NORTH­ERN IRE­LAND

Practical Caravan - - Travel Regional Round Up -

Bars and build­ings

Among the myr­iad bars and restau­rants is the Na­tional Trust’s Crown Liquor Sa­loon on Great Vic­to­ria Street, re­fur­bished in the late 19th cen­tury in high Vic­to­rian style. You could also take in a show at the Grand Opera House, just op­po­site. Make a tour of the city’s most beau­ti­ful ar­chi­tec­ture, in­clud­ing the North­ern Ire­land Assem­bly par­lia­ment build­ings, Belfast City Hall It would have been dif­fi­cult to credit 20 years ago, but Belfast and the Cause­way Coast have topped Lonely Planet’s 2018 list of places to visit. This fol­lows the gar­gan­tuan vis­i­tor at­trac­tion Ti­tanic Belfast top­ping the world’s best at­trac­tions in 2016. Clearly, North­ern Ire­land should be high on your bucket list of tours. Its cap­i­tal has plenty to of­fer the vis­i­tor. In the Ti­tanic Quar­ter, you’ll find HMS Car­o­line, the last sur­viv­ing ship from the Bat­tle of Jut­land and now a ter­rific fam­ily vis­i­tor at­trac­tion. And don’t miss ‘The Big Fish’ (aka ‘The Sal­mon of Knowl­edge’) sculp­ture on Done­gall Quay – each of the fish’s scales tells a story of Belfast. and St Anne’s Cathe­dral, or ex­plore places that shaped the lives of singer/song­writer Van Mor­ri­son and foot­baller Ge­orge Best. De­com­mis­sioned Vic­to­rian pris­ons are now tourist at­trac­tions, too – you can visit Crum­lin Road Gaol, which ceased ser­vice in 1996. On the road from Belfast to the walled city of Derry, you’ll find Sea­mus Heaney Home­place, which cel­e­brates the life and lit­er­a­ture of one of Ire­land’s great­est writ­ers. It’s not all about the cities – North­ern Ire­land is blessed with stun­ning nat­u­ral won­ders, not least the basalt col­umns of the Gi­ant’s Cause­way, Lough Neagh, the Fer­managh Lake­lands and Mar­ble Arch Caves Global Geop­ark. The beau­ti­ful Mourne Moun­tains are pro­posed as North­ern Ire­land’s first na­tional park, while gor­geous drives in­clude the Cause­way Coast and the Sper­rin Moun­tains. There is so much more to ex­plore here – beaches, cas­tles, glens, wa­ter­falls and, of course, the lo­ca­tions for TV hit Game of Thrones. The province is def­i­nitely on our bucket list for 2018. ■ Turn to p7 of the Top 100 guide for site info

LEFT TO RIGHT Gi­ant’s Cause­way is in Coun­try Antrim, while you’ll find the Ti­tanic ex­hi­bi­tion in Belfast

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