Postcards from the big smoke

Belfast has become such a vibrant city in recent years  and is increasingly popular as a tourist destination.I thought I would share a few everyday scenes of my home town, just to give you a flavour of what the city looks like and things you might like to do if you ever decide to visit.

You could take a sightseeing tour of the city.  There are a number of hop on/hop off tour operators that you can choose from.  I always find tours like these quite useful when I’m abroad as they help you to get your bearings and to see what sights you might like to visit and explore in more detail.  There are vintage, open -top and covered double deck buses   offering tours to the main sights and local landmarks in Belfast and they run  throughout the day. They are now a regular feature and welcome sight in the city.

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Alternatively, you could explore the city by hiring a bike. A recent addition to the city, there are now forty docking stations across town where you can rent a bike for approximately £1.50 for up to two hours.

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Or you could just hop on a local bus. Belfast’s pink-hued buses run mostly from the city centre and cover twelve high frequency corridors to the north, south, east and west of the town. Sadly though,  not all of them are adorned with pictures of  local legends such as Jamie Dornan (of The Fall and Fifty Shades of Grey fame !).

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You could enjoy some of the great architecture. Although it’s fair to say some historic buildings were destroyed or demolished in the 1970s, many remain, none greater than Belfast’s City Hall – the civic building of Belfast City Council.  It first opened its doors on 1st August 1906 and has witnessed many social, political and historical events  since then. You can take tours of the City Hall to view it’s impressive interior and learn more about it’s and the city’s history.  I especially love seeing the City Hall lit up at night.

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Of course, you can just explore the city  by foot, taking in the sights and sounds as you find them. Street buskers are a regular feature of the city too. Perhaps not all of the same quality but the pair below sounded very good as I walked by them the other day. The building you see in the background is Cafe Vaudeville. Once a bank building that dates back to the 1800s, it was converted about a decade ago to Cafe Vaudeville, an opulent, baroque style bar and restaurant. Presently it is closed for renovation, due to reopen later this summer as a Revolucion de Cuba cocktail bar. Since I am quite partial to a mojito and had an amazing holiday in Cuba some years back, I am really looking forward to enjoying a Cuban style evening or two there when it opens !

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Of course, no trip to Belfast would be complete without experiencing it’s nightlife. Belfast is full of great pubs and bars where you can enjoy a pint of Guinness, sip a Cosmopolitan cocktail or sample the increasing range of gins, ciders and craft beers that are distilled and brewed locally here in Northern Ireland. Below is just a small sample of popular places to be found in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter.

The Spaniard

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39 Gordon Street

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The Dirty Onion…based in one of Belfast’s oldest buildings dating back to 1680.

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For more information on sightseeing tours, the City Hall and for more things to do in Belfast, you can check out Visit Belfast, the official visitor website.

Before I go, just a reminder I am still running a little giveaway to win a set of pretty notebooks and a set of inspirational postcards.

All you have to do is answer this question..

I have a dog called Boris. What type of dog is he? (clue – the answer is in this post). To enter, just reply with a comment giving your answer and I will select at random from the correct entries. Winner will be announced on Sunday 18th June.

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ps This isn’t sponsored by WordPress or anyone else. It’s just a little giveway from me 🙂

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3 thoughts on “Postcards from the big smoke

  1. Belfast really has changed so much since I moved away! Pretty much all these places are new to me… Apart from the trusty old City Hall, of course. When I visit, I usually head for the area around Botanic and the university, but I’ll put some of these on the list for next time… Thank you! 😊

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  2. I lived in Belfast in the 1940’s when I was at Queen’s. Worked there for six months between stays in New Zealand in the early 70’s when it was more like Beirut. Last holiday there was in 1990. Great to see the changes even then. Would love to see it again now with its growing sophistication – or would I? Perhaps nostalgia would rule and I would feel a bit alienated. I also would take refuge in the University/Botanic quarter (hopefully unchanged). Belfast is (was???) a great example of the Victorian\Edwardian era. Am fascinated by high-rise office blocks which I enjoy photographing – but they lack “the feel” of the older styles. Hopefully Belfast has kept its high-rises away from its centre? Enjoyed the post. Des.

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