4 HOURS IN... BELFAST

A whis­tle-stop tour of this lively, small-scale city

Business Traveller - - CONTENTS - BECKY AMBURY

1 Ti­tanic Quar­ter

Belfast was a pow­er­house of the in­dus­trial revo­lu­tion; a ma­jor pro­ducer of li­nen and the lo­ca­tion of the world’s big­gest ship­yard, Har­land and Wolff. The site where the Ti­tanic was built has un­der­gone ex­ten­sive re­gen­er­a­tion and is home to the city’s pre­em­i­nent tourist at­trac­tion, Ti­tanic Belfast, ded­i­cated to the city’s in­dus­trial his­tory and telling the story of the ill-fated ves­sel, from the de­tails of its con­struc­tion to the per­sonal sto­ries of the pas­sen­gers. While you’re in this neck of the woods look out for one of the city’s most fa­mous land­marks, the strik­ing yel­low Sam­son and Go­liath ship­build­ing cranes. ti­tan­ic­belfast.com

2 St Ge­orge’s Mar­ket

From the Ti­tanic Quar­ter, walk along the water­front or, if pressed for time, jump in a cab and head to­wards the heart of the city it­self. Belfast has a bur­geon­ing food scene and St Ge­orge’s Mar­ket is a great place to sam­ple the fan­tas­tic pro­duce for which North­ern Ire­land is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly renowned. There are mar­kets in this Vic­to­rian build­ing Fri­day, Satur­day and Sun­day, with fresh fruit and vegeta­bles, an over­whelm­ing ar­ray of fish­mon­gers and butch­ers, street food, breads and bev­er­ages. Or­gan­ised tours are also avail­able via Taste & Tour for those who want a re­ally in-depth per­spec­tive of the Belfast food scene. taste­and­tour.co.uk

3 City Hall

Con­tin­u­ing into the cen­tre, make your way to the re­splen­dent City Hall, with its dis­tinc­tive green cop­per domes. Con­structed from Port­land stone, this Baroque Re­vival build­ing was com­pleted in 1906 and there are fas­ci­nat­ing free guided tours avail­able. By tak­ing a tour, vis­i­tors can gain ac­cess to the parts of the build­ing that are oth­er­wise off lim­its to tourists. How­ever, the grand in­te­rior, which in­cludes stained glass, Ital­ian mar­ble, hand­some wood pan­elling and stat­ues and paint­ings of Belfast’s good and not so good, is worth vis­it­ing whether on a tour or not. belfastc­ity.gov.uk

4 Belfast Black Cab Tour While Belfast’s trou­bled past can seem a world away, ev­i­dence of it is still dot­ted through­out the city in both its ar­chi­tec­ture and its mu­rals. A trip to see the Falls and Shankhill Roads, and the Peace Wall that di­vided Na­tion­al­ist and Loy­al­ist in­hab­i­tants, is an eye­open­ing ex­pe­ri­ence and es­sen­tial for get­ting a true un­der­stand­ing of the city. The best way to do this via a Black Cab Tour, which lasts around 90 min­utes. The tours pro­vide a hu­man per­spec­tive of Belfast’s his­tory and the sto­ries be­hind the mu­rals. Most tours will tailor the route to suit and can pick you up and drop you at a con­ve­nient cen­tral lo­ca­tion. belfast­black­cab­tours.co.uk

5 Cathe­dral Quar­ter Pubs are a forte here, as a trip to the Cathe­dral Quar­ter will quickly as­sure you. This area is home to some of the best, all within easy prox­im­ity of each other. The cob­bled streets are a de­light to wan­der and, as evening falls, drinkers and the sounds of live mu­sic spill out of the door­ways. For a dif­fer­ent sort of mu­ral, head to the Duke of York in the Half Bap area, with its softly lit, mem­o­ra­bilia-filled in­te­rior and street art on the walls out­side. Res­tau­rants abound, too, with Had­skis a lo­cal favourite set in an old iron foundry. The menu is a tempt­ing se­lec­tion of Euro­pean dishes that show­cases North­ern Ir­ish in­gre­di­ents. had­skis.co.uk

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