Belfast's Top Ten Sights and Attractions (In No Particular Order!)
What more can a student ask for than to have such a beautiful and serene park within a stone's throw of the main library? Both the Palm House and the Tropical Ravine are a must-see, and a great way to imagine you are somewhere hot, humid, and far away on a dark winter's evening!
St. George's Market
Built between 1890 and 1896 the distinctive St George's Market is undoubtedly one of the best in the UK and Ireland. It hosts a Variety Market on Fridays, a Food and Craft Market on Saturdays and a Sunday Market, complete with live music. It's the perfect place to start or end any weekend in Belfast.
It's what everyone is talking about this year and is a huge addition to the Belfast skyline. Whether you're a titanorak who is eager to visit the musuem itself or the curious tourist simply wanting a profile pic with the museum in the background, take a trip down to the Titanic Quarter and check it out. You'll get a close up view of the H&W cranes, Samson and Goliath, and you can also visit the Titanic Dock and Pump House, which really gives you a sense of the enormity of the ship.
The Ulster Musuem
The Musuem, situated in the Botanic Gardens, reopened recently after extensive renovations. It now offers a truly modern museum experience with a myriad of things to see at every turn. Current and upcoming highlights include the Age of the Dinosaur Exhibition and two talks on Leonardo da Vinci's drawings this June. Best of all, admission to the museum is free!
Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park
Worth a visit during the summer months when the Rose Gardens are in full bloom. They host a event-filled Rose Week in July which attracts thousands of visitors. Entrance to the park is via Upper Malone Road. For The Stables Coffee Shop, use the lower entrance (towards Drumbeg). Take Ulsterbus No. 21 to Drumbeg from the Europa Bus Station in Belfast City Centre (Mondays to Fridays only) or use Metro No. 8 A-C. Free shuttle buses run from City Hall during Rose Week.
Another of Belfast's most iconic buildings, City Hall is the Belfast City Council's civic building, and is located in Donegall Square. There are free public tours Monday to Saturday and a new coffee shop within City Hall itself. There is a new Titanic memorial garden in the grounds of City Hall and a big screen within the grounds which was even used to cover the London Olympics last summer.
The Continental Market
Belfast's markets include local and international traders selling a huge variety of gifts and food.
This jagged mountain juts out over the Belfast skyline on clear days and a trek to the top offers spectacular views of the city and Belfast Lough. You'll cross moorland, heath, and meadows on this challenging circular route that begins at Belfast Castle and will pass the Devil's Punchbowl and McArt's Fort. There are car park facilities at Belfast Castle and you can also take the bus: Metro Services; Belfast Castle and Hazelwood entrance; Metro Services: 1A-1H (Mon-Sat) 1C-1E, 1H (Sun). Further details on the walk are available by clicking on the title link.
The zoo is home to more than 1,000 animals and 150 species that are under threat in their natural environments. Some of the animals you can see include spider monkeys, Moloch gibbons, Asian elephants and giant anteaters. The zoo is located on Cave Hill and offers stunning views from its 55 acre site of parks and gardens. Metro services 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E, 1F, 1G and 2A (for Antrim Road or Bellevue) depart from Donegall Square West in Belfast city centre and pass by the entrance to the zoo.
The Linen Hall Library
The Libary, located on Donegall Square, is the oldest in Belfast and the last subscription library in Ireland. It has an extensive collection pertaining to the local history of Belfast and Northern Ireland, ranging from early printed books to recent histories of the Troubles. It is a beautiful library to visit and read in. There is a Clement's cafe on site which is a great place for a coffee and an escape from the bustling shops in the streets below.
Where do Students Live in Belfast?
Most students choose to live within walking distance of the university. As Belfast is a compact city, this is quite a large area.
Where is the Main Shopping District?
Here is a handy map of Belfast city centre. The City Hall is at the heart of Belfast, and you'll find the major shopping streets radiating off it.
There are good second hand bookshops and vintage clothes shops on Botanic Avenue.
The Lisurn Road has high-end fashion shops.
Where do Queen's Students Hang Out?
Botanic Avenue is a very popular street, filled with cafes, bookshops and bars.
At night, you can always find students in the bars near the halls of residence - The Botanic Inn and the Eglantine Inn (known as 'the Bot' and 'the Egg')
The Cathedral Quarter in the city centre is Belfast's cultural centre. There are galleries, music venues, and lots of pubs with live music.
The Student's Union has a number of bars, shops and cafes.
When the sun shines in Belfast, you can find everyone hanging out in the Botanic Gardens, which are conveniently located beside the McClay library.
I'm New to Belfast. How Will I Make Friends?
The Graduate School runs a Welcome Week at the start of the Autumn semester. This is a series of fun social events for postgraduate students (last year events included Breakfast meet and greets, Speed Mating, Wii competitions, trampolining and film nights).
Your School will also run orientation events and most faculties host postgraduate parties to introduce newbies to staff and students.
The Student's Union runs a Fresher's Week, which will include a Fresher's Fair. You should sign up to a club or society that interests you.
I Have Loads of Questions and I Don't Know Who I can Ask.
For questions related to your course, you should get in contact with your School office.
For any query, you can contact the Graduate School: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Student Guidance Centre provides information about disability services, counselling, and careers.
How can I find a job?
The Student Jobshop is part of Careers, Employability and Skills and its purpose is to help students find fairly paid part-time, temporary work oncampus and offcampus whilst they are studying at Queens University, Belfast and Stranmillis University College, Belfast. Students must register with the Jobshop before they can search for jobs on the database.
The Careers department website also constantly updates its vacancy and work experience list, which can be accessed here
Other Employment possibilities
Many students at Queen's University have part-time jobs in the many bars, cafes and shops around Belfast. It is often beneficial to take a walk and see what businesses are advertising part-time work in their shop window.
There are many jobs websites in Northern Ireland, including:
How do I get to Queen's?
The Queen's website has extensive information on travelling to the university.
What's on in Belfast?
Coffee, Lunch, Dinner, Drinks
Queen's has a wealth of great Cafés on it's doorstep. In addition to Krem, Clements, and Hope on Campus, check out the Black Bear just opposite the Museum; the Museum café has great lunch deals and lovely views of the gardens; Sinnamon on Botanic and Stranmillis have the best coffee in Belfast. Further afield but definately worth the trip is the Dock Café in Titanic Quarter. Ample space and lovely atmosphere for getting some work done...and oh, did we mention tea/coffee and small bites are pay-what-you-can?!
For the occasional weekday treat head to Botanic for the best variety in lunchtime fare. Go Mexican at Boojums, Japanese at Sakura, American at Build a Burger. Bookfinders on University Rd is a hidden gem - you can even bring your own bottle if it's that kind of lunch!
There are a host of decent restaurants in the vicinity of Queen’s. Deanes, and Molly’s Yard are all top quality on the upper end of the scale. Drennan’s on University St. has a lovely atmosphere and is b.y.o. For something a little more exotic check out Archana on Dublin Rd or Sakura on Botanic. The Barking Dog on Malone Rd (just past the Bot) is also great and has some good lunchtime deals during the week.
While the Cathedral Quarter may have the edge on the cool places to be seen in Belfast, there are plenty of options for a post-work drink closer to campus. The Metro Bar on the Crescent is great for quiet drinks or with a group. The Parlour on Eglantine has plenty of space and always has a bit of life to it. Venturing towards town, choices are Lavery’s and one of the newer additions, Filthy Mc Nasty’s (Dublin Road) which has a great beer garden and cocktail room.
Stay in touch with social events happening in the Graduate School or around QUB by following us on Twitter (@QUB_gradschool), and facebook and consulting The Graduate School Weekly Update.