SAIL TO BELFAST – ENJOY THE DELIGHTS OF BELFAST CITY

Sail with us to the vibrant city of Belfast and discover a destination that offers the perfect combination of town and country, with a myriad of things to do. From the bustling city centre bursting with fantastic shopping opportunities, a rich history and heritage and country parks that boast spectacular panoramic views over Belfast, this city has so much to offer.

By bringing your car, you can explore beyond the city too. Northern Ireland has plenty to discover; from the Giant’s Causeway and adrenaline-fueled North West 200 to a fantastic choice of historic golf courses. This is a part of the British Isles you do not want to miss!

EXPLORE THE CITY

While exploring Belfast, keep your eyes peeled for the iconic City Hall – a stunning 20th century building boasting grand architecture. Tours led by an experienced guide are available to the public and offer the opportunity to explore the distinctive features of the building in detail. Just a short walk away is the Titanic Memorial Garden where a number of beautiful monuments lay within the picturesque grounds – a perfect activity for a relaxed morning.

Belfast City Hall on a sunny day with people milling about outside
Belfast City Hall. Photo credit: John Miskelly Photography/Tourism Ireland

To experience a treasure trove of fascination and gaze at dinosaurs, meet Egyptian mummies, and delve into modern art, head to the Ulster Museum. The free collection of artefacts is an award-winning experience well worth a couple of hours of discovery.

Belfast-born author CS Lewis introduced us to a number of interesting characters in his much-loved novel ‘The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe’. On a visit to CS Lewis Square, you will find a stunning display of public art depicting these well-loved personalities including Aslan, The White Witch, Mr Tumnus and Mr and Mrs Beaver!

A FASCINATING HISTORY

A major part of Belfast’s maritime past, and one of the most iconic vessels of the 20th century, is the Titanic – and no trip to Belfast would be complete without a visit to Titanic Belfast. As part of the experience you can stand on the very spot the ship was launched from, explore the shipyard on an electronic ride and delve into the story with nine interactive galleries bringing the experience to life.

Titanic Belfast's striking architecture from the front view on a sunny day
Titanic Belfast. Photo Credit: Aidan Monaghan/Tourism Northern Ireland.

While in the Titanic Quarter, be sure to go for a ride on the ‘Wee Tram’, check out HMS Caroline, relax on a boat trip or embark on one of the many walking tours to get a real feel for this historic part of the city.

Colourful murals line the city walls; so keep your eyes peeled to discover more about ‘The Troubles’ and Belfast’s complex past. Following Nationalist and Unionist disruptions in the 1920s, the Republic of Ireland was formed in 1921, but this came with elements of political discourse for many decades. This story is told through murals that are scattered across the city and are political statements from then and now.

ART LOVERS AND MUSEUM GOERS

Northern Ireland has an amazing collection of art galleries and museums, and with a calendar bursting with special exhibitions and festivals, there’s always something going on.

The Naughton Gallery at Queen’s is a must with its beautiful venerable buildings and modern art collections. Armagh County Museum in Ireland’s ecclesiastical capital is also worth a visit for both its historic and current collection, while the Ormeau Baths Gallery is Northern Ireland’s most notable exhibition space for contemporary art.

MUSIC TO YOUR EARS

You will find music venues nestled into every corner of Belfast, playing all types of genres from jazz, traditional and rock to urban, country and folk. The SSE Arena hosts a fantastic calendar of events throughout the year too, including performances from the biggest artists from around the world. Or, you can spend an evening dancing to their tunes in the city’s many bars and clubs!

A group of four young people enjoying a drink outside a bar in Belfast
Photo Credit: Brian Morrison/Tourism Northern Ireland.
Courtesy of Tourism Northern Ireland

GO WILD

A popular attraction for the whole family is Belfast Zoo, which boasts 55 acres and is home to 120 interesting species. Our Kids Go Free Summer Special offer is perfect for taking the family on a trip they won’t forget. Plus, when you sail by ferry you can bring your car with you so you can pack everything you need without the worry of luggage fees or relying on public transport.

