The city of Belfast has come a long way since the days of “The Troubles”
There are plenty of reasons to visit Belfast. The city is easily explored on foot, allowing you to wander through the streets, admiring historic city buildings as well as diving into the various local shops. There is also a wide range of flights from airports all over the UK, leading to a good choice of flight times and also some very reasonable prices.
One of the main attractions for many people is the Titanic Belfast Centre which opened in April 2012 and provides a very interesting and enjoyable day’s entertainment.. The Titanic museum is situated near the spot where the ship was built and recreates life on board as well as showing how the ship was built and launched. Ten galleries over six floors tell the story of Titanic’s conception, construction, launch, tragic maiden voyage, and rediscovery at the bottom of the Atlantic. The Titanic Belfast Centre has a restaurant and a café as well as a souvenir shop.
An interesting place to visit during any stay in Belfast is the Stormont Parliament Buildings. These are home to the Northern Ireland Assembly, the legislative body for Northern Ireland established under the Belfast Agreement 1998 (the Good Friday Agreement). The Parliament Buildings are open to the public between 9.00am and 4.00pm Monday to Friday, when you can see first-hand the building and beautiful surroundings of the Stormont Estate.
Another sight worth seeing is the splendid neoclassical City Hall which was built in 1906 to symbolise the pride and might of a city which boasted the world’s largest shipyard, ropeworks and linen mills.
It is well worth taking a trip outside the city to The Giant’s Causeway. A UNESCO World Heritage site, this is a magnificent, mysterious geological formation on the North East coast of County Antrim steeped in myth and legend. The setting is a spectacular dynamic coastal landscape of Atlantic waves, rugged cliffs, secluded bays and magnificent views. The Causeway proper is a mass of basalt columns packed tightly together. The tops of the columns form stepping stones that lead from the cliff foot and disappear under the sea. Altogether there are 40,000 of these stone columns, mostly hexagonal but some with four, five, seven and eight sides. Visitors can walk along the basalt columns which are at the edge of the sea. The recently opened Giant’s Causeway Visitor Experience helps visitors to explore the science, myth and legends that surround the Giant’s Causeway.
A great place to visit on a wet day is the MAC – the Metropolitan Arts Centre, Belfast’s brand new arts venue in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter. Here you can enjoy the best in music, theatre, dance and art all under one roof. Belfast also now offers extremely good shopping, so it might be worth leaving a bit of space in your suitcase for a few souvenirs!