Bed and Belfast
Updated: Jul 20, 2018
A Weekend getaway.
“A place so full of stories from the past.”
Weather and Seasons
Belfast is the perfect weekend getaway from London. It is a quiet city and chillier than London being farther up in the North. It was 9 degree Celsius and windy when we visited in May.
Travel and Stay
Resting comfortably on the banks of River Lagan is the beautiful city of Belfast- the capital and the largest city of Northern Ireland. A short 1 hour 20 minutes domestic flight from London Gatwick airport will land you in Belfast. We travelled by a 9pm RyanAir flight which cost us 75GBP round trip when booked 3 weeks before travel. If pre planned and booked it could cost much less.
The only dampening factor would be that flights tend to get delayed a lot. We were delayed by an hour at Gatwick and 1.5 hours at Belfast while returning. Being a domestic flight any form of ID card would be enough to travel, however it is best to check the airline website to be sure what IDs are acceptable to them. Passport is the safest and most acceptable of all IDs.
We came across a perfect house in Agincourt Avenue in Belfast. We had pre booked it from AirBnB.com and it cost us 54.5 GBP per head for 2 Nights and 2 days. We were 8 of us and we booked 4 rooms with twin beds. We effectively got the entire house including kitchen, common room, 4 bathrooms and full set of furnitures. The house owner was even kind enough to stock the kitchen with ingredients for tea and coffee..
Activities and Events
Belfast has beautiful picturesque locations which are often used as shooting locations for movies and tv series. The most popular of course being Game of Thrones. We booked a one day bus tour online beforehand as we had limited time to explore and a guided tour would fit in the usual tourist spots within our timelines. It cost us 20 GBP per head.
There are game go thrones tours that can be booked online as well as Be;fast city city tours. The Titanic museum and city hall are must visit.
The travel story
The bus starts around 9 am from city and a short 20 minutes drive takes you to the first stop Carrickfergus castle. To be honest there are bigger and more architecturally beautiful palaces in England and Scotland. But this is a good place for learning about its history with the English, the Scotts, the Irish and the French. It is beautifully preserved and one can take an inside tour for 5GBP. You can also opt to simply walk around the castle and admire the sea.
The bus then takes you through beautiful roads surrounded by greenery onto the next stop. While on this route you will cross the set for Game of Thrones and be able to clearly see the White Wall and Castle Black. However it is a restricted zone and not permitted to walk into the premise. The crew mostly shoot during August-September and stay at a hotel 5 minutes from the set. It would have made my day to see Jon Snow but unfortunately we did not spot a soul.
About 30 more minutes later the bus reaches Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. It takes 5GBP to buy tickets to cross the bridge. It takes a 15 minute walk to reach the bridge and then is a short 20m walk across it. It connects the mainland to a small island. The thrill is it being a narrow rope bridge, it sways gently and the view below is steep of the sea lapping at sharp rocks. If you are afraid of heights, don't look down. Look at front or sideways and admire the sprawling sea and tiny island in the distance. In the far distance you can spot Scotland.
The island is a photogenic place and you can indulge in a selfie clicking spree.
Back to the bus and then on to Bushmills Distillery where you can go for a guided tour and see first hand how whiskey is made. This is also a lunch stop with paid Buffet services. Personally I was not a fan of the menu and we walked into the nearby restaurants and had a hearty meal.
The bus then takes a short 10 minutes to reach the main attraction of the day-Giant’s Causeway. It is a 2 hour and final stop here. Giant’s Causeway was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Legend holds that there were two giants- an Irish and a Scottish. They Scottish Giant challenged the Irish giant to a fight. The Irish giant accepted and built the causeway for them to meet, However on seeing the size of the Scottish giant he got afraid and came to him wife to ask her to hide him. His wife dressed him up as a baby and laid him in the house. When the Scottish giant arrived looking for him, he saw the baby and thought if the child is this big, the adult father must be truly enormous. Scared he ran back to Scotland destroying the causeway. What remains are the hexagonal pillar structures. The more scientific explanation suggests these were formed by hot molten lava meeting the cold Irish Sea.
The day ends around 7pm with the bus taking a direct drive back to the city and dropping you at the point of boarding.
This day can mostly be used to walk around the city and gaze at its beautiful architecture. We started by taking a tour of the Titanic Museum. This is a must see in Belfast and currently the most famous tourist spot. It is a marvellous building located right beside the site where Titanic was built. The museum tour gives an in depth look into the creation of the Titanic, the journey and the tragic end. There are many tour options to choose from with the basic discovery tour costing 7GBP to SS Voyage experience costing 17GBP. There are also 2 hour Segway tours costing 30GBP per head.
A 30 minute walk from the museum through the streets of Belfast will take you to the City Hall. The walk through the city is itself very picturesque with the Albert Clock Tower and European architecture surrounding the road you traverse. The City Hall has guided tours everyday which is free of charge. A 40 minute tour inside the City Hall gives you an insight into the Royal, the political and the historical background of the city. Despite not being a target, the City Hall was bombed in the second world war and the tour takes you into the room that was directly hit. The entire room has since been restored with full glory and grandeur. It also takes you into the chambers of the governor and the council meeting room.
One cannot end the perfect Irish trip without visiting a perfect Irish pub. A short 12 minutes walk from the city hall takes you to one of the oldest and most famous pubs in Northern Ireland- the Crown Liquor Saloon Bar. Refurbished in 1885, the interior takes you back in time with its beautiful and intricate decoration. A pint of Guiness costs 3.50 GBP and gets you a seat at the bar counter or a snug little booth. You can spend hours here unless you have somewhere important to be.
With that 2 days come to a close with memories painted in your brain and hopefully little Irish luck into your life.
Do not miss out on the oldest and most famous pub in Northern Ireland- the Crown Liquor Saloon Bar
Flight booked through skyscanner.net
Airport to hotel took us 30 minutes and costed us nearly 31GBP.
Belfast bus tour was booked online through McCombs’s Giant’s Causeway Tour.
Hotel booked through AirBNB.com
Plenty Indian, Chinese restaurants all around the city for eat in, take away or home delivery.
Carry a bottle of water when walking around the city.
Wear comfortable shoes and carry a jacket as it is a lot of walking in rocky terrains and it gets very windy too.