Get set for a day out with your little monkeys and see some incredible animals including elephants, lions, bears, chimps, giraffes and gorillas.

A giraffe in Belfast Zoo
Belfast Zoo. Photo Credit: Tony Pleavin/Tourism Northern Ireland.

SPORT ENTHUSIASTS

Northern Ireland is undoubtedly one of Europe’s finest angling destinations no matter what type of fishing you’re into, be it coarse, game or sea fishing.

Keen walkers can explore the many spectacular seaside trails and mountain treks across some of Northern Ireland’s most beautiful scenery. While golfers can play on greens that form part of the city’s esteemed golfing history, dating back to 1881 when the first club, Royal Belfast Golf Club, opened.

A aerial view of Royal Belfast Golf Course
Royal Belfast Golf Course.
Photo Credit: Royal Belfast/Tourism Northern Ireland. Courtesy of Royal Belfast.

If you are a motorcycling enthusiast, you need to experience the International North West 200 Race Week in May – Ireland’s biggest outdoors sporting event. The track runs between the towns of Portstewart, Coleraine and Portrush. Or, take a trip to the famous Ulster Grand Prix in Dundrod in August. Whatever takes your fancy, you can take advantage of one of our Motorbike Offers and join in the adrenaline-fueled festivities, simply ride off the ferry and make the most of this enthusiast’s paradise.

SHOPPING

Victoria Square is the ultimate shopping retreat featuring all of the biggest high street names. Shop no matter the weather in this stylish, multi-street level complex covered by a glass dome. Or, for a one-stop retail destination, CastleCourt Shopping Centre is the go-to complex in the city centre.

Victoria Square's glowing dome in Belfast at night time
Victoria Square. Photo Credit: Tourism Northern Ireland/Victoria Square Shopping Centre.
Courtesy of Victoria Square Shopping Centre

For a more authentic shopping experience, St George’s Market opens every weekend and is both a cultural and culinary adventure with fresh food and live music galore! You’ll also find handmade crafts, vintage clothes, fresh ingredients and antiques here, the last-surviving Victorian market in Belfast.

HEAD OUT OF THE CITY

Cave Hill Country Park, which lies just outside the city, comprises a wealth of natural, archaeological and historical features, including Belfast Castle. It is also well-known for its spectacular panoramic views of Belfast from vantage points on the hillside.

A must when in Northern Ireland is the Giant’s Causeway, home to many an artist’s inspiration and scientist’s speculation. Take advantage of our Car Offers and drive up to explore the 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the result of a volcanic eruption many years ago.

Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland
Giants Causeway. ©Tourism Ireland photographed by Chris Hill

While in this neck of the woods, it’s well worth visiting Bushmills Whiskey Distillery, the world’s oldest licensed distillery with a 400-year old history. Located in the quaint Bushmills village, it is said – “without the village there would be no whiskey, and without the whiskey there would be no village”.

With many of the Game of Thrones most iconic scenes filmed in locations close to Belfast, Northern Ireland is a must for any fans of the show. You can visit The Dark Hedges (the King’s Road), Castle Ward (Winterfell), Tollymore Forest Park (where the Nightwalkers were spotted and the Direwolf pups were found) and Cushendun Daves (Stormlands), to name a few.

GETTING THERE

The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company operates seasonal ferry services between the Isle of Man and Belfast. Our other ports include Dublin, Heysham and Liverpool.

Bring your car on board and pack everything you need to explore this diverse city and its surrounding countryside. Relax on board and enjoy the convenience of driving off the ferry when you arrive and start exploring at your leisure. You could even travel further afield into Dublin, giving you the opportunity to enjoy both of these must-visit cities, then pack up the car and return via our Dublin port.

Start planning your break to Ireland by ferry today at www.steam-packet.com

Please note that at the time of publishing (May 2021), some travel restrictions are in place. 

Share 'SAIL TO BELFAST – ENJOY THE DELIGHTS OF BELFAST CITY'