It really is a capital idea
The reasons why Belfast has been named world’s best place to visit
Whether you’ve been to Belfast lately or not, there is no doubting it has become a vibrant city break destination with plenty to see and do. Top class attractions abound, there is a fantastic foodie scene, cool pubs and clubs light up the streets and the city is compact enough to get from place to place easily. The dark nights of late autumn are the perfect time to take some time together to discover — or rediscover — the energetic city that Lonely Planet named the best place in the world to visit in 2018.
One of the secrets to having a great city break is choosing a good hotel and, with a wealth of new additions to Belfast’s accommodation stock, the options are excellent. Go with one of the most recent, the luxury Grand Central Hotel, standing tall in Bedford Street opposite the Ulster Hall. With 23 floors, 300 rooms and three restaurants, the Grand Central impresses with a fusion of glamour, grandeur and a uniquely Belfast spirit.
All rooms and suites are contemporary in design with state-of-the-art finishes. The bar and restaurant choices range from the chic Grand Café on the ground floor to the design-led Seahorse Bar and Restaurant overlooking Bedford Street. But the real star is The Observatory, located sky-high on the 23rd floor. Relax in this small plates cocktail lounge and be blown away by the spectacular views all across the city.
Once settled in, Northern Ireland’s capital is your oyster. Relax, shop to your heart’s content or even take a gentle walk in the pathways of the surrounding Belfast hills for amazing views of the city and lough below. You could also take a trip around the landmarks in authentic Belfast style on a Black Taxi tour, tour the City Hall or head to the Ulster Museum or Crumlin Road Gaol. Signing up for a food tour is another option, as is wandering around St George’s market — a hive of food, craft and entertainment.
Belfast’s food scene has never been stronger and one of its stand-out indulgences is the Michelin-starred Ox restaurant. This fine dining destination on Oxford Street was also recently named Ireland’s Restaurant of the Year by Food & Wine Magazine. Eat superbly, and discover new depths of seasonal flavours, textures and enjoyment. The east of the city offers self-guided trails featuring three of the area’s most famous sons — legendary singer-songwriter Van Morrison, football hero George Best and Chronicles of Narnia novelist CS Lewis. Literary fans should look also out for the CS Lewis Festival (today COSMOPOLITAN CITY:
For a contemporary cultural experience, head to the MAC in the Cathedral Quarter. The arts venue’s must-see MAC International 2018 exhibition starts on November 9, presenting significant international art from across the world. Be wowed and be inspired by the ambitious pieces from the 13 artists shortlisted for this year’s MAC International prize. The exhibition will include photography, film, installation, sculpture and drawing,
Your city break must include a venture into the trendy Titanic Quarter. It’s centrepiece, the incredible Titanic Belfast, tells the story of the world’s most famous ship right at until November 7), when venues across the city will be filled with magic and imagination in a series of walks, talks, visual art, music, theatre, film screenings, faith and wellbeing events. Soak up a traditional music session in one of the great beer gardens in the Cathedral Quarter home to some of the best nightlife in Belfast and buzzing with hotels, restaurants and interesting street art. This historic part of the city has evolved from the place where she was launched over 100 years ago. Discover the shipyard, travel to the depths of the ocean and see recreations of the cabins and much more.
In the history-laden quays, docks and riverside of Titanic Quarter you’ll also find the Titanic Pump House and Dock, the floating museums of SS Nomadic, which ferried passengers to Titanic, and the amazing HMS Caroline, the last survivor of the Battle of Jutland in First World War.
Finally, take a stroll down the Titanic Slipways. This beautiful public plaza is a lovely place to spend a little time together. an old trade and warehousing district to a bustling destination with impressive entertainment, foodie, culture and arts scenes. Take in the coolest game in town at the Friendship Four ice-hockey tournament on the US Thanksgiving weekend (November 23-24). This atmospheric face-off in the SSE Arena sees the next generation of world ice-hockey stars from four US National Collegiate Athletic Association teams compete for the coveted Belpot Trophy. A great night out, even if the you know nothing about the game.
(clockwise from main) the MAC arts venue in the Cathedral Quarter, a bedroom in Bedford Street’s 23-storey Grand Central Hotel and a Belfast Black Taxi Tour