9 things to do in a day in Belfast, Ireland

17 Best Things to Do in Belfast, Ireland

Belfast offers a colorful mix of history, art, fantastic food and gorgeous scenery – if you happen to visit the capital and largest city in Northern Ireland, you’ll come across an almost overwhelming number of things to see and do. If you need to narrow your horizons, consider putting these things at the top of your list.

Belfast Castle and Gardens

Belfast Castle and Gardens Belfast Castle and Gardens

Belfast Castle.

Belfast Castle’s spectacular location on Cave Hill, with its outlines visible throughout the city and its impressive architecture, make it a great place to visit and stunning views of the city and Belfast Loch. In fact, it might be the best place to get those Instagram-worthy Belfast photos. The castle’s most famous feature, known locally as Napoleon’s Nose, is said to have been the inspiration for Jonathan Swift’s novel Gulliver’s Travels. You can also stroll through the magnificent gardens and dine at the on-site Cellar restaurant. The Cave Hill Visitor Center, located in the basement of the castle, has a free museum.

Titanic Belfast.

Titanic Belfast. Titanic Belfast.

Spend a day or more at the Titanic Museum

The Titanic Museum is amazing. It’s so big, you could easily spend two full days or more looking through the extensive collection of exhibits, including pieces from the legendary ship that sank in 1912, with recreated letters, clothes and rooms. There are virtual reality rooms, multimedia displays and even live cameras from the crew who discovered the wreck, showing the underwater rescue and research being done today. If you’re wondering, “Why Belfast?” The RMS Titanic, which was the largest and most luxurious ship ever seen at the time, was built in Belfast. Despite the tragic ending, the people of Belfast are quite proud of their connection to the ship, creating this attraction to showcase its history.

Belfast Harbor.

Belfast Harbor Belfast Harbor

Take a tour of the Titanic Harbor boat

Derek Booker is one of the city’s leading experts on the Titanic, having pushed the city for years to celebrate its most famous ship. His dream has finally come true with the construction of the Titanic in Belfast, and Booker himself offers his own water tour of the Lagan Boat Company around the docks on a boat he calls the Joyce Too. He entertains passengers with wonderful and often humorous tales of the great ship and the characters of Harland & Wolff and other famous shipyards that once filled the docks with the chaos, rumble and turmoil of Victorian energy. In summer, the boat also goes to the Musgrave Canal, where you can see Belfast’s large colony of breeding seals.

Black Taxi Tour

Hop on the Black Cab Taxi Tour

These quaint, unusual tours, conducted in traditional black cabs, will take you on a fascinating 90-minute journey through the city, including its murals, the so-called Walls of Peace that separate Protestants and Catholics, the university, the docks, Catholic Falls Road and Protestant Shankill Road. You’ll hear about the infamous “troubles,” get political information and more, all from your driver’s perspective for a unique historical and cultural experience. Your driver can pick you up from your hotel or other location anywhere in the city.

Peace Wall.

Wall of Peace Wall of Peace

Check out the Peace Wall.

If you don’t have the time or inclination to take the Black Cab Taxi Tour, don’t miss a visit to the Peace Wall, a wall covered in artwork and graffiti that divides Republican and Loyalist communities where visitors are encouraged to add their names. and comments. The first barriers were built in 1969, after the Troubles outbreak. They were built as temporary structures to remain for only six months, but they have multiplied over the years, with a total of 40 spanning more than 13 miles, with most located in Belfast. There are a number of high-profile signatures on them, including President Clinton and the Dalai Lama.

Dark hedges, Ballymoney

Dark Fences, Ballymoney Dark Fences, Ballymoney

The historical center of San Marino and Mount Monte Titano

Experience the Amazing Game of Thrones Tour.

