Heading to Belfast for a weekend break and looking to fit as much sight-seeing and culture in as possible? No problem! We’ve created a two-day itinerary for just that. Get ready to see local sights, take guided tours, smell the roses at the Botanical Gardens and drink in one of NI’s oldest pubs.
The MAC is Belfast’s Metropolitan Arts Centre. Free to enter, the MAC comprises of three major art galleries with their own exhibitions that vary depending on when you visit. The MAC also runs occasional events on site including family-friendly workshops, art shows and theatre performances. Check your dates on the MAC’s website, to find out what’s on when you’re visiting.
Crumlin Road Gaol
For over 150 years Crumlin Road Gaol was Northern Ireland’s main prison. The Gaol operated from 1846 to 1996 and is the north’s only surviving Victorian era prison. Originally built to house up to 500 prisoners, the Goal held many more than that during the Troubles. Now a major visitor attraction, you can visit Crumlin Road Gaol for a guided tour and learn about the prison, its famous inmates and the execution chamber.
Looking for something a little different? The Goal also hosts live performances and shows and is home to Cuffs Bar and Grill.
Belfast Black Cab tour
Want to learn more about the political history of Belfast? A Black Cab tour is a must. The tour takes place in an iconic Black Cab driven by a local taxi driver who will take you around the various parts of Belfast that are synonymous with the years of conflict known as The Troubles. The driver will provide you with first-hand knowledge and share stories of the troubles with such detail you will feel momentarily transported back to those turbulent times.
The Crown Bar
Quite possibly the most famous bar in Belfast, The Crown Liquor Saloon (or Crown Bar as it’s known by today) dates back to 1826. The bar has remained true to its Victorian era roots and contains gas lamp fixtures, ornately tiled interiors, a decorative carved ceiling and a heated footrest under the granite bar. Nowadays this listed building is owned by the National Trust and you can pop in for a drink and some traditional Northern Irish grub.
Gin tour and tasting
Belfast is home to Hughes’s Craft Distillery – the first small-batch spirits producing distillery in Northern Ireland. The RubyBlue Spirits Tasting & Tour begins with a welcome drink or Kir Royale or Cranberry Bellini and then takes you on a 60-minute tour and tasting experience where you’ll learn how the small batch spirits are created.
Other tours at the distillery include ‘Gin School’ where you can create your own batch of gin, and a cocktail masterclass where you’ll craft delicious cocktails with the distillery’s range of spirits.
This visitor attraction opened in 2012 marking 100 years since the Titanic sank and is located on the actual site of the original Harland & Wolff shipyard where the ship was built. The museum’s building is shaped like the prow of a ship and will bring you aboard an interactive journey into the history of the shipyard, the building of the Titanic, the people who worked on the ship, its first voyage and, of course, the tragic sinking of the ship in 1912 which resulted in the death of over 1,500 people. You’ll also learn about more recent discoveries and gain access to a replica grand staircase.
Again, pre-booking is advised to avoid queuing as this attraction is hugely popular.
The Ulster Museum is located within the Botanic Gardens and both attractions are free to enter. The museum contains displays and exhibitions across areas such natural history, archaeology, art, culture and more. There’s a 77-metre long linen tapestry that features a scene from every episode of Game of Thrones that hangs proudly in the museum. Other popular collections include an Egyptian Mummy, the only dinosaur bones ever found in Northern Ireland and Ireland’s past from the 1800’s to modern day.
It would be impossible to visit the Ulster Museum without taking a stroll around the beautiful Botanic Gardens. Home to the Palm House and Tropical Ravine, the Botanic Gardens are an important part of Belfast’s Victorian heritage. Its impressive glass house is one of the earliest examples of the use of curved iron and glass allowing horticulturists to grow exotic plants during the early 1800’s. The Palm House contains tropical plants and birds of paradise while the Tropical Ravine has some of the oldest seed plants on view today. You can learn about conservation and plant collection through the Palm House’s interactive digital experiences.
Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter is famous for its bars and restaurants and provides the perfect location to round off your trip to the city. Choose from a huge selection of local eateries and pubs and rest your feet after a solid two days of sight-seeing. We recommend The Duke of York and The Dirty Onion.
Where to stay in Belfast City?
Located close to most Belfast’s main attractions such as the Titanic Belfast Experience, Clayton Hotel Belfast is a four-star luxury hotel that provides the perfect escape from the bustling city for some R&R time. Enjoy the swimming pool at the Health Club/, experience dining in Avenue 22 restaurant with its floor to ceiling glass windows and have a great night’s sleep in the top-quality beds.
Discover our range of offers available across different stay packages and get ready to relax at Clayton Hotel Belfast.