My most recent adventure took me not too far across the water to… Belfast.
Flights booked, as usual, through skyscanner which came to around £75 per person (could have been cheaper but accidentally left it a little late). This was flying to/from Bristol Airport with Easyjet – please note cabin bag restrictions, we were only allowed one bag, i.e. our cabin sized suitcases with NO additional handbag. They do have several upgrade options available for those not so light packers. The flight only took 50 minutes and although it was slightly delayed coming home (it started snowing heavy so they had to de-ice the plane) we only arrived 10 minutes after our eta.
As this trip was with my sister and she works in events (thanks for the discount hehe) we stayed in a mainstream hotel; The Holiday Inn Express. At the time of our stay the hotel was having renovation works to it but this didn’t have any impact on us at all. It just meant breakfast was served in a different room to usual and the front door was out of action. The rooms themselves could do with a good deep clean but the beds were comfy and we left with full tums each morning.
Things to do and see
Hop on Hop off bus tour
- This, in my opinion, is a must. Its a fantastic way of seeing all the major landmarks whilst getting the background information from a knowledgeable, and rather comical, tour guide. It also means you can get off at the stops you want (which are scattered all round the city) so don’t need to worry about public transport. The ticket is valid for 48 hours from purchase. Do take note of opening times of particular attractions that you are wanting to do.
- The Titanic museum is a great attraction – its pretty huge so you do need to allow at least 2 hours to get round and then, if you’re anything like us, a bit of extra time for a cake and hot chocolate in the cafe.
- One of the more picturesque buildings Belfast has to offer and inside has plenty more to photograph. There are several rooms that have varying themes with all sorts of information and interactive extras. Again you may want to allow a little extra time for cake and hot chocolate! (you may be seeing a theme)
- This was one of our favourite attractions – the eery original building and tunnel gives you a real insight into what it would have been like if you were a prisoner. The tour guide was very interesting to listen to and added special effects to optimise the experience. Definitely worth a visit and the hop on hop off tour bus has a stop just outside.
- Tip: don’t eat before a trip here. There was SO many food options available and the whole place smelt absolutely delicious. There is an array of things on offer here, varying from jewellery, to art work, to vintage. An added bonus when we went was the live Irish music that began as we were wandering around.
This is just a few of the major sights, there are also tonnes of murals scattered all over the city which have various meanings, some are so expanse they cover several building sides. There is also an abundance of shops, cafes, bars etc. to fill your time
food and drink
Of course we had to give the ‘landmark’ pub a go so ventured to Crown Liquor Saloon
The Crown is both ageless and priceless, a gem of Victoriana and in our view one of the great bars of the world. Formerly known as The Liquor Saloon in Great Victoria Street, Belfast, it was one of the mightiest Victorian gin palaces which once flourished in the industrial cities of the British Isles.
We actually came across this restaurant by accident; we were on a hunt for the local Wetherspoons (yes 100% classy i know), but so glad we did. This was just amazing, starting with the Gin Giardina. The staff are so attentive, but not overpowering. Food was gorgeous and the portion sizes were more than plentiful.
To add to this wonderful place they have a balcony with candle lit tables and an open fire, all undercover, and massive soft blankets. Whilst we were sat enjoying our cocktails in the cosy warm a ‘beer bike’ went past, this looked to be a highly entertaining pre-drinks experience that I’m kinda gutted i didn’t get to try out.
There were several others bars that we visited and another memorable one was The Dirty Onion – this had an outdoor bar and live band with a fantastic atmosphere; was VERY busy though.
We used the hop on hop off as our main source of transport and did A LOT of walking. Although it was a bit chilly an open top bus is a fab way to explore, and walking is free! We also tried out the regular bus services and these were equally as easy and cheap.
Hints and Tips
- Dress up warm if going in the colder months; the climate is pretty much the same as England, it being so close ‘n all.
- If i were to go again i would get a hire car to venture out slightly further and visit Giants Causeway.
- Wear comfy shoes if planning on walking around.
- They accept Great British currency