At a time when we’re all looking for staycation inspiration, it can be easy to overlook cities in favour of heading to the beach. But considering just about everyone else has had the same idea, now is actually a great time to find good value on hotels and eating out, especially in Northern Ireland. When looking for places to go near me, a Belfast staycation was an obvious choice – no need for an epic trek, just two hours in the car from Dublin.
Check out this list of staycation offers and keep reading for itinerary inspiration and things to do on a Belfast staycation.
You can be reassured that businesses are complying with safety guidelines in relation to COVID-19 with the official ‘We’re Good To Go’ mark. This is a sign that tourism and hospitality partners are following Government and industry COVID-19 guidelines, putting in place processes to maintain cleanliness and aid social distancing. You can read more information here.
Where to stay – staycation accommodation
As central as it gets, I stayed at the Bullitt hotel on Church Lane. They’re the no-nonsense sister of the Merchant, with prices to match (rates from under €100 per night) and one of the best views in town from the rooftop bar, Babel.
What to do – staycation activities
See a different side of Belfast with a walk on Cave Hill with Away a Wee Walk.
Starting at Belfast Castle, just ten minutes drive from the city centre, local guide Eimear will show you the way to the ‘Giant’s Nose’ on a 3 mile loop walk.
I’ve visited Belfast plenty of times and yet I had no idea about this little hike and the views out to sea. On a clear day you can even see as far as Scotland and the Lake District.
You can walk in Cave Hill Country Park too, just check the sign at the entrance near Belfast Castle for the route as there aren’t many signposts after that. Some parts of the trail are muddy, so best to wear boots and don’t forget to bring water.
You may have heard of and seen murals in Belfast before, but not like the ones on Seedhead Arts Street Art Walking Tour. Sundays at 12 noon (for just £10), street art festival curator Adam will guide you around the city streets sharing stories of the artists and the background of their work, how each piece came to be and what they mean. Of course you can walk around the Cathedral Quarter by yourself and see the same art, but you won’t learn a thing about how Belfast is constantly changing. This is the best ten pound you’ll spend, I came away with a newfound appreciation for street artists and how their work has changed people’s daily lives. Even as a tourist, you won’t look at the city the same way ever again. Book in advance as this regularly sells out.
For local crafts and foods, you’ll find it all under one roof at this historic traditional market. Skip breakfast at the hotel and try a Belfast Bap and pick up some souvenirs to take home, like this iconic Tayto print
Take a self-guided tour of the Crumlin Road Gaol (I had to ask and it is pronounced as ‘jail’).
Read up on 150 years of history and learn how prisoners lived while getting a closer look into the cells
Some other options of things to do in Belfast
Visit the newly reopened Titanic Belfast
Take a stroll around Queen’s Quarter, including the stunning Queen’s University Belfast and
Belfast’s Botanic Gardens
Pick up some souvenirs at Born & Bred Belfast on Ann St
From food tours to Titanic Belfast and the Maritime Mile, search other experiences here
Where to eat and drink – Belfast Staycation
Coppi – after posting about lunch here, I was flooded with DMs from people saying this is their favourite place to eat in Belfast (tourists and locals!). I’ve been dreaming of this olive crusted haddock puttanesca ever since…
Boneyard Belfast – this brand new outdoor venue is set up like the VIP area of a festival, complete with food truck. They’re now Belfast’s largest outdoor bar and the perfect spot for a sunny beer or pre-dinner drink
Hadskis – Delicious, fresh quality ingredients, interesting menu, nice wines and great service. Highly recommended a meal here, the pork ragu is excellent
Sunflower Public House – Great outdoor space and delicious pizzas
The Observatory Bar at The Grand Central hotel – Gorgeously plush interiors with the best views in Belfast from every side of the tallest bar in all of Ireland. I definitely suggest booking a table before sunset and watching the sky change and the city lights start to twinkle. Order a charcuterie board and a couple of glasses of wine or espresso martini and enjoy the relaxed vibe and jazzy music. A must do in Belfast!
Babel at The Bullitt – The rooftop terrace is the perfect spot to rest your weary legs after shopping in nearby Victoria’s Square
Stock Kitchen at St. George’s Market – If the street food stalls don’t tickle your fancy, head upstairs to Stock for a delicious brunch and mimosas from the best spot for people watching
Throughout August, you can #EatOutToHelpOut with 50% off your meal in participating restaurants from Monday – Wednesday. You can search using this Belfast city postcode BT1 5GS at this link and save money on your Belfast staycation.
Some opening hours have changed and space is limited due to social distancing so always book ahead and check restrictions in advance.
Looking for more Northern Ireland staycation inspiration? Read my guide on how to spend three days in County Down.
This post was sponsored by Discover Northern Ireland. All views are, as always, my own.