As peace brings growing confidence to travelers, the City of Belfast is fast becoming one of the United Kingdom’s most popular tourist destinations, and it offers a wide range of places to see and things to do. This article covers only a few of the outstanding things visitors will not want to miss.
Belfast Castle sits atop the 400-foot high Cave Hill in the Port of Belfast. A wonderful sandstone building completed in 1870, the castle is a familiar city landmark and a favorite venue for conferences, weddings, and many social events. Surrounded by Cave Hill Country Park, visitors will enjoy the many paths and birds-eye views of the city.
The Port of Belfast was the birthplace of the ill-fated Titanic, and the citizens take a morbid pride in that fact despite the hundreds of ships born here that did not sink. Visitors can take a boat tour of the shipyards and learn about the ship’s story on the Titanic Boat Tour.
One of Ireland’s most popular tourist attractions is the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, where visitors can spend days exploring the many displays and exhibits. The Transport Museum contains a DeLorean and many antique steam locomotives and buses. The outdoors Folk Museum re-creates an old Irish town and has an enjoyable miniature railway.
The Port of Belfast’s Crown Liquor Saloon is said to be the most beautiful pub in Northern Ireland. With beautiful stained glass windows, its rather dark Victorian-era interior is still lighted by gas. Huge private booths seat small crowds, particularly on Friday afternoons when folks get off work.
The Port of Belfast’s Lagan Valley Regional Park is a 4.5 acre mosaic of urban parks, open countryside, riverside trails, nature reserves, and heritage sites. Visitors can walk for miles along the River Lagan towpath and see relics that recall the old Canal and the linen industry. Visitors will also discover the famous Giant’s Ring, Norman mottes, and remains of Stone Age settlements. This is the perfect place for leisurely walks, cycling, canoeing, birdwatching, and many outdoor activities.
Since 1604, people have gathered every Friday at the St. George’s Market in the Port of Belfast. Today’s market was built in the late 1800s, and it’s one of the city’s oldest and most popular attractions. In an enchanting Victorian building, the Friday Variety Market boasts about 250 stalls offering an amazing range of goods from Atlantic Shark to antiques. The 23 fish stalls represent Ireland’s leading retail fish market. The Saturday City Food and Garden Market offers beef, cheeses, free-range eggs, venison, and pheasant for connoisseurs as well as a variety of continental and world specialty foods. Shoppers will love browsing the Saturday market while sipping coffee or tea, reading a newspaper, and listening to live music.
Travelers who want to visit the Port of Belfast by sea will find a list of scheduled cruises on the Cruise Compete website. Or you can find comprehensive information on the Port of Belfast’s tourist attractions at the Cruise Belfast website.