24 Hours in the brilliant city of Belfast. Less than a 2 hour drive from Dublin via the M1 road. I was so excited to firstly visit one of my dear friends Gill, who now lives in the city. I was then absolutely buzzing to visit a destination that has been on my Ireland to-do list for years and years. I have in-fact visited Belfast whilst working for Skysports Darts, unfortunately I didn’t venture far outside the SSE Arena at the time. It was a pleasure to include Belfast in my tour of Northern Ireland, even if it was just for one day. It was a lot of fun to finally be there as a tourist outside of work commitments.
This one day city break to Belfast was part of a larger trip exploring The North of Ireland. With the Belfast Christmas Markets in full swing at the time, it seemed like a no-brainer to swing by.
We arrived in Belfast City the late afternoon. It made the most sense to keep the remainder of the day as simple as possible. We focused on three main things The Titanic Belfast, City Hall and The Belfast Christmas Market. Finishing off the night having a good time exploring The Belfast Pub scene and catching up with a friend.
Our first destination was the widely talked about Titanic Belfast Exhibition. The impressive building is something to behold as a stand alone in itself. There is 9 sections to the experience, which is self guided using an informative headset. The tickets cost £19 and also includes admission to the SS Nomadic. It is recommended to take 1 hour & 45 minutes to fully enjoy the exhibition, which we did. The Titanic is a story we are all so familiar and well worth a visit.
Belfast Christmas Market and Belfast City Hall.
The festive market kicks off typically on the 16th of November under the impressive beauty of Belfast City Hall, located at Donegall Square. Its really at the center of everything in the city, which makes it a great site to start with. The market is well worth a visit and can really fill you with that lovely warm and festive spirit. Make sure to visit before the closing date on the 22nd of December.
Visit Belfast’s unique local pubs, where old meets new. Belfast Pubs are filled with energy and fun, especially on a Saturday night, which is the night we visited the city. I was fortunate to have my great friend Gill show us around some of the most popular spots, where we found live music at nearly every venue. All within walking distance of each other.
- The Spaniard
- The Dirty Onion
- The Duke
- Tipsy Bird
We started our morning early as we were keen to visit as many tourist destinations by light as possible. Also being conscious of the fact that we were leaving for The Causeway Coast Drive that day. I am the typical person who suffers with FOMO so i wanted to cram in as much as i could. We did most of the morning by car. Early Sunday morning is a great time to drive around Belfast as the streets are extremely quite, meaning we could pull over quite easy and grab some photos.
Belfast political murals and city artwork
This is one of the main reasons to visit Belfast to really immerse yourself in Belfast’s complicated political history and to see how it is represented through local art work. Where The Falls and Shankill Roads meet, a location of past conflict.
I found this blog called The Travel Turtle, which featured a super post about the mural locations which was quite helpful. It featured a handy walking route which we used
Other local spots that we visited
- The Big Fish, also known as The Salmon of Knowledge.
- Nuala with The Huala
- Albert Memorial Clock
- Belfast’s most unusual shaped bar ‘Bittles Bar‘. Flat iron in shape and built in 1868. HIGHLY RECOMMEND.
- Queens University Belfast
- St George’s Market is also another essential location to add to your Belfast Itinerary. It is particularly vibrant and beautiful during the Christmas period. The market has it all, fresh produce, things to sample and taste, food from around the globe and gorgeous local made trinkets. They even have a live performer in the heart of the market, that you can enjoy over a glass of hot spiced apple juice.
This was the last major sight in our trip of Belfast and one that kicked off the next part of our trip around the rest of Northern Ireland, taking The Causeway Coast drive up-to Portrush. This 19th century Scottish style castle overlooks Belfast with an impressive panoramic view. What i enjoyed most about visiting the castle was the story of The Castle Cat, which you are greeted by at the main entrance. It is said that as long as their is a white cat at the castle, guests who visit will find fortune. I didn’t see the white cat but i did see lots of cat references around the grounds, from cat statues to mosaic flooring’s depicting cats.
After visiting Belfast Castle we continued our adventure along The Causeway Coast Route by car, where myself and Alex further explore The North of Ireland. Please read the separate post about the rest of our trip in the next blog post ……
Thank you to The Titanic Belfast for the complimentary tickets to the exhibition. I always like to be as transparent as possible with my readers. This is no way impacts the authenticity of the content. I would also like to send a thank you to my friend Gill for hosting us during our time in Belfast, but for also being the most incredible tour guide. Your the best !