Belfast, the capital city of Northern Ireland, is a completely different place to the one that has been told in the history books. The Troubles which played a dominant role in the city for many decades is long gone.
Belfast has now been transformed into a progressive, vibrant and friendly city. The city has become a popular holiday destination with tourist, who are choosing to visit here over the likes of Dublin and other popular Irish cities.
Whether you’re coming to Belfast for a lovely weekend away or a day trip, the city has so much to offer from its history, culture, a growing food scene as well as award-winning attractions that include the Titanic Museum and Ulster Museum.
Here we will provide you with the best things to see and do when you only have 24 hours in Belfast. Even with only 24 hours in Belfast, this still gives you a lot of time to see some of the city’s most iconic landmarks.
24 Hours in Belfast City
Morning in Belfast City
When you first arrive in Belfast, grab a delicious breakfast at House Belfast, a lovely boutique-style hotel, offering a relaxing atmosphere and an amazing menu. The boutique hotel is beautifully decorated that makes for some great photo opportunities, perfect to put on your Instagram. Make sure to check out the stunning pink floral decor, above the main bar.
The breakfast menu on offer here is hearty and filling, setting you up well for a day of exploring Belfast city. After all, you only have 24 hours in Belfast, so best to get something nice to eat first, as this could be the only time you’ll get to relax.
House Belfast is also a nice place to stay in the city, if you feel like 24 hours in Belfast isn’t enough, with 31 stylish and comfortable rooms available. And it’s pretty central, located in Botanic Avenue, so you can easily get to all the top attractions.
If you would like to try a traditional Ulster Fry, the popular northern Irish breakfast, you can find this at places like Maggie Mays or Harlem Cafe.
Once you have enjoyed a nice breakfast, begin your day with a stroll through the beautiful Botanic Gardens. Located near the renown Queens University, Botanic Gardens offers you a glimpse into one of the most important parts of the Victorian Heritage found in Belfast.
The public park is a lovely spot to chill out and enjoy the beautiful flower gardens on display. While you’re in Botanic Gardens, take a visit to the Ulster Museum, one of the best Museums in Northern Ireland.
Ulster Museum explores the interesting and unique stories of Northern Irish people from ancient times to the modern day. There is an incredible variety of things on offer at the museum, to suit different people, from art lovers, history fans, children and more.
You could easily spend a day in itself, exploring all the museum’s exhibitions, displays and events. But best to spend, at most, an hour or two, so you can still get the most out of your 24 hours in Belfast.
To help keep your visit quick, we recommend checking out the Egyptian Mummy, the Bronze Age gold Jewellery collection and the impressive dinosaur skeleton on display.
Black Taxi Tour – Get to see the History of the City
Next up on our 24 hours in Belfast guide is to take a black taxi tour, where you can explore the fascinating history of Belfast. Many of the black taxi tours last around one and a half hours and will pick you up anywhere in the city centre.
We highly recommend going with Belfast Black Cab Tours, who for over 28 years have been providing visitors with Belfast mural tours. The local taxi drivers will take you to the famous peaceful walls and other historic sites while diving into the past of Belfast. Providing you with an interesting, unbiased and friendly tour around the city.
This would be ideal for visitors who want to learn more about the city and see how far the place has evolved, since its troubled past.
Afternoon in Belfast City
Once you’ve finished the back taxi tour, we suggest heading back to the city centre to enjoy some lunch. There are many great restaurants and cafes in Belfast but for lunch, we recommend checking out Havana Bank Square.
This is one of the best-hidden gems when it comes to the Belfast food scene, quietly tucked away behind Bank Square. At Havana Bank Sq, lunch runs from 12- 3 pm daily, where you can enjoy the best of locally sourced food and an even nicer cocktail list.
A very intimate restaurant with a welcoming atmosphere, where you won’t be short of finding something delicious to enjoy.
“Food is always very tasty, service is great and staff are always good craic creating a good atmosphere. ” – TripAdvisor Customer
After you finish lunch, we suggest heading towards Titanic Quarter; you can easily walk there from the city centre. And if you choose to walk, you’ll see some attractions on the way, such as the famous Big Fish (a giant ceramic sculpture of a fish). You can’t come to Belfast and not get a photo of you standing in front of the Big Fish, after all its a staple part of the city.
Once you get to the Titanic Quarter, there are lots of things for you to check out, but the main attraction is the award-winning Titanic Belfast Museum. From its spectacular architecture that dominates the whole area, to the amazing exhibitions to uncover inside, Titanic Belfast is a must-see experience.
Inside the museum, you’ll learn about the tragic story of the famous Titanic ship, that was built in the Belfast shipyards. The story of the Titanic is told through nine interactive galleries known as the Titanic Experience. This is one of the best attractions in Belfast, one you can’t pass by, even when you only have 24 hours in the city.
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Evening in Belfast City
As the evening approaches, there’s only one place you should finish up ’24 hours in Belfast’ and that is in the Cathedral Quarter. This is one of the most popular areas in Belfast City centre; at night it comes alive with people and an electric atmosphere.
It’s a tourist hotspot, a cultural hub filled with amazing restaurants and bars and you’re sure to see lots of street art around the place. For your evening meal in Belfast, we suggest visiting Coppi for some contemporary Italian food, made with the best of local produce.
“Love this place – great ambience, great staff and great food – Italian with a modern twist.” TripAdvisor Customer
After your tasty Italian meal, time to wash it down with a nice drink, in one of the many great bars around the Cathedral Quarter. From the gastropub that is the John Hewitt Bar, where you can enjoy live traditional music or stop by the Dirty Onion, one of the oldest bars in the city and enjoy a drink or two.
This is the perfect way to round of your trip to Belfast and plan your next adventure to the city!
If you had 24 hours in Belfast, what would you recommend seeing? Let us know in the comments below 🙂
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