2 days in Belfast during the last week of August 2014. Even if the city is not big, there is a lot to do and I have not done all the things I planed. I found so many other interesting things to do on my way.
I will only talk about the most interesting places I visited so I will maybe not mention some other nice places recommanded by others.
Belfast is a city where you can easily walk from a side to another but if, like me, you want to discover the surrounding, daily bus ticket is a good deal and costs £3,40. The transportation are not complicated to manage once you know where the main stops are.
The main bus lines are called Metro. There is no underground in the city so it may be confusing when the driver asks to see your metro ticket, it’s just your bus ticket 😉
1. The Titanic Belfast and the Dock and Pump-House
You can’t leave Belfast without visiting this exhibition. According to me, the best I’ve ever visited!
Of course, you’ll learn a lot about the Titanic but there is also exhibitions linked to the history of Belfast, its industrial past in mill and boats, another one dealing with the films based on the Titanic and the submarine experiences. Really interesting.
You can spend there easily 3 to 4 hours.
To go further, there is also the Titanic Dock and Pump-House located at 5 minutes walk and where you’ll discover how the water flows are managed in the docks. It’s not a Must do but you can have a saving when you buy both tickets on the same time.
The last tour in the Pump-House is 4:00 PM so if you don’t have time to visit it, you can use it another day. It’s not working for the Titanic Belfast where the date is required when you book.
Prices The Titanic Belfast - £15 The Titanic Dock and Pump-House - £6,5 You can buy a combo for £18,50 Pick up your tickets first at the Titanic Belfast. Location Titanic Belfast 1 Olympic Way Queen's Road Belfast BT3 9EP
If you’re looking for a nice walk during the evening, walk along the quays to reach the city center. With the lights, it’s magic.
2. The Peace Wall, Falls Road and Northumberlands street – The street art and fences around Belfast
No need to talk a lot of the history of Northern Ireland which is really strong. Many riots, curfews, fences were present few years ago and still exist in the country.
Along Falls Road you’ll find at almost each corner of the street a reprenstation of an important fact or person, marking the history of the city.
Northumberlands street is full of symbols of freedom, not only in Ireland but for other countries. All are drawing on the old fenses. You can also see there a gate which was devided the two parts of the city. There are other gates in this area and some of them still closed everyday around 5:00 PM as a symbol of the past mainly.
The Peace Wall is actually not one but many of walls made of fenses which can be 5 km (3 miles) long as on Cupar Way. It was the border and separation between the Catholic and the Protestant citizens of Belfast.
The city wants to destroy all of them within the next 10 years.
There are some Black Cab tour from £10 for about 1,5 hours and per person. We booked one but it seems that we’ve got an issue during the booking and the driver was not available anymore so we did our own tour with our car.
3. The Cathedral quarter – Its street art and the Duke of York
Because of this name, you already know that there is a Cathedral, but actually, it’s not exceptional.
Just walk around in the small streets near North Street (like Lower Garfield Street) or Donegall Street with the small places at each corner.
You’ll be able to see amazing graffiti with one of the best located in Commercial Court. The street is already beautiful but in the small back garden, you’ll find some others. Don’t miss it!
Talking about the Duke of York, have a drink there.
That’s the oldest courtyard in Belfast’s Cathedral quarter. That’s also where Snow Patrol did it first Gig.
Location The Duke of York 7 - 11 Commercial Court Belfast BT1 2NB
If you just fancy a tea, try to have one at the 5 stars hotel / restaurant The Merchant Hotel.
I talked about the place in a previous article here.
4. Crumlin Road Goal
If you visit Belfast for its history, then go to the Crumlin Road Goal. The HMP Belfast is a prison opened between 1846 and 1996. That’s an important part of the history where some important people died during the hunger strikes to be listened.
Historically interesting, even if it’s small, it’s a one hour guided tour that I really enjoyed.
Location Crumlin Road Goal 53 - 55 Crumlin Road Belfast BT14 6ST
5. The City Hall and the Linen Hall Library
In the heart of Belfast, the city hall, a nice building with three interesting facts:
– The inside is really nice to see.
– There are windows with events concerning the history of the city.
– Every evening, the City Hall is lighted in white but sometimes the color changed due to special events. When I was there it was in red because of the blood donation day.
In front of it, you can visit the Linen Hall Library.
Not the most amazing Library I visited but there are three interesting facts:
– On the second floor, look at one of the window where the building outside are drawn.
– The wall on the most recent part of the building is full of posters dealing with many part of the history of Belfast and Ireland in general.
– There is a coffee shop on the first floor where it’s good to stop because of the decoration of the room.
6. Other places you can visit
– The Dome for a view of Belfast.
– The Castle of Belfast and it gardens for a walk and a view on the Titanic Quarter.
7. Where to stay?
We stayed at the Vagabonds Hostels that I highly recommend.
The staff was really friendly and the common area were clean and nice.
For £16 per night per person breakfast included and close to the center.
You can also book private rooms.
Location Vagabonds Belfast 9 University Road Belfast BT7 1NA