Belfast Travel Guide
Although most people associate Belfast with war and strife, the city is one of the UK’s hidden treasures. Though there are reminders of The Troubles throughout the city, there are also charming cafes and gorgeous local landmarks that you can enjoy in a way less crowded atmosphere than London or Dublin. The compact nature of the city also means that you can fit a lot into one day. If you only have 12 hours to spend in Belfast, here are a couple of places you can’t miss:
Common Grounds Café
In a place like Belfast, the name Common Grounds is no coincidence. The peace-centered café is also a nonprofit that gives away money to organizations that fight poverty around the world. You can get coffee, tea, or a can’t-miss cinnamon scone, then follow the café on Facebook to find out where the cost of your breakfast went.
Justin Timberlake kicked off his European tour this week with a show at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast. The rest of the tour will take him through the UK, and out into Germany, France, Switzerland and beyond. We're willing to bet that at least a few American superfans made the trip over to catch the opening night.
If you'd rather be in Belfast specifically when Justin is not there, well, now's your time. Continental flies non-stop from Newark. Easy connections from London are also an option. We love Benedict's hotel, where the rooms start at $130 a night and the WiFi is just how we like it: free.
· Just Amazing! [Belfast Telegraph]
Christmas / Christmas Travel / Food / Belfast / Markets / → All Tags
Christmas is just around the corner, and that means the season for Christmas festivals and Christmas markets has begun. In Belfast, it's time to get ready for the Christmas Continental Market, which takes place on the grounds of City Hall from November 22-December 19.
The market has a cousin, the Spring Continental Market, at which we encountered the above vendor last May, flipping all sorts of weird burgers under the banner "Meats of the World." We were told they'd be back for Christmas...but things like that can change. The Continental Markets draw meat purveyors from all over Europe, and in addition to Meats of the World burgers, you're likely to find things like moosemeat from Sweden being sold this season. The ever-popular Dutch waffle stand is confirmed to reappear.
The Market is divided into "villages," such as German, Irish and European, which have their own related food stands, crafts, and gifts. It's open pretty late for such an event--until 8 pm, Monday through Thursday, and 10 pm on Fridays and Saturdays.
Belfast / Northern Ireland / Live Music / Metal / → All Tags
Better known for its connections to punk and Van Morrison than any metal scene, Belfast is nonetheless a great place to roll up your sleeves and throw a set or two of devil horns.
There's hardly a more rock 'n' roll street in Belfast than Ormeau Avenue, home to the Limelight family of clubs. Lined up right next to each other are the Limelight's namesake, Katy Daly's and Spring & Airbrake, with Auntie Annie's just a few steps away on Dublin Road. The Distortion Project, a show promotion and DJ collective, is the nabe's metal master.
You can catch them in action every Saturday at tiny Katy Daly's, where the doors open and the drinks and tunes start flowing at 3:30 p.m. Cover for their Katy Daly's gigs rarely exceeds £4, though the Project's larger shows at neighboring venues often carry heftier price tags. These kids bring in the best of the best, with creative bookings like Firebird (the current project of ex-Napalm Death/Carcass guitarist Bill Steer) under their belts. We attended a DP-helmed Firebird gig back in May, and won't soon forget the amazing vibe inside the very packed Katy Daly's. For those passing through Belfast soon, look out for the Distortion Project's September 30 show at the Limelight, featuring Orange Goblin.