The Northern Irish capital is experiencing a huge resurgence in interest as a tourist destination. After many years of relative peace, and the recent centenary of the sinking of RMS Titanic – the iconic liner built in Belfast’s dockyards – the city is on the up. Belfast has an infectious atmosphere with a fabulous sense of humour, an ever-growing range of places to eat, drink and be entertained, and a small town feel which makes getting around easy. Here is our tried-and-tested Belfast Bucket List.
1. Have a pint in Belfast’s oldest traditional pub – Kelly’s Cellars
Located in Bank St, Kelly’s Cellars is one of Belfast’s oldest traditional Irish pub, situated in the heart of the city. Described as “a hidden gem that oozes old traditional values”, it is famous for a pint of Guinness, served with homemade Irish beef stew. Built in 1720, Kelly’s Cellars has changed very little in 200 years and still has most of its original features.
2. Have a Boojum – Belfast’s most famous Burrito
Boojum is undoubedly Belfast’s best-known and most popular burrito place.The food is to die for and as a result, has almost gained a cult following! Boojum is located at Chichester Street and Botanic Avenue.
3. Go to a Belfast Giant’s Game in the SSE Arena
Belfast’s home Ice Hockey team is the Belfast Giant’s. They play their home games at the Odyssey Arena. Ticket prices are not expensive, you can usually get a ticket for about £10. It’s loads of fun and they usually have competitions and give out free Subway and Pizza during the breaks!
4. Visit the Great Walls of Belfast – The Peace Walls
Another bizarre yet interesting part of this city is the fact that there are massive walls separating communities. It is hard to believe that in a modern European city in the 21st century that such walls exist. However, it is planned to take down these walls in the next 20 years so you should see them before they go!
5. Visit the musuem dedicated to the world’s most famous shipwreck – Titanic Belfast
You can’t escape the influence that this ship has had on the city. In 2012, during the centenary of the loss of this famous vessel to an iceberg in the North Atlantic, the brand new Titanic Belfast centre opened to the public. The stunning design of the venue is meant to remind you of two ships being built side-by-side in the Harland & Wolff shipyards, and the building contains a fantastic series of interactive displays on Belfast’s industrial heritage – as well as, of course, the history of Titanic herself from inception right up to exploring the seabed and finding the wreck.
6. Attempt Northern Ireland’s biggest Breakfast
The Newton Cafe Brunch Bar boasts the biggest fry-up in all of Northern Ireland. “The Goliath XXL” consists of a 34-piece fry (4 x soda, 4 x potato, 4 x pancake, 4 x sausages, 4 x bacon, 3 x eggs, 2 x toast, 2 x hash brown, 2 x black pudding, 2 x fried tomato, beans, mushrooms, chips). The owners assert that out only 52 people have ever attempted this breakfast and only one person has achieved the feat. The successful challenger, North Belfast’s Martin Cooper, said it took him 44 minutes to eat. meal!
7. Have a pint in ‘The Most Bombed Hotel in Europe’ – The Europa
The Europa Hotel is a four-star hotel in Great Victoria Street, Belfast, Northern Ireland. It has hosted presidents, prime ministers and celebrities. It is known as the “most bombed hotel in Europe” and the “most bombed hotel in the world” after having suffered 28 bomb attacks during the Troubles. But don’t worry, bomb attacks don’t happen any more, as Belfast is a changed city and peaceful, so it is completely safe!
8. Experience Belfast City Hall
This is a stunning Edwardian civic building in the centre of the city which was built during the early part of the 20th century.
Take a tour around the beautifully decorated interior and learn about its history or walk in the gardens to discover the Titanic memorial and art work and statues linked to everyone from Queen Victoria to President Clinton. If you are ready for a cuppa, there’s even a café, the Bobbin Coffee Shop.
9. Visit the Street where George Best learned to kick a football – Burren Way
Burren Way in East Belfast is the site where George Best learned some of his skills which made him become the best footballer on the planet. These humble beginnings are legendary and not many people can say they have followed in his footsteps!
10. Visit Stormont – The Northern Irish Parliament Buildings
Stormont is often seen on the TV in news reports about Northern Ireland and you would think it is way out of the city in the countryside because of the surrounding green. However, this building is just 15 minutes from the city centre, set in parkland, and enjoys imposing views across Belfast to the Black Mountain and Belfast Hills.
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