Brilliant breweries, culinary delights and the Titanic Quarter: Soak up the best of dramatic Belfast
- Belfast has enjoyed a tourism boom thanks to its links to Game Of Thrones
- The Titanic Belfast museum is a popular attraction – tickets start from £19
- Visit one of Ireland’s oldest breweries on the Hidden Brewery Bike tour
Every week our Holiday Hero Neil Simpson takes an in-depth look at a brilliant holiday topic, doing all the legwork so you don’t have to. This week he explores the best of Belfast, which has enjoyed a tourism boom thanks to its links to Game Of Thrones.
Tomorrow’s final episode of Game Of Thrones has once again thrust Belfast and the surrounding area – where much of the action over eight series has been filmed – into the spotlight.
Although the Games Of Thrones Studio Tour at Linen Mill doesn’t open until next spring, there are plenty of other events to attract visitors.
Rich history: Tickets for the Titanic Belfast museum (above) start at £19
Belfast has a surprising number of well-preserved Victorian gin palaces. Tour them (and enjoy free tastings) on a three-hour Gin Jaunt with an expert. At £63 per person, it’s not cheap, but it often sells out, so book early (tasteandtour.co.uk).
Add a bicycle, some countryside and craft beer to your day out with the Hidden Brewery Bike tour. After seeing the best of Belfast, you head out of the city (along flat roads with plenty of stops) to one of Ireland’s oldest independent breweries for free samples. It costs £50 including lunch (belfastcitybiketours.com).
Local Tip: Fancy a drink but don’t have time for a tour? Locals recommend the city’s historic The Crown Liquor Saloon, one of the few pubs owned by the National Trust.
In 1971, Led Zeppelin appeared at Belfast’s Ulster Hall and performed Stairway To Heaven for the first time. Hear the story, and the legendary song, on the Belfast Music Tour, an £8 guided bus trip which includes the history of local stars from Van Morrison to flautist James Galway. Book your tickets at ohyeahbelfast.com/bustour.
For more traditional sounds, join two musicians who guide you to three historic venues with live Irish music. The three-hour tour starts at 4pm and tickets cost £15 from belfasttradtrail.com.
Local Tip: To enjoy music at your own pace, go to one of the city’s oldest buildings, The Dirty Onion pub. It’s a former bonded spirit warehouse from 1780 and bands play there every night.
For free tastings with laughter on the side, try a ‘theatrical food tour’ with an actor playing Chef Barney, the fictional and funny Titanic chef supposedly defrosted after 100 years in an iceberg and determined to recreate a first-class banquet on his old ship. Book Belfast Bred tours for £22 at visitbelfast.com.
All aboard! See the city’s Titanic Quarter from the water with the Lagan Boat Company
The city’s big attraction is the Titanic. Tickets for the Titanic Belfast museum start at £19 from titanicbelfast.com. Alternatively, see the city’s Titanic Quarter from the water with the Lagan Boat Company (£12, laganboatcompany.com). Guides point out key Titanic sites plus surprises such as a huge seal colony on nearby rocks.
Local Tip: On dry land, locals suggest a look at the Titanic Hotel, the former Harland & Wolff Drawing Office with the original telephone exchange that took the call about the ship’s fate in 1912.
The story of The Troubles is told in the starkly named and increasingly popular A History Of Terror tour, now running twice daily. Guides explain the city’s difficult recent past and the reconciliation that continues to transform it. Tickets cost £18 from deadcentretours.com.
- Get information on attractions in Belfast and beyond at ireland.com.