Belfast image

Tour of Belfast, Northern Ireland


Belfast is the capital city of Northern Ireland, the second largest city on the island of Ireland, after Dublin. Belfast grew with industries such as Irish linen, tobacco, rope making and shipbuilding. From the early 1900s to the 1960s, the city's largest shipbuilders, Harland and Wolff, were one of the largest shipbuilders in the world. They built record breaking liners such as the Titanic, and warships for the two world wars such as the aircraft carrier HMS Formidable.

The currency in Northern Ireland is the British Pound. Beer prices. Currency Converter.

Flight times between UK Airports and Belfast are about 45 minutes.

Aer Lingus, British Airways, Citywing and Flybe provide flights to George Best Belfast City Airport. For information on what UK Airports they fly from, visit: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Best_Belfast_City_Airport.

George Best Belfast City Airport is situated about 4 miles east of Belfast centre. The inexpensive Airport Express 600 bus service operates every 20 minutes from outside the airport to the Belfast Europa Bus Centre in the heart of the city by the City Hall. The approximate cost of a taxi to Belfast city centre is £10. More Information. Google Map.

Belfast International Airport is situated about 25 miles northwest of Belfast. Airport Express 300 now operates a 24 hour service between the airport and Belfast with buses departing every 15 minutes throughout the day. The bus leaves from the bus stop located opposite the terminal exit. Approximate journey time 30-40 minutes. Taxi prices between the Airport and Belfast are about £33. More Information. Google Map.

Most UK Airlines and International Airlines fly to Belfast International Airport. For information on what airports they fly from, visit: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belfast_International_Airport.

There are regular ferries that run between Belfast and Scotland, England and the Isle of Man. Ferry Information.

CarHire companies at Belfast City Airport . CarHire companies at Belfast International Airport

Belfast Hotels . Self Catering . Restaurants . Night Clubs . Hostels . B&Bs .

Belfast City Hall, in the centre of Belfast, was built to celebrate Belfast being classed as a city in 1888. The building was designed by Sir Alfred Brumwell Thomas. It was completed in 1906 at a cost of £369,000.

In October 2007, a temporary 200 feet high Ferris wheel was built next to the hall. The wheel closed on Sunday 11th April 2010.

Free tours of the City Hall operate from Monday to Friday at 11am, 2pm and 3pm and on a Saturday at 2pm and 3pm.

Belfast City Hall image

The main shopping areas of Donegall Place and Royal Avenue lead from the City Hall. Castle Court, Victoria Square and the High Street, are only a few hundred yards north of the City Hall.

Ireland Map . Google Map & Reviews .

More Information . Bus Tours.

Grand Opera House image

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The Grand Opera House is situated on Great Victoria Street, 0.2 of a mile southwest of the City Hall.

Regular Grand Opera House performances take place throughout the week.

Behind the scenes tours of the Grand Opera House take place each Sunday at 11am, 12noon and 1pm (performances permitting).

Queen's University Belfast is situated about 0.8 of a mile south of the City Hall off University Road.

The present university was originally built as the Queen's College/ Belfast in 1849. Its main building, the Lanyon Building, was designed by the architect, Sir Charles Lanyon. The Irish Universities Act of 1908, saw the name changed to the Queen's University Belfast.

Queen's University campus is open to the public, including a visitor's centre. Tours are also available by arrangement.

Belfast University

The area around the university is also well worth a visit, as it contains a park, botanic garden, and the Ulster Museum.

More Information . Website . Google Map & Reviews.

Botanic Gardens image

The gardens main attraction is the Palm House. The foundation stone was laid by the Marquess of Donegall in 1839.

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The Botanic Gardens are situated about 1.3 miles south of the city centre off Stranmills Road, next to the Queens University.

The gardens were completed in 1828, as the private Royal Belfast Botanical Gardens. They were only opened to the public on Sundays, until the Belfast Corporation bought the gardens in 1895, so they could be visited any day by the public.

The Ulster Museum is situated next to the Botanic Gardens on Landseer Street, about 1.4 miles south of the City Hall.

The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10am - 5pm, and on bank holiday Mondays from 10am - 5pm.

Exhibits are dinosaurs, Egyptian artifacts, treasure recovered from Spanish Armada ships sunk along the Irish coast, and 20th Century engineering, including information on the liner Titanic that was built at the Belfast shipbuilders Harland & Wolff.

Ulster Museum image

More Information .nmni.com/um . Google Map & Reviews .

St Anne's Cathedral image
More Information . Website .

Google Map & Reviews . Image by Roger Price.

The Cathedral is open to visitors from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm on weekdays, and for a short period before and after services on Sundays.

St Anne's Cathedral is situated about 0.7 miles north of the City Hall.

The cathedral is built on the site of St Anne’s Church (Belfast’s first Church of Ireland).  The foundation stone was laid by the Countess of Shaftesbury in 1899. The West Front, as seen in the photo left, was completed until 1927.

The North Transept was completed in 1981, and the 130 foot Spire of Hope was added in 2007.

The Titanic Quarter is situated next to the Odyssey Arena, about 1 mile southeast of the City Hall, on the East side of the River Lagan/ Port of Belfast.

Harland and Wolff have sold off the area or their yard known as the Titanic Quarter. This area is being developed into luxury apartments and business premises.

SS Nomadic image

There are two landscaped areas for leisure in the shape of two large ships. These are said to be the exact size, and situated exactly where the Olympic and Titanic were built.

