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Top 10 things to do in Belfast

Belfast is a city full of surprises. Having emerged triumphant from the Troubles, the city is now full of life, buzzing with excitement upon a backdrop of rich maritime history, Victorian architecture and traditional Northern Irish culture. A century after its golden age, Belfast has really come into it’s own in the last 10 years with so much to offer in the way of excursions and entertainment for tourists and locals alike. There’s plenty of great craic to be had but here is my top 10 things to do in Belfast having spent 3 days exploring this amazing Irish city.

1) Visit the Titanic Museum

Titanic sign

No trip to Belfast is complete without a visit to the Titanic Museum. Situated in front of the very place that Titanic was built, the Museum is a stunning tribute to the ill-fated steamliner.

2) Visit SS Nomadic

SS Nomadic

Built at the same time as the Titanic by the same workmen using the same tools and materials, SS Nomadic is the last remaining White Star Line ship in the world. Built for first and second class passengers to take them aboard the Titanic, SS Nomadic had an interesting 70 year career before being threatened with the scrap heap. Luckily she was brought back to Belfast and now sits in the Titanic Quarter, beautifully restored to her former glory. It is about as close to being on Titanic as you can get with the luxury that first and second class passengers came to expect aboard luxury streamliners of the time. The tour was fantastic and we got some incredible pictures on the top deck as the sun was setting. Living, breathing history right here folks.

3) Watch the Belfast Giants play at home

Belfast Giants

Having never been a sports fan or followed a sport in my entire life, I can honestly tell you I had a blast watching the Belfast Giants! The game is fast paced with players smashing each other into the side lines to get to the puck with fights regularly breaking out between halves. Much more exciting than football! Now becoming a big part of Belfast culture, Ice Hockey is the sport of choice so try catching a game whilst you’re there.

4) Go inside Belfast City Hall

Belfast Town Hall

Right in the middle of Belfast City Centre stands the beautiful Belfast City Hall. Built in response to Queen Victoria’s award of city status to Belfast in 1888, the Hall was completed in 1906. Tours take place everyday lasting around an hour, they include the history of Belfast City Hall and its finest features. The ceilings and statues are magnificent inside, it’s worth a peek in the main foyer even if you haven’t got enough time to take the tour.

5) Go on a Game of Thrones Tour

Dark Hedges Game of Thrones

This is a must for any Game of Thrones fan. Main stops include, Caves at Cushendun, Larrybane Quarry, Ballintoy Harbour, Giant’s Causeway and the Dark Hedges. Along the way a guide will let you in on some inside secrets from the show and explain the significance of each location whilst you have a scenic drive along the coast. You can read all about my experience on the tour right here.

6) Take a Bus Tour around Belfast City Centre

Falls Road

A bus tour is a great way to get your bearings in a new city and there were quite a few offering discounted tickets in Belfast on the day we arrived so you don’t need to worry about booking. There are a few different companies you can choose from but they pretty much run the same route with highlights including, Belfast City Hall, Titanic Museum and Dock, Crumlin Road Jail, St Annes Cathedral, Belfast Peace Wall and the Parliament Buildings. Most notably the tour buses take you through the famous Falls Road and Shankill Road areas, where you will find all the political murals from the Troubles. The Bobby Sands MP mural on the Falls Road is one of the most photographed pieces of public art in Europe.

7) Explore the Giant’s Causeway

Giant's Causeway Game of Thrones Tour

Arguably one of the best parts of my trip to Belfast was the Giant’s Causeway. Part of the Game of Thrones Tour I went on (however I’ve listed it separately just in case you’re not a GoT fan!) we stopped off at the Causeway for lunch and it was one of the most amazing natural wonders I’ve ever seen! The Causeway was created by volcanic activity around 50 to 60 million years ago and as the lava rapidly cooled, it contracted into the distinctive shapes and step-like columns. Many of the columns fit together so tightly that when you view it from the cliff edge above it looks like a man made street. It’s a really cool place.

8) Visit Crumlin Road Gaol

Crumlin Gaol

Built in 1845 and once a bustling victorian prison, Crumlin Road Gaol closed its doors in 1996 and reopened as a Museum. Murderers, thieves and political prisoners were kept here with a total of 17 hangings. You can take a guided tour around the many cells, Governor’s Chambers, the condemned man’s cell and execution room. It may be morbid but it’s a fascinating place to visit with many interesting tales!

9) Visit the Crown Liquor Saloon

Crown Pub

The Crown Liquor Saloon or Crown Bar along Great Victoria Street is a Belfast treasure and one of its most famous pubs. Restored to its former glory thanks to some rather expensive renovation work, the pub is one of the finest Victorian Pub time capsules you’ll find in the UK. The bar is lavishly decorated with polychromatic tiles and mosaics created by Italian Craftsman brought to Belfast in 1880 to work on Catholic Churches in the area. There is also a bar and restaurant upstairs to get some great pub grub and of course a Guinness!

10) Get a bird’s eye view of Belfast

From Victoria Square Shopping Centre in Belfast you will find one of the best views of Belfast City. I know it’s a very odd place to find a great view, but! There is a purpose built dome at the top of the shopping centre with views of Belfast Castle, the Harland & Wolff Cranes, Belfast City Hall, Belfast Courts of Justice and Albert Clock. On the day I went back in February it was raining so I couldn’t get any decent pictures but the view was fab and something I’d recommend if you’re having a shop around anyway.

I hope you get to experience some of these things for yourselves, with Titanic and the Giant’s Causeway a must if you are visiting Belfast. Is there anything you would have added to the list? Comment below :)

Mel x

About the author

Hi, I’m Mel! The adventure-seeking vegan travel blogger behind Footsteps on the Globe. On this blog you'll find my latest adventures, travel inspiration as well as tips and tricks on how to be vegan around the world. You don’t have to give up being vegan to follow your travel dreams and I’m here to show you how!