Good morning. This week we’re off to the capital of Northern Ireland.…Belfast!
The largest city in Northern Ireland, this city has a historic and lively city centre, full of bars, restaurants, museums, street murals and parks. There’s plenty to see and do in Belfast, from visiting the magnificent St Anne’s Cathedral, to walking around the beautiful campus of Queen’s University Belfast, or hiking to the top of Cave Hill for spectacular views across the city.
Need to know…
🚆 Travel time: Belfast has two airports (Belfast International and Belfast City), can be easily accessed by sea with crossings from both Scotland and England. It also has good rail and road links from Dublin, getting you into Belfast in around 2 hours.
🌡️ Weather: Today, rainy with a high of 15°c
😋 Must try dishes: There’s lots of great local dishes to try while in Belfast so we’ve highlighted our two favourites. First up, the Belfast bap - a bread roll filled with sausages, bacon and egg (perfect for breakfast). Visit St George’s market to get your hands on one. Secondly, you’ve got to try Fifteens - a Northern Irish traybake made with digestive biscuits, glace cherries, marshmallows, condensed milk and desiccated coconut.
🚲 Getting around: Belfast is a compact city so is easy to navigate on foot or by bike. There’s also train and bus options for those looking to explore further afield.
💬 Key phrases & slang:
Bout ye? (How are you?)
What's the craic? (What’s going on?)
What to do?
GoT fans…find your own Direwolf pup
Alright, thrill-seekers, we’re going to start this week at We Are Vertigo 🥷Picture this: indoor skydiving, ninja obstacle courses, and a massive inflatable park. It's basically an adult's dream playground. I couldn't stop laughing as I bounced around like a maniac.
Next up, the quirkiest tour in town, Wee Toast Tours 🍻 You pedal a big bike while sipping on your favourite drinks and singing along to tunes. Cruising through Belfast's streets with a bunch of newfound friends is an absolute blast. Trust me, you'll want to do this with your mates!
Now, for the ultimate fantasy trip - the Game of Thrones tour! 🐉 As a die-hard fan, stepping onto the actual sets where they filmed this epic saga was mind-blowing. From Winterfell to Wolfswood, you're right in the heart of Westeros (unfortunately I didn’t find any direwolf pups). Channel your inner Jon Snow and brace for an adventure!
For those who love a good hike and stunning views, the Divis and Black Mountain Walk is where you want to be. 🏞️ I was on cloud nine soaking in the panoramic views of Belfast. I highly recommend it if you want to get out in nature (and the weather’s decent).
Fantasy lovers, we're not done yet! 🚪C.S. Lewis Square is straight-up magical. You walk through these incredible sculptures that transport you to Narnia. As a bookworm, it was like stepping into the pages of my favourite childhood tale.
Need some green therapy? The Botanic Gardens is the answer. 🌸 The Victorian glasshouses and lush gardens are a total zen zone. I sat under a tree, lost in a good book, and time just melted away. Pure tranquillity!
Now, let's dive into Belfast's history with a Political Taxi Tour 🚕 Our guide was a local with stories that sent shivers down my spine. We toured murals, peace walls, and heard tales that shed light on the city's complex past. It was both eye-opening and humbling.
To finish off, head to the top of Victoria Square Dome 🏙️ Take the elevator, and BAM! You're gazing at the city from a glass dome. It's surreal, like being in a movie. I’ve always enjoyed heading to high spots in a city as it’s a great way to absorb a city and provides a completely different perspective.
Where to stay?
Seek Narnia in the C.S. Lewis Suite
First up, we've got the iconic 5 star Merchant Hotel. 🏛️ Picture this: Victorian opulence meets modern-day luxury. You step into this historical beauty, and it's like being transported to a different era. The rooms? Absolute perfection. Plush, comfy beds that you just melt into after a day of Belfast adventures. And oh, let's talk about the cocktail bar. It's a whole experience, like the drinks have a tale to tell and the room is beautiful with amazing chandeliers. You're sipping history in the cosiest setting.
Next on the list is The Harrison. 🍀 This place is all about the snug life. Think stylish rooms that make you want to curl up with a good book and a cuppa. The décor? It's like a design magazine cover come to life. I love that the rooms are all themed based on different creative legends linked to Belfast, and all rooms feature an amazing rainforest shower. You're right in the heart of Belfast, so everything vibrant and cool is right outside your door. After a day of city trotting, the bar is your cosy escape. It's the perfect spot to unwind and share travel tales.
And then, we've got The Flint. 🌟 Ah, the epitome of modern elegance. The rooms are a minimalist's dream come true. Simple, sleek, and oh-so-stylish. It's like they've taken sophistication and given it a contemporary twist. Plus, being in the heart of the action is a major plus. You're steps away from Belfast's buzz. This hotel is definitely one of the best located in the city.
If you’re after more choices, then check out our Belfast Collection. We’ve handpicked a range of stylish hotels for your next trip.
The capital of Catalonia - Barcelona
Next week, get ready to jet-set to the vibrant city of Barcelona, Spain! Known for its stunning architecture, bustling markets, and sandy beaches, Barcelona is a traveller's dream. Marvel at the breath-taking works of Antoni Gaudi, from the iconic Sagrada Familia to the colourful Park Güell. Barcelona is a tapestry of history, culture, and Mediterranean allure that's ready to be explored. ¡Vamonos! (Let's go!)
We really want to leverage the incredible travel knowledge from the thousands of subscribers that make up our Porter community. Therefore, if you’ve ever visited Barcelona, let us know the things you loved doing, or the places you stayed at. If we love your recommendations we’ll feature them in next week’s newsletter.