Belfast is a great option for a short UK city break, especially if you’re flying over from Britain – it can feel like a great change of scenery.
With flights from most major UK airports into Belfast International Airport, 2 days in Belfast is a great amount of time to explore the best of the Northern Ireland capital and plan an epic weekend in Belfast staycation, romantic getaway or weekend away with your mates.
If you’re in the area longer, perhaps on a Causeway Coast road trip, make sure to spend some time in Belfast too.
Here are the best things to do in Belfast on your Belfast weekend trip.
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Where to stay in Belfast
Whether you’re looking for a budget UK weekend break or a weekend in Belfast to treat yourself, there’s plenty of great options to choose from.
Treat yourself at The Merchant Hotel
Belfast’s only 5-star hotel, the Merchant Hotel boasts an award-winning restaurant and cocktail bar, a rooftop spa and jacuzzi with city views, rooms decorated in Art Deco or Victorian style, the city’s only jazz bar and it’s located in the Cathedral Quarter in an old bank building, so everything feels incredibly glamorous!
Boutique hotel for a great price at the Titanic Hotel Belfast
The Titanic Hotel Belfast is of course located on the docks right by the Titanic Belfast attraction. Rooms are chic, stylish and with an art deco twist, bathrooms are modern and the interior of the hotel’s on-site bar is stunning.
Budget Friendly at Ten Square Hotel
Ten Square Hotel shows you that you don’t need to compromise on location or style to stick to your budget. Located in the city centre and with chic rooms, many of which offer great views, you can find an amazing deal when you stay here.
Make your stay one to remember on the Barge at Titanic
Fancy a unique stay in Belfast? It doesn’t get much cooler than the Barge at Titanic where you can stay on a charming converted barge in the docks.
Looking for more unique places to stay? Check out this guide to unique places to stay in Northern Ireland.
When is the best time of year to visit Belfast?
As with all UK locations, the weather can be unpredictable even in the peak of summer.
If good weather is more important to you then the summer is the best time to visit.
However if you’d prefer to avoid the crowds and don’t mind some more uncertainty with the weather then the shoulder seasons are a great time to visit and spend 2 days in Belfast – April and May or September to October.
If you’re also planning to visit Belfast as part of a longer Northern Ireland road trip, then the shoulder seasons are also a great idea, although sometimes the moody autumn or winter weather can create some really beautiful and dramatic scenery along the coast if that’s what you’re into!
Belfast in 2 days
If you only have one weekend in Belfast, what to do, what to see and where to eat or drink are probably top of your priority list. Here are our best picks with a mix of the popular attractions and lesser known spots, for the perfect 2 day trip to Belfast.
Weekend in Belfast: Day 1
Breakfast at Bob & Berts
Don’t start your 2 days in Belfast without a great breakfast!
Bob & Berts is a great cafe with a huge range of items on the menu and they serve all-day breakfasts. Bob & Berts has locations all over Northern Ireland (and a few in Northern England and Scotland) but was originally founded in Northern Ireland so it’s a Northern Irish institution you need to try!
Their Eggs Benedict and pancake stacks are amazing!
They have two locations in Belfast but the most central one is on Fountain Street.
Explore the Cathedral Quarter
The charming and characterful Cathedral Quarter is a must-visit while you’re in Belfast, even just for a wander around the cobbled streets in the oldest part of the city.
The Cathedral Quarter has also become known over recent years as the cultural heart of the city. You’ll find plenty of art galleries and shows, theatre and performance events and it’s often the hub for festivals and open-air events during the summer.
In the area you’ll also find plenty of bars and nightlife if you fancy returning for a drink or two later in the evening.
Take a dramatic walk along the Gobbins Cliff Path
For your main event of the day, take a short 35 minute ride out of the city to the coast and the Gobbins Cliff Path. You can drive and park for free at the visitor’s centre or take the bus routes shown here.
The Gobbins is an epic cliffside path walk which is accessible via guided tour only, so you’ll need to book in advance here.
The walk is 3 miles long and follows dramatic cliff faces, bridges attached to the sheer rocks, coastal caves and the dramatic shoreline along this section of the Causeway Coast.
It is advised that you wear good walking footwear and some level of fitness is required as it’s the equivalent of climbing 50 flights of stairs during the 3 hour cliff walk route!
It might sound physically challenging but this is a really epic way to experience part of the Causeway Coast’s beauty and power if you only have a short time in Belfast.
Treat yourself to dinner at the decadent Merchant Hotel
Whether you’re staying at The Merchant Hotel in the Cathedral Quarter or not, anyone is able to dine at their Great Room restaurant.
The restaurant is award-winning with two AA rosettes and has a 200 bottle wine list!
The food is incredible and the chefs really care about how you enjoy the food.
The interior is also stunning, the original Victorian interior and huge chandelier really makes you feel like you’ve stepped into a luxurious 1920s hotel with modern fittings!
The adjoining cocktail bar is also a great atmosphere if you want a drink after dinner.
