The buzz of Belfast
Belfast is the perfect setting to spend a winter weekend away together. The city is buzzing, with pockets of tranquility and relaxing hideaways which offer the perfect mix of ‘things to do together’ and ‘time to be together’. With a break to Belfast you are guaranteed to find something for him and something for her – check out our suggestions for getting here, staying here and most of all enjoying time here together.
City to City
City hopping couldn’t be easier. The enterprise train from Dublin direct to Belfast runs eight scheduled services per day, book your tickets online in advance and take advantage of the exclusive web rates. Jump on the enterprise service at Dublin Connolly Street Station, trains are well appointed with comfortable table seats, free wifi and an extensive range of sandwiches, pastries, snack, hot or soft drinks can be purchased on board allowing you to sit back and enjoy the beautiful scenery on this fast and efficient service. If your feeling fancy, treat yourself to a first class seat for an added touch of luxury. In seat dining is available, with complimentary morning paper and a glass of fresh orange juice. Recline in the extra legroom, adjustable seats making for journey of sheer comfort and relaxation.
If a flexible travel timetable suits you best, there are several bus services running every hour from city to city. And travelling by car is equally as easy offering ultimate freedom, with many city centre parking options you can leave at the hotel and explore this compact city on foot.
Did you know…Belfast makes a great base for exploring more of Northern Ireland, only an hour away by road (and less by rail) from the rest of our major cities.
Belfast hotels are up there with the best. The five star, world-renowned Merchant Hotel is a unique gem. Located in the heart of Belfast’s wine bar, restaurant and cool urban nightlife district, The Cathedral Quarter, this hotel is chic, grand, opulent and luxury personified. Enjoy champagne in the roof top hot-tub with panoramic city views, sample the extensive range of cocktails in Berts Jazz Bar, splash out with fine dining in the Great Room or for comfort, style and authentic Belfast flavours The Cloth Ear is ideal – all on site at the Merchant.
For super central city locations, Hotel Ten Square, The Ramada Encore and The Hilton all offer stylish luxury in the heart of the action. Great Victoria Street is home to two of the cities favourite hotels, The Europa and The Fitzwilliam. Exuding luxury and modern amenities, expect a warm welcome and top quality dining and accommodation. Both hotels are perfectly positioned for catching a show at the nearby Grand Opera House, which runs an extensive programme of world class musicals, comedy tours and theatrical performances.
Things to do together
Exploring the city on foot is equally as easy as it is enjoyable. The stunning architecture of the city’s ancient buildings, are best appreciated from the ground up. If you are here to totally relax, taxi rates around the city are inexpensive in comparison with other European competitors and Translink’s Metro bus services with day tickets allow for easy ‘hop on hop off’ and multiple destination services.
St Anne’s Square, home to The MAC (Metropolitan Arts Centre) recently famed for showcasing the world famous Andy Warhol exhibition, is the ideal place to absorb some global culture with talents from across the world showcased under one roof. With an eclectic mix of arts, drama, comedy and music programmes running throughout the year, there is something to appeal to the most discerning of culture seekers. If the arty side of things isn’t really your thing, the MAC is still a lovely place to while away an afternoon or evening and also great for a lunch or dinner date.
The Saturday and Sunday variety market at St George’s Market is a must visit. Here you can sample a vast range of top quality homemade produce, exotic flavours, unique arts and crafts, clothing, books, antiques and many more secret treasures from the most weird and wonderful stalls.
Shopping in Belfast is accessible and concentrated within the main shopping pavilions of Castle Court, Victoria Square, Donegal Place and Royal Avenue with a huge range of big high street stores and luxury global brands.
Titanic Belfast is a an absolute must see for any break in Belfast. Located in the city’s Titanic Quarter, the iconic six floor building is right beside the slipways where the legendary ship was built and launched. The interactive experience allows you to follow the ship’s story from build, to maiden voyage, tragic end and present footage of the wreck on the sea bed. The galleries employ a range of multi-media exhibits to include CGI, film, replicas, audio, artefacts and a ride through the Titanic under construction. On Titanic’s sister ship, SS Nomadic ,dry docked outside Titanic Belfast – you can step on board and explore the life of first and second class passenegers that were transported to board the Titanic on that very vessel. Book tickets for a tour of the SS Nomadic here.
Time to be together
If chic urban vibe is your scene, then Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter is the place to be and be seen. Book a table in one of the many restaurants and wine bars in the city, grab a gig, hit a club or sit back and relax to sultry sounds of jazz and acoustic sessions, synonymous with this cultured quarter. The Duke of York bar or McHughs are perfect for enjoying a drink in a really atmospheric, quaint setting. For a romantic table for two meal, House of Zen brings oriental flavours to the cobbled streets while 4th Wall Brasserie and Coppi offer speciality dining. If authentic flavours are more your thing, The Potted Hen and Made in Belfast offer the most interesting takes on local dishes, amid cosy and comforting bistro style dining in relaxed and intimate surrounds. And for great food and an even better view check out the newly opened Robinson & Cleaver overlooking the magnificent City Hall.
Queen’s Film Theatre offers a movie date like no other. Belfast’s only non-mainstream cinema provider has two screens, bar and lounge for a really unique night at the movies. Old, classic or modern films can be viewed in the new theatres and the cosy surrounds make for a great evening out.
To escape some of the city rush, a gentle stroll together around Botanic Gardens and exotic Palm House in the University area is a welcome way to enjoy some peaceful time together. The University area around Stranmillis and Botanic Avenue are loaded with cool coffee shops and rustic eateries.
There’s so much to offer in this really cool and creative city. The quality of hotels and dining options are up there with the very best. With the perfect blend of adventure and time together, Belfast is great all-rounder and worth checking out! To find out more about short breaks in Northern Ireland from only €55 per room* visit www.discovernorthernireland.com