The ship seen above is no ordinary ship, it is the SS Nomadic, built to serve as a tender carrying passengers from Cherbourg out to the Titanic and her sister ships. She is often referred to as Titanic’s little sister. This ship actually carried passengers to the Titanic on the fateful voyage. She is the only remaining historic link to Titanic still afloat, and, the last surviving White Star Line vessel in the world.

The Nomadic was probably saved from the scrap yards, after being bought to serve as a restaurant and function venue, moored in Paris from 1977 - 2002.

After a successful bid at auction by the Department for Social Development, 15th July 2006, Nomadic arrived back home in Belfast for the first time since being built 1910 - 1911, back in her birthplace after an absence of 95 years, 1 month and 19 days.

She now serves as a museum next to the large Odyssey Arena, multiplex, just a few hundred yards up river from the Titanic Slip.

The image above is from 2007, restoration work in 2011 and 2012 saw her uper decks and funnel restored.

The area now has the Titanic Belfast visitor centre for information and big screen movies of the famous ship.

SS Nomadic Museum Website . More Information . Titanic Quarter . titanicbelfast.com . Google Map & Reviews .

Belfast Castle image

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Belfast Zoo is also situated in Cave Hill Country Park, in an area with bus links to the city centre. Google Map/Reviews.

Belfast Castle is situated about 4 miles north of the City Hall, high on a hillside in Cave Hill Country Park.

This castle was built for the 3rd Marquis of Donegall in the 1870s. The recently restored Belfast Castle has been open to the public free of charge since the 11th November 1988.

The Cave Hill Visitor Centre is situated on the second floor of Belfast Castle. Opening hours are 09.00 - 20.00 Monday - Saturday and 09.00 - 18.00 Sundays. Taxis are the best way to visit the Castle, or a long walk.

Stormont Castle & Stormont Parliament Buildings are situated 4 miles east of Belfast centre.

The castle was built in the 1850s for John Cleland (Rector of Newtownwards/County Down).

The parliament buildings were built after the castle and estate were acquired by the government in 1921. Both buildings at Stormont are now used by the government. The surrounding park with kids play area is open to the public.

Stormont Parliament Buildings image
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Google Map & Reviews .

The Parliament Buildings are open to the public between 9.00am and 4.00pm Monday to Friday.

There are regular inexpensive buses to Stormont from the city centre, and some tour buses visit.

Carrickfergus Castle image

Website: www.carrickfergus.org . Coach Tours .

Google Map & Reviews.

Carrickfergus Castle, said to be the most impressive Norman structure in Ireland, is situated in the town of Carrickfergus, 12 miles northeast of Belfast centre.

There are regular buses and trains from Belfast to the town of Carrickfergus. The town itself has some interesting attractions such as marina, museum, wildlife along its shores, and a traditional Irish cottage from the 1750s.

Bushmills is a scenic village on the north coast in County Antrim, about 59 miles north of Belfast.

The village name comes from the River Bush, and a large watermill that was operated there from the early 1600s.

The top visitor attraction in the village is the Old Bushmills Distillery, founded in 1608. This is said to be the oldest licensed distillery in the world. The distillery range includes the Bushmills Original, and Black Bush blends. Also, the 10, 12, 16, and 21 year old Bushmills Single Malts.

Bushmills image

There is also an Historic Train link between Bushmills and the Giant's Causeway, about 4 miles north.

More Information . Distillery Website . Google Map & Reviews .

Bushmills Hotels .

Giant's Causeway image

The Causeway Hotel is perfectly situated for exploring the area.

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The Giant's Causeway is situated about 63 miles north of Belfast, just over 4 miles north of Bushmills.

The Giant's Causeway is famous for its polygonal columns of layered basalt created from a volcanic eruption 60 million years ago. This is the only World Heritage Site in Northern Ireland. Although the causeway has been attracting visitors from around the world for years, the number of visitors has grown dramatically since about 2007.

Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge is situated about 65 miles north of Belfast, about 6 miles east of the Giant's Causeway.

The area has a coastal car park with a footpath, about 1 mile long leading to Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge.

The Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge was originaly erected by fishermen to reach Carrick-a-Rede island, to check their salmon nets. The bridge is now a major tourist attraction with visitors testing their nerve on the crossing.

Carrick Island has a diverse bird life. and great views across to Rathlin Island, and Scotland.

Carrick-a Rede Rope Bridge image

The only way off the island, is back across the swinging bridge, 90 feet above the sea.

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Antrim Coaster - Ulsterbus provides a bus service (Bus #252, using a "day return" ticket) along the Antrim Coast, enabling visitors to travel easily between major attractions. Departures are from Belfast with stops at Carrickfergus, Larne, Ballygally, Glenarm, Carnlough, Ballycastle, Ballintoy, Bushmills for the famous Whisky Distillery, Giant's Causeway, Coleraine and other towns and places of interest, operates daily late-April to Sept. There is one bus in the morning and if passengers get off at a stop, there isn't another bus until later that evening or the following morning.

In addition, Ulsterbus also operates the North Coast Open Topper Bus (Bus #177), from Coleraine to the Giant’s Causeway, 30 June to 31 August; and the Causeway Rambler (Bus #402), from Bushmills to the Giant’s Causeway and Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, 2 June to 14 September.

For more information, contact Ulsterbus, tel. 028-9066-6630; Web site: www.translink.co.uk.

More Things to Do in Belfast .

For more information on Belfast, visit: visit-belfast.com .

For tours and airport transfers, visit: www.viator.com/Belfast/d738-ttd

Belfast Golf . Belfast History.