How to spend a day in Belfast

Tuesday, 4 July 2023

View over Belfast City Centre

For those based in Northern Ireland, cruising from Belfast is a brilliant way to open up the world from close to home. You can set sail from the capital city and enjoy some amazing itineraries, from a France cruise down the Seine to cruises to Iceland in search of the Northern Lights.

For those departing from Belfast, why not extend your trip to enjoy a day in the city? You can take in the sights and explore some amazing attractions here. Sound like a good idea? Read on to discover the best way to spend a day in Belfast.

How to spend a day in Belfast

  • Explore Titanic Belfast
  • Visit Crumlin Road Gaol
  • Swing by City Hall
  • Take the Game of Thrones Studio Tour

Titanic Belfast in the morning

Explore Titanic Belfast

One of the must-visit attractions in the city is Titanic Belfast. The world’s leading Titanic visitor experience, this fantastic museum offers a new level of insight into the story of the Titanic, from construction to its fateful final day. Visitors will be able to weave through nine interactive galleries which share stories of the ship, those who sailed on her and those who built her in stunning detail.

Talking about their visit to the museum, Lauren from Justin Plus Lauren shared her thoughts on their favourite gallery in the museum, The Sinking: “This area was very dark and poignant. We are transported back to 11:40 pm on April 14, 1912. The Titanic has struck an iceberg. Hear the Morse code SOS messages that were once transmitted across the ocean.

“There are large video screens displaying all of the mixed messages. It portrayed the confusion about what was happening quite effectively, and it also showcased how the news was communicated by the media.

“This was my favourite gallery in the museum. It’s not because I’m morbid, but rather because I felt this exhibit was very well done. It captured the chilling atmosphere perfectly.”

The Exterior of Crumlin Road Gaol, Belfast

Crumlin Road Gaol

For those who want to learn more about Belfast and Northern Ireland, a visit to Crumlin Road Gaol is essential. This former prison opened its gates to prisoners in 1846 and was a functioning prison for 150 years before finally closing in 1996. Today, you’ll be able to tour “The Crum” and find out more about those who were imprisoned there, from murderers to suffragettes and loyalists to Republican prisoners. Throughout the tour, you’ll learn more about Belfast and Northern Ireland, including the struggles, through the stories and lives of those who lived this history. It’s a fascinating way to learn more about this complex and compelling city.

Connolly Cove shared an insight into what you can see when you take a tour of the Gaol: “The gaol has a deep and dark history that entices people to want to find out more about it. Today it now offers an interesting tour full of facts, history, culture, and plenty of drama. 17 men have been executed over its 150-year history. During the tour, you will see what prison life was like through the ages as well as the dark secrets that lie within. Definitely something different.

“The most interesting thing about visiting this jail is trying to picture the experience of those prisoners who spent most of their lives there. As well as getting permission to inspect the tunnel linking the courthouse on the other side of the Crumlin Road to the hanging cell, Governor’s office, hospital and graveyard.”

Belfast City Hall Exterior

Swing by City Hall

Belfast City Hall is an iconic building with stunning brickwork and green-copper domed roofs. First opening in 1906, visitors can now enjoy free guided tours of the building led by experienced guides who take you behind the scenes into areas not usually accessible to the public. Alternatively, you can download the app to enjoy a self-guided tour. You’ll be able to enjoy stunning stained-glass windows, monuments and memorials in the building and the grounds.

Take the Game of Thrones Studio Tour

Even if you’ve explored Belfast before, there is plenty more to see. Less than an hour south of the capital is the Game of Thrones Studio Tour. Arguably the most popular TV show in the world, here you’ll be able to track the epic from script to screen. Walk through iconic sets, see the props, weapons and costumes used on the show, try out interactive exhibits and more. For fans of the show, there is no better way to spend a day.

Dave and Deb, from the travel blog Planet D, explained what it was about the tour they loved the most: “What we loved most was being told stories of the experience by actual day players and regular background performers. People who fought in the great battles and rubbed elbows with Kit Harrington, Peter Dinklage, and Emilia Clark told us stories of their days on sets, personal experiences, and what the filming of Game of Thrones was actually like. Some of them went to work one day and ended up staying on the series for five years as regular extras.”

READ MORE: How to spend a day in Dundee

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