Belfast in a day …
Right I know it has taken me a little while to get this down, but here are all the things we got up to in a day when we went to Belfast. There are loads more things you can do, and next time we would definitely go for a lot longer, but for now here’s how we did Belfast in a day.
We arrived on the Friday night and stayed at the Premier Inn. We tend to stay with them so our son settles as they are pretty much the same wherever you go and they’re always pretty reasonable too.
We headed to a quirky little joint called Granny Annie's which was about 10 minutes walk from our hotel. We were meeting friends there for breakfast and they said it is the most instagramable place they could think of. The thing was it was so fascinating that I didn’t pull my camera out once because I was too busy taking it all in. The food is great, there’s a good selection and they are happy to cater for any food allergies without any bother. We took our own soy milk for teas and coffees though as one thing about Northern Ireland is they favour their own milk and butter, which I can’t blame them for because it tastes pretty amazing from memory.
We caught a cab round to the Titanic Museum. Cabs are relatively cheap considering it’s the capital of Northern Ireland, so make the most of them! The museum itself is set in a purpose built building which is shaped to emulate the Titanics bow emerging from a centre point in the four directions of the compass. It is immense, and 7 very tall floors high. It is also built by the dry docks in which the ill fated vessel was constructed.
We prebooked our tickets online and were pleased we did as it was packed. We hadn’t realised that the weekend we went was actually the anniversary of it sinking. Regardless I would still recommend booking ahead, and allowing yourselves at least 2 hours to walk round the exhibits. It is very interactive, which is great for the inquisitive ones in your family. Our youngest loved pressing the buttons and listening to the accounts from survivors. The eldest loved the one part of the museum which had a live link to the Research Vessel the Nautilus as she wants to be a marine biologist. I don’t want to give too much away because it is so worth the visit!
St Georges Market
This was actually recommended by a local to us when we accosted them to take a group photo for us. Another thing about Belfast is how friendly the locals are, so don’t be afraid to chat to them as they inevitably know all the best places to visit! St Georges is an indoor food market. So if you are a foodie head here to try a variety of dishes including foods from Irish Stew to paella to French crepes. Although we didn’t get much time in there thanks to a small one experiencing sensory overload, it is definitely on our must do list when we go back later this year – without the kids!
We had hoped to get on the Barge, but they were fully booked. We did however manage to book at Holohans Pantry over in the University Quarter. The small restaurant doesn’t look like much from the outside but inside it is a haven of elegance. We were seated in the only booth up by the bar, which I was glad of with our youngest as he had been such a pain in the food market. But he behaved himself beautifully and of course all the staff fell in love with him.
The food was sublime! We went to town with a roasted tomato soup started that featured a Guinness soda bread to die for. I would go back just for that to be fair. For mains Phil had the Duo of Beef looked incredible and I had pan seared chicken with root vegetables and pearl barley. Honestly the best dinner we have had anywhere for a very long time. I would recommend going just for the Guinness Sticky Pudding too - heaven in a bowl!
The whole menu was explained to us down to the traditional Boxty’s, as was the wine selection. Although they don’t have a kids menu, our youngest dined on battered salmon goujons and chips and they made any of the adult meals smaller on request too.
This is the main shopping mall in Belfast and it is architecturally stunning. You can find the majority of mainstream department stores and all the usual Costa, Pizza Express, Nandos etc. We wandered round and grabbed a coffee just to have a look, and so glad we did.
We walked to City Hall on our way back to the hotel. It is a beautiful piece of historical architecture right in the heart of the city. Even though it is a government building which is in daily use, part of it is open to visitors. The exquisite foyer with gallery stairs leaving the view to the decorative dome open is stunning. There are also several themed stained glass windows along the visitors corridor which have been created to denote Belfasts historic events. There was an art gallery on when we visited however we were informed this changed throughout the year which I think is fantastic.
Titanic Memorial Garden
This is to the side of City Hall, within the grounds. It is worth going just to see all the names on the brass plaque commemorating all the souls lost when the Titanic sank. For our eldest this really brought home the reality of what she had seen in the museum. The garden itself is also beautiful with magnolias and carefully tended flower beds.
There are so many more things we could have seen had we had more time over there. The Peace Wall was one I had hoped we could have been to but we just didn’t have the time. There is also a castle you can visit and much more.
So is Belfast on your travel list? If it wasn’t is it now? I’d love to hear if you have visited this beautiful city and any places you visited that we didn’t. Let me know in the comments.