Highlights of Belfast & the Giant’s Causeway
Here are my Highlights of Belfast & the Giant’s Causeway!
Belfast is the perfect weekend getaway. The city is compact but packed with culture, historical sites, great food and drink and with beautiful landscapes a short drive away.
VIDEO Highlights of the Giant’s Causeway
We flew with Easyjet into the international airport, which was cheaper and had greater choice of flights. You can catch a bus into the city or take a set-price taxi for £31. The journey takes about 30 minutes.
Alternatively, the City airport is much closer to the city centre.
Where to stay
We stayed at the Ramada Encore in the Cathedral Quarter. The staff were friendly and the room comfortable and a good size. The bathroom was clean and modern. We thought the breakfast was expensive so we picked up pastries from the local Tesco.
We enjoyed having a stroll around the different quarters and soaking up the atmosphere. The street art is cool too, we spotted “Better Call Saul”.
As we were only in Belfast for a few days, we did a tour for about £25 each. Alternatively, you could rent a car and travel along the coast yourself – the roads looked easy to navigate.
We booked with Odyssey Coach Tours, as they use minibuses rather than large coaches, so it’s a more personalised.
We were taken to Bushmills Whiskey Distillery, which was established in 1608 and is the oldest whiskey maker in Ireland. We had a free taster, though I think it was lost on me!
We also had quick photo stop at Dunluce Castle, which was very imposing and looks dramatic against the shoreline.
Giant’s Causeway Tips
The Giant’s Causeway is amazing and we had a great time exploring. However,rain gear and good shoes are essential because it rained constantly, was very windy and the basalt was a bit slippy. You can walk to the site from the car park in about 15 minutes or you can catch a bus (for a small fee).
If you’re looking for somewhere to dry your clothes and quench your thirst, there’s a cosy pub with a roaring fire next to the car park. They serve food too, which looked pretty good (though we had a packed lunch).
We also visited the famous Carrick-a-rede ropebridge, which links the mainland to a little island that was used for fishing. Walking across the bridge with the stormy seas below was super fun.
We went on the free city hall tour. This was surprisingly interesting and the guide very personable and knowledgeable about Belfast’s history. Parts of city hall’s architecture are impressive and we were able to sit in Parliament pews and check out some furniture that was made for the Titanic.
The guide was full of trivia – for example, Belfast’s crest has a bell on it and everyone assumes this is for the “Bel” in Belfast but Belfast is actually named after the river that runs through it. For details of available tours click here.
This was one my favourite pasts of the weekend. The exhibit is fascinating – you can learn about how the ship was constructed, about the passengers and their lives, how it sank and public reaction to the sinking, as well as get a glimpse of what it looks like now at the bottom of the ocean! I particularly enjoyed the spotlight on the ordinary people who sailed and worked on her.
The entry price was £17.50, which I think was worth it given the scale of the place. I did also find vouchers online, so that would be worth a look.
I would recommend at least 3 hours to see everything – we had about 2 hours and had to rush through some sections at the end, which was a shame. Click here to buy tickets.
You can also visit the dockyard where the Titanic was built for free, just continue past the exhibition.
We ate at Mourne Seafood Bar. The food was delicious and the restaurant has a wonderful cosy and lively atmosphere. However, the portions are not massive and they do charge if you ask for extra bread!
If you fancy a quick bite, the shopping centre area has lots of chain restaurants, like Five Guys and Wagamamas. Incidentally, there are great views of the city from the viewing platform in the shopping mall!
Belfast is renowned for its pubs and bars. We visited a Victorian pub called The Crown Liqour Saloon where you can sit in a private booth and have a drink. We felt like we were on an old fashioned train. The National Trust purchased the pub and it is crammed with Victorian architecture, so you feel like you are transported back over 100 years!
If you have longer than a weekend…
We had an amazing time in Belfast and it is definitely works well as a weekend break.
If you have more time, there are some brilliant sites/restaurants that were recommended to me by a Northern Irish friend of mine:
This is a new walk on the coast that has been really popular. It’s about 2.5 hours long and is 40 mins from Belfast, in the same direction as the coastal route to the Giant’s Causeway.
Harry’s shack is a restaurant on the Portstewart strand which is about 25 mins away from the Giant’s Causeway:
Ox, Holohan’s (on a barge!), Saphyre, the Great Room at the Merchant, Coppi, Ginger, Shu and the Barking Dog
Also, as my friend is so lovely and helpful, she recommended the following taxi numbers:
Value Cabs: 028 90 80 90 80
Fone-a-cab: 028 90 33 33 33
Gransha taxis: 028 90 60 20 92
I hope you enjoyed my Highlights of Belfast & the Giant’s Causeway.
Before you go….
Finally, if you’d like to check out my tips for other top travel destinations go to my Home Page.