Belfast

At once a major business hub and bona fide party town, Belfast has defied all odds to become a thriving, bustling city.

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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.

Getting active

Belfast and its surrounding areas are famed for their many golf courses, with 14 located within the boundary of the city itself. If you have time to head a little further afield, two of the best courses in the world, Royal County Down and Royal Portrush, are both within an hour’s drive.

Cyclists can take advantage of the city’s accessible, affordable bike share scheme and rent a bicycle for the afternoon. The traffic-free Lagan and Lough Cycle Way runs between Belfast, Jordanstown, Lisburn and the Lagan Valley, giving cyclists around 21 miles to explore. The route takes in parks, rivers and the open countryside.

There are also plenty of opportunities for hiking in the Belfast Hills, with trails leading all over well-known beauty spots such as Cave Hill and the Black Mountain. There are five main sites in the hills with paths that are open to the public, offering miles of walking routes. You can expect to be slowed down by stopping to take lots of photos of the spectacular views of the city that open up as you ascend.

Excursions

The Giant’s Causeway

It may take an hour and 20 minutes to reach by car, but all visitors to Belfast should try to find the time to visit Giant’s Causeway. On the north coast of Northern Ireland, this area boasts over 40,000 basalt columns that were left by volcanic eruptions millions of years ago, resulting in a spectacular area of coastline that UNESCO has recognised as a World Heritage Site.

Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge

Perfectly located to combine with a visit to Giant’s Causeway, the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge is just 25 minutes away. Pay a small charge to the National Trust to walk across this spectacular rope bridge between two cliffs.

Lough Neagh

If you’re looking for somewhere a little closer to the city, head to Lough Neagh, the largest lake in the British Isles. Take a boat trip out on the water, visit one of the many parks and nature reserves on its shore, or discover one of the many nearby museums and country houses.