Belfast Tourist Activities
Belfast International Airport is a major gateway to Belfast city and the surrounding areas in Northern Ireland, and is the second largest airport on the island of Ireland. It has the official airport code of BFS, and is otherwise referred to as the Aldergrove Airport. Many tourists arrive at Belfast International Airport, as there are numerous enticing attractions waiting in Belfast city. It has several important buildings from the nineteenth century, award-winning twentieth century architecture, museums, children’s attractions, markets and plenty of parks and gardens. Belfast attractions also include a vibrant city atmosphere, with new restaurants, hotels and nightlife activities.
Belfast is the capital city of Northern Ireland, and is the second largest city in the whole of Ireland. It boasts a booming economy, and in recent years, has had a remarkable transformation which includes the development of several modern shopping complexes and a variety of additional new constructions. Through the central part of the city, runs the scenic River Lagan, which is an important aspect of life in Belfast. The river was also significant in the city’s thriving shipbuilding industry in the twentieth century. Belfast is famous for having being the place where the ill-fated Titanic was built in 1911. Sections of Belfast well-loved by its residents and tourists alike include the Titanic Quarter and Victoria Square, found on the western bank of the River Lagan, while Donegall Square is surrounded by the city centre. Royal Avenue is also in this vicinity. Throughout the year, the city can be busy, and it is therefore recommended that tourists coming to enjoy Belfast’s attractions book their accommodation early. Trendy waterfront hotels can be found around the Donegall Quay and Lanyon Place, and other places of accommodation are popular on Castle Street, North Street, Waring Street, Talbot Street and Marlborough Street. Some are located nearby to the University of Ulster.
A guided tour is perhaps one of the best ways to view all the main Belfast city attractions. In Central Belfast, buses with open tops provide hop on and hop off tours for sightseeing visitors. They are available throughout the day, at regular intervals, and are a very convenient way to see Belfast. Get off the bus and explore, and then hop back onto the next one when you are ready. Guided tours are offered in various languages. Furthermore, walking tours are quite popular, and have proved to be very entertaining, whilst boat tours along the river may also be a nice way of taking in the city.
The Grand Opera House at 2 Great Victoria Street is one of the fascinating places to visit in Belfast. It hosts regular theatrical performances, and it’s building features dramatic ceiling paintings and an amphitheatre. The opera house was built in the 19th century, and has been a favourite place of entertainment ever since. Further entertainment is found at the Waterfront Hall. This venue is significant for countless exciting events, concerts and sporting competitions. It is also important for business conferences. The Odyssey Entertainment Complex is located at 2 Queen’s Quay, and is known as the city’s premier entertainment complex. It features multi-screen and IMAX cinemas and an indoor arena. It is also surrounded by lively bars and restaurants. The Ulster Brewery is another popular attraction of Belfast. It is the home of Caffrey’s Irish Ale, and hosts regular guided tours for small groups.
The landmarks and monuments in Belfast not to be missed include the City Hall, home of the Belfast City Council, the Albert Memorial Clock created in 1865 in memory of Prince Albert who was the husband of Queen Victoria, the Ulster Hall, a dance venue in Bedford Street and the Belfast Castle, in Antrim Road. The castle was opened in 1870, and is naturally a major landmark of Belfast. Additional well known landmarks include the Big Fish, which is a giant salmon created by John Kindness in 1999, and the Giant’s Ring can be found on the southern outskirts of the city, and is famous for being the largest prehistoric site in the whole of Ireland. Interesting aspects are the large ring of rocks and the megalithic chamber of ancient tombs. Another historic building of interest is the Stormont Castle, at Upper Newtownards Road.
Belfast is quite well known for it’s large variety of interesting museums, in particular, the Ulster Museum. This museum was founded some 200 years ago, and is therefore one of the oldest in Ireland. It features many historic artefacts from the area, and some of it’s themes include botany, local history, ethnography and Irish fine art. A few years ago the museum was closed for complete redevelopment, and is now one of the top attractions of Belfast. The People’s Museum celebrates the lives of those from the Shankill district, and features a large collection of military memorabilia,. It is found within Glencairn Park. The museum is also popular for ‘ghost-watching’, as many people have reported sights of supernatural residents. Additional Belfast museums include the Royal Ulster Rifles Museum and the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) Museum, while the Whowhatwherewhenwhy (W5) Museum is something a little more unusual. This museum is appealing to the whole family, as it contains almost 200 exciting, interactive displays and exhibits. Children can play in the music studio, pretend to be a car mechanic or even watch their actual skeleton ride a bicycle. The museum often has live science demonstrations, and there is gift shop where visitors can buy science-related toys and all sorts of other gadgets.
The people of Ireland love children, and there are many attractions especially for the younger generation. The Belfast Zoological Gardens, or Bellevue Zoo, is particularly popular, featuring a large collection of exotic animals, a teahouse and an extensive gift shop. Some of the animals here include tigers, cheetahs, gorillas, kangaroos, Asian elephants and giraffes. The Exploris Aquarium is a must-see for families, with sharks, rays and all kinds of fishy creatures, while the Seaforde Gardens and Tropical Butterfly House features fluttery animals of a gentler nature. However, snakes, lizards and parrots can be found here too. The Ark Open Farm is best for friendly farmyard animals, and the Cave Hill Adventure Playground is guaranteed to relieve children of some energy!
Many more Belfast attractions await tourists arriving at Belfast International Airport. For all further details, the tourist information centre in the airport terminal can provide assistance, or there is the Belfast Welcome Centre on Donegall Place, nearby to the Castle shopping centre.