Hop across the Irish Sea for a short city break in Northern Ireland’s capital
Belfast is a city with a famous history and an exciting future. From The Troubles to the Titanic, Belfast has been the site of some of the most important moments in British history. These days, the city is famous for its connection to HBO’s popular series Game of Thrones. Filmed in Belfast’s Titanic studios as well as on location throughout the stunning countryside and coastline, the series has boosted the city’s economy and truly put Belfast on the map as a must-see city-break destination.
If you’re going to see all that Belfast has to offer, there are three hotels that really show you the city’s different sides. Here are our top picks of where to stay, and a few tips on key places to visit.
Where to stay
New Belfast: The Fitzwilliam Hotel
Reported to be the favourite home-from-home of Kit Harington, The Fitzwilliam showcases the contemporary, trendy side of Belfast. Stylish and sumptuous, the rooms are decorated in deep, rich hues and plush fabrics for a contemporary yet romantic feel. Located right in the centre of town next to the Grand Opera House, the hotel is the perfect stopover for those exploring Belfast’s cultural scene.
Thanks to its proximity to the City Hall (where many of the tours depart from), make The Fitzwilliam your home if you’re exploring the Antrim Coast or taking in the Game of Thrones sets. Book the Penthouse Suite for a sleek and modern stay, complete with views over the city.
Old Belfast: The Europa Hotel
The world-famous Europa Hotel is a must-see for any weekend escape to Belfast. Located in the heart of the city, the hotel’s history is inextricably linked with Belfast’s turbulent past. Step into the vast lobby, surrounded by bars and restaurants, often with live Irish bands playing, and you’ll experience the real Northern Ireland.
Steeped in history, the hotel has hosted the likes of The Clintons, Julia Roberts and Brad Pitt and represents the unquenchable spirit of the Northern Irish people. Situated opposite the famous Crown Bar and close to the city’s most popular tourist attractions, this is a great base for exploring modern Belfast.
Traditional Belfast: Culloden Estate & Spa
City breaks are often about cramming in as much as you can in a few short days, but if you’re visiting Belfast, we recommend taking at least one day off from sightseeing to visit the beautiful Culloden Estate & Spa. Located just outside the city (still close enough for easy reach by car or train), this recently-refurbished hotel showcases the best of traditional Northern Irish hospitality.
Classic and cultured, a night or two at the Culloden is the perfect way to unwind after a busy visit. Relax in the hotel’s lush spa, walk in the grounds or simply cosy up in a wingback chair in front of the hotel’s vast windows overlooking Belfast Lough and watch the weather roll in. We recommend a meal at The Mitre restaurant for a special occasion.
Things to do in Belfast
Game of Thrones Tour
There are many different tours which will take you round the different outdoor shooting locations featured in the HBO series. Although you can only see some of them from the bus, taking this tour is well worth it for serious Thrones fans – while the beautiful Antrim Coast scenery will delight not-so-avid fans along for the ride. We recommend choosing a tour which takes in some of the coastline north of Belfast – many tours will include famous spots such as the Giants’ Causeway and Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge too.
+44 (0)28 9568 0023
Game of Thrones Season 7 premieres exclusively on 17 July on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV at 2am, repeated at 9pm on the same day.
A little way outside the centre of town, the Ulster Museum takes you through the history of Northern Ireland in a way you’ve never experienced it before. From art and archaeology to contemporary history, this journey through NI’s past will give you a real sense of connection to the city. We particularly recommend visiting if you’re interested in learning more about Belfast’s more recent history, as the Ulster Museum boasts many detailed historical and art exhibitions helping visitors to understand The Troubles.
Botanic Gardens, Belfast BT9 5AB
Follow the history of the world’s most famous passenger liner from creation to sinking at Titanic Belfast, a comprehensive museum exhibit located on the docs where Titanic herself was constructed. Learn the history and background of the famous ship, follow her progress and understand the controversy surrounding her sinking. Imagine yourself pacing the decks outside the museum where lines marking the Titanic’s outline show you her true size; visit the dock where she was built by Irish hands and explore the SS Nomadic, the last remaining White Star Line vessel.
1 Olympic Way, Queen's Road, Titanic Quarter, Belfast, Northern Ireland BT3 9EP