Located on the banks of the River Lagan, Belfast, the capital city of Northern Ireland has been a major port since the Industrial Revolution and an important shipyard where ships were built here during World War II as well as the famous RMS Titanic.
Belfast is no shortage of interesting things to do. From stunning architecture, history, lifestyle, and culture, it’s easy to have 2 days well spent in the beautiful city.
There are two airports in Belfast: George Best Belfast Airport and Belfast International Airport.
Belfast International Airport (Airport Code: BFS) is the main airport located about 21 kilometers away from Belfast city that has flights to several international destinations in Europe and major cities in the United Kingdom. The George Best Belfast Airport (Airport Code: BHD) is closer to the city just 5 kilometers from the airport. This airport only has flights to major cities in the country.
If you are in Dublin city or arrive at Dublin International Airport (Airport Code: DUB), there are AirCoach buses leaving for Belfast every 20 minutes. The journey from Dublin takes just two hours and costs £10 per way (click here for more details).
The Best Things to do for 2 days in Belfast
Belfast is boosted by many historical moments and the love of local culture. Some of the most notable landmarks are the historical Queen’s University and Titanic Museum, which you probably most time there. I recommend staying in Belfast city for 3 days and 4 nights to discover the charming city in 2 days and take a day trip to the Giant Causeway.
Explore the historical Queen’s University
Founded in 1810, Queen’s University is one of the top 10 oldest universities in the United Kingdom and the oldest in Northern Ireland. Some of the buildings here are more than 100 years old and were used only for certain occasions and ceremonies.
There is a convocation happening during my visit here as students and their families gathered happily to take photos and toured around the campus to admire the old architectural buildings.
Wander around Botanical Garden
Just behind the campus is the beautiful Botanic Garden. The gardens were opened in 1828 as a private royal garden for several decades before allowing the public to visit.
The garden is an amazing place to chill and relax, covered with many tall trees. Many families love to have a picnic and enjoy their weekends here.
The Palm House consists of a cool wing and a tropical wing with a transparent dome, which houses various exotic plants. Designed by Charles Lanyon, the glasshouse is one of the oldest surviving curvilinear iron and glass structures in Belfast.
Opening hours: Daily from 7.30 am to 9 pm
Entrance fee: Free
Have Lunch at St George’s Market
Make your way to the St George’s Market in East Bridge St. It was originally opened back in June 1890 and was used for selling butter, eggs, and poultry.
Today, this weekend’s market is filled with delicious Irish food, beautiful art displays, and unique antique and gift stalls. Other exciting events were held here too, including fashion shows, boxing tournaments, motorcycle events, and lively performances,
The yummy Mexican Classic Cuban had tempted me to have for lunch- slowed roasted pork, ham, pickled gherkins, and Swiss cheese with yellow mustard wrapped with Cuban crusty bread. It was great enjoying my meal while watching the lovely lady and her band performing live in front of the crowd.
And almost forget to mention, there is a hamburger stall where they come out with some fancy names for their burgers: ”The Titanic Burger’ and ‘The Game of Thrones Burger’. These burgers were named after the popular HBO TV series which had the show filmed in many parts of Irish towns and the birthplace of Titanic ship.
Ireland had become so popular over the years because many locations and landmarks were used to film movies, TV shows, and music videos.
Travel tips: There is a train to Central Station and take 10-minute walk to the weekend market.
Opening hours: Friday to Sunday, opens between 8 am and 10 am, and closes between 2 pm and 3 pm
Stroll along River Lagan
Take a brisk walk along the neighborhood of River Lagan. Looking just opposite the river is the 5-star Hilton Hotel and Belfast Waterfront that is built right in front of the riverside.
Not far from here are the cranes belonging to Harland and Wolff, a shipyard company next to Titanic Museum. Thus, this shows me that I am heading in the right direction to the Titanic Museum.
Visit the famed Titanic Museum
This Titanic Quarters is home to the famous Titanic Museum, Titanic Exhibition Center, the Thompson Dry Dock and Pump House, Titanic Slipways, and SS Nomadic.
This state-of-the-art building gives you an insight on the history of iconic Titanic: the story of how she was built, its launch of the ship into the ocean, and the events of this sinking ship.
The museum also exhibits a small version of the ship’s replica, the models of three different classes of guest rooms, the establishment of H&W, the history of Belfast city, and the lives of Belfast dock workers.
The top floor of the museum allows you can see the entire Titanic Quarter. You can imagine the construction of the Titanic that has taken place back in the day.
After exploring the Titanic Quarter for 2-hours, it’s time to walk back to the city center to have a quick dinner. The locals, youngsters, adults and elderly alike sure know how to dress up and party hard along Waring St on the weekend. Plenty of Irish bars, pubs, and restaurants can be found around this area.
Opening hours: April to September from 9 am to 6 pm and October to March from am to 6 pm
Entrance fee: Adults: £21.50/ Children: £10.00
Admire the stunning Belfast City Hall
Nestled in Donegall Square, Belfast City Hall was built when the city was awarded city status by Queen Victoria in 1888 as recognition for its rapid expansion and prospering linen, rope-making, shipbuilding, and engineering industries. The construction began from 1898 to 1906 and was designed by architect Sir Alfred Brumwell Thomas.
Roam around the bank of River Lagan
Enjoy the cool breeze along the river. It was past 9 pm, but the sun still shines brightly before setting down around 10 pm. There is a huge fish statute called The Big Fish, the Salmon of Knowledge.
The French and Italian Gothic styles Albert Memorial Clock was built in memory of Queen Victoria’s late Prince Consort, Prince Albert. A statue of the Prince in the robes of a Knight of the Garter lies on the west side of the tower.
Traveling Elsewhere in United Kingdom
If you are planning for a long adventure in United Kingdom, you can check out some of my other posts: