The best places to visit in Belfast.
A former industrial powerhouse with a troubled past, Belfast has pulled off a remarkable transformation into a trendy and cosmopolitan destination. History fills the streets, and the city is quickly becoming a hub for film and TV production.
Belfast may not be the most obvious choice for a city break, but it’s fast becoming one of the UK’s coolest cities. A colourful mix of art, music, history, great food and beautiful landscapes make it a must visit destination. Whether you’re visiting for the first time or you’re a seasoned traveller, there are plenty of reasons why you must visit Belfast in 2020.
In 2018, Lonely Planet listed Belfast as its best place to visit. So with that in mind, here are the reasons we think you should book a trip over to visit Belfast:
Our £39 each way Express from Glasgow to Belfast is the ideal way for culture seekers, amateur explorers, or even G.O.T fans from Scotland to make the quick trip across the water to visit Belfast.
1. Game of Thrones tour
There is no escaping the Game of Thrones fever that has swept Northern Ireland for the past 10 years. So, enjoy it while it lasts! For fans of the HBO series, the landscapes of Belfast were used as the backdrop for many of the filming locations in Game of Thrones.
Why not book a guided tour of the Game of Thrones film locations as well as a tour of the Titanic Studios, and get your photo taken sitting on the famed Iron Throne. Book here>
‘G.O.T to escape’ is a Game of Thrones inspired escape room and is the only one of its kind in Belfast, offering 60-minute games for up to five players. Piece together clues to make your way through the world of Westeros.
As Cersei Lannister said, “when you play the Game of Thrones, you win, or you die”. Will you be the next rulers of Westeros, or will the white walkers get you? Book here>
“Game of Thrones” might have come to a bloody end, but you can relive the journey of the Starks, Lannisters and Targaryens by finding the various stained glass windows placed all over Belfast, as well as 10 themed doors hidden all over Northern Ireland.
2. Titanic Museum
You can’t miss the spectacular Titanic Museum. Shaped like a ship’s bow, this iconic building is estimated to be the height of the original RMS Titanic, creating a bold and striking appearance. Explore the shipyard, walk the decks, travel to the depths of the Ocean and uncover the true legend of Titanic in the city where it all began.
The building is an an award-winning architectural structure that’s worth a visit in its own right. Here you can delve deeper into the Titanic’s watery past, from the design and construction, to the discovery of the wreck, 108 years later. The Museum has nine interactive galleries, entertaining exhibitions and an immersive movie screening of the wreck, making this a must visit attraction. When you’re here you can jump aboard the SS. Nomadic- A tender to the Titanic and the last remaining White Star Line ship in the world! Restored to her original glory and back home in Belfast’s historic Hamilton Dock. Book tickets here>>
From the Museum you will also be able to see the famous Harland & Wolff cranes. Samson and Goliath are the twin shipbuilding cranes situated in the Titanic quarter. The cranes, which were named after the Biblical figures Samson and Goliath, dominate the Belfast skyline and are landmark structures of the city. Despite being newcomers to the city, the cranes have quickly come to symbolise Belfast in a way that no building or monument ever has.
W5 is Belfast’s award-winning science and discovery centre and provides a unique experience as well as fantastic fun for visitors of all ages. Whowhatwherewhenwhy or W5, is an interactive science centre filled with more than 250 exhibits. The centre provides a unique experience as well as fantastic fun for visitors of all ages. In addition to permanent exhibits, they also presents a changing programme of large- and small-scale temporary exhibitions and events. They have a daily programme of live science demonstrations and shows throughout the day.
Visitors can immerse themselves in W5’s new technological space ‘AMAZE’, scale the heights on the multi-storey climbing structure ‘Climbit’, meet W5’s humanoid robot ‘Robothespian’, plus so much more.
