Take time to appreciate the finer delights of Belfast with this guide to the city’s top hotels, eateries, cultural experiences and unique learning opportunities, making for a city break to rival any of it’s European competitors. The Best of Belfast…
Where to stay…
The Merchant Hotel
Exquisite, opulent, world class and ultimate luxury – there probably isn’t enough words to describe the splendour of this boutique five star hotel. The Grade A listed building is simply beautiful, inside and out. The ornate and elaborate décor is breathtaking; Victorian grandeur meets Art Deco modernity. A stay in The Merchant is truly unforgettable and with the most extensive range of wining and dining options to compliment your stay, it certain you that every taste is catered for.
Located in the heart of Belfast’s chic cathedral quarter it boasts a jazz bar, luxury spa with rooftop gymnasium and home to exclusive fashion boutique ‘Harper’ which is Northern Ireland’s only stockist of Valentino, Celine and Christian Louboutin.
The Europa Hotel
As one of Belfast’s oldest hotels this iconic building is filled with an aura of elegant grandeur. Modernised to perfection The Europa exudes impeccable quality and a strong reputation for excellence precedes. Standing the test of time in the heart of Belfast’s bustling Great Victoria Street the hotel is perfectly positioned for sampling the city’s rich cultural offering and extensive historic founding.
The hotel of choice for global leaders and hollywood stars is know for extending its VIP service to every guest, making for a very pleasant and memorable stay.
The contemporary bistro offers a delightful menu, the stunning bar offers a vibrant cosmopolitan atmosphere while the relaxing piano bar lounge is the ideal place to sit back and watch the world go by. A champagne afternoon tea is a fabulous way to pass an afternoon with friends and family.
Where to visit …
Home to Northern Ireland’s most outstanding range of past and present day displays and global treasures, all just waiting to be uncovered! The Ulster Museum is home to a rich collection of art, history and natural sciences and free to all visitors. With interactive experiences, ancient artefacts, nature and science learning exhibits and global finds on display this is a captivating day filled with new learnings, journey and discovery.
Or by it’s full name; Metropolitan Arts Centre located in the prestigious St Anns Square and centre of the Cathedral Quarter, its a perfect place to enjoy a leisurely lunch with friends, afternoon tea treat or luxurious evening meal. Take in the extensive floors of modern art, and be amazed by exhibits from across the world, perfectly blended with local talents to make for an all round arts and cultural experience. the MAC is 5 years old now
The Lyric Theatre
The birthplace of hollywood actor Liam Neeson, The Lyric continues it’s rich tradition of theatre with an extensive programme of stage productions running throughout the year. The newly developed theatre offers beautiful views over the river Lagan and the modern auditoria seating the audience in an intimate and at one with those on stage atmosphere. Take a peek at the vibrant programme and book tickets online here.
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Irish Design – 7. O'Donnell & Tuomey's beautifully crafted Lyric Theatre in Belfast is the last of this week of daily posts on Irish design to celebrate St. Patrick's Day on Tuesday. Since founding their practise in Dublin in 1988, Sheila O'Donnell and John Tuomey have established themselves as unusually thoughtful and ingenious architects, who have defined an Irish architectural language inspired by historic tower houses, farm buildings and neo-classical villas. Seemingly modest, sometimes awkward at first sight, their buildings are quietly imposing, exquisitely fabricated and empathic to their surroundings. O'Donnell & Tuomey are especially adroit at weaving buildings into complex, cluttered urban sites, like the clumsy corner in Aldwych where they constructed their student centre for the London School of Economics. The Lyric occupies a sloping site between Belfast's city centre and the River Lagan, where they have designed a beguiling sequence of spaces that the architecture critic Oliver Wainwright described as "leading you on twisting, spiralling journeys through their sculpted interior." #design #architecture #theatredesign #lyrictheatrebelfast #stpatricksday
Titanic Dock and Pump House
See where our signature ship was built and launched at Titanic’s Dock and Pump-House. The Pump-House was once the epic centre for ship building giants, Harland & Wolff. During the thriving operations and construction of the historic White Star Liners – Britannic, Olympic, Nomadic and most famously the RMS Titanic. The Thompson Dock acts as a permanent footprint for the Titanic where you can gain an appreciation of the grand scale of the ship and the extensive craftsmanship that it employed. Today the Pump-House offers a Visitor Centre & Café with daily guided tours in operation around this unique and last surviving publicly accessible legacy of the Titanic. The highly informative tours include an interactive audio visual display, giving you the full story behind the build of the Titanic and indeed shipyard life – an iconic aspect of Belfast’s history.
