With its lively city centre and bustling street side cafes and bars, Northern Ireland’s capital, Belfast, exudes a palpable sense of pride and optimism among locals who have worked hard to make Belfast a revived and fascinating Northern Ireland holiday destination, and it is well worth a visit on any Irish tour.
Things to do in Belfast, Northern Ireland
At the very heart of the city lies Donegall Square, home to the much loved Belfast attraction, City Hall. The impressive Baroque Revival style exterior, with its weathered copper dome, dominates the city skyline and marks an important turning point in Belfast history. Building was started in 1898 to commemorate Queen Victoria granting Belfast city status at a time when the shipbuilding, rope-making and linen industries were thriving.
Still renowned for its shipbuilding, you can’t visit Belfast without getting an insight into its most famous ship, the Titanic. Belfast is incredibly proud of their construction of the ill-fated liner, often quoting the slogan, ‘She was all right when she left here’. For a truly immersive experience of the Titanic’s construction, launch, maiden voyage and eventual destruction, the Titanic Visitor Centre is a Belfast sightseeing must. Housed in a modernist building shaped to resemble a gigantic prow, Titanic Belfast Visitor’s Centre gives you a real taste for what it must have been like aboard the ship, through faithful reconstructions and cutting-edge interactive displays.
While on holiday in Belfast, be sure to catch a glimpse of Stormont Castle’s turrets and battlements through the lush woodland of Stormont Estate. As the home of the Northern Ireland Executive, Stormont Castle has seen its fair share of historical events over the years, like the election of the country’s first Prime Minister.
Another historical Belfast landmark worth visiting on your Northern Ireland vacation is Queens University, where you can walk in the footsteps of famous alumni such as actors Simon Callow and Liam Neeson, Nobel Prize-winning poet, Seamus Heaney and former President of Ireland, Mary McAleese.
To get a feel for the city as a whole, head up to Cave Hill, Belfast’s highest point. Not only do you get great views of the city and harbour, you can also see the Isle of Man and the shores of Scotland on a clear day.