Belfast is considered to be the most popular city in Northern Ireland. If you’ve visited, you’ll understand why. The city is filled with a rich history, and it has a growing metropolitan vibe to it. Year after year, it’s become more common for travellers from all over Europe to head to Belfast on a day trip. That being said, I’ve decided to create an itinerary for a one day in Belfast trip, which will give you a great feel for the city and allow you to see all the best bits.
Grab Some Breakfast at St George’s Market
To start off your day trip in Belfast, head to the last remaining Victorian market in the city. The first Friday market took place in 1604 and it’s one of the oldest attractions in Belfast today. Vendors set up shop here every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. They offer all sorts of fresh produce that is widely popular among the local people of Belfast.
There are many stalls set up that sell multiple cuisines from all over the world. When you arrive at St. George’s market, you’ll immediately feel like you’ve been thrown back in time. It’s amazing how a market can still hold its authenticity after hundreds of years. Locating the market isn’t difficult. It’s located on May Street, which is beside the River Lagan and only a ten-minute walk from Belfast city centre.
The opening hours for St. Georges Market are below.
Friday – 08:00 am – 14:00 pm
Saturday – 09:00 am – 15:00 pm
Sunday – 10:00 am – 15:00pm If you’ve got a car, there’s a parking discount in the Lanyon Place car park from Friday to Sunday. You can get up to 4 hours of parking for £5. For more information check out the Belfast City website.
Visit The Titanic Experience
Next, you’re going to see the most popular thing to do in Belfast.
The Titanic Belfast is the world’s largest Titanic visitor experience. Now, you’re going to ask what is the connection between the Titanic and Belfast? Well, the Titanic was designed and built on the slipways beside Hamilton Graving Dock in Belfast city. It was then launched here in 1912, and this is where the Titanic Experience is now located.
Titanic Belfast is a self-guided experience that consists of nine audiovisual galleries. As you walk through each stage, discover the story of the Titanic and what it was like to be on the ship. You’ll get to understand the intense labour the ship workers went through and learn about the marine background behind the city of Belfast.
After your tour is complete, head outside to see the SS Nomadic, the world’s last remaining White Star vessel and RMS Titanic’s original tender ship. Get the chance to tour the decks and explore the vessel. From the old beds of the crew members to the check-in desk as you board the ship, this truly is an eye-opening experience that you need to have on your Belfast day trip. I’d advise you to book your tickets before, as the experience is always sold out.
Walk To The Cathedral Quarter
If you love a vibrant, upbeat area, you’re going to love the Cathedral Quarter. This bustling district is home to some of the best bars and restaurants in Belfast, plus a growing arts scene. When you walk down through the main area, you’ll come across dozens of coloured umbrellas suspended above you. It’ll tempt you to take a shot for your Instagram.
Maybe you’re looking for some quality live music, check out the Dirty Onion.The atmosphere in this place will suck you in and make you never want to leave. The Dirty Onion is just one of the many great bars in the Cathedral Quarter. If drinking isn’t your thing, the Dirty Onion has a sister restaurant next door called Yard Bird. Their ribs are known to be some of the best in Belfast.
Belfast is known for its street art. You can find some of the best examples in the Cathedral Quarter (you won’t find the political murals here). You’ll notice as soon as you arrive at the Cathedral Quarter, the place is covered with astonishing works of art that you wouldn’t see in any normal art gallery. Some of the creations are truly incredible and they’re well worth looking out for.
Take A Black Taxi Tour
After your fun in the Cathedral Quarter, you’re going to learn about the real story behind the charming city of Belfast.
Sadly, for over 30 years, Belfast was in a bloody civil war that only ended in 1998. It was fought between the nationalist and loyalist communities. Thankfully, there is some peace in Belfast today. From the civil war came the political murals, which are one of the city’s most recognisable features from the war. You can find these murals in the Catholic and Protestant communities scattered throughout the city. The murals are highly detailed works of art. Locals from both sides of the communities painted took part in painting these murals to portray their war attempts.
One of the best ways to understand Belfast’s stormy past is to take a black taxi tour. You’ll be chauffeured in an old-style black taxi by a driver who has lived through the Troubles. They’ll take you on an educated journey through the areas where these murals are hidden and fill you with an unbiased insight into what it was like to live in Belfast during these horrible times.
The cost of these tours usually ranges from 60 pounds to 100 pounds. This price is for 2 people. Belfast taxi tours are one of the most recognised companies when it comes to black taxi tours. They offer two different tours: the Political History Tour and the Belfast Murals Tour.
I’d highly recommend you take a black taxi tour if you have any sort of interest in history or even art. It’s an astounding experience that shows you how far the city of Belfast has come over the years.
Go And See Belfast City Hall
To finish off your one day in Belfast, wander back to the city centre and go see Belfast City Hall. Located in the centre of Donegall Square, hides this impressive building that rules the centre’s horizon. The structure is situated on 1.5 acres of well-kept greens and famous memorials that thousands of tourists flock to see every day. The grounds offer a place for you to relax and get away from the hustle and bustle of the surrounding areas.
City Hall offers free tours around the grounds daily. You’ll be hosted by a knowledgeable tour guide who will take you on an adventure through the City Hall and show you places like the Banqueting Hall, the Council Chamber and many more. Bear in mind, these tours are popular and are on a first-come, first-served basis.
Be sure to check out the Titanic Memorial Gardens. Look out for the marble and Cornish statue commemorating the lives of the people who were killed in the tragic accident. Surrounding it, you’ll see colourful flowers that have been planted to make the memorial stand out.
Look out for the Belfast big screen (you won’t miss it). It’s used to showcase sporting events, news and movie screenings. You’ll find if there is a big match on, the grounds will be jammed and full of life, which calls for a great day out.
People usually think that City Hall is a place for council members, but here you’ll find families enjoying picnics and young people meeting their friends. The City Hall is actually known as a place for people to socialise and interact with each other. Grab a coffee and go check it out.
Now You Know All The Best Spots To Visit On Your Day Trip To Belfast
After visiting Belfast more than 5 times, I can safely say that if you stick to the itinerary above, you’re going to get the most out of your day trip to Belfast. It’s truly a wonderful city that has so much going for it.
The city’s popularity is growing, and with that comes more tourism-focused events. From marching bands in the SSE arena to 1870’s fashion exhibitions, the options are endless when it comes to diverse cultural events in Belfast. If you’d like to find out more information about when these events take place, see the Discover Northern Ireland website.
Of course, if you could visit Belfast for longer than a day, it would be ideal. But the great thing about the city is that you can see all you want in 24 hours. I can guarantee you, whatever number of days you decide to go for, you’ll enjoy the true beauty of Belfast.
About the author: Adam is a traveller who will find adventure in just about anything. Whether it’s hiking through misty mountains, exploring an unusual destination, or getting himself into a sticky situation, that’s his idea of an adventure. Author of the European travel blog – As Adam Goes.
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