A staycation in Belfast makes perfect sense. You will save hundreds from plane tickets and hotel prices alone. Money you can reinvest into rediscovering this exciting city and enjoying yourself hassle-free.
Let’s face it – booking a holiday can be stressful in itself. Haven’t you ever heard of the expression ‘I need a holiday after this vacation?’
Between trawling online for hours looking for the best deals, to spending months paying off the bill on top of rent and phone-costs – it really is taxing. And that’s before you anxiously wonder how you’ll magically summon up some spending money for when you actually get there…
This means living off own-brand baked beans on toast and whatever ingenious inventions you can concoct from the back of your freezer – all the while pondering curiously if it is, indeed, okay to eat one year old chicken?
Then… there’s the diet. Suddenly, you’ve to peel off those skinny jeans and pour yourself into the most unforgiving of outfits – beachwear. Gripped by sudden fear you are forced to firmly swear off beer, wine, bread, pasta… and pretty much anything else you might possibly enjoy. God forbid.
In comparison, a time off to relax and explore with friends in family in Belfast doesn’t sound so bad does it?
With Belfast confirmed as the most affordable city for university students this clearly confirms you can have an amazing time without having to jump on a boat or plane, all for ridiculously reasonable prices. (The Merchant’s water menu aside).
If, like me, you have never even been to the Titanic Museum this is supposedly a fantastic day out. Having been informed knowledgeably by my future sister-in-law from Newcastle, England, that this is by far the best thing she has ever been to in the years she has been visiting Belfast, I was forced to admit rather embarrassingly that I have never even been. Despite vowing to go, I still haven’t. My sorry excuse – I haven’t had a day to myself. I need a ‘staycation’ in my own city to explore.
Or why not jump on a Belfast Bike and take in the beauty of the River Lagan, or take a walk up Cave Hill to Napoleon’s Nose where you can see the whole of Belfast on a clear, sunny day? Make sure to visit Belfast Castle and dream of times gone by as you admire the gorgeous view from the luscious courtyard and rolling green hills.
A tour of the basement of the castle is eerily fascinating – but if you’re really seeking a thrill you must visit Crumlin Road Gaol for a spooky tour.
Make sure to visit our amazing parks – don’t you remember the fun you used to have as a kid at Lady Dixon? Botanic Park also offers an idyllic walk with a refreshing coffee from all the nearby amenities only a stones throw away.
Or if you’re after excellent entertainment take in a play at Lyric Theatre; a movie at Queen’s Film Theatre; or a spectacular show at the Grand Opera House. All of which are in close proximity to a hub of eclectic restaurants and bars to allow you to make a night of it.
The Cathedral Quarter, with its array of clubs, pubs and restaurants will guarantee an excellent night out you’d struggle to beat elsewhere. The Dirty Onion, The Spaniard and The Cloth’s Ear are always packed with people but have a great atmosphere and pour a good drink. Coppi has also earned the reputation of one of best places to eat in Belfast. But Made in Belfast, with its delicious food combinations and slushy cocktails make this my top tip for the best meal out in Belfast.
Or why not go on a road-trip – outside of Belfast but a drivable distance is the magical Giant’s Causeway. Or stay closer to home with a trip to the political power-house of Stormont, or why not stop for a second and just admire the grand architecture of Queen’s University so many of us take for granted.
The Belfast Zoo is a fantastic day out for all ages, where three of the cutest gentoo penguin chicks are delighting visitors. Another highlight are the rescued elephants and the passionate, informative keepers who look after them, as well as the adorable new-born baby monkeys, who love swinging around their enclosures on their tails, putting on a show and the infant gorillas.
For something a bit different, why not make like Vince Vaughn and embark upon the popular Murals tour?
Or for the legions of fans of the popular HBO series – you can take your choice of the many Game of Thrones Tours on offer which tour the authentic filming locations.
Visit St George’s Market for all your fresh food every weekend and make sure to visit the lesser known Saturday City Food, Craft and Garden Market. Folktown Market is another great market every Thursday.
And if you get through all that on your staycation you’ll be doing well.