DISTANCE FROM CENTRE
Hailed by many for a long time as a place to avoid rather than a place to holiday at, in the past few years Belfast has made a remarkable transformation and has seen itself change from a place that tourists shook their heads at to hosting one of the world’s most popular tourist attractions, the shipyard in which the ill-fated cruise ship the Titanic was made.
With a stunning waterfront full of life, amazing restaurants, and a lovingly restored Victorian town centre, we can’t get enough of Belfast as one of the hottest growing weekend city breaks this summer.
If you want to stay in the heart of things, of course you’ll want to stay in central Belfast. Whether you just want to stay in the city itself or you want to use Belfast as a jumping off point for exploring more of Northern Ireland, we can’t recommend the central area more. We recommend staying in a boutique hotel or an apartment rental so that you can stay right in the midst of things.
The Cathedral Quarter
If you want to see the hipper, cooler side of Belfast, we recommend the cathedral quarter. A little more laidback but still with plenty of pubs, restaurants, and shopping opportunities, this area of Belfast is bristling with artists and cool new music. Stay in a vacation rental to fully immerse yourself in this neighborhood, meet some locals who will give you the insider information on where the best place to be on a Saturday night is.
This is a very popular area for students and for this reason is a little more affordable and nice. We recommend staying here for those travelers who are on a budget, or who want to see the younger side of Belfast show its colors. Still easily accessible to central and downtown areas, this is where to let your hair shake loose without breaking the bank. Stay in a hotel as the prices here will be really good, or rent out a students digs for the ultimate immersion experience.
Of course, if you want to be close to Belfast’s most famous attraction, check out the Titanic Quarter. It’s been refurbished and renovated from the original shipyard that it was, but still retains a lot of the feel of its previous purpose. Intermixed with still-working shipping companies and dockyard businesses, this is a really cool area to find a repurposed boutique hotel or a converted vacation rental. You may snag a holiday home that had been occupied by a worker on the Titanic herself!
Besides just walking around the city and enjoying its lively cafe and pub culture, we highly recommend seeing some of the more iconics sights around the city. Of course, the birthplace of the Titanic is a must. With multiple awards for its tourist draw and historic significance, seeing where such a large ship was built is certainly something that many visitors will remember for a very long time. For something a little bit off the beaten path, try the Crumlin Road Gaol for a fascinating history of the city intertwined with the imposing and severe face of the jail, and even enjoy the chance to see yourself in a cell.
While exploring Belfast is incredibly fun and already a huge task in itself, we encourage people to take a day-trip outside the city to see many of the beautiful works of nature that are right outside the city. See the Giant’s causeway, a natural wonder of stone that needs to be seen to be believed, and the Dark Hedges, which was filmed extensively for use in the HBO show Game of Thrones.
The weather in Belfast can be rather moody and unpredictable, but in general, from April to June the weather will be at its best. Come during the summer for a taste of some of Belfast’s wilder and more colorful side, and of course, the early autumn is best for missing the crowds while still enjoying the mild weather.
No matter what, we recommend bringing a light waterproof jacket and umbrella with you. Belfast is infamous for being gorgeous in the morning and stormy at night! Be prepared for the worse if you’re planning on being out all day.