There are so many places to see in Northern Ireland, and it can be difficult to narrow things down when you are limited on time. Up next in our “What to do, Where to eat?” series, we bring you a few of our favorites from Belfast!
What to do:
Titanic Museum – 1 Olympic Way, Queens Road, Titanic Quarter, Belfast BT3 9EP – An easy train ride from Belfast city, and a short walk from the train station. This Titanic museum is unlike any other exhibit. You can visit the slip where Titanic and Olympic were launched just outside the museum. This museum focuses not on the immense tragedy of April 14th, 1912 –rather it focuses on the building of the ocean- liner, the people who built her and who traveled on that fateful voyage. There are 9 galleries where you can view storyboards of the timeline of construction, inspect models and plans, ride a small immersive ride telling some of the story of the experience as well as see life-sized recreations of the accommodations experienced by each class. Of course, the museum does not gloss over the accident that claimed so many lives though. There is a hall that plays the experiences of survivors in their own voice…a heart-wrenching and emotionally overwhelming experience. Be sure to reserve an entire day to explore the museum, the shipyard and the SS Nomadic as well.
Paddy Campbell’s Famous Black Cab Tour – A private car tour with a knowledgeable local guide. But so much more than that! We chose a custom tour that included Belfast City, where we learned about this history and events of “The Troubles” that so many of us remember from our childhood. (Even growing up in USA during this tumultuous time, I was all too familiar with some of the stories.) Our guide, Peter, was fun and welcoming, making us feel at ease and like old friends. Along the Antrim Coast, there are stops to see The Dark Hedges, Carrick-a-Rede bridge, Giant’s Causeway as well as sites where filming for Game of Thrones has taken place.
Queen’s University Belfast -Founded by Royal Charter in 1845, it became a university in its own right in 1908. A beautiful and historical campus that is great for a walk! We stayed nearby and found this area absolutely stunning! Check out the Ulster Museum, Botanic Gardens as well!
Do not miss shopping in Belfast City Centre!!
Where to eat:
Sakura Japanese Restaurant – 82 Botanic Ave, Belfast BT7 1JR, UK – Perhaps an odd choice one may think, but this was a nice change of pace for us when we were in Belfast. The food is fresh, the service is friendly and welcoming and as someone who lived in Japan, the flavors are authentically executed. Enjoy it!
Ribs & Bibs – 78-80 Botanic Ave, Belfast BT7 1JR, UK – A delicious alternative to fast food, this was an easy walk from our hostel near the university. We arrived during a slow time, so the place was quiet and the service was friendly. The food was good and the atmosphere was relaxed and prices reasonable.
Maggie May’s Belfast Cafe – 50 Botanic Ave, Belfast, County Antrim, BT7 1JR – A cozy, home-cooked meal type of cafe, this place was rather busy when we were there. Full of college students and young families, the atmosphere was lively but not loud. The food was delicious and the portions a bit on the bigger side, we found ourselves full and happy! Their burgers are delicious and their chips/fries are perfectly done! The menu includes a wide variety of options including vegetarian choices!
Along Botanic Avenue near the University, there are many options for places to eat. It just depends on your tastes, budget and mood. We opted for a Subway Sandwich one day because it just sounded good, as well as popped into a little market for snacks and a coffee shop for some hot drinks for our lazy rainy evening watching movies on my tablet.
“Keep your heart open, a suitcase packed and wander often for the world is wide and adventure awaits.” ~ Emylee