The best of Belfast

In association with: Tourism Ireland

‘Belfast 2024’ brings even more arts and culture to this already vibrant city

Culinary experiences, historical sites and cultural attractions are part and parcel of any trip to Northern Ireland’s largest city. But this year, there’s even more reason to visit, with a calendar packed with festivals and events as part of Belfast 2024.

Taking place between March and November, this initiative is shining a spotlight on the city and hosting theatre performances, art installations and workshops, inspired by nature, sustainability and Belfast’s marine heritage.

Beyond this exciting cultural programme, the city’s best attractions are waiting to be discovered at any time of the year. From historic pubs and music venues to the world-famous Titanic Belfast experience, there’s plenty to see and do on a short city break, or on a longer visit to the island of Ireland.

Take a tour

The multifaceted city of Belfast is brimming with attractions, and the Best of Belfast walking tour run by DC Tours offers the perfect introduction, taking in some of the city’s unique quarters on a three-hour guided walk.

Passing vibrant street art and beautiful architecture, visitors will stop at sights such as St Anne’s Cathedral and the Albert Memorial Clock, and wind through the Entries, a series of historic streets and alleyways in the city centre.

For a deeper dive into Belfast’s culture, Seedhead Arts’ Street Art Walking Tour unveils the meaningful stories behind the city’s most recognisable street artworks.

On evenings and weekends, the city is abuzz with live music. Belfast was awarded Unesco City of Music status in 2021 and visitors can join a music walking tour, discovering the history of its traditional music and visiting famous venues. Guides will enlighten tourists with tales of the musicians and concerts that found fame in Belfast.

Step back in time

Titanic Belfast offers a world-leading immersive experience beside the Titanic slipways, where the ship was launched in 1911.

With even more to discover after a multimillion-pound renovation, visitors will be guided through Titanic’s origins, infamous voyage and legacy on a self-guided tour through nine galleries filled with interactive exhibits, including reconstructed cabins, dining and engine rooms, while discovering more about the people who were on board.

From September 26-29, as part of Belfast 2024, visitors can attend Shadowdock, 12 metres below sea level at the dock where Titanic was launched. The experience will feature a display of light, shadow, colour and sound to provide a new perspective on the world around you.

Culinary delights

Travellers will find a multitude of food and drink options to fuel their trip to Belfast. Along the cobbled streets in the Cathedral Quarter, cosy pubs such as the Duke of York and the Harp Bar are the perfect spot for a drink. One of the city’s oldest pubs, Kelly’s Cellars, has live music six nights a week and is a favourite with locals.

On Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, you can find more than 100 stalls selling antiques, souvenirs and food at St George’s Market. The market’s fresh produce, world cuisines and local fare are an authentic slice of Belfast life, and no one will leave hungry.

While in the neighbourhood, Waterman House restaurant offers more than 40 cookery classes to choose from. Budding chefs can learn to bake traditional Irish breads or hearty local dishes using fresh home-grown produce, for a unique souvenir they can recreate at home.


Three must-dos in Belfast

Titanic Distillers

Belfast’s first working distillery in almost 90 years! Housed in the historic Pumphouse in Thompsons Dock, journey through time and explore the building’s transformation from an engineering marvel into an Irish whiskey distillery, on a 60-minute guided tour.

Cave Hill Country Park

You don’t have to travel far to find natural surroundings in Belfast. Cave Hill Country Park in the north of the city encompasses landscaped gardens, signposted trails and panoramic views close to Belfast Castle, which stands proudly at the foot of Cave Hill.

The Cathedral Quarter

One of Belfast’s liveliest districts, the Cathedral Quarter is home to colourful street art, as well as some of the city’s best beer gardens, bars and restaurants. Admire the architecture of the historic Merchant Hotel, before sampling the pubs, cafes and music venues on Hill Street.

For more information on Belfast and beyond, visit trade.ireland.com

PICTURES: Tourism Northern Ireland/Finn Richards; Tourism Ireland/Gareth Wray; Chris Hill Photographic; Brian Morrison

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