The call of nature can be a loud and sudden one, and when it happens in the city centre there’s the added pressure of needing to have the correct change to use a public toilet.
While Belfast city council provide one or two public toilets in the centre of the city, they’ll cost you 20p a go, and for most people, even if they’re on the verge of bursting they won’t pay to pee.
For those of you in need of a piddle in the middle of Belfast (and unwilling to splash the cash) we’ve put together some handy toilet hacks…
Go for a McPee or drop a Whopper
Both McDonald’s and Burger King are handily located in Donegall Place and better still their toilets are upstairs at the back. So if you’re quick enough and brazen enough you can get away with not having to buy anything while you’re in to justify your visit.
Plop while you shop
Belfast city centre’s two biggest malls – Victoria Square and Castlecourt – both have a number of public toilets that are free of charge, offering the quickest most guilt-free way to find relief.
Make a pit stop at a bus stop
All major public transport hubs have toilet facilities which generally are the most used toilets in Belfast on any given day. If you’re plumping for somewhere like Europa bus station just be prepared for a queue and the possibility the person before you mightn’t have left the toilet in the same way as they would their own.
Dash for a department store
You’ll find customer toilets in select department stores in Belfast including Marks & Spencers, Debenhams and Dunne’s Stores, but beware, they’re usually right up on the top floor, so plan your dash wisely.
Have a cultured wee
Despite sitting proudly in the centre of Belfast, many people don’t realise City Hall is free to walk through. It’s also got a free public toilet on the ground floor beside The Bobbin cafe. So if you like to mix the call of nature with the thirst for culture, the City Hall is the spot for you.
Make a splash in a pub
You’ll not find very many pubs that are happy to allow you to use their toilet facilities without buying a drink, but we’ve discovered a few that you’ll be able to sneak in and out of unnoticed. They’ll not thank us for saying this, but in The Garrick the upstairs toilets can be accessed by a side door without even having to enter the front bar or the back lounge. Similarly if you’re up Botanic way, The Empire’s toilets are on the left and right before you enter the main bar, so there’s little chance anyone will notice if you play it cool.
What we would say is, as fans of both The Garrick and The Empire, you might as well use your toilet stop as an excuse for a pint while you’re in. Just make sure and go for a pee before you leave again otherwise you’re back where you started.