HMS Caroline was reopened as a museum following a three-year, £20m restoration last year funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the NI government. It is the last surviving floating ship from the 1916 Battle of Jutland which saw the two grand fleets of Germany and Britain fight it out in the North Sea. While the outcome of the battle was considered a draw it nonetheless marked the beginning of the end of the war two years later.
St George’s Market
Packed with local produce and authentic Northern Ireland craft you are sure to pick up a really unique gift, home and garden ware or top quality ingredients for cooking your very own gourmet meal. If shopping is not for you, don’t worry – a wander through the stalls and exhibits soaking up the sounds and flavours of Belfast is equally enjoyable. With regular live music, particularly for the Saturday morning market, why not grab a cup of locally brewed tea or sample rich coffees from around the world at the beautiful refreshment docks.
Where to eat…
Holding a Michealin star for almost 12 years, Deanes continues to offer exqusite dining and maintains it’s reputation of excellence. The signature Deanes restaurant located on Howard Street, offers fabulous fine dining, one of a kind in Northern Ireland. In addition to this Deanes Deli, Bistro and Vin Cafe on Bedford Street offer a relaxed New York city vibe, where wines from around the world can be enjoyed on the outside tables, or intimate confines of the bar where live music provides a relaxing background to while away your evening. Ideal for all day dining. Deanes at Queens takes full advantage of its position amid the leafy streets of the University area. With a bar and grill you can experience a range of dining options, whether its a cool afternoon beer or luxurious lunch – the atmosphere
James Street South
Using an authentic mix of local produce cooked with quality French techniques, this stunning restaurant aims to showcase the best of Northern Ireland. Set in an old linen mill, the charm and character creates a warm and rich atmosphere. James Street South has a super selection of menus which are suited to all natures of dining desires. From luxurious al a carte to pre theatre light snacks and excellent value set choices, you will be certain to satisfy every palette. Another aspect of this exciting eatery is the highly acclaimed cookery school which offers year round course on various culinary specialities, explore the range of up coming expert tuition cookery experiences here.
La Bastille Restaurant boasts true, chic, parisienne style and class for Northern Ireland and provides authentic, traditional french cuisine with a modern twist in an intimate, romantic setting. They bring that little bit of “je ne sais quoi” to Belfast by not only importing finest wines and cheeses, but by also sourcing the finest local meat, fish, poultry and vegetables. La Bastille combine these continental and Northern Irish components together and the end result is unique, delicious dishes which stay seasonal, fresh and above all affordable. Nestled quietly off Belfasts bustling Lisburn Rd, La Bastille Restaurants cosy basement 90 seater restaurant is elegantly decorated in classic french bordeaux red colours with traditional wooden seating straight from Paris and also features an alfresco dining area; perfect for the summer months
Taylor & Clay, Bullitt Hotel
At the heart of Taylor & Clay’s kitchen at Bullitt Hotel, Belfast lies its bespoke Asador Grill. Think prime cuts of meat and seafood charred and smoked, creating a unique flavour that will get your taste buds all fired up. For those looking for something a little greener, try Taylor & Clay’s garden club specials
Mourne Seafood Bar
Northern Ireland’s rich and extensive waters provide some of the most amazing seafood produce in the UK. Locally sourced, the entire menu exudes the quality. Set in cosy surrounds, the Mourne Seafood Restaurant is the perfect choice for a romantic evening together. For celebrations of all natures, private dining can be arranged, ideal for big birthdays or quiet family get-togethers. Always wanted to learn more about the skills required for seafood cooking? Well this is the perfect opportunity to extend your knowledge and impress friends and family at future dinner parties, book your place in a class online here.
Zen, Adelaid Street
Zen is one of Belfast’s much loved Asian cuisine restaurants. By definition, Zen means enlightenment through meditation. When you eat from our range of delicious Japanese meals at Zen, we want you to reach enlightement!