After years in the tourism wilderness, Belfast has emerged as a top UK destination and is now an increasingly popular spot for weekend breaks.

The city as we know it today took shape in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. During this period, Belfast became a world centre for the linen, rope-making and shipbuilding industries. The celebrated transatlantic liner, the Titanic, was built in the city’s Harland and Wolff shipyard.

The violence that marred Belfast’s recent past has now happily been consigned to history. Thanks to this political stability, and to extensive investment, the face of the city has been radically transformed.

Today, Belfast is glowing with confidence. The city boasts an array of unique attractions as well as top-class eateries, buzzing nightlife and a healthy dose of Irish ‘craic’.


A must for any first-time visitor to Belfast is a black taxi tour of the city’s famous murals. These murals, located in some of Belfast’s most (in)famous neighbourhoods, document recent historical events and the cultural idiosyncrasies of the city’s two main communities. Tours encompass both nationalist and unionist areas of the city and offer a unique insight into Northern Ireland’s troubled past.

Belfast boasts an impressive array of cultural amenities including two fine museums. The Ulster Museum, located in the Botanic area of the city, specialises in archaeology, ethnography and Irish history. An art gallery occupies the top floor of the museum and regularly showcases the best in local talent.

Situated in the well-heeled suburb of Cultra (a ten-minute drive from the city centre), the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum is one of Ireland’s leading heritage sites. The Folk Museum is spread over 60 acres and is filled with authentically restored cottages, mills and churches. The neighbouring Transport Museum houses the country’s most comprehensive collection of historic cars, trains and sea craft.

Like any self-respecting Irish city, Belfast puts on a great show for St. Patrick’s Day. The 17th March sees a colourful parade (although green tends to dominate) weave its way through the city. A host of gigs – from full-scale concerts to informal sing-alongs in the pub – celebrates the rich musical heritage of Belfast on this special weekend.


Royal Avenue is Belfast’s commercial centre and offers the usual array of high-street names and department stores that one would expect to find in a capital city. The Castle Court Centre is located at the end of this pedestrian precinct and has long been a favourite spot for local shoppers.

Fans of designer threads and vintage gear should check out the trendy boutiques on the Upper Lisburn Road. This village-within-a –city attracts a mixture of fashionistas and bohemian students and has developed into one of Belfast’s coolest spots.

St. George’s Market is a bustling throng of merchants and shoppers housed in one of the city’s most elegant Victorian buildings. In recent years, the market has become a mecca for foodies with its range of local and organic produce. This mix of modern tastes and old, rough-around-the-edges charm epitomizes the city today.

Nightlife and Eating Out

One of a number of districts to have benefited from a recent facelift, the Cathedral Quarter hosts several of the city’s coolest bars, clubs and hotels. The area is also known as Belfast’s literary and artistic quarter and several establishments regularly devote floor space to local artists.

Botanic Avenue, which lies adjacent to the main campus of Queen’s University, offers a long line of coffee houses, good-value restaurants and student-friendly bars. It is the ideal spot for a few early drinks before hitting the bars and clubs of the city centre.

The Odyssey Arena was recently named as one of the top six major concert venues in the world and hosts a variety of entertainments under one enormous roof. The Odyssey is home to the Belfast Giants ice hockey team, a 12-screen cinema, an interactive science museum and scores of bars and restaurants.

No visit to Belfast is complete without a pint at the famous Crown Liquor Saloon. Now owned by the National Trust, the bar is a legendary drinking spot in Belfast and is famed for its ornate interior of stained glass and elaborate woodwork.

Tourist Information

The Belfast Welcome Centre is located in the heart of the city centre, opposite the City Hall.

  • Belfast Welcome Centre, 47 Donegall Place, Belfast, BT1 5AD
  • Tel: +44 (0) 28 9024 6609
  • Fax: +44 (0) 28 9031 2424
  • Email:
There is also a tourist board for Northern Ireland:


Belfast is served by two airports; Belfast International and the recently re-named George Best City Airport. Belfast International airport connects to all major U.K. cities and several destinations in Europe, Canada and the U.S.A. The City airport operates services to major and regional destinations in the U.K and Ireland.

Belfast International Airport is 21km outside the city and is served by a regular shuttle bus from Great Victoria Street train station.

The City airport is a short distance from the city (3km) and is easily reached by taxi, bus and train.

All car hire locations in United Kingdom