10 Key attractions that make Belfast so brilliant
Causeway Asset Management

10 key attractions that make Belfast so brilliant

Posted 03/28/2018 by Causeway Asset Management,

In addition to its thriving economy, Belfast is an exciting historical, cultural and leisure-filled city, with an abundance of attractions for entertaining and making the most out of free time. From historic landmarks to world-famous museums, the city is brimming with impressive and memorable spots, for locals and visitors to the city.

In fact, Belfast has really come into its own in recent years, with over 4.5 million overnight trips reported in just one year (Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency, 2016) and many more expected in the years to come. The city is also receiving a lot of attention globally – named the Best UK City by The Guardian and Observer (2016) and Lonely Planet’s number one place to visit in the world in 2018.

Find below a list of 10 key attractions that make Belfast so brilliant.

Belfast City Hall

One of Belfast’s most distinctive buildings, Belfast City Hall sits proudly in the city centre, flanked by high streets, restaurants and cafes, many of which have fantastic views out over City Hall, and beyond.

Opening its doors on 1st August 1906, Belfast City Hall was the brainchild of designer Alfred Brumwell Thomas. Brumwell’s Baroque revival style of architecture and Portland stone are a sight to behold when stood inside – and outside – the building. City Hall was established at a time when Belfast was seeing lots of economic growth and success, costing £369,000 to build, the equivalent of which is approximately £128 million today.

There are tours running regularly at City Hall for those wanting to find out more about the building’s intriguing past and important future for Belfast.

St. George’s Market

Voted UK’s Best Large Indoor Market in 2014 by the National Association of British Market Authorities, St. George’s Market has welcomed thousands of visitors through its doors over the years. The Market was built and opened in the late 1800s, then underwent a £4.5 million refurbishment in 1997.

The busy weekend market plays host to over 250 traders selling anything from locally sourced food produce to handmade gifts.

Ulster Museum and Botanic Gardens

A treasure trove of historical and modern art, natural science and design collections, the Ulster Museum is one of Belfast’s most beloved attractions. Closing its doors in October 2006 to allow for a £17m renovation to take place, the museum opened again in 2009 and has been overflowing with visitors ever since.

The Ulster Museum is part of National Museums Northern Ireland, which also includes the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum, Ulster American Folk Park, the W5 Science Centre and Armagh County Museum.

Surrounding the museum is Belfast’s small yet beautiful Botanic Gardens and the Garden’s impressive Palm House. The Gardens are a great sanctuary for those living and working in Belfast and are close enough to many shops and cafes should the opportunity for a picnic arise!

Queen’s University and Ulster University

The historic Queen’s University opened its doors in 1849 and is a very distinctive building situated close to the Ulster Museum and Botanic Gardens.

From the historic Lanyon Building and renovated post-graduate faculty, to the recently built McClay Library and Law buildings, the university is an impressive sight and is a very worthy stop on the Belfast city sightseeing bus. Within the Lanyon Building can be found a beautiful outdoor quadrangle filled with green spaces and seating areas. Inside, the building’s Great Hall, Canada Room and Council Chamber are just some of the incredible spaces to check out as part of a tour of the university.

Titanic Belfast

Named World’s Best Tourism Attraction at the World Travel Awards (2016), the Titanic Belfast has established itself as a world-class attraction since opening its doors in 2012.

The multi-million-pound Visitor Centre tells the story of the Titanic and its fateful journey across the Atlantic Ocean in 1912. Unique video footage and photography, historical documentation, passenger artefacts and interactive exhibitions make for a fascinating and memorable experience for visitors.

Added to this, the Titanic Belfast is a superb venue for high profile award ceremonies, events and conferences.

Grand Opera House and Lyric Theatre

The Grand Opera House and Lyric Theatre are two of Belfast’s most well-established theatres and, thanks to public and private funding over the years, have managed to raise the bar when it comes to offering world-class performances in Belfast.

The Grand Opera House first opened its doors to the public in 1895. Since then, the building has introduced the best of opera, ballet and comedy performances from around the world. The building is one of the first listed buildings in Northern Ireland and underwent extensive restoration in the 1970s and 80s to ensure it kept open to the public. In 2020, funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund will allow for further restoration of the building ahead of its 125th anniversary.

The Lyric Theatre, based in South Belfast, is a popular hotspot for theatre-goers. The theatre hosts some of the best local and national theatre and has had several famous faces grace its stages. The theatre underwent a massive restoration project some years ago. A project that Northern Irish born Hollywood star Liam Neeson, the theatre’s patron, was instrumental in raising funds for.

Parliament Buildings and Stormont Estate

Sat high overlooking Belfast City, in East Belfast is Stormont Parliament Buildings, home to the Northern Ireland Assembly, a legislative body established under the Good Friday Agreement 1998. The building’s grand exterior and interior make for a fascinating visit and are well worth a look. Stormont was built in 1921 at a cost of approximately £1.7 million. Tours of the building are available throughout the week for those wanting to take a closer look.

Surrounding the building is Stormont Estate, a public park with stunning gardens, walks, fitness trails and a children’s play park. The Estate has been named one of Northern Ireland’s best green spaces and has received the Green Flag Award numerous times over the years.

Belfast Waterfront Hall

Looking out over the River Lagan, Belfast Waterfront is a wonderful purpose-built venue that hosts various events and conferences throughout the year. The premier conference and entertainment centre has a 2,200-seat-auditorium, a newly built 7,000m2 state-of-the-art conference facility, as well as several meeting spaces with ample space and top-class facilities.

Based in the heart of the city, the conference centre is conveniently located for locals and visitors to the city.

Cathedral Quarter and St. Anne’s Square

The Cathedral Quarter is an exciting area of Belfast filled with hotels, restaurants, bars and pubs, shops and cafes. Situated in the city centre, the area’s cobblestoned streets and buzzy atmosphere make for an attractive spot for lunches, dinners and after-work drinks.

Within the Cathedral Quarter is St. Anne’s Square, home to The Mac, a unique and impressive entertainment and exhibition space, as well several other restaurant and café options.

Right in front of the Square is the beautiful St. Anne’s Cathedral. The Cathedral can be entered most days of the week and there are group tours of the building available for those wanting to find out more about it. The Cathedral is fast becoming a popular venue for corporate events seeking somewhere unique and awe-inspiring. In fact, just last year the Cathedral hosted the Digital DNA Awards, which formed part of the annual Digital DNA Conference, an annual business and technology event that gathers together leading businesses – large and small.

Also located close to St. Anne’s Square is the ever-growing Ulster University, a modern building that has plans to extend to a 75,000 square metre campus for up to 15,000 students and staff by 2019.

Belfast Castle and Cave Hill

Situated atop Cave Hill, overlooking the city, is Belfast Castle.

The castle was built under the third Marquis of Donegall, a descendant of the Chichester family, and designed by architect John Lanyon in the late 1800s. The castle passed through several families but is now run under the City of Belfast. The castle is open for tours and is available for weddings, conferences and other events.

Surrounding Belfast Castle is Cave Hill Country Park, a combination of meadows and woodland, as well as great walking and cycling trails leading to wonderful views out over the city.

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