At once a major business hub and bona fide party town, Belfast has defied all odds to become a thriving, bustling city.
Game of Thrones fans, whiskey drinkers and anyone with a passing interest in politics will be in their element, while Michelin-starred restaurants, museums galore and thriving nightlife make Belfast the complete city-break package.
Arriving at George Best Belfast City Airport
When you fly from London City Airport to Belfast you'll be arriving at George Best Belfast City Airport. The airport is conveniently located just three miles (5km) outside the centre of Belfast, making it incredibly easy to make your way into the city. It will cost around £10 to reach the city centre if you use one of the approved taxis that queue up in the rank outside the terminal building.
Alternatively, if you prefer to use public transport, the Airport Express 600 bus runs every 20 minutes during the day from outside the terminal and costs under £3 for a single ticket.
There is also a train from nearby Sydenham strain station with a shuttle bus connection. If you want to catch the train, go to the information desk at arrivals to book your place on the shuttle bus.
The city centre is compact, making it easy to get around and see most attractions by foot. If you're planning to travel to further flung corners of the city, you can take the bus (known as the Metro), flag down a taxi or hire a bike.
The bus network (the Metro) covers 12 routes around the city that link up attractions that are harder to reach on foot, such as Belfast Castle and Queen’s Quarter. Pay for individual fares or pick up a day pass from the Metro kiosk, bus stations or the tourist office.
If you are travelling in a group, taxis can be a cheap way to travel across the city. Value Cabs is recommended by the tourist board, offering a fleet of over 700 vehicles and affordable pricing. Their cabs have card machines and there's also an app.
The Belfast Bikes scheme now has over 40 docking stations around the city centre, giving everyone the opportunity to hire a bicycle. The bikes are available to hire between 0600 and midnight every day of the year and the first 30 minutes of each trip is free.
Car hire is a good idea if you plan on leaving the city and exploring the surrounding area. Book your car with London City Airport for collection when you land.
Central Belfast: for sightseeing
If you’re looking for traditional sightseeing opportunities, head to the heart of the city to find interesting architecture, key attractions and a thriving food and drink scene. Make sure you don't miss the famous City Hall building and Grand Opera House – but there is much more to discover in the heart of the city. Watch street performers around Victoria Square, enjoy a pint in one of the many 19th-century pubs and indulge in a spot of window-shopping down the Golden Mile.
The Cathedral Quarter: for history and culture
Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter is the cultural hub of the city. St Anne’s Cathedral, the Metropolitan Arts Centre and Belfast Library all feature interesting architecture and are open to the public most days of the year. The areas surrounding them also play host to various music, arts and food festivals. Many of the city’s famous pieces of street art can be found in this area by wandering down the narrow alleyways that link the main streets. Historic pubs and inviting cafes are in abundance here, too.
Queen’s Quarter: for an alternative experience
Named after Queen’s University, this bohemian area in the south of the city combines a typically studenty vibe with a more sophisticated cultural and independent scene. There are many indie shops, cafes and bars to discover, making this the perfect choice for a lively night out or vintage shopping. The Botanic Gardens and the Ulster Museum are also in the Queen’s Quarter, both offering free entry (donations recommended). Keep your eyes peeled for open-air concerts regularly held in the gardens, or head here to relax on a sunny day.
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