5 Star Hotels In Belfast All Share Something In Common – Pure Class

Each of the 5 star hotels in Belfast offers you complete luxury throughout your stay in Northern Ireland. The Merchant, Fitzwilliam and Hilton offer the best accomodation in Belfast for a business trip, weekend break or city tour.

They are all located in the heart of the city centre and close to major attractions such as: The City Hall, Victoria Square shopping centre, The Ulster Hall, Grand Opera House, Titanic Quarter, Odyssey Arena, Castle Court shopping centre, St. Anne’s Cathedral and The Waterfront Hall.

Deco Decadence At The Merchant Hotel And Spa

The Merchant Hotel *****

16 Skipper Street, BT1 2DZ. Rooms from £80 per night.

The Merchant Hotel

The stylish, deco decadent, Merchant Hotel is located in the Cathedral Quarter of Belfast city centre. You’re literally just minutes away from top visitor attractions such as Victoria Square shopping centre, Odyssey Arena, Albert Memorial Clock, Titanic Quarter, Belfast City Hall, Waterfront Hall, Grand Opera House and St. Anne’s Cathedral. Among the best luxury Belfast hotels, it boasts 62 spacious rooms and suites of luxurious and elegant accommodation decorated in Victorian Splender or Deco Decadence. Each room includes: air conditioning, super kingsize beds, complimentry WiFi, black-out curtains or blinds, fridge, television, hairdryer, slippers and robes, safe and 24 hour room service. The Merchant Hotel, Belfast is also home to Ollie’s Club, a lavish night club with state of the art sound and lighting systems. If you prefer something quieter, there are other bars such as the Cloth Ear, The Bar or Berts. There is also a private members and residents bar as well as two fine restaurants. To top it all off, the Merchant Hotel has a modern, well equiped Spa and Gymnasium. My favourite way to relax at the Merchant, Belfast is in the outdoor hot tub on the roof terrace. You’ll enjoy splendid panoramic views over the east of the city and some famous sights you’ll see include the giant ship-building cranes of Harland and Wolf where Titanic was built, The Albert Clock and Parliament Buildings at Stormont.

Click Here For Reviews and Best Rates For The Merchant Hotel.

The Fitzwilliam Hotel *****

1-3 Great Victoria Street, BT2 7BQ. Rooms from £80 per night.

The Fitzwilliam Hotel

The Fitzwilliam Hotel, Belfast is a great place for both business and pleasure. It incorporates some superb facilities and services including valet car parking, a business centre, resident fitness suite and has a modern, contemporary feel about it. This top hotel is located right in the centre of Belfast beside the Grand Opera House and just five minutes walk from Victoria Square shopping centre, The Ulster Concert Hall, The City Hall and Castle Court shopping centre as well as other restaurants and pubs within the city. Each bedroom in this luxury Belfast accommodation is elegantly designed with carefully chosen fabrics and textures and the bedding is made from high quality Egyptian linen. There is also complimentary high speed broadband, mineral water and newspapers in every room. As you would expect from any of the 5 star hotels in Belfast, you get a fully kitted out bathroom complete with toiletries, towels, luxurious slippers and robes. With four meeting rooms, this modern hotel has state of the art business and conferencing facilities which include touch panel room controls, air conditioning, audiovisual equipment and plasma screens, natural daylight and high speed wireless internet.

Click Here For Reviews and Best Rates For The Fitzwilliam Hotel.

The Hilton Hotel *****

4 Lanyon Place, BT1 3LP. Rooms from £69 per night.

The Hilton Hotel

The contemporary five star Hilton Hotel is located centrally in Belfast on the banks of the River Lagan beside the Waterfront Hall. Whilst staying at this Belfast hotel, you are only minutes away from Victoria Square shopping centre, St George’s Market, Odyssey Arena and the Titanic Quarter. Other attractions close to the hotel include: The Ulster Museum, Botanic Gardens, Queens University, St. Anne’s Cathedral, Albert Clock, Odeon Cinema, Belfast Central Station and the Laganside Courts. The hotel has 198 recently refurbished, non-smoking guest rooms which all include high speed internet access and beautiful views across the city. Accessible rooms are available as well as secure car parking and pets are welcome. The Hilton Belfast features amenities such as: The Livingwell Express fitness centre, Precor gym and health club, a business centre, a concierge desk, 24-hour room service, executive floor and 9 meeting rooms. If you enjoy eating and drinking the Hilton offers the Sonoma restaurant and Cables bar. At the Cables you can sip electric blue vodka cocktails, drink Costa coffee or enjoy something from the Tapas snack menu while listening to smooth Jazz music in the background. The Sonoma is a spacious, modern restaurant with scenic views over the River Lagan through floor to ceiling windows. Some signature dishes include: Rump of Irish Lamb and Pan Fried Seabass.

