AN EXTENSIVE TRAVEL guide can be more of an undertaking than the trip itself.
Forty-seven different restaurant recommendations, 19 local landmarks, multiple categorisation of hotels: there are so many options it's hard enough to decide what you want, let alone find a consensus. (This is also know as the Netflix phenomenon.)
We've broken Belfast down to the essentials: a hotel, a couple of great restaurants, and an activity for your stay. (Plus a photo gallery for each so you know what you're getting.)
Follow our lead and you can't go wrong.
Stay at The Bullitt Hotel
Talk about pressure. The Bullitt Hotel is named after Steve McQueen’s famously cool police lieutenant from Peter Yates’s famously cool 1968 thriller, and yet somehow the hotel manages to live up to its moniker (by being, well, incredibly cool).
It’s situated bang in the centre of town, and seeing as Belfast isn’t the largest that means you’re basically within walking distance of anywhere you want to go.
Not that you’ll necessarily want to go anywhere: what with inhouse restaurant Taylor & Clay grill, the thriving courtyard (perfect for a relaxing pint or two), and rooftop bar and garden Babel, there’s no reason to leave the Bullitt for the duration of your trip. (Although you should, because otherwise this article will be a waste of time.)
Rooms are sizeable and their beds supremely comfy – Mr McQueen would have been delighted to inspire such an established.
For more info, see Bullitt Hotel
Lunch at Holohan's at the Barge
Situated on the banks of the River Langan, Holohan's at the Barge makes the perfect lunch spot en route to the Titanic Quarter.
The family-owned restaurant is situated on a barge (how did you guess?) and was shortlisted for the UK's Most Romantic Restaurant in 2017.
Appropriately for a coastal city, the lunch menu is strong in fish, although if you turn up on Sunday you can enjoy the roast of the day.
Family matriarch Sheila Holohan lived by the motto: “To invite guests into our restaurant as if it were our own home.”
It’s fair to say Holohan’s succeeds in that aim.
For more info, see Holohan's
Visit the Titanic Belfast
More than a hundred years after its fateful voyage, the Titanic still exerts a powerful hold over the cultural imagination.
Yet while James Cameron wisely choose to concentrate his film on the night of its sinking, the 24 months Titanic spent under construction in the Belfast shipyards is an epic unto itself.
The Titanic Exhibition takes you from the initial conception of “the world’s greatest passenger liner”, through the shipyards where this dream was hammered into a reality, onto the vessel herself, into lives of the 1,517 people who perished on 15 April 1912, and finally under the sea to examine the remains of the supposedly unsinkable ship.
Just don’t return home via ferry.
For more info, see Titanic Belfast
Dinner at The Muddlers Club
Not many restaurants are named after a secret society but then not many restaurants have the style and swagger of The Muddlers Club. (Winning a host of awards probably helps.)
With its exposed brickwork and open kitchen, The Muddlers Club is very much Belfast by way of Brooklyn – this is one of those places where you go for the experience as much as the food (which, needless to say, is superb).
That being the case, we’d recommend you splash out on the five-course tasting menu with paired wines, a showcase of the very best Irish ingredients that varies upon the seasons.
If you only go to one club in Belfast, make sure it’s this one.
For more info, see The Muddlers Club
Big fan of the Emerald Isle? Check out ireland.com