Titanic Studios, where “Game of Thrones” is filmed, is also here, a stone’s throw from other filming locations throughout Northern Ireland, including King’s Road, Winterfell, The Wall and Dark Hedges. “Journey of Thrones North,” organized by Brit Movie Tours, departs directly from central Belfast. The local guide, who happens to be a knowledgeable fan of the books and TV series, offers plenty of interesting details, including fascinating tales of lore and local history that could have easily come out of the books. You’ll see seven iconic sites such as The Dark Hedges, a magnificent avenue of ancient beech trees that is one of the most photographed sites in Northern Ireland. It was used as the setting in Season 2, when Arya Stark escapes from the King’s Landing and the last conscripts head for the Wall. The tour also includes lunch in the small coastal town of Ballycastle, which is the hometown of actors Conleth Hill, who plays Varys, and Michelle Fairlie, who played Catelyn Stark.

St George's Market, Belfast

St. George’s Market, Belfast St. George’s Market, Belfast

Enjoy many sensations at St. George’s Market

St. George’s Market, located in the city center, was named the best large indoor venue by the National Association of British Market Authorities in 2014, and a visit here will quickly show why. Built in the late 19th century, it’s the only surviving indoor Victorian market in town, and on Saturday and Sunday offers an incredible selection of local, continental and specialty foods, as well as local arts and crafts and live music. The Friday Fish and Variety Market has about 250 stalls with only 23 stalls. Come early, it’s worth getting up at dawn to experience the full market experience and enjoy a breakfast of the Irish potato pancake known as boxty.

Kelly Cellars

Kelly Cellars Kelly Cellars.

Experience a fantastic music scene

Belfast has an outstanding music scene and has produced several famous artists and bands, such as Van Morrison and most recently Snow Patrol. So it’s no surprise that there are some fantastic music venues here, including The Black Box and Ulster Hall, the latter of which was the place where Led Zeppelin first performed their cult hit “Stairway To Heaven.” But you don’t have a huge place to go to for great tunes. Most pubs and bars here have live music – Kelly’s Cellars is a favorite. A traditional Irish pub, the locals bring their own instruments, putting together impromptu jams that can rival some of the best .

Crumlin Road Gaol

Get scared at Crumlin Road Jail

Crumlin Road Jail (prison) was considered one of the most perfect prisons when it opened back in 1845. It was built to hold 500 prisoners, but during the Troubles it held up to 900. Today it is no longer The place where prisoners are held closed in 1996, but there are public tours that give you a chance to see the inside and what it would be like to stay there. The tour includes the governor’s office, which served as the execution chamber where 17 people were hanged, as well as the vicious room and the tunnel under Crumlin Road where prisoners were sent to the courthouse for sentencing. Although the standard tour is creepy, but if you really want to be scared, opt for the Paranormal Tour, which features horror stories from various places where paranormal phenomena have been reported over the years.

Ulster Folk Transport and Transport Museum, Holywood

Ulster Folk Transport and Transportation Museum, Holywood Ulster Folk Transport and Transportation Museum, Holywood

Visit Ulster Folk Transport Museum

The Ulster Folk Transport and Transportation Museum is considered one of the best lesser-known museums in Europe. It is located on 170 acres of rolling hills overlooking the Belfast Loch, just 15 minutes from downtown Belfast. The living museum was designed to give a glimpse of Ulster life more than a century ago through restored workers’ cottages, village schools, village stores and working farms as they once were. Farm Discovery at the Folklore Museum offers a living history experience that depicts daily life on farms at the time, where visitors can meet the people who lived on the land, visit the blacksmith at the Forge, help feed the chickens while wandering around the farmyard, cuddle with donkeys, pigs and goats, and even enjoy a taste of what’s cooked in the farmhouse kitchen. Costumed guides for visitors demonstrate traditional crafts for an even more in-depth look, including everything from spinning and grooming horses to spinning, sheep shearing and cottage cooking.

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At the Transportation Museum, which houses the largest collection of trains, vintage buses and cars in all of Ireland, you can climb on steam trains and look at beautiful horse-drawn carriages as well as other classic vehicles.

Belfast City Hall

Belfast City Hall Tour

One of Belfast’s most iconic buildings, the magnificent Town Hall is located in the heart of Belfast in Donegall Square and dates back to 1906. An interesting place to tour, visitors can take a look at the magnificent interior and learn about its history with an experienced guide, and take a stroll through the garden to discover all kinds of artwork, including statues associated with everyone from former President Clinton to Queen Victoria. The Titanic Memorial Garden is located on the east side of the civic building. It was built around the existing Titanic Monument and is set on two levels, with a long plinth on the upper level supporting 15 bronze plaques that list the names of 1,512 people who died on the RMS Titanic, and for the first time the names of all the Victims of the ship’s tragedy are recorded on one monument.


Have a drink at a legendary bar

There are several famous bars in Belfast, and you should stop by at least one of them for a drink while you’re in town. Just some of the best include the ornate Victorian Crown Liquor Saloon, considered one of the grandest Victorian gin palaces and once thriving in industrial cities in the British Isles. It has been owned by the National Trust since 1826 and has been impeccably restored over the years. The historic Duke of York was where Titanic builders built the bar in exchange for whiskey – in 1998, the Snow Patrol group was also there, offering the largest selection of Irish whiskeys in Ireland. And as mentioned earlier, Kelly’s Cellars, which dates all the way back to 1720, is not only good for live music, it’s one of the city’s oldest traditional pubs and has been called “a hidden gem that exudes old traditional values.” It’s known for pouring the perfect pint of Guinness, served with mouthwatering homemade Irish beef stew.

Cathedral Quarter

Cathedral Quarter Cathedral Quarter.

Explore the Cathedral Quarter.

Cathedral Quarter, one of the city’s four vibrant neighborhoods, was named after St. Anne’s Cathedral. It’s the city’s trendiest neighborhood, with cobblestone streets and plenty of eateries, pubs, art and live music venues, and beautiful examples of great architecture. Start by visiting the turn-of-the-century building of the same name in honor of St. Anne, known for its steeple of hope and 1,000 colorful hand-embroidered pens created by parishioners since the 1950s. When it’s time for lunch, Hadskis is one of the more recent gems, offering dishes with an emphasis on local ingredients combined with great beers from local breweries like Northern Irish Hilden Brewing Company.

Belfast Botanic Gardens

Belfast Botanic Garden Belfast Botanic Garden

Take a walk through the Belfast Botanic Gardens

The Botanic Gardens is a great place to visit on those rare, very famous sunny days in the city. Located near Queen’s University, it is an important part of Belfast’s Victorian heritage and a popular gathering place for locals and students as well as tourists. It is home to the popular Palm House with its many tropical plants, hanging baskets, seasonal displays and birds of paradise, which is considered one of the earliest examples of a greenhouse made of bent iron and glass. Its construction began in the 1830s and two wings were completed in 1840. There you will learn how this new greenhouse technology allowed gardeners to grow exotic plant species during the Victorian period. At Tropical Gorge, you’ll see some of the oldest seed plants today, along with cinnamon, banana, bromeliads and orchids.

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Wee Toast Tours

Wee Toast Tours Wee Toast Tours.

Make a Belfast Beer Bike with Vee Toast Tours

Belfast Beer Bike is an exciting way to see the city on two wheels. Wee Toast Tours organizers can enjoy “little toasts” by riding a bike in a group. For cycling enthusiasts, it doesn’t get much better than a bike with a bar. As the company states, the bike runs “solely on pedals” and requires at least eight people to bike and travel the streets of Belfast City, experiencing the various sights of Belfast and world-famous pubs. You can choose to tour the city center or tour the Cathedral Quarter, each of which lasts up to two hours.

Grand Opera House

Grand Opera House Grand Opera House.

Catch a show at the Grand Opera House

The Grand Opera House is the premiere theater in Northern Ireland. It offers fantastic drama, opera, concerts, West End musicals, dance and performances for the whole family. The Theatres Trust hailed the “magnificent auditorium” as “probably the best surviving example of the Oriental style applied to theater architecture in Britain.” The beautiful building was designed by the most prolific theater architect of the day, Frank Match, and opened before Christmas in 1895.

Giant's Causeway

Giant’s Road Giant’s Road

Take a day trip to Causeway Coast

The Causeway Coast Road is only an hour’s drive from Belfast and is a must-see experience for anyone visiting Northern Ireland. It is best known for Giant’s Causeway, which sits on the edge of the wild North Atlantic near the town of Bushmills, and is a landscape of dramatic cliffs and a coastal area of some 40,000 basalt pillars. Nearby is the Carrick-a-Red rope bridge, which offers some of the most spectacular views in the country. Crossing it is not for those who are extremely afraid of heights, although most of those who manage to experience it remark that it does not deserve the anxiety it causes. Nevertheless, some choose to retreat and watch, and that’s a good thing, too. If you dare to look down, you might just see a dolphin or even the occasional basking shark.

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Belfast Attractions

Belfast is now considered the epitome of the rural landscapes of the wonderful country of Northern Ireland. There are picturesque temples and palaces, theaters, museums, statues and other attractions. The architectural design of the buildings is related to the history of the state, which becomes clear immediately after walking through the city. This modern capital, which has similar architectural features with Stockholm and Rotterdam.

What to see in Belfast in a day

If your visit to Belfast is limited to one day, you need to determine for yourself the places you would definitely like to visit in the allotted time. This could be a castle on the outskirts of the capital or an English time palace.

Below are two themed itineraries:

  1. It’s best to go straight to the center, where the Ulster Museum, the University and the Fish Monument are located. Next, visit the Titanic Museum, then take a bus to Belfast Castle.
  2. Visit City Hall, then go to the Grand Opera and Lyric Theatre. Finish the day at St. George’s Market and St. Anne’s Cathedral.

If you have two days at your disposal, you should first see the central part of the city and then the out-of-town attractions. The Botanical Gardens or Crumlin Road Prison are your best bet. Also, you can fly inexpensively from Ireland to France, such as Bordeaux or Cannes.

City Hall

The City Hall is considered the main landmark of Belfast. It is an imposing building with monuments around it. The main one is dedicated to Queen Victoria and stands opposite the main entrance. There is a memorial near the structure which is dedicated to the victims of the Titanic. Those who want to get inside the building, as there are constantly guided tours. Along the staircases are large stained glass windows depicting significant events for the city.

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Titanic Belfast

This is a huge museum whose exhibit is dedicated to the sunken liner called the Titanic. It opened in 2012, so it’s considered Ireland’s youngest museum. It presents the history of the ship, artifacts found at the bottom of the ocean, etc. The museum has a first class tea room, which is identical to the one on the Titanic, open to the public.

Grand Opera House

The opera house was designed by architect Frank Mitcham, making the building the finest example of Eastern architecture in Europe. After the building was listed as a national monument, an extensive restoration began. Even during the Troubles, the theater continued to operate, though it was bombed several times. The last reconstruction took place in 2006, after which the building became much larger, contributing to the addition of a new stage. Visitors can visit the restaurant, which is located on the third floor, hold a business meeting or corporate event.

Lyric Theatre

The Lyric Theatre, where famous Hollywood actor Liam Neeson began his career, has undergone demolition. Now in this place stands the modern Lyric Theater, which was designed by the famous Irish architectural studio. Funds for its construction were raised “with the whole world.

Albert Memorial Clock

The tall clock tower is made in the Gothic style, and its size reaches 35 meters. The landmark was named after Queen Victoria’s husband. At the very center of the tower is a statue of Prince Albert, which was created by sculptor Lynn. The bell located inside the tower weighs two tons.

Botanical Garden

The garden is where locals like to spend their free time. On the grounds of the attraction is the Palm House, which is considered to be divided into two wings of a greenhouse. The left wing has moderate temperatures, while the right wing creates a tropical climate. The place boasts a lily, which began blooming after 23 years.

Ulster Museum

The museum is famous not only for its zoological exhibits, but also for its collection of books. Anyone wishing to visit this place will see the skeleton of a triceratops, which is perfectly preserved to this day. The Armada Hall displays jewelry and artifacts from shipwrecks.

Belfast Castle

The castle is located in Northern Ireland in a country park called Cavehill. Since it is located 120 meters above sea level, it offers a beautiful view of the city. The landmark is a popular place for weddings and tourist tours. The building itself has a restaurant and an antique store.

Crumlin Road Jail

Crumlin Road Jail has been abandoned since 1996. There is a courthouse across from the building and between the two structures is a tunnel through which criminals were transported. Not everyone wants to visit the attraction because it is not for the faint of heart. Inside you can even see the loops that were used to hang the prisoners. Ghostbusters claim that from time to time female and male voices can be heard here. The prison was communal, so it is believed that these are the screams of the restless souls.

Queens University

This university was founded in the mid-19th century and is considered Belfast’s first public educational institution. Nearby are two colleges that belong to Queens. Most people who wish to study here choose the pedagogical focus, although there are other degrees available. The scale of the university is impressive. This can only be said because the institution employs about four thousand employees. Excursions are constantly arranged here, and anyone can look at various relics.

Studenica Monastery

Waterfront Hall

Waterfront Hall is a multipurpose center that was founded in 1997. Various entertainment events are held here very often. But this place is also designed for conferences and meetings. There are several restaurants and bars in the building, where you can go during a break between performances.

St. Anne’s Cathedral

The cathedral is in Irish-Romanesque style and is located near City Hall. The mosaic stained-glass windows, made from more than 150,000 pieces of colored glass, are the pride of the building. The sisters Gertrude and Margaret Martin worked on them for seven years. Inside the cathedral is the tomb of the famous Irish politician Sir Edward Carson. The floor in the cathedral is designed on the principle of a labyrinth.

Cave Hill Country Park.

Part of the park is a nature reserve, so tourists can not visit all of its places. Its name comes from the caves of the Neolithic period, which can be visited by all comers. If you climb to the very top of the mountain, you can see the panorama of Belfast.

St. Malachy’s Church

The most magnificent church in Ireland, built in the 18th century, bears the name of St. Malachy. On the transept of the structure are twin towers. The altar was first made of Irish oak, but later the material was replaced by marble. Malachi drew up a prophecy that the Catholic Church would be ruled by 112 more popes, and then the End of the World would come.

Stormont Parliament Building

The Stormont Parliament Building is currently the residence of the Minister of Northern England. There are Ionic columns in the center of the facade, and right next to the structure is a statue of Sir Edward Carson. The man was a famous Irish lawyer and politician. When the famous soccer player George Best died, the funeral ceremony was held in Parliament Hall. This was because there were too many people wanting to say goodbye to him.

Nomadic and Caroline.

The Caroline was a steamer created in 1914 by the British White Star Shipping Company. During the First and Second World Wars, it was considered the administrative center of Britain’s Royal Navy. The Nomadic is a ship created in 1911 to carry the first two classes of passengers to the Titanic. Those who wish can visit the inside of any of these ships.

Linen Hall Library

The library is considered the oldest in Northern Ireland, as it opened in 1788. The building itself is in the Art Nouveau architectural style, and the entrance is a 19th century triumphal arch. Linen Hall is considered an educational center, the city’s stock of books, and a free reading room. Among the copies are chronicles of British and Irish history.

Walls of Peace.

The Peace Wall was erected because of the wars in the streets of the city. The cause of the conflict was a confrontation between the British and the Irish. The construction allowed to separate Belfast from the Scottish and English neighborhoods. Now the wall is decorated with graffiti in which the residents of the city reflected their struggle for independence.

The Big Fish

The sculpture is a symbol of the main port city in Britain. Such an idea came to architect John Kaindness, who wanted to depict the history of Belfast in such a way. The fish is made of metal and ceramic tiles. There is a belief that inside the fish is a time capsule in which the architect left a message for the future generation of Belfast.

St. George’s Market

As for Belfast’s major market, it is named after St. George. This place is best visited on Sunday, as on that day the vendors display interesting exhibits on the counters and the artists display their paintings. Only the best quality products from local producers are sold here. On Saturday they sell souvenirs from other countries as well as delicacies.

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