From Edinburgh we flew easyjet to Belfast International Airport, an almost one-hour flying with a ticket as low as 30 GBP one-way. The airport is located about 30km northwest of Belfast from which we took a taxi to Premier Inn Belfast City Cathedral Quarter. The strategic location of the hotel means that we are basically within walking distances to many of the Belfast point of interests such as Belfast City Hall, Albert Memorial Clock, The Big Fish, Cathedral Quarter and Victoria Square Shopping Centre. Belfast City Sightseeing Bus Tour starting point is also located within 300m from the hotel.
Although we checked-in quite early (around 9am), the hotel could accommodate us hence we could start early exploring Belfast. Within minutes we’re already onboard the sightseeing bus. The first stop is Titanic Belfast located at Titanic Quarter. Home to Titanic Museum, Titanic Belfast is also sited very close to launching site of Titanic, back in 1912.
As time is limited, we did not opt to visit the museum but instead checking surroundings, and then heading to Titanic’s Dock and Pump-house, passing Samson and Goliath Cranes and Titanic Drawing Offices. A visit to bottom of Titanic’s Dock gave us dramatic impressions on sheer size of Titanic when it was built and last sat on dry ground.
Continuing on the bus tour, guided by a humorous yet knowledgeable guide, we visited or passed through many areas of Belfast, from Parliament Buildings, George Best Belfast City Airport, conflict areas (between Nationalist and Unionist), troubled past scenes, the one-and-only bullet proof CCTV, universities, touristic areas to Belfast City Hall.
After quick nap in our hotel, we continued exploring the city by walking around the hotel, starting from Cathedral Quarter, Albert Memorial Clock, to the Big Fish and finishing at Victoria Square. That afternoon/evening walk concluded our short visit to Belfast, a city we had never imagined we would step on it.
This capital city of Northern Ireland, the birthplace of Titanic, keeps the scars of Belfast’s troubled past (1969 – 1997), while starts celebrating awakening moment as an intriguing destination. The friendly people we met also adds easy justification why a visit to Belfat might be a rewarding one.