My best friend and I like to meet up once a year in a different place. Given that she lives a couple of hundred miles from me, we rarely get to see each other, so a little treat away can be just the ticket. In the past, we’ve been to New York, London and a fancy hotel in the country. This year, it was destination: Belfast.
I’ve been to Belfast once before for 24 whole hours. It was for work and involved taking two professional strongmen on a ghost hunt around Crumlin Road Gaol – but that’s for another day.
This time, it was Belfast for a whole weekend and purely for leisure. How wonderful. And we weren’t disappointed. The best thing about Northern Ireland (in my humble opinion) is the people, who are so friendly and welcoming.
Belfast is a great choice when you only have a weekend at your disposal, as the city is small and easy to navigate around (even for someone challenged in that department, such as myself). We stayed at the Hampton by Hilton, which is centrally located and perfectly serviceable. It’s definitely ‘chainy’ so if you prefer a more independent lodging, probably not your best bet. Everything was clean and in working order and brekkie was good. The staff were all very nice.
If you fancy a trip to Belfast, I would suggest going in spring/summer when the weather is more likely to be good. When we went the weather in England was glorious and the weather in Belfast was fair, which I don’t think is particularly unusual. What was great, however, is that it was still really light at 11pm – much lighter than at home in South East England.
On the Saturday afternoon we went for afternoon tea at the Merchant Hotel, which was very pleasant – the building is spectacular. A champagne version is also available, but as we’re lightweights, we stick with the Darjeeling.
Later, we went to see Rock of Ages at The Grand Opera House. It wasn’t at all what I was expecting, but was a lot of fun. Afterwards, we went to Nu Delhi restaurant for a curry. To our surprise, it was buzzing, even at 10.30pm when we arrived. The food was good – very spicy! All was going as expected until a rather drunken bloke, who said he was the restaurant’s PR, turned up with free sambucas. It would be rude not to accept them, so we did, then we accepted the second round as well. There was then an almost-fight between PR man and one of the bar men, and we left, rather more under the influence than we’d planned. Anyway, all made for a fun evening.
During our stay, we also paid a visit to the highly recommended Titanic Museum. It’s definitely worth a visit, and there’s a cool little ride inside, which I hadn’t expected.
Transport to and from the airport (Belfast International) was really cheap and easy with the shuttle bus. It departs regularly, even on Sundays. My friend flew into George Best Airport and took a taxi. It’s only around 15 mins from the centre.
I flew with Easy Jet which was, on this occasion, beautifully punctual!
Where we went: