Travel diary: 48 hours in Belfast

29 Apr 2017

Having just spent 48 hours in Belfast I've gotta tell you it's one of the most beautifully bustling and enchanting cities I've ever been to. Albeit a little cold in April, but hey if it's good enough for the cast of Game of Thrones then who am I to judge? Everyone's favourite Northern Irish actor, James Nesbitt, reckons Belfast is a city that's "living comfortably with its present and looking forward to its future" and I couldn't agree more, it's a beaut!


I still can't get over how fast the flight was. It took just 55 minutes from Bristol Airport to Belfast International on Good Friday which also happened to be 19 years to the day that the Good Friday Agreement was signed, signifying an end to 30 years of conflict known as 'The Troubles'. And it's safe to say I'd go back to Belfast in a heartbeat, for a little longer too, but if you've only got 48 hours to spare here are three of the best places to soak up the city's cracking culture!


BELFAST CASTLE

RECOMMENDED TIME TO EXPLORE: 2 HOURS



Belfast Castle has to be seen to be believed. For something that's 206 years old it's looking pretty damn good for its age! The gardens alone are a reason to visit and as you walk from room to room it's easy to imagine yourself as a fairy tale princess whose sole purpose in life is to admire her riches. 

Too much? Maybe, but it really is captivating and easy to see why it's a popular Belfast wedding venue. It was raining when we got dropped off at the front door by the hop-on, hop-off bus but that gave us the perfect excuse to sample the scrumptious cake and coffee in the basement restaurant! Whatever the weather, that lemon drizzle cake was mouth-wateringly good.


BELFAST PEACE WALLS

RECOMMENDED TIME TO EXPLORE: 1 HOUR



It's hard to explain how eerily quiet the streets became as we approached the peace lines on Shankill Road from the comfort of our sightseeing tour bus. The miles and miles of walls - some up to 18ft high - were first built in 1969 as an answer to curbing violence between neighbouring Catholics and Protestants and were only meant to last about six months. 

Yet here we are in 2017, talking about this very permanent symbol of division in what is such a wonderful city with some of the friendliest people you'll ever meet. I mean the bus driver even apologised for it being so "fecking cold", when are bus drivers ever that nice?! Anyway, Northern Irish ministers have vowed to remove all of the walls by 2023 and I feel like that's definitely a step in the right direction even if it will mean one less site for tourists to see.


TITANIC BELFAST

RECOMMENDED TIME TO EXPLORE: 2.5 HOURS



And finally, Titanic Belfast is a must for any die-hard Leonardo DiCaprio fan who wants to imagine they're Kate Winslet in that famous scene. Just try hard not to shout "I'm flying, Jack!" as it's more of a museum in places. My favourite part wasn't the ride (I won't spoilt it) it was actually the gallery called The Sinking where you're plunged into darkness and Morse code SOS messages and stories from that fateful night are broadcast for all to hear loud and clear.

The experience truly is a treat for your senses spread across six levels; from the dizzying heights overlooking Belfast, down to the depths of the seabed where you can examine the shipwreck in all its abandoned glory. As if that wasn't enough they also offer afternoon tea on a Sunday so you can while away the time in an extravagant setting that mimics the world's most famous ship. It's blissful. It's Belfast.

2 comments:

  1. Looks like such a beautiful place, I need to visit here!

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  2. It's gorge! Totally recommend a visit x

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