Accommodation in Belfast
Accommodation in Belfast is rather pricey. University’s Student Accommodation provides rooms for a rate of 30 Pounds per single room. These are limited and we would advise you to get in touch with the organisers as quickly as possible, as this will need to be arranged ASAP.
We advise colloquium participants to look up booking.com and airbnb.com for accommodation in their preferred price range!
Some hotels on the ‘cheaper’ end around Queen’s are:
ETAP Hotel on 35-39 Dublin Road, prices for a single room per night start at 49 Pounds (https://all.accor.com/hotel/7186/index.en.shtml)
Tara Lodge at 36 Cromwell Road, starting at 90 Pounds (https://www.taralodge.com/)
Jurys Inn/Leonardo Hotel in the City Centre, starting at 135 Pounds for a single person (https://jurys-inn-belfast.at-hotels.com/en/)
Benedicts Hotel at 7-21 Bradbury Place, prices from 145 Pounds per night(https://www.benedictshotel.co.uk/)
Ibis Style Hotel at 100 Castle Street, prices pers night start at 168 Pounds (https://all.accor.com/hotel/7232/index.en.shtml?dateIn=2023-06-01&nights=1&compositions=1&stayplus=false&snu=false#origin=ibis)
Lagan Backpackers, 121 Fitzroy Avenue, bed in a mixed dorm room starting at 17 Pounds per night (https://laganbackpackers.inn.fan/#rooms)
Vagabonds Hostel at 9 University Road, starting at 27 Pounds per night in a dorm (http://www.vagabondsbelfast.com/)
Botanical Backpackers at 63 Fitzwilliam Street, starting from 26 pounds per night in a dorm (https://botanicalbackpackers.co.uk/)
It is generