A Local’s Guide to Belfast

Last week i flew to Belfast to visit my friend who is at university there. I flew with Ryanair which only cost me £23 for a return, and there’s so much to do in Belfast that it’s definitely worth a visit! The friend I was visiting has lived in Belfast for almost 3 years now, so she knew exactly the places to take me to allow me to see the city at its best. Keep reading to find out what I got up to!

Day 1

We went for brunch at Maggie May’s, a traditional café/restaurant serving a huge range of food and drink at very reasonable prices. I went for an Ulster breakfast which was delicious and only cost a fiver! The portions were generous to start the least and i was kept full right until dinnertime. We also ordered a white Kinder Bueno milkshake to share which was absolutely enormous – i don’t know how anyone would be able to drink a whole one by themselves!

We then went to visit Queen’s University, which is very grand and well worth a look. It’s within walking distance of the town centre which makes it even more convenient! We walked back through the botanic gardens which are lovely and extremely well kept; a particular highlight was the greenhouse which is full of both exotic and native plant species. The bowling green would be a lovely place to have a picnic if the weather was warm!

We then caught a bus to Cave Hill, which is about 20 minutes from Belfast city. After a quick look round Belfast Castle (which has a lovely cafe), we began our ascent. The walk is roughly 4.5 miles long and the climb to the top is pretty gruelling, but the views make it all worthwhile. It was amazing to be able to see Belfast and the surrounding area from above, and the fact that it wasn’t too busy at the top made it even better. There are also 5 caves to spot on the way up, and you can see parts of Belfast Zoo along the route as well.

Day 2

For lunch we went to the Windrush Island Cafe, which serves Caribbean cuisine and had a laid-back and summery feel to it. I had a coconut and lentil curry which was delicious, and only £5.50! 

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We then went for a tour of the City Hall. Tours are completely free as long as you sign up beforehand, and are really informative and well worth doing.

In the evening we went out to Filthy McNasty’s, which is an intimate bar with a quirky interior. They regularly have live bands playing and open mic nights, so it provides a great way to discover Belfast’s culture from a different angle. When we went, there were two men performing, who were truly phenomenal and really got the crowd going with mash-ups of familiar songs. There is also a “Secret Garden” out the back of the bar, which has a DJ playing and was a great place to go to get some air or enjoy a different style of music. Entry to the bar is completely free and I would really recommend checking it out because the standard of the live performers is truly excellent!

Day 3

On my final day in Belfast we headed to St George’s Market, which is an indoor market held every Saturday. It has a nice mix of food and craft stalls, as well as live music and a large seating area. It is a great place to go to try lots of new foods, grab lunch and perhaps pick up a souvenir or two.

We then walked over to Titanic Belfast, which is the largest Titanic attraction in the world. This was the most expensive thing I did on my trip, but was definitely worth it. You follow a route round the building (which is architecturally very impressive in its own right), whilst learning about the story of the Titanic, as well as the cultural and industrial history of Belfast and its residents. The displays are varied and interactive, which makes it very engaging. There is also a ride which I would recommend having a go on! The museum is built on the spot that the Titanic was launched from, and so it gives you an idea of the scale of the boat, as well as the view the people on board had when they set sail.

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Our last stop before I headed back to the airport was at Co Couture, a gourmet chocolate shop hidden under an optician’s right near the city hall. There is a little cafe inside, where we ordered a hot chocolate. It was by far the richest hot chocolate I have ever had! But it also came with some gourmet marshmallows and our choice of one of their famous chocolates each which made the experience even more luxury. I went for a mint and honey flavoured chocolate which was truly decadent, and for £3 in total Co Couture was a great find!

And so that concludes my trip to Belfast. I hope you enjoyed reading about what I got up to, and let me know if there’s anything I didn’t do which I should try if I go back there in the future!

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