Belfast has a strange way of infusing modern with traditional Victorian buildings and the best place to see this is the stunning and this can be nowhere more evident than the Cathedral Quarter. The Cathedral Quarter is an eclectic mix of pubs, restaurants, bars, theatre and art which is set against the backdrop of some of the city’s oldest and most beautiful streets and buildings. Often said to be Belfast’s answer to Temple Bar, (Dublin); the Cathedral Quarter oozes a sense of all things cool, quirky and contemporary.
Taking a look up from the busy streets of Belfast city centre, it’s somewhat of a strange feeling to know you are in the midst of one of the busiest and most economically flourishing cities on the island of Ireland. Greenery surrounds Belfast, and perhaps the most obvious example of this is Cavehill (historically known as Ben Madigan from Irish: Beann Mhadagáin). All of Belfast can be seen from the peak of Cavehill and on a clear day, and the view from the bottom is just as spectacular. (Fun fact! Cavehill is thought to be the inspiration for Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels. When Swift was living at Lilliput Cottage near the bottom of the Limestone Road in Belfast, he imagined that the Cavehill resembled the shape of a sleeping giant safeguarding the city!)
Bites in Belfast:
Belfast is every foodie’s heaven. Quality local food is a speciality in Belfast, from home made Ulster fry’s to traditional potato bread, you’ll find these everywhere (top tip, excellent quality and locality can be found at Bright’s Traditional Belfast Restaurant.) The Bistros found on Botanic Avenue are simply a must see (and taste) but you won’t be stuck in the city centre, as it offers lots of stylish bars and restaurants. And, if it’s pub grub you’re after, say hello to the pub grub capital of the world. Belfast boasts pubs on practically every street and also has a range of historic pubs - which are definitely worth the visit. (Top tip; visit The National. This city centre bar has already made a huge impact on the Belfast entertainment scene in since opening in September 2013, with its cool mixture of coffee, restaurant, bar and beer garden.)
If you’ve never been to Belfast before, and want to get to know the area like a local, Belfast has just opened its very own Welcome Centre. Regardless if you’re a lone traveller, or travelling with kids or friends, it can be a bit of a task to figure out where to go and what to see. The Welcome Centre will provide you with all the information you could possibly need about visiting Belfast!
Accommodation in Belfast is plentiful and the locals are only to ready to show you a good time and ensure your stay is a friendly one. Regardless of your budget, there’s a place for everyone in Belfast, from budget hostels and hotels, to luxury modern hotels and family friendly B&B’s and holiday homes. So if you’re seeking a great city break, a family holiday or just a weekend away; be sure to put Belfast on your to do list!
(Photo credits: Main photo by Discover Northern Ireland – Second photo by © Brandon Elijah Scott / Eye & Pen – Third photo by Wikipedia)