Belfast is attracting the masses with its attractions that combine culture, history and entertainment. Teamed with the city’s excellent food scene and friendly locals, Belfast makes for a very appealing city break destination.
Below is a list of the best tourist attractions to check out on a visit to the city.
Crumlin Road Gaol
After closing its doors in 1996, Belfast’s historic Crumlin Road Gaol was reopened to the public after a huge restoration project in more recent years. Affectionately known as The Crum, a tour of Crumlin Road Gaol gives visitors an experience of what life was like for the hundreds of prisoners who passed through its doors during a period of some 100 years. This includes a look inside prison cells and retellings of stories of prison escapes and riots.
Named World’s Leading Tourist Attraction at the 2016 World Travel Awards, the Titanic Belfast is unsurprisingly one of Belfast’s most popular visitor attractions.
The impressive centre takes visitors through nine exhibitions of incredible photography, historical documentation, passenger artefacts and interactive experiences that tell a detailed story of the Titanic’s fateful journey in 1912. Outside the building are also the remains of the White Star vessel SS Nomadic and the historic Slipways.
City Hall, Belfast
One of Belfast’s most distinctive buildings, Belfast City Hall sits proudly at the heart of Belfast City Centre. Built in 1906, City Hall is designed in a Baroque Revival style and has a copper dome at the top of it. Today, visitors can take a tour of the building to find out more about its important past, present and future. Outside the building are gardens and seating areas to rest after a day of sightseeing.
St George’s Market
St. George’s Market first opened in the late 1800s, and in 1997, £4.5 million was invested in refurbishing the market. Voted UK’s Best Large Indoor Market in 2014 by the National Association of British Market Authorities, many flock to the market on Saturdays and Sundays to enjoy its endless stalls full of fresh fruit and vegetables, homemade produce and artisan goods. On Saturdays, live music plays at the market, making it the perfect setting as you chow down on something delicious from one of the food stalls.
Game of Thrones Experience
As a location for the filming of the popular HBO Game of Thrones series, Belfast has been attracting lots of fans in search of memorable experiences. For instance, only 40 minutes’ drive outside of the city is a tour of Old Castle Ward, a location for Winterfell Castle, which features heavily in the series.
Belfast also provides a great base for other Game of Thrones locations, including the Dark Hedges and Giant’s Causeway.
Ulster Museum and Botanic Gardens
Step inside the Ulster Museum to discover a variety of historical and modern art, natural science and design exhibitions. Since reopening in 2009 after a huge restoration project, the museum has welcomed thousands of visitors who enjoy its open spaces and wide range of activities for all ages.
Surrounding the museum is Belfast’s small yet beautiful Botanic Gardens, the garden’s impressive Palm House and its newly renovated Tropical Ravine. The Gardens make a wonderful place to retreat to after a day of sightseeing.
Situated next to the Ulster Museum and Botanic Gardens, Queens University opened its doors in 1845 and was built by one of the city’s most famous architects, Sir Charles Lanyon.
Within the university’s impressive Lanyon Building lies a beautiful outdoor quadrangle filled with green spaces and seating areas. It is possible to take a tour of the university to discover its Great Hall and other impressive areas.
Built in the late 1800s, Belfast Castle is situated at the top of Cave Hill Country Park, a popular park for keen walkers and cyclists who take advantage of its various trails and wonderful vistas over the city. Today, visitors can explore the castle grounds and experience its interiors as part of a tour or event.
Parliament Buildings and Stormont Estate
No visit to Belfast is complete without checking out the Stormont Parliament Buildings. Stormont is home to the Northern Ireland Assembly, a legislative body established under the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.
Tours of Stormont are available throughout the week for those wanting to take a closer look inside the building. Outside, explore the estate’s grounds, named one of Northern Ireland’s best green spaces and awarded the Green Flag Award several times over.
A visit to the buzzy Cathedral Quarter area of Belfast is a must when in the city. Situated in the city centre, the area is is fantastic for eating out and soaking up the Belfast nightlife. Wander down the area’s quaint cobbled streets to discover the city’s oldest pubs and great venues for traditional live music.
The Cathedral Quarter area is also home to St. Anne’s Cathedral, built in the 1900s as a place of worship. Today, it is possible to take a tour of the building. Alternatively, sit at Writer’s Square at the front of the cathedral, to admire the building in all its glory.
What are your favourite Belfast tourist attractions?
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All images are courtesy of Tourism NI.