Why visit Belfast?
It's a cultural hub, thanks to the city being located close to the beautiful natural wonder of The Giants Causeway and its rugged landscape (check out the organ!). Soak up the Gothic extravagance of Castle Ward which was also a setting used in Game of Thrones; learn about the story of Northern Ireland at The Ulster Museum or attend Torpedo School on HMS Caroline. And with EasyJet flying to Belfast International, British Airways, Aer Lingus and Loganair offering services to Belfast City, there is no reason not to visit here. Even better, you could rent a cottage near to the Causeway .
Stunning contemporary architecture reminding us of the past: The Titanic Museum is built on the Harland & Wolff shipyard where the Titanic was built.
Remembering old and new: located in The Titanic Quarter, The Titanic Hotel stands on the original premises of the headquarters of Harland and Wolff and now provides visitors with excellent accomodation with rooms themed around seafearing.
When should I visit?
Between May and end of September, but pack an umbrella for those unexpected showers!
Follow the Charles Lanyon trail of Belfast. Lanyon was an influential architect having designed three significant buildings in the city.
Although, two other fortresses were built on the site at Belfast Castle, the third Marquis of Donegal decided to construct a third which was designed by Lanyon and completed in 1862. Neatly positioned on the slopes of Cavehill Country Park, the Scottish Baronial architectural style can be seen for miles and provides tourists impressive views over Belfast Lough.
A vastly different building compared to the other two, Lanyon was the architect behind Crumlin Road Gaol, Belfast, otherwise known as The Crum, which was designed in 1841 and built between 1843 and 1845. Mirrored on Pentonville Prison in London, the design was to isolate prisoners to reflect on their actions and reform themselves. The prison remained open until 1996: over the years men, women and children were incarcerated here; there were twelve escapes and seventeen executions! Today it is a visitors centre which recalls the tales of fear and fascination and pays tribute to its architecture.
On a positive note, Queens University was founded in 1845, and the main building was also designed by Lanyon. With campuses in Cork, Galway and Belfast, the university was named after Queen Victoria who gave Belfast its city status in 1888. Upon completion there are now over 300 buildings which have impressive architectural design. Moreover, the Lanyon Building remembers the architect to Belfast’s story.
The Northern Ireland Assembly buildings are located outside Belfast at Stormont. If you fancy having a nose around, why not take a tour? It’s worth a visit, particularly for its perfect symmetrical architecture. You will see where the politicians meet; tours take place Monday to Friday between 9 am and 4 pm. Don’t forget to check out the stunning parkland surrounding the estate and it’s associated footpaths.
Even though Belfast City is minutes from the city centre, and Belfast International is a thirty-five minute drive away, flying into the International terminal is the cheaper option. Loganair, British Airways and Aer Lingus are the main carriers into Belfast City and they are likely to consider proximity to increase the fare. Simply get the bus from Belfast International, which costs around £10 return.
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SimpleWorld visited before the UK went into lockdown.