Belfast

Magnificent Victorian structures still line the streets of the city center, but instead of housing linen mills or cigarette factories, they are home to chic high-rise hotels and fashionable bars. New cityscapes have emerged, smart restaurants abound, and the people of Belfast, who for years would not venture out of their districts, have been making up for lost time. The reputation of the city has spectacularly shifted in the new peaceful era, but no area has changed more than the docklands around the Harland and Wolff shipyards, whose historic and enormous cranes, known to the locals as "Samson and Goliath," still dominate the city's skyline. New developments—such as the Titanic Quarter—are springing up all around deserted shipyards, ranging from luxury hotels to modern office blocks. In the west of the city, the physical scars of the Troubles are still evident, from the peace line that divides Catholic and Protestant West Belfast to the murals on gable walls ' and taxi tours of these once-troubled areas are very popular.

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  • 1. Belfast Castle

    North Belfast

    In 1934, this spectacularly baronial castle, built for the Marquess of Donegall in 1865, was passed to the Belfast Corporation. Although the castle functions primarily...Read More

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  • 2. City Hall

    Central District

    Built of Portland stone between 1898 and 1906 and modeled on St. Paul's Cathedral in London, this Renaissance revival–style edifice—the cynosure of central Belfast—was designed...Read More

  • 3. Crown Liquor Saloon

    Golden Mile

    Belfast is blessed with some exceptional pubs, but the Crown is one of the city's glories. Owned by the National Trust (the U.K.'s official conservation...Read More

  • 4. Crumlin Road Gaol

    North Belfast

    Designed by Charles Lanyon, and opened in 1846, this jail held more than 500 prisoners at its peak; today it is one of Belfast's hottest...Read More

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  • 5. Grand Opera House

    Golden Mile

    Fresh from a dazzling £12 million face-lift and just in time for its 125th anniversary, Belfast's opera house, which regularly hosts musicals, plays, and concerts,...Read More

  • 6. James Connolly Visitor Centre (Áras Uí Chonghaile)

    West Belfast

    The fascinating story of James Connolly, from his birth in 1868 to his execution in Dublin for his part in the Easter Rising in 1916,...Read More

  • 7. Linen Hall Library

    Central District

    With its distinctive grayish-yellow brick, this library—the oldest subscription library in Ireland—is a comfortable place to escape the bustle of the city streets. The library,...Read More

  • 8. Titanic Belfast

    Titanic Quarter

    This world-class attraction headlines a "Titanic Experience" exhibition along with showcasing nine linked interpretative galleries that outline the Titanic's dramatic story as well as the...Read More

  • 9. Ulster Museum

    University Area

    Next door to the Botanic Gardens, the rejuvenated Ulster Museum is a big hit with visitors for its spacious light-filled atrium and polished steel. The...Read More

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  • 10. Albert Memorial Clock Tower

    Central District

    Tilting a little to one side—not unlike Pisa's more notorious leaning landmark—this clock tower was named for Queen Victoria's husband, Prince Albert. The once-dilapidated Queen's...Read More

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  • 11. Belfast Zoo

    North Belfast

    From the superstar Chilean flamingos and a gorilla troop reigned over by silverback alpha male Gugas---whose latest offspring was born in October 2021---to spot-necked otters,...Read More

  • 12. Botanic Gardens

    University Area

    In the Victorian heyday it was not unusual to find 10,000 of Belfast's citizens strolling about here on a Saturday afternoon. These gardens are a...Read More

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  • 13. Europa Hotel

    Golden Mile

    A landmark in Belfast, the Europa is seen as a monument to the resilience of the city in the face of the Troubles. The most...Read More

  • 14. First Presbyterian Church

    Central District

    Dating back to 1644, the First Presbyterian Church has been located in Rosemary Street since 1783, and in 2019 held a special service to mark...Read More

  • 15. High Street

    Central District

    Off High Street, especially down to Ann Street (parallel to the south), run narrow lanes and alleyways called entries. Though mostly cleaned up and turned...Read More

  • 16. Knockbreda Parish Church

    Belfast has so many churches you could visit a different one nearly every day of the year and still not make it to them all....Read More

  • 17. Lagan Boat Company N.I. Ltd

    Central District

    To see the city from a different perspective, board the Titanic harbor tour, which takes in the shipyard where the famous liner was built. The...Read More

  • 18. Metropolitan Arts Centre (MAC)

    Cathedral Quarter

    Eye-catchingly beautiful, and flooded with light, the Metropolitan Arts Centre (MAC) is Northern Ireland's flagship home for the arts and energizer of the Cathedral Quarter's...Read More

  • 19. Queen's University Belfast

    University Area

    Dominating University Road is Queen's University. The main buildings, modeled on Oxford's Magdalen College and designed by the ubiquitous Charles Lanyon, were built in 1849...Read More

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  • 20. Sinclair Seamen's Church

    Central District

    By the riverfront is one of the most appealing churches, Presbyterian Sinclair Seamen's Church. Designed by Charles Lanyon, the architect of Queen's University, it has...Read More

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