Belfast has come a long way during the 21st century, and is now widely recognised as a major ‘must-visit’ destination in the United Kingdom.
From its vibrant city centre right through to its eclectic quarters and the greener region beyond, there is something to suit every taste in Belfast.
Many people head to Belfast for long weekends, so read on as we strive to show you how to get the most out of a couple of days in Northern Island’s capital.
Fancy a Flutter?
If you’re the type of person who loves the thrill of playing free online slots, a trip to Belfast will be right up your street.
There are a range of venues located around the city where you can play exciting casino games such as roulette, blackjack and slots.
All of them are fully licensed and regulated, meaning you can play safe in the knowledge that any winnings you accrue will be paid.
For anyone lucky enough to scoop a jackpot on the slots, Belfast also offers visitors the opportunity to watch live horse or greyhound racing.
Down Royal and Drumbo Park are both situated on the outskirts of the city and regularly stage meetings throughout the year.
Whether you love playing slot games, watching racing or both, Belfast is an excellent place to visit if you fancy a flutter.
Bars and Music
Every city has at least one pub where the locals will tell you to visit and for Belfast that is undoubtedly the iconic Crown Bar.
Situated in the heart of the city centre, The Crown Bar was first opened during the 1850s and remains one of the best preserved Victorian Gin Palaces in the world.
With a carved ceiling, mosaic tiled floors, fully functional gas lamps and Victorian snugs, the bar is truly a throwback to another era.
There are plenty of other bars worth checking out around Belfast, many of which feature live music throughout the weekend.
Belfast has a rich music history, with the city spawning the likes of Stiff Little Fingers, Ash, The Divine Comedy and many more.
Ulster Hall is also well worth visiting, with the venue regularly staging live gigs from some of the best music acts in the business.
Figure 1Standing on the shoulders of Giants – Photo by William Cherry from Press Eye
Head to Northern Ireland between September and April and you will be able to watch the Belfast Giants strut their stuff at the Odyssey Arena.
Founded in 2000, the Giants are firmly established as one of the most successful professional ice hockey clubs in the UK.
The atmosphere for home games is like no other, with fans coming together as one to make the Odyssey a truly formidable place to visit.
The Giants have had numerous big names on their roster, most notably in 2006 when NHL superstar Theo Fleury helped the club win the Elite League title.
Legendary British star Tony Hand also previously played for the Giants, highlighting Belfast’s appeal to ice hockey’s best players.
For anyone who loves their sport to be fast and furious, watching the Giants play is a great way to spend a couple of hours.
If you are searching for something a little more cultural during your weekend away, the Titanic Belfast Museum should be high on your list.
Built at the Harland and Wolff shipyard, the Titanic was famous for being the largest ocean liner in the world, before it sank in 1912.
The massive hulk of the ship towered over the docks when it was being built, and people around the city celebrated wildly when it was launched.
However, the liner met with a sad end after striking an iceberg during her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City.
The Discovery Tour at the museum is a great way to learn about the how the ship was designed and how it came to cross swords with the iceberg.
Personal walking guides provide fascinating facts about the great ship and show visitors the maritime metaphors hidden within the architecture of Titanic Belfast.
St George’s Market
St George’s Market is one of Belfast’s oldest attractions and widely recognised as one of the best markets in the UK and Ireland.
The site has hosted a market since 1604 and the present award-winning St George’s was constructed during the late 1800s.
A £4.5 million refurbishment in 1997 transformed the market, making it into one of the most vibrant destinations in the city.
Now open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the market is home to some of the finest fresh produce that money buy.
Sunday is arguably the best day to visit as it is a mixture of the traditional Friday Variety Market and Saturday’ City Food and Craft Market.
With live music from top local bands and solo artists also thrown into the mix, it is easy to see why St George’s Market is so popular on Sundays.