In addition to permanent exhibits, W5 also presents a changing programme of temporary exhibitions and events. Visitors can also enjoy a daily programme of live science demonstrations and shows throughout the day. W5’s seasonal events are free with admission and tickets are valid all day. See what’s on here>>
4. City Hall and the Dome at Victoria Square
One of Belfast’s most iconic buildings, Belfast City Hall first opened its doors in August 1906 and is Belfast’s civic building. Construction began in 1898 under the supervision of architect Sir Alfred Brumwell Thomas and was completed in 1906. The gardens surrounding City Hall contain memorials to the history, people and events associated with the city. Among these, there is a memorial for all those who died in the First World War and names all 1,512 victims of the disaster. The Titanic Memorial Garden is situated on the east side of Belfast City Hall.
Look out for the Belfast City Hall illuminations as they light up the building at night, showing off the building’s beautiful architectural features.
Just a 3 minute walk from City hall is the iconic Dome at Victoria Square. Victoria Square is a symbol of a brand new chapter in the history of Belfast and Northern Ireland. It has placed Belfast at the top of the UK agenda for retail investment and is Belfast’s newest landmark. Victoria Square is home to over 70 stores, cafes and restaurants including House of Fraser, Apple, Topshop and Cruise.
In the Dome you can see 360 degree views across Belfast. The free tours of the dome give you a spectacular view of the Belfast skyline and allow you to take in sights such as Belfast City Hall and the Albert Clock.
5. The Crown bar
The Crown Liquor Saloon, also known as the Crown Bar, is a pub in Great Victoria Street in Belfast. Refurbished in 1885, and at least twice since, it is an outstanding example of a Victorian gin palace, and one of Northern Ireland’s best-known pubs. It is the only pub owned by the National Trust and is leased to Mitchells & Butlers who run it as a Nicholson’s pub.
The Saloon first sprung to fame in the 1947 classic movie “Odd man out” starring James Mason and directed by Carol Reed. The Crown remains a unique visual gem, which has the distinction of being known to millions all over the world.
The exterior is decorated with ornate and colourful Italian tiles, and boasts a mosaic of a crown on the pavement outside the entrance. The interior sports a mass of stained and cut glass, marble, ceramics, mirrors and mahogany, all lit by genuine gas mantles. The Crown Bar is so unbelievably rich in colour and design that each time you go in you’ll find something new to catch your eye that you may have missed before.
6. Queen’s University and Botanic Gardens.
Opened in 1849, the Lanyon building was the original Queen’s College. Named after its architect, Sir Charles Lanyon, the striking building is the central part of the campus and has been voted one of the most beautiful university buildings in the world. In 1908 the Queen’s College became the Queen’s University of Belfast and today its campus spreads across 250 buildings.
Charles Lanyon built the Queen’s College building, a Tudor Revival in red brick and honey-coloured sandstone, in 1849. Lanyon based the design of the central tower on the 15th-century Founder’s Tower at Oxford’s Magdalen College.
Just inside the main entrance is the Queen’s Welcome Centre, with an information desk and souvenir shop. Pick up a free Campus Walk-about booklet that outlines a self-guided tour which highlights the beautiful architectural features of the buildings.
Just beside Queen’s university is The Botanic Gardens. The Palm House inside the gardens was designed by Sir Charles Lanyon who also designed Queens University. The Palm House contains a range of tropical plants, hanging baskets, seasonal displays, and is one of the earliest examples of a glasshouse made from curved iron and glass. It shows how advances in glasshouse technology allowed horticulturists to grow exotic plant species during the Victorian period.
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10 Great reasons to choose Hannon Coach to travel between Glasgow and Belfast…
- Our service is the ONLY direct through service between Glasgow and Belfast – our coach travels the whole way with you and does not just drop you at the ferry terminal.
- Convenient online booking up to 60 minutes before departure
- The cost of the ferry is included, and we also check you on-board.
- Luxury coach the whole way with on-board toilet, Wi-Fi and reclining seats.
- The coach drops you off just outside Belfast City Hall– right in the heart of the city.
- No luggage charges – bring up to 2 full size 23Kg suitcases per passenger.
- We can also accommodate bikes and larger items (Passengers are required to contact us in advance).
- We do not hike prices on busy days or closer to your travel date.
- Hassle-free security
- Free Wi-Fi the whole way.