Enjoy the only Jazz Club in the city or head out into the Cathedral Quarter
Depending on whether The Great Room at the Merchant is your vibe, you might want to head to their neighbouring Bert’s Jazz Club – the only jazz club in Belfast – for some live music and drinks to spend the rest of your evening.
If you’re looking for a more lively evening out, head to the nearby Duke of York pub in the Cathedral Quarter, just two minutes walk from The Merchant.
The Duke of York is located in the charming cobbled Commercial Court with vibrant street lighting and inside is even more vibrant!
This traditional Irish pub is packed with Irish memorabilia, music and locals and tourists alike enjoying the lively atmosphere – it’s really a must-visit for your weekend in Belfast.
Weekend in Belfast: Day 2
Explore George Street Market
Known for being the last surviving Victorian covered market in Belfast, it’s also one of the oldest markets in Europe.
A visit to George Street Market is a great way to start your day exploring the local stalls and small businesses on display.
Grab a coffee and pastry to go from one of the cafes and wander around the stalls.
Just a quick note that the market is only open on weekends – Friday-Sunday.
Visit the Titanic Belfast
Of course no Belfast itinerary would be complete without a visit to Titanic Belfast.
Belfast slipway at the Harland and Wolff shipyard is where the Titanic was designed and built over a period of 3 years before being completed in 1911 and setting sail in 1912.
The Titanic Belfast attraction is a building that stands out on the city skyline and you can spend a few hours learning about the Titanic, the innovation in her design and build, the White Star Line who owned her and the story that led to her fateful sinking.
Tickets can be purchased here and also include entry to the SS Nomadic in the same dock.
Tickers are a little pricey so if you don’t fancy a visit, it’s worth noting that you can walk around the dock behind the Titanic Belfast building and around the outside of the SS Nomadic. The whole area has information boards and details about the ships that you can read for free without paying for a ticket.
Escape the city to visit Belfast Castle
A real hidden gem in Belfast is Belfast Castle, perched on the hillside of Cavehill Country Park and dating back to 1870.
While the castle itself is an events venue, parking at the castle and entry to the castle gardens and grounds is free.
Spend an hour or two strolling around the castle gardens and the surrounding parkland with beautiful views of Belfast and Belfast Lough.
Enjoy a pint at a traditional Irish pub
If you didn’t head over to the Duke of York pub in the Cathedral Quarter the night before, make sure you do today – even just for one quick pint of Guinness!
Experiencing the Irish pub atmosphere is really like no other pub experience you’ll find elsewhere!
If you’ve already visited the Duke of York and you’re looking for somewhere else with a similar vibe, try Harp Bar, Kelly’s Cellar or Fibber Magee.
Take your pick for dinner from street food vendors at Common Market
Enjoy a more casual evening for dinner with the wide selection of street vendors at the Common Market food court.
With everything from Mexican street food to Canadian poutine and a gelato stand, the long beer-hall style tables make this a really fun atmosphere for dinner.
There’s also craft beers and cocktails on offer and you’re still right by the Cathedral Quarter – an ideal location whether you want to head back to your hotel or continue your night at one of the local bars.
Spending 3 days in Belfast or more?
Here’s some extra ideas if you’re planning to spend longer than 2 days in Belfast.
Take a Causeway Coast day trip from Belfast
Visiting Belfast is a great opportunity to see the famous Giant’s Causeway and the stunning Causeway Coast.
This Giant’s Causeway day trip from Belfast is a great option if you don’t have your own vehicle. It also includes Cushendun Caves, Carnlough Harbour, The Dark Hedges, and Carrickfergus and Dunluce castle.
Visit Belfast’s most infamous prison
If history (and slightly disturbing history!) is more up your street, a visit to the Crumlin Road Gaol in Belfast is a must-do.
This infamous Gaol is the only remaining Victorian prison in Northern Ireland and here you’ll see the jails cells, execution chamber and graveyard and learn about the stories that occurred inside the walls of this prison during its 150-year history.
Visit the world’s oldest licensed Whiskey Distillery
If you’re a whiskey fan, you’re going to want to check out the Bushmills Whiskey Distillery which is 400 years old – making it the oldest licensed whiskey distillery in the world!
Located around 1 hour from Belfast, you would need to have your own vehicle or a private guided tour to reach the distillery.
Tours start from £10 and can be booked here.
Visit a Belfast brewery and taproom
If you’re more of a beer fan, you might be on the lookout for a brewery or two.
Due to production and licensing laws, it is currently illegal for breweries to sell alcohol products directly to the public in Northern Ireland, so there are lots of breweries in Northern Ireland, but they are not licensed to sell to patrons on premise.
Bullhouse Brew Co. is able to get a pub licence for the last weekend of each month though, so if you time your visit right, you can visit their awesome taproom just 10 minutes drive from the centre of Belfast.
Summary: Belfast in 2 days
Whether you’re spending one day in Belfast or a long weekend in Belfast, hopefully this Belfast weekend trip itinerary has given you plenty of inspiration for some of the more popular, but also lesser-known activities and things to do in Belfast.
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