In 2018, Belfast and the Causeway Coast were crowned Lonely Planet’s Best Region to visit. The influential publication praised its “timeless beauty and high-grade attractions – golf, whiskey and some of the world’s most famous rocks’’.
Meanwhile, National Geographic Traveller readers crowned Belfast the ‘Rising Star’ of tourism at their Reader Awards in London. These annual awards recognise the best places, experiences, hotels, operators and attractions short-listed by a panel of judges, but ultimately voted for by the public.
To add to the list of accolades, Belfast was crowned ‘Best Events Destination’ and ICC Belfast selected as the ‘Best Events Venue’ for 2018-19 at the prestigious C&IT Awards. These awards cemented what had long been touted; that Belfast is an exciting new events destination on the rise.
Investments in world-class venues, experiences and accommodation have brought record numbers of business and leisure visitors to Belfast. The renewed optimism and ambition in Belfast is palpable. Evident in the investment in the award winning ICC Belfast, the largest hotel expansion in the city’s history and the cranes that dot the skyline, Belfast is one of the fastest growing destinations in Europe.
Titanic by nature, Belfast’s Titanic Quarter is one of the world’s largest urban-waterfront regeneration projects. Steeped in the rich history and tradition of the city’s shipbuilding heritage, this historic area tells the story of the true legend of Titanic in the city where it all began. The jewel in the Quarter’s crown, is the iconic Titanic Belfast, which brings history to life in an unforgettable way. Must see attractions include: Titanic Belfast, SS Nomadic, HMS Caroline and Titanic Hotel Belfast.
Game of Thrones
The mesmerising fantasy lands of Westeros have been created using Northern Ireland’s rugged coastlines, historic castles and breath-taking countryside and forests. The dramatic scenery of the Causeway Coast and Glens, and Counties Down, Fermanagh and Armagh form the backdrop of much of the show’s action and fans can easily access many of the locations from Belfast and follow in the footsteps of a favourite character.
And now as Game of Thrones finishes filming, after a decade in Northern Ireland, HBO plans to celebrate the show's incredible legacy by converting several filming locations into visitor attractions. Highlights include GAME OF THRONES: The Touring Exhibition, designed by GES Events in collaboration with HBO® Licensing and Retail; Winterfell Castle; Game of Thrones Location Tours and GoT To Escape.
Arts and Culture
Belfast may be small in size, but it’s huge in imagination! From historic museums to contemporary art galleries, from performing arts to the literary scene. Belfast is a city with a rich heritage, offering a host of vibrant cultural and artistic experiences.
Described as ‘the world’s greatest open-air gallery’, the murals in east and west Belfast are a must see experience for visitors. Artworks range from Republican and Loyalist political statements to colourful celebrations of the city’s famous sons and daughters. Not limited to the stunning street art scattered throughout the Cathedral Quarter, there are over 150 pieces of public art placed around the city to choose from.
Highlights include: Ulster Museum, Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, The MAC, The Lyric and Political history tours.
Not only does Northern Ireland produce golf champions, it also boasts an enviable collection of some of the world’s best courses. Belfast itself has fourteen courses and golf centres, while the world renowned links courses of Royal Portrush, host of the 148th Open in 2019 and Royal County Down are just over an hour’s drive away.
Food and Drink
Restaurant reviewers have plated up praise for Belfast’s food scene and the city offers everything from Michelin star dining to the classic Ulster Fry. Not to mention our amazing food and drink experiences from St. George’s Market one of Belfast’s oldest attractions and one of the best markets in the UK and Ireland, to the Rademon Estate Distillery in Co. Down, one of the oldest historic estates in Ireland. If you want to experience a tour with a difference, the multi-award winning Belfast Food Tour will offer the Belfast Gin Jaunt, Belfast Whiskey Walk, Brewery Tour as well as bespoke private tours, such as Taste and Tour NI taking you ‘off the eaten track’ in Northern Ireland.
Belfast is the Gateway to Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland’s compact nature means that after a few minutes’ drive Belfast city melts behind you and the landscape becomes lush green with breath-taking coastal scenery.