Belfast city has emerged from a long and troubled history as one of the top destinations in Europe for a city break. It has undergone some rejuvenation and revival in the last few years and is now a lively, buzzing cosmopolitan city that’s packed with things to see and do.
In 2007, the Observer and Guardian voted Belfast city as runner up in a travel award in the “Favourite UK city” category, coming second only to Edinburgh. This highlights the fact that Belfast is attracting steadily growing numbers year after year.
Belfast city can be found in County Antrim at the mouth of the River Lagan, close to the border with County Down. It’s the capital of Northern Ireland and the second largest city on the island of Ireland after Dublin. The city is surrounded by a series of hills, one of which was said to be the inspiration for Jonathon Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels.
Being just a little village in the 17th century, Belfast later began to thrive as an industrial city with industries like linen, tobacco, rope making and ship building being the mainstay of the city’s economy by the 19th century – at one stage it was even bigger and more industrialised than Dublin city!
The city’s location at the mouth of the River Lagan was also to benefit the city hugely. It was in these very docklands that the Harland and Wolff shipyards were located. At one point, Harland and Wolff were the largest ship builders in the world and employed up to 35,000 people. The largest and most famous ship to be ever built here was The Titanic.
Belfast troubles have only helped to boost visitor numbers to the north, who now visit to explore the legacy, murals and monuments that it has left behind. Belfast is a compact city with all the major attractions like The City Hall, The Linen Hall Library, The Waterfront Hall, The Grand Opera House and The Crowne Liquor Saloon, The Belfast Eye, The Botanic Gardens, Queens University and the Ulster Museum all within walking distance of each other.
You could also opt to take the fun and educational ‘World Famous Black Taxi Tours of Belfast city’, which will take you through the shipyards and the different political districts where you can see the murals on the walls.
Just a 1-hour’s drive from Belfast city will take you to some world-class attractions like the Bushmills Distillery, the Giant’s Causeway, The Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge and Dunluce Castle.
Belfast is a shoppers paradise, with shopping centres, high street stores and boutiques located all over the city centre. It’s all a fantastic city for nightlife, with gourmet restaurants, traditional pubs with live Irish music, hip and trendy disco bars and some of the best clubbing venues in the North to be enjoyed here. Kids will also enjoy their stay in Belfast, as there’s plenty to keep them occupied like the W5 Interactive Discover Centre, Belfast Zoo, Steamvale Open Farm, Aunt Sandra’s Candy Factory, Pirate Adventure Golf and Indiana Land Indoor Adventure Centre.
There has never been a better time to visit Belfast so book a Belfast hotel now and discover it for yourself!
Have you been to Belfast? What was the highlight for you? Any stories, comments, advice welcome in the box below