Why not fly to your holiday destination from this bustling Northern Irish city? Here’s how to get the most out of your time before you check in, and make that long slog to the airport worthwhile…
What to see
Belfast is one of the central filming locations for hit series Game of Thrones and many of its interior shots are filmed at Paint Hall studio in the Titanic Quarter.The area is also home to the largest museum in the world dedicated to the RMS Titanic, which is located in the exact site the doomed ship was designed and built.
Where to shop
St George’s Market has been around since the 19th century and has never really lost its appeal. It’s the last surviving Victorian covered market in Belfast and now has three different weekend markets. The Friday Variety Market has fruit and veg on offer as well as antiques and clothes. Saturday’s market features handmade crafts and plants, while Sundays are a mixture of both.
Where to stay
With everything from a luxury spa, a rooftop gymnasium and a jazz bar on offer, the Merchant Hotel Belfast ticks plenty of boxes. This opulent five-star hotel is housed in a Grade A listed building and located in the Cathedral Quarter of Belfast’s city centre. The Europa Hotel Belfast also boasts a prime spot in the heart of city, with easy access to all the nearby attractions. This elegant, contemporary hotel is also a renowned spot for afternoon tea.
Alternatively, if you’d like to get a taste of rural Ireland, stay at the Slieve Donard Resort and Spa near the Mourne Mountains in County Down. This stunning regal-looking hotel is set among six acres of pristine private grounds and is home to one of Europe’s finest resort spas.
What to eat
The Ox is one of only two Michelin starred restaurants in the city – Eipic being the second – and was named one of the ‘hottest’ places to eat in the world by Condé Nast Traveller. It has an ever-changing food menu featuring local, natural produce.
What to drink
The Crown Bar is probably the most famous pub in Belfast and is definitely one of its most picturesque. Once a Victorian gin palace, it was decorated by Italian artisan builders back in the 1800s and is now owned by the National Trust. Brad Pitt and Bill Clinton are among the many who’ve dropped in over the years.