Days Out in Belfast

Published on: 22/08/22

The invitingly compact capital of Northern Ireland, Belfast has all the attractions of larger national capitals, including historic landmarks and a vibrant nightlife. Perhaps not as well-known as Dublin to travellers, it’s one of the best places to visit in the whole island of Ireland, for good reason! Easily accessible by air, ferry, road, and rail, it’s best known to many for being where the RMS Titanic was built, as well as for the violence suffered during The Troubles in the later part of the 20th century.

Today the city offers a lively historic city centre, the famous Titanic Quarter, fun pubs, excellent museums, hundreds of street murals, beautiful gardens and green spaces, Victorian architecture, exciting sports and cultural events, and a vibrant and welcoming tourism industry. Popular during the summer (thanks to the good old UK climate!), the reward of visiting at any time of year is a less crowded city where experiences feel more authentic. The excellent Christmas shopping and markets are becoming very popular, but you’ll find the famous Irish hospitality on display 365 days a year!

Titanic Belfast Museum

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A stunning piece of sculptural architecture in its own right, the Titanic Belfast Museum is the world's largest Titanic visitor experience, located in the heart of Belfast, on the historic slipways where she was designed, built and launched in 1912. Located beside the Harland and Wolff Drawing Offices and Hamilton Graving Dock, it’s rooted in the history of Belfast and the many industries that thrived in the city. Learn the story of the Titanic, from her conception in the early 1900s, through her construction and launch, to her infamous maiden voyage, catastrophic demise, and subsequent place in history.

Extending over nine galleries, the exhibition incorporates multiple dimensions, drawing together special effects, dark rides, full-scale reconstructions and innovative interactive features. Discover the very real and personal lives of her designers, builders, crew and passengers, with some amazing and fascinating legacies. Your journey goes beyond the aftermath of the sinking to the discovery of the wreck, and continues into the present day in the Ocean Exploration Centre; a truly memorable experience.

Crumlin Road Gaol

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Northern Ireland has its fair share of infamous locales, but there are few places as dramatically rooted in the heart of The Troubles as Crumlin Road Gaol. A must-experience for history buffs, the Crumlin Road Gaol dates back to 1845 and closed its doors as a working prison in 1996. The last of Northern Ireland's remaining Victorian-era prisons, it’s a time capsule of Irish history where many significant figures from the time of The Troubles were interned- and in some cases, executed. Now a fascinating visitor attraction, today you can take a guided tour through the grim history of the prison which housed some of the most important figures in Ireland’s struggle for independence.

The scene of 17 executions over its 150-year lifespan, you'll hear tales of humanity that shone through, even in its darkest days. Discover the history of the site from when women and children were held within its walls, through to the segregation of republican and loyalist prisoners, and the negotiations that enabled its eventual closure. Visit the underground tunnel that used to connect the gaol to the Crumlin Road Courthouse, get a chance to sit in the Governor's chair, and view all the wings from the circle. Before you re-emerge, a visit to the condemned man’s cell and execution cells give an unmissable view of turbulent and troubling times.

Giants Causeway Tour

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Belfast benefits from some of the UK’s most beautiful and dramatic countryside and coastline virtually on the doorstep, some of which has been made world-famous by ‘Game of Thrones’. With Ulster Tours award-winning, family-run highly personable and professional tours, we promise you’ll be totally transported. Step aboard your comfortable coach in central Belfast to be whisked on a journey of mystery, magic and natural marvels, viewing several of the city’s landmarks on your route out of the city. Stops include imposing Carrick Castle and several iconic Westeros landmarks, including Magheramourne Quarry, Carnlough Harbour, Ballycastle and the death-defying rope bridge Carrick-A-Rede.

Then step in the footprints of giants and marvel at the natural spectacle that is the Giant’s Causeway; over 40,000 perfectly shaped basalt columns formed a staggering 60 million years ago, reaching out into the Irish Sea. Fascinating for their incredible geography and alluring folklore alike, it’s a mesmerising experience. But no napping on the journey home, as you pass through the stunning natural tunnel of 94 beech trees that make up The Dark Hedges. With a hint of Northern Irish banter included as standard, your friendly and knowledgeable Ulster Tours guide will bring this beautiful corner of Ireland to unforgettable life.

Exploris Aquarium, Portaferry

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The seas around Northern Ireland teem with amazing wildlife, and at Exploris Aquarium, half an hour southeast of Belfast, you have the chance to get up close and personal with many of them, plus their exotic friends. Northern Ireland's only aquarium and seal sanctuary is packed with an animal posse that Noah’s Ark would surely be proud of. The colourful coral reefs in the Tropical Ocean zone are home to over 100 species, while friendly ducks, otters and penguins love making new friends, especially anyone volunteering to give the keepers a hand at feeding time!

Are you ready for an underwater adventure? A sunken galleon, inquisitive sharks and a snappy crocodile all star in fun-themed areas including Penguin Island and Turtle Cove. Kids will love exploring interactive stations, filling in their individual passports to claim special treasure at the end. Gentle visitors can even stroke the belly of a baby shark, watch rehabilitated seals living their best lives, and even learn the Viking history of Strangford Lough! With Percy's Pitstop, fully licensed restaurant, gift shop and events programme, there’s plenty to entrance and refresh everyone!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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