There’s no doubt that Belfast has always been appealing from a tourist perspective; after all, it’s only a stone’s throw from the rest of the UK. However, over recent years its popularity has soared, with the rise of budget airlines partially to thank for this.
To suggest that people only visit Belfast due to its accessibility would be doing it a terrible disservice though. There are in fact plenty reasons behind the tourist appeal to Belfast, with its luxury hotels and general atmosphere being just a couple of note. However, for the purposes of highlighting exactly what you can do there, let’s now talk about the best attractions that this city has to offer.
Truth be told, you could visit a number of cities around the world and feast your eyes on a Titanic museum. There’s a major difference when it comes to Belfast though – this is the city in which the boat was actually built.
That’s right, and the most interesting element of this is that it only really opened in the aftermath of the hugely successful movie. It cost £97m to build, is now the largest Titanic museum in the world and back in 2016 it was classed as the World’s Leading Tourist Attraction by the World Travel Awards.
Crumlin Road Gaol
When you first venture to Crumlin Road Gaol, it might sound bizarre to hear that this was once one of the most advanced prisons of its era. Of course, that was all the way back in 1845 – but back then it cost £60,000 (which is the equivalent to more than £5m in today’s money).
It closed its doors in 1996 but makes a very good attraction for those who like to delve into history. The tour allows you to visit inside, including the Governor’s office and execution cell.
St George’s Market
If markets are your thing, St George’s is right up there with the best. The fact that it has been operating since 1604 should highlight exactly how historic it is, but it’s also the last Victorian covered market that can be visited in the whole of the city.
In 2014, it was classed as the best indoor market in 2014 and with almost 300 stalls available, this really shouldn’t have come as a surprise.
As you may have gathered from the Titanic reference earlier, Belfast has some terrific maritime attractions. HMS Caroline is one of these, with this being the final ship that survived the Battle of Jutland.
Of course, since then it has been restored into a full-blown tourist attraction. Those who visit it will get audio and visual displays, and learn how the 300 men who worked aboard the ship really lived.
If history isn’t your thing, you should probably skip this one. Otherwise, add it to your bucket list for Belfast – it’s a sterling ship that always grabs rave reviews from anyone who decides to visit.