its own sense of character and community. Stop off at the Georgian village of Glenarm and explore one of Ireland’s oldest walled gardens at Glenarm Castle. Or drive on a little farther to Cushendall and sample some tasty local seafood from Upstairs At Joe’s. And don’t miss a visit to the picturesque harbour at nearby Cushendun. If you come at festival time, you can celebrate the rich traditions of this region at The Ghosts in the Glens Storytelling Festival.

If you have more time

From scenic Cushendun, follow the signposts to a driving route around the steep slopes between Fair Head, Murlough Bay and Torr Head that will take your breath away.

L driving 16 mins
People at Carrick-a-rede rope bridge
Causeway Coast Way

Get ready for some Northern exposure

While the spirit of Northern Ireland is brought to life by its people and culture, there are plenty of other sides to this compact region: namely the spectacular natural wonders. Book well in advance for an utterly exhilarating experience and cross the wooden slats as waves swirl beneath your feet at the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. From here it’s just a short drive to an array of rocks famed worldwide for their spectacular geometric stepping-stone formation: the Giant’s Causeway. Be warned, these two attractions are big hitters so expect large crowds and a wait at busy times. Instead, why not tackle the Giant's Causeway Cliff-top Experience Walk and get up close and personal with this epic landscape on foot?

Don't miss

Jump on a ferry from the colourful village of Ballycastle and stay a night on rugged Rathlin Island, an untamed wilderness of shipwrecks, seabirds and one of Ireland’s great lighthouses.

Bushmills distillery
Old Bushmills Distillery

Raise a whiskey glass

Before returning to Belfast, pay a visit to the village of Bushmills and the oldest working distillery on the island of Ireland. The Old Bushmills Distillery is also one of the few distilleries in the world to distil, blend and bottle whiskey under the same roof. Before the sun sets on the day’s adventuring, head along the coast to the ruins of the 14th century Dunluce Castle, teetering on the edge of the rugged cliffs of County Antrim.

If you have more time

On your way back to Belfast take the opportunity to visit one of Northern Ireland’s key Game of Thrones® filming destinations, The Dark Hedges.

Strangford Lough

A water wonderland

Travel around Strangford Lough and lose yourself in a unique landscape of ancient history, natural wonders and sumptuous stately homes.

N driving 60 mins
Mount Stewart Gardens
Mount Stewart

Enter a floral paradise

While the timeless design of the neo-classical 19th century house at Mount Stewart oozes elegance and charm, it’s the gardens that make this place special. Lush and enchanting, it’s easy to spend hours wandering around this collection of exotic plants, flowers and sculptures. Exploring in the blooms and flora here is a unique treat for green-fingered fans.

Don't miss

Explore Echlinville Distillery and get an insight into the workings of Northern Ireland’s first licenced distillery in over 125 years.

O driving 27 mins
Castle Ward
Winterfell Tours

Board a ferry to Winterfell

Continue to journey around the eastern shores of Strangford Lough until you hit the pretty lakeside village of Portaferry and its striking 16th century castle. From here you can board one of the daily ferries across the lough to Strangford. Then it’s just a few minutes’ drive to another iconic Game of Thrones® filming location: Castle Ward, a 18th century mansion whose demesne doubles as Winterfell, the ancestral home of the Stark family. Step into a fantasy world and live the Game of Thrones® experience with Winterfell Tours, or grab a canoe and head out on the lough with Clearsky Adventure.

Don't miss

As you journey back towards Belfast, visit the ruins of Inch Abbey: a monastic site brimming with history and character.

P driving 28 mins
Balloo House
Balloo House

Food for thought

County Down’s Balloo House on the shores of Strangford Lough is a prime example of why Northern Ireland has garnered a reputation for culinary excellence. Prepare for a taste sensation at this 400-year-old inn that exudes charisma and style. Take your pick from two very different gastro experiences under the same roof: a luxurious fine dining restaurant upstairs, and a casual bistro providing flavourful seasonal dishes downstairs.

The Perch rooftop bar
The Perch Rooftop Bar

Panoramic rooftop views

Returning to Belfast, it’s time to party. Great cocktails, delicious sharing platters and Instagram-worthy views go hand in hand at The Perch, a 1920s-style rooftop bar in Belfast’s Linen Quarter. Settle in and enjoy some live music, and soak up the elegant garden party atmosphere. Then skip across to the trendy Cathedral Quarter to Bullitt Bar, a Hollywood-themed establishment named in honour of the classic Steve McQueen film. Try the establishment’s own Bullitt brew, a delicious craft beer fit for any Hollywood star!

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