Culture: 5 Must-Sees in Belfast

With a year gone since we were last there, the Northern Irish capital has been on our minds. As have these local points of interest…

If you ever happen to be in the Northern Irish capital of Belfast and a mind to do some sightseeing, but would rather not pay for a tour and just go on your own steam, here’s five spots and monuments that you really can’t afford to miss out when the Titanic exhibition doesn’t really do it for you:


Queen Victoria officially named Belfast a city in 1899, and with that the groundbreaking of the cathedral occurred, being completed five years later. Tours of the magnificent building are held, which come recommended for enthusiasts in history and/or architecture. Otherwise just come in and pray at your leisure


For bargain hunters and street food lovers alike, this place is well worth a visit. A plethora of stalls are at your disposal for browsing, and a number of tempting smells and sights await with the food stalls – such as a paella kitchen and a crêperie – so a good place to go if you’re feeling peckish.


Lovers of Brighton will be familiar with The Lanes. Well, Belfast has the Entries, one of the best-known of which is Joy’s Entry. Notable not least for being home to McCracken’s Café Bar. However, being one of the narrower Entries in the city, it does not come recommended if you are claustrophobic.


Northern Ireland is full of murals – not just in Belfast but all over the country. They are symbols of the political and social climate through the ages. They’re worth seeing just for how well they have been done. Some of the ones in the capital have broken away from this – a tunnelled area in one part of Belfast shows off drawings of several Northern Irish celebrities – if you go, you’ll have to see how many you recognise. The courtyard outside this tunnel illustrates television shows and films that have been filmed in and/or set in Belfast itself, such as Game of Thrones and The Fall, starring the X-Files’ Gillian Anderson and Christian Grey himself, Jamie Dornan.


If you make it so far on your tour that you get to the side of the River Lagan, try to have your picture taken with the Big Fish, a 10-metre-long sculpture built in 1999. It is both a historical record – each ceramic scale decorated with text and imagery going all the way back in Belfast’s history to the 1500s – and a time capsule. Oh, and kissing it gives you wisdom, or so legend has it.

For more content set in Northern Ireland, take a look at some of our reviews:

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