Click Here For Reviews and Best Rates For The Hilton Hotel.

Which 5 Star Belfast Hotel This Is?

Can you guess which one of the luxury hotels, Belfast this is? I’ll give you a clue. It’s my favourite and it used to be a bank. It’s also the best of all the 5 star hotels in Belfast.

Click Here For The Best Deals On This Mystery Accommodation

3 Star Hotels In Belfast Budget But Not Cheap Accommodation

There are eight 3 star hotels in Belfast which offer great value budget accommodation whether you’re here for a short break or business trip. The Travelodge offers no frills rooms for less than £46 per night while some may prefer the contemporary feel of a boutique hotel such as Madisons.

The Ramada Encore, Days, Jury’s Inn and Park Inn are all in the city centre, while Express By Holiday Inn and the Ibis are in the Queen’s Quarter.

Belfast is a small city, so any of the establishments within the centre are within walking distance of all the local attractions.

Some places to see include: Odyssey Arena, The Waterfront Hall, Titanic Quarter, City Hall, Castle Court and Victoria Square shopping complexes, Albert Clock, Grand Opera House, The Ulster Hall, St Anne’s Cathedral and St. George’s Market.

Madison’s Hotel

Days ***

40 Hope Street, BT12 5EE. Rooms from £45 per night.


The centrally located Days Hotel contains 250 bright and spacious en-suite guest rooms with multi channel television, telephone, tea and coffee facilities and hair-dryer. During your stay at this accommodation you can enjoy free wireless internet and free car parking. At the restaurant in the morning a full Irish breakfast is provided in the form of an all you can eat buffet. The great value Days Hotel also allows kids under 12 to stay for free. This budget accommodation in Belfast is right beside the Europa Bus and Train station on Great Victoria Street and near attractions such as the Grand Opera House and Crown Bar.

Click Here For Reviews and Best Rates For Days.

Express By Holiday Inn ***

106A University Street, BT7 1HP. Rooms from £51 per night.

Express By Holiday Inn

The Express By Holiday Inn is located in the Queens Quarter of Belfast. With 114 guest rooms, free buffet breakfast, car parking on-site, wireless internet, a licensed bar, on-site meeting rooms and an extensive snack menu, this budget hotel has facilities that could rival some of its 4 and 5 star counterparts Each modern bedroom has a refreshing power shower, high speed WiFi, Coffee and Tea facilities, hair-dryer, work desk and telephone. The Holiday Inn Express is only a short walk from attractions such as: The Ulster Museum, Botanic Gardens, Queen University and Queens Film Theatre. Other attractions in the area include: Victoria Square shopping centre, Odyssey Arena, Castlecourt shopping centre, Ormeau Park and the City Hall.

Click Here For Reviews and Best Rates For Express By Holiday Inn.

Jurys Inn ***

Fisherwick Place, BT2 7AP. Rooms from £58 per night.

Jurys Inn

Jurys Inn is part of a nationwide hotel chain and for the second time in recent years have been awarded Best Independent Hotel Brand. Jurys Inn Belfast has 170 standard and 20 superior en-suite bedrooms. The rooms are all bright and spacious and can accommodate 3 adults or 2 adults and 2 children. Each standard room includes a multi channel television, refreshments dock, high speed internet, hair dryer and bathroom. For a small fee you can upgrade to a superior room and enjoy free internet in the bedroom and free WiFi in the public areas such as the bar and restaurant, sparkling or still water, ironing facilities, 10% discount on food and a free newspaper. Jurys Inn is located beside The Grand Opera House and within walking distance to the main attractions of Belfast.

Click Here For Reviews and Best Rates For Jurys Inn.

Madison’s ***

Botanic Avenue, BT7 1JL. Rooms from £58 per night.

Madison’s Belfast

Madison’s is a small boutique hotel with just 35 guest rooms. Being a smaller contemporary accommodation they can offer an excellent customer experience with a personal service and great value for money. Each morning you’ll be greeted with a free newspaper to read while waiting on your delicious cooked to order breakfast. Each room also has free wireless internet and a flat screen TV. Madison’s is based in the university area and is close to attractions and amenities such as the Palm House, Botanic Gardens, The Ulster Museum, Botanic Train Station and Queen’s Film Theatre. This 3 star hotel in Belfast also boasts a fine restaurant and bar as well as a lively nightclub for your evenings entertainment.

Click Here For Reviews and Best Rates For Madison’s.

Ibis Queen’s Quarter ***

75 University Street, BT7 1HL. Rooms from £45 per night.

Ibis Queen’s Quarter

The Ibis Belfast hotel in the Queen’s Quarter of the city has around 56 modern bedrooms with facilities including satellite TV and wireless internet. As with most 3 star hotels in Belfast, it has a restaurant serving cold and hot snacks and a friendly bar area to relax and socialise in. The premises are 100% non smoking to comply with laws in Northern Ireland regarding smoking indoors in public places. The guest rooms have the usual amenities such as a telephone and tea/coffee. Some family friendly connecting rooms are also available throughout the accommodation. Within walking distance you will find the City Hospital, Lisburn Road, Stranmillis College, Queens University and Ormeau Park.

Click Here For Reviews and Best Rates For Ibis Queen’s Quarter.

Ramada Encore ***

20 Talbot Street, BT1 2LD. Rooms from £50 per night.

Ramada Encore

The Ramada Encore is one of Belfast’s newer hotels and is based in St. Anne’s Square, right in the centre of the Cathedral Quarter. It contains around 165 bright and contemporary guest rooms of varying standards including executive and family type accommodation. Each room has a power shower, 22” flat screen TV, pay per view films and workstation with direct dial telephone. As it’s in the city centre, the Ramada Encore doesn’t provide free car parking, but it does have complimentary WiFi for guests on the ground floor. There is a small charge for internet in the guest rooms though. The Ramada is next door to The Mac arts centre and is close to other attractions which include St. Anne’s Cathedral, The Waterfront Hall, Odyssey Arena, Titanic Belfast and The City Hall. There is also plenty of shopping in the city centre area including Castle Court and Victoria Square shopping complexes.

Click Here For Reviews and Best Rates For The Ramada Encore.

Park Inn ***

4 Clarence Street West, BT2 7GP. Rooms from £58 per night.

Park Inn

The Park Inn has 145 fresh and spacious bed rooms with modern décor and all the amenities and facilities you would expect from a quality three star establishment. There are four different room types to accommodate your needs whether they are business, family or accessibility oriented. Each room has refreshments, desk and telephone, shower-room, television, pay as you go internet, climate control, pay per view movies and queen sized or twin beds. The Park Inn also has a fitness suite with sauna and steam room so you can keep up with your training while you’re away. Stag and Hen parties are also welcome and you can find some great short-break and family deals in this city centre accommodation. While staying here you are only a few minutes walk from The Ulster Hall, Grand Opera House, Linenhall Library and City Hall.

Click Here For Reviews and Best Rates For Park Inn.

Travelodge ***

15 Brunswick Street, BT2 7GE. Rooms from £46 per night.


The Travelodge Belfast is a really great budget hotel and probably one of the best value 3 star hotels in the city centre. Guest rooms at the Travelodge are spacious, but minimal. You do still however have a multi channel television with news and Setanta sports in the room plus tea and coffee. There is also WiFi access throughout the premises, but you have to pay a small fee for access. All rooms are en-suite, but toiletries are not provided. The Travelodge doesn’t have on-site car parking, but has negotiated a discounted rate with the NCP, Dublin Road car park which is a five minute walk away. This budget hotel in Belfast is within walking distance of The Ulster Hall, Movie House Cinema, Dublin Road and The Waterfront Hall.

Click Here For Reviews and Best Rates For The Travelodge.

Still Not Found What You’re Looking For?

If you can’t find a three star hotel in Belfast to suit your needs, you might try checking out these other ideas for accommodation and thing to do.

4 Star Hotels
In Belfast
5 Star Hotels
In Belfast
Belfast Tours


Ulster American Folk Park

Welcome to the Ulster American Folk Park, an open-air museum in Co Tyrone, Northern Ireland. The museum tells the story of emigration from Ulster to America in the 18th & 19th centuries and provides visitors with a “living history” experience on its outdoor site.

Costumed demonstrators go about their everyday tasks in a traditional manner in authentically furnished buildings.

Visitors are able to taste traditional fayre and see demonstrations on traditional Irish and American crafts and agriculture including spinning, printing, blacksmithing and textiles.The Ship and Dockside Gallery features a full-size reconstruction of an early 19th century sailing ship of the type which carried thousands of emigrants across the Atlantic.The Old World and New World layout of the Park illustrates the various aspects of emigrant life on both sides of the Atlantic. The museum also includes an indoor Emigrants Exhibition and includes a Centre for Migration Studies/library which is accessible to all visitors if they wish to research their ancestry.

A full programme of special events is organised throughout the year including the award winning annual Appalachian & Bluegrass Music Festival (first weekend in September) and the ever popular Halloween Festival.

Now in its 17th year the Annual Appalachian and Bluegrass Festival has become one of the largest bluegrass events outside of North America.The Annual Appalachian & Bluegrass Music Festival runs over three days and features a range of attractions including the ‘Bluegrass in The Park’ outdoor musical performances and three major evening concerts in the festival marquee.


Visitors are welcome to use their cameras around the Park to take photographs for their own personal use. Care should be taken not to contravene the privacy of other visitors, and in particular no identifiable images of children should be taken without parental consent.


Dogs are not permitted on the museum site (Guide Dogs excepted)

Picnics and food

A designated picnic area is provided adjacent to the car park. Food and drinks are not permitted on the museum site.


Established in 1976, as Northern Irelands contribution to the American bicentenary, the Folk Park has been constructed around the original homestead of Thomas Mellon, who as a 5 year old boy had emigrated with his parents to Western Pennsylvania.The Mellon family, and in particular Dr T Matthew Mellon, initiated the restoration of the Mellon homestead which was completed in 1968. Further development took place in the 1970’s, when Dr Matthew T Mellon and Mr Eric Montgomery OBE were instrumental in the establishment of the Ulster American Folk Park, which portrayed the emigrant trail to America.

Since its opening in July 1976 the Park has grown rapidly and with the addition of a number of original exhibit buildings, the museum now represents the broad spectrum of 18th and 19th century emigration from Ulster to America.

On 1 October 1998 the Ulster American Folk Park joined with Ulster Folk & Transport Museum, Armagh Museum and the Ulster Museum to form the National Museums and Galleries of Northern Ireland and plans are currently being prepared to develop a National Museum of Emigration. 1 April to 30 September 2008 (to be confirmed)Monday to Saturday 10.30am-4.30pm (Museum closes 6.00pm)Sundays/Public Holidays 11.00am-5.00pm (Museum closes 6.30pm)

The Centre for Migration Studies

Monday to Friday 10.30am-4.45pmClosed weekends and Public Holidays

Museum Coffee Shop

Daily 10.30am-5.00pm during museum opening

Museum Restaurant

By arrangement in advance: (028) 8224 0918

Admission pricesAdult £5.00* £4.50 without gift aidConcession £3.00* £2.50 without gift aidFamily (2 adults & up to 3 children) £13.00* £11.50 without gift aidFamily (1 adult & up to 3 children) £11.00* £9.50 without gift aidChildren 4 years & under Free

*As a charity, the Ulster American Folk Park relies on support from people like you to enable us to carry out vital conservation work and to care for the exhibits.

Prices include a voluntary 10% donation that allows us to collect Gift Aid which, if you are a UK tax payer, means we can claim back the tax on your ticket, currently 28p for every £1.Concession rate applies to children 4-16, senior citizens and people with disabilities.10% discount on full rate for groups with 15 or moreTours and Trails 2.50Winter Workshops (including materials) 2.80


Ulster American Folk Park, Castletown, Omagh, Co. Tyrone, BT78 5QY

By Bus from Belfast

Goldliner Express Bus No. 273 from Belfast to Derry passes the main gates of the Folk Park. The Express stops on request outside the main gates of the Folk Park. The nearest local bus station is in Omagh, which also has a a local service passing the Folk Park.

In addition taxis are usually available at Omagh Bus Station. More information on bus services is available from Translink.

A large car and coach park can accommodate up to 350 cars. The drive time from Belfast is approx. 1.30 hours. Parking is free.

If you would like an accurate map reference location for the Ulster American Folk Park, type the postcode, BT78 5QY into Google Maps

If you would driving directions to the Ulster American Folk Park from anywhere in Northern Ireland, use Route Planner and type BT78 5QY into destination box.

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Rathlin Island

Rathlin Island is a boot shaped island that lies just off the causeway coast at Ballycastle. It is eight miles long and less than one mile wide.The island has a population of about 100 people and is absolutely hiving with wildlife. It is a perfect setting for many seabird species as it is quiet with very little traffic.The only way to get to the island is by passenger ferry from Ballycastle and it only carries vehicles by special request.

The island is great for a day out, especially if you are a keen bird-watcher, cyclist or rambler. The RSPB have a superb bird sanctuary and viewpoint at the West Lighthouse. You can expect to see Puffins, Guillemots, Razorbills and Peregrine Falcons. Other wildlife includes Irish Hares and Seals.

What you should know

If you are interested in the Puffins, the best time to visit Rathlin is around early June.

You can get the ferry across from Ballycastle and walk to the bird sanctuary. It is about 5 miles from the harbour. There is also a mini-bus service if you prefer. You can hire bicycles at the harbour if you would rather cycle around the island.


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Map showing location of Rathlin Island

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Northern Ireland Travel Privacy Policy recognize that your privacy is important and have produced this Privacy Policy. This document outlines the types of personal information we receive and collect when you use as well as some of the steps we take to safeguard information. We hope this will help you make an informed decision about sharing personal information with us. strives to maintain the highest standards of decency, fairness and integrity in all our operations. Likewise, we are dedicated to protecting our customers’, consumers’ and online visitors’ privacy on our website.

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This website is directed to adults; it is not directed to children under the age of 13. We operate our site in compliance with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, and will not knowingly collect or use personal information from anyone under 13 years of age. In some cases, we may collect information about you that is not personally identifiable. We use this information, which does not identify individual users, to analyze trends, to administer the site, to track users’ movements around the site and to gather demographic information about our user base as a whole. The information collected is used solely for internal review and not shared with other organizations for commercial purposes. If is sold, the information we have obtained from you through your voluntary participation in our site may transfer to the new owner as a part of the sale in order that the service being provided to you may continue. In that event, you will receive notice through our website of that change in control and practices, and we will make reasonable efforts to ensure that the purchaser honours any opt-out requests you might make of us. We provide this privacy policy as a statement to you of our commitment to protect your personal information. If you have submitted personal information through our website and would like that information deleted from our records or would like to update or correct that information, please click on this link and/or use our Contact Us page. reserves the right to make changes in this policy. If there is a material change in our privacy practices, we will indicate on our site that our privacy practices have changed and provide a link to the new privacy policy. We encourage you to periodically review this policy so that you will know what information we collect and how we use it. If you do not agree to Privacy Policy as posted here on this website, please do not use this site or any services offered by this site. Your use of this site indicates acceptance of this privacy policy.

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Ulster Folk And Transport Museum

Ulster Folk and Transport Museum

The Ulster Folk and Transport Museum started life in 1958, as the Ulster Folk Museum, by an Act of Parliament. The Transport Museum was added later between 1993 and 1996 with the arrival of the Rail and Road Galleries.

The museum is a superb tourist attraction and was recently voted ‘Irish Museum of the Year’. It was setup to illustrate the ‘way of life’ and ‘traditions’ of the people in Northern Ireland. It was realized that something had to be done to preserve and record their heritage as culture in Northern Ireland was changing at such a fast pace and was in danger of disappearing.

It covers an area of over 170 acres and has a magnificent outdoor layout. There are around 50 exhibits telling the story of life in early 20th Century Ulster. You can see how people lived, what food they ate, how they farmed and what type of occupations they had.

The Transport area of the museum is mostly indoors. It houses a fine collection of horse-drawn carts, motor cars, steam engines and the history of ship and aircraft building in Northern Ireland. There is a permanent exhibition of the Titanic and also the X2 Flight simulator.

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Irish Travel Insurance Will Protect You During Your Visit To Northern Ireland

Protect Yourself With
Irish Travel Insurance

Irish travel insurance is essential for protecting yourself and your possessions while on your trip here. Travellers are often quick to dismiss the need for travel insurance when they go abroad. It’s easy to assume that you won’t encounter negative situations on your holiday, but why take an unnecessary risk when you can travel stress-free?

Purchasing a comprehensive travel insurance policy provides coverage for a range of inconveniences from medical issues and emergency assistance, to lost luggage.

You can even tailor your policy to the type of holiday you’re embarking on, with the option of several policies like group insurance, family insurance, backpackers insurance, or annual insurance. Regardless of the policy that best suits your situation, it is strongly advised to purchase a comprehensive Irish travel insurance policy before travelling overseas to Northern Ireland.

Insure Your Trip To Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland has a lot to offer holidaymakers and is becoming an increasingly popular tourist destination. From the rolling hills and beautiful lakes to historic sites and great sports opportunities, many people are choosing Northern Ireland as their holiday destination.

Whether you’re just popping over for a long weekend or planning to explore all that the country has to offer, don’t forget to ensure that your trip is one to remember.

Upon booking your stay, decide what kind of trip you are going on. Ask yourself, are you taking your family? Will you be involved in sports? Are you travelling with a group? Most travel insurance providers take this into consideration to offer you policies that are tailored to your needs.

Apart from standard advantages like insured luggage, travel cancellations, and medical coverage, the different types of policies offer specific benefits that relate to your situation.

For example, if you decide to play golf on one of Northern Ireland’s world-renowned golf courses and suffer an injury or damage your equipment, you can be covered under a sports-related policy. Or if you travel in a group of five or more people, you can all get coverage under the same plan for convenience.

Because there are a variety of travel insurance policies available, don’t forget to do your research and make sure that what you are planning to do on your trip is covered under your travel insurance plan.

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Welcome to Northern Ireland! There’s so much to see and do…

Northern Ireland has it all, sports, events, shopping, great days out, but one of the best things I like about this friendly and cultured province is the beautiful scenery…it’s so green and luscious.

Hi, I’m Mark McKnight, your friendly travel and tourism guide. You’ll see what I mean about the scenery when you discover Northern Ireland. The rest of the province is also extremely interesting with many great attractions and a fabulous place to come for an exciting holiday or vacation. More about that later! So…What would you like to know about my country?

The currency used here is the pound sterling or ‘£stg’. Some places accept the Euro, which is the currency that is used in the Republic of Ireland and the rest of Europe.

The population is around 1.75 million for 2008.

irishlandscapesml-9487115 The weather here is varied. Regular rainy spells, provide a blanket of green creating the exceptional scenery.

On warm sunny days in the summer the temperature can rise to around 25 degrees Celsius.

The winter is usually wet and mild with temperatures staying just above freezing, mostly around 4 degrees Celsius.

Current time in Belfast –

Need Belfast Airport Parking? – If you require Belfast International airport parking, why not browse through BCP’s Belfast airport parking packages as they are sure to have a deal that suits you.

Northern Ireland Attractions

There are so many great attractions to choose from…

  • Giant’s Causeway
  • Mount Stewart House And Gardens
  • Exploris Aquarium

…to name but a few! There’s so much useful information about these attractions in my Travel guide and you can find out more about them at Northern Ireland Attractions.

Let’s just say it’s worth a look!


The main attractions this country has to offer are divided nicely into the six counties.

You’ll love it! Everything you need to discover this beautiful country at your finger tips.

If you’re visiting Belfast, don’t miss out on the opportunity to add your name to a piece of history by signing the peace wall. Take a Black taxi tour with Belfast Cab Tours and their friendly tour guide, see the World Famous Wall Murals of West Belfast and find out lot’s more about the political and historical background of this famous city!

The beautiful picture above was taken at the Giant’s Causeway, County Antrim. Probably one of the best and most unique attractions in the world! And now for something that goes hand-in-hand with the great attractions in the province is the entertainment.


What do you do when you are not sight-seeing? You might want to try something different and out of the ordinary when you are away on holiday.

What about relaxing in a spa, fishing, taking in a round of golf or even just a leisurely stroll in a beautiful forest park?

Whatever your interests are, I’m sure that you’ll find something exciting and fun to do while enjoying your stay. slievedonardsml-8315781Earlier, I mentioned a little about holidays.

A comprehensive list of places you can stay, whilst travelling in the ‘six counties’, can be found in my hotel guides for each county.

I have even included a special listing for Belfast Hotels, which you can see here.

They’re packed full to the brim with hotels for every budget all sorted by star rating.

Whether you’re interested in a short break or luxurious extended Northern Irish vacation, look no further. Compare hotels in Northern Ireland to find yourself the best deal.

Part of the fun of travel is staying in unusual types of accommodation. In Ireland you can find everything from local inns to timeshares in centuries-old castles and transformed country estates.

What else can I tell you in my Northern Ireland Travel Guide? Well…probably one of the most important parts of any trip…the Food and Drink. After all, you’ve been out all day sight-seeing. You’ll need some refreshment.

guinesssml-4105838 Some of the nicest places to have food here are local pubs and restaurants in the towns and cities you are visiting.

Hotels also offer a tasty selection of food too, especially if they are by the sea. You can taste all the local seafood and fine wine.

One of my favourite places to eat is the Causeway Hotel at the Giant’s Causeway, County Antrim. After an exhilarating walk around the causeway and taking in, the appetite building, fresh, sea air, you get a great meal here.

Wash it down with a cold pint of Guinness!

Recently I tried a new beer that has come to Northern Ireland. It’s full title is Peroni Nastro Azzurro, but most people know it as just Peroni. This beer was an instant hit with me. It’s all I drink at present when I go out anywhere.

It has a really nice mediterranean flavour to it that reminds me of being on holiday. I normally drink Coors Light, but this beer has a totally refreshing taste.

The first time I came across this beer was last week when I went out for Pizza. My wife and I found a great little Italian restaurant on Botanic Ave called Carlito’s (Use the search bar above to find website). I saw someone with the Peroni as I was going in and decided to try one. It was on draught and came in a tall, frosted pint glass. Great looking and great flavour. Totally recommended!

Apart from the places to see, things to do, eating out, etc. I haven’t told you how you are going to be getting around these beautiful sites. My excellent transport guide presents many different ways to get around these top tourist attractions. You can tour by bus, hire car, train or even walk. It’s up to you. Learn more about these various methods in the getting around guide. Incidentally, if you are hiring a car, make sure you have car insurance.

Last, but not least, is another important point to note when planning your trip to Northern Ireland. Don’t forget to book your travel insurance. Annual travel insurance is often the best value. Don’t let something trivial like losing your suitcase or baggage ruin your trip.

Take advantage of competitive prices and comprehensive cover from a good holiday insurance provider before you travel. Enjoy Your Trip,

Mark McKnight


Historic Tourist Destinations in Northern Ireland


Northern Ireland is steeped in history with plenty of interesting and educational sights to see. From the century’s unspoilt countryside, monuments and impressive architecture to the man-made murals made famous during the “Troubles”, there are Historic tourist destinations to suit every visitor’s fancy. Northern Ireland is certainly easy enough to access with many budget airline flying in and out daily.

Giants Causeway.

The Giants Causeway is a sight to behold, born of intense volcanic lave activity it is made up of some 40,000 layered basalt columns. Legends say that the columns were carved from the coast by a giant and it’s up to you to decide which theory you would prefer to believe. Located in County Antrim it is the only World Heritage Site in Northern Ireland and you can view the new Giants Causeway Visitor Centre to learn the science and the folklore of this magical place.

Chaine Memorial Tower.

The Chaine Tower is a memorial to James Chaine, the man who developed the short sea route form Larne to Scotland and established the town of Larne as a transatlantic port. Built in 1888 and standing twenty seven metres tall the tower is a typical round Irish tower and in 1899 a light was added 22 metres up the tower to help ships navigate around a submerged rock nearby.


Albert Memorial Clock.

The Albert Memorial Clock was erected in 1865 as a commemoration to Prince Albert. Situated in Belfast in Queens Square it stands at 113 foot tall and an interesting fact is that it leans off scale by about four feet, making it Northern Irelands answer to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. This was of course an ideal vantage point to see the sail of the Titanic which was built in Belfast as it set sail to Southampton. You will also see the Albert Memorial Clock if you chose to take one of the many Titanic Tours on offer.

Belfast Castle.

You can find Belfast Castle in Cavehill Country Park. Originally built in the late 12th century it was destroyed by fire in 1708. The rebuilding of the castle began in 1811 although not on the original site. The castle underwent a major refurbishment in 1978 but the original features remain. Not only a beauty to look at, Belfast Castle has practical uses such as a coffee shop and restaurant and is a venue for weddings and private functions.

Hezlett House.

If you enjoy history then the thatched cottage of Hezlett House in Castlerock is one to view. Part of the National Trust at over three hundred years old it is one of the oldest domestic buildings in Northern Ireland. The interior timber is an exciting prospect for architectural lovers to peruse and the history of the charming Victorian cottage is certainly an interesting one.

Some of the most interesting and true to life historical elements of Northern Ireland are the murals that are on show almost everywhere in the country. The murals sprang up in a graffiti form by groups such as the Irish Republican Army, the Ulster Freedom Fighters and by individuals to celebrate loved ones who lost their lives in attacks during the worst of the “Troubles”. Some of the murals are amazing to view, especially the ones depicting individuals and in another time or place they would be worthy of awards. The majority can be seen in and around Derry, Belfast and Bangor.

Whether it is for the visionary beauty or the age old history, there is something for everyone in the country of Northern Ireland.

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Exploris Aquarium & Seal Sanctuary

The Exploris Aquarium was opened in 1994 by Prince Charles. It used to be called the Northern Ireland Aquarium and was built by Newtownards Borough Council around 1987 to show off the astounding marine nature and wildlife that lives in the waters around Northern Ireland’s coasts. It’s mainly associated with the rehabilitation of seals, but you can see all kinds of marine life and fish species in their discovery pools and shore walks including Moon Jellyfish, Common Starfish and the Thornback Ray. Some other fishes, marine species or sea creatures you may encounter are: Bass, Bib, Cod, Lobster, Spider Crab, Crawfish, Cuttlefish, Sea Urchin, Feather Star, Hermit Crab, Long Spined Sea Scorpion, Lumpsucker, Octopus, Peacock Worm, Red Mullet, Rock Goby, Sea Lemon, Sea Squirt, Shanny, Snake Pipefish, Starry Smoothhound, Sponge, Tadpole Fish, Turbot and Wolf Fish.

Wow! This marine museum on the Irish Sea has plenty going on.

Two Lionfish Enjoying A Swim Around Their Tank

Exploris Aquarium & Seal Sanctuary is located in Portaferry overlooking Strangford Lough. It’s part of the Nature Reserve for Marine life in the Lough which is home to most of Northern Ireland’s marine species.

You will have an enjoyable and educational experience while visiting this Northern Ireland attraction and it caters for the whole family. There are exhibitions, events and activities suitable for kids of all ages.

A great day out for the whole family at Exploris…

Bloody Henry Starfish

Exploris Aquarium & Seal Sanctuary is a great day out for families. You don’t need to worry about bringing ‘baby’ along either, as there are full baby changing facilities available. There’s also disabled access to the whole site and they also have a small amount of courtesy wheelchairs available at reception should you need one. There’s a good range of activities happening throughout the day, with one of my favourites being the discovery pool. You get to discover first-hand what type of sea creatures are living in Strangford Lough. You can stroke Thornback Rays and hold a Sea Urchin in the palm of your hand if you like. Every sea creature is explained to you by one of the extremely knowledgeable guides. The timings for these events are located on the wall in each area and you can also find out details at reception.

My advice is to ask on arrival about the activities and timings for that day. That means you won’t miss out on any of the excitement. You should also know that car-parking is free outside Exploris Aquarium, but is limited.

Colourful Lionfish

More information about this exciting Northern Ireland attraction including opening hours and times, prices, discounts, Seal web cams, virtual tour, events and exhibitions can be found at the Exploris website.

Our day trip to Exploris Aquarium

Family Day Out

My family and I recently had an interesting day out at the aquarium. It took a bit of persuading to get me to go, but I’m glad I did and thoroughly enjoyed it. The highlight for me was interacting with the different sea creatures at the discovery pool and watching a diver swimming with the fish. Altogether, there was five of us who went for a day out. My wife Lindsay, baby son Jack, dad Sam and sister Rachel. We all travelled down together by car and it took us about 55 minutes from Belfast City Centre. We arrived just in time for the show at the discovery pool. The guide went through each creature in the pool and told us about how they live and what they are like in the wild.

After a brief insight into each creature, we got the chance to interact with and handle each species.

Thornback Ray At The Northern Ireland Aquarium

The highlight of my day was stroking the Thornback Ray. It’s skin is really soft and smooth and they are totally harmless, unlike some of the other Ray family. Mainly the Sting Ray.

The demonstration lasted for around an hour and then it was time for a quick snack in the Tides cafe and a look around the gift shop. This left us plenty of time for a leisurely walk around the rest of the aquarium & seal sanctuary, before heading back towards Belfast.

Over in the Seal sanctuary you can find large and small ponds with underwater viewing galleries as well as six hospital pens. The sanctuary doesn’t always have seals to look after, but is most busiest during pupping season. If you’re lucky you might see a Grey Seal pup.

Thanks for reading my story. Definitely worth spending a morning or afternoon at this attraction.

Dogfish From Strangford Lough

Location Of Exploris Aquarium – Portaferry

Address: The Rope Walk, Castle Street, Portaferry, Co. Down, BT22 1NZ

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Map showing location of Exploris Aquarium

Directions For Getting There…

If you would like driving directions to Exploris Aquarium from anywhere in Northern Ireland, use Route Planner. You may need the postcode: BT22 1NZ.

Travel by Bus

You can get to the Aquarium by taking one of the buses on routes 10, 9a or 9. The buses depart from Laganside Station, Belfast and travel to Newtownards then onto Portaferry where they end. For more information, visit the Translink website.

Travel by Bicycle

There doesn’t appear to be a direct cycle route in this area. If you would like help to find the best way to get here on Bicycle, visit the National Cycle Network website.

Travel by Road

From Belfast take the A20 through Newtownards and on to Portaferry. Do you need a hire car?

Travel by Train

There are no train stations near this attaction. The nearest train station is Bangor, County Down, which is about 25mls from this attraction. For more information, visit the Translink website.