When we were preparing our 16 day UK trip itinerary last time, we had an ambitious intention of visiting all the 4 countries, just to say that we went all around UK. Unfortunately, we were on a tight schedule and budget (yes, transportation is very expensive), that is why we did not make it to Wales. Anyway, we scheduled our first weekend to visit the capital and largest city in Northern Ireland, Belfast City. During our first day, we took a Game of Thrones tour which I already shared with you last month on this post. Then, the following day was spent within the city.
Since we anticipated that this day will be fully packed with activities, we started with a big high calorie Ulster Fry Breakfast at Wetherspoon Restaurant, which was a 5 minute walk from the hotel we stayed in. It was a must for me to try this type of breakfast which is very famous in Northern Ireland.
Afterwards, we went to our first destination which is the Belfast Castle. Unlike the other castles that I’ve been to, which were usually turned into museums, this one became a venue for different occasions such as wedding receptions, birthday parties or private gatherings. There was an event when we visited, the reason why we didn’t get to walk around inside. Well, not actually a problem, since we just did a pictorial outside.
We spent more than an hour taking pictures, because everywhere we look into, felt like a picture perfect background (I don’t know what to call that, picture addict I guess). Also, the castle is located within the slopes of a hill, called Cave Hill, thus giving an overlooking view of the city. Actually if you are still not contented with the view, you can go further up the hill. I believe they offer different trails to reach the peak, you just have to inquire from the office inside the castle.
Then, we took a cab going to the Titanic Museum. Being a Titanic movie fan, I actually didn’t know that this is the city where it was built. Anyway, we did a self-guided tour to discover and explore everything inside. I will be writing more about this on my next blog.
It was raining after we finished our visit in the museum. We then hurried back to our hotel to grab our bags and went to the airport to go to our next destination.
What you need to know:
- Buses and cabs are the modes of public transportation to use when going around the city. We used the cab most of the time, since we were a group of four when we travelled and we found it difficult to locate the bus stops. Also, it is easy to call the cab company to pick you up from your location.
- If arriving to the city by plane, there are buses (Airport Express 300) just outside the airport which will take you to the city center. They will drop you at Europa Buscentre, and this is where you will catch the same bus going to the airport. Fare is GBP 7.50 single trip and GBP 10.50 with return. Visit this site for the timetable.
- I found Belfast City as a safe and peaceful place, so walking around even in the wee hours of the night is fine.
- The currency in Northern Ireland is British Pound.
- The visa in Northern Ireland is still the UK visa. Once you cross to Ireland, then that’s the time that you will need an Irish visa.
- The shops and stores close really early, like before 7:00 pm.
- When dining in restaurants (especially those included in the Tripadvisor top list), make sure to make a reservation ahead of time, as it gets fully booked. I remembered going to 3 restaurants and phoned 5 more, but no one accepted us because they were full.
- The weather in Belfast, like in any other cities in UK, is very unpredictable, so it is advisable to bring waterproof jacket and umbrella.
- Aside from the two sites I’ve mentioned above, there are other places to visit such as Belfast City Hall, Crumlin Road Gaol, Ulster Museum, Grand Opera House and more. They also have a hop on hop off bus which is a good way to get familiar with the city.