A flying visit to Belfast to visit family, just before Christmas, meant we were wrecking our routine, but this weekend away was a success for our two adopted children. Belfast is familiar, it’s where grandparents, one uncle, and two aunts and a couple of cousins live. Everyone speaks English. And we stayed at the Premier Inn, in the Titanic Quarter. It was buffet breakfasts galore.
Hanging out in the Titanic Quarter, Belfast
Belfast’s Titanic Quarter is a sprawling expanse of urban space, and is one of the world’s largest regeneration projects, injecting life into this area. And standing in the centre is the Titanic Belfast.
The Titanic Belfast celebrates the historic ship the RMS Titanic, its history, its people – those that sailed on it and those that worked on it, those who died on it and those who survived. The Titanic Belfast uncovers the ship’s incredible stories, its tragic end and brings to life the city’s rich, local history.
The children loved it and once kitted out with their own kids’ audio guide, they were off.
What is great about the centre is its sheer scale, it’s enormous, the exhibits are interactive and easily accessible for children and there’s even an indoor cable car ride.
1 Olympic Way
Belfast BT3 9EP
Discovering St George’s Market
If you are a foodie then this is a must. Housed in a beautiful Victorian building is this award winning, glorious, indoor food market. Last year the market scooped the Observer Food Monthly 2016 Best Market Award.
St George’s Market is overflowing with stalls selling Donegal oysters, fresh meat, cakes, doughnuts even curries. We were there on a Saturday when the food is complemented with high-quality arts and crafts.
I’ve fallen for Flax Fox’s Textile Designs. I love the hand drawn art and I want to get my hands on the Belfast cranes cushion, featuring Samson and Goliath, the city’s celebrity cranes.
St George’s Market, Belfast
12 – 20 East Bridge Street
Antrim BT1 3NQ
And you’re just minutes from the countryside
Belfast is a small city surrounded by glorious countryside. It’s well worth taking the trip to explore some of the city’s lush surroundings.
Cave Hill Country Park
After stuffing ourselves silly with the Premier Inn buffet breakfast, we had to burn off a few calories. And just nearby is Cave Hill Country Park. We didn’t complete the full four and-half-mile route but got the kids up a small part of the walk. We stopped off to take in the view.
The hills overlook Belfast, and one the landmark’s most famous feature is ‘ Napoleon’s Nose’. It is said to be the inspiration for the giant in Gulliver’s Travels. And yes, when you are looking from afar, it does really look like a sleeping giant!
Cave Hill Country Park
Belfast BT15 5GR
Lough Neagh Northern Ireland’s largest freshwater lake
Lough Neagh, just outside Belfast, is a large fresh-water lake, the largest in Northern Ireland. It’s a beautiful, peaceful spot. Great if you want to escape for some tranquillity.
A great place to head to is Oxford Island nature reserve and take a wander along the paths, meadows, and if you are a keen birdwatcher, seek refuge in the hides. It’s a really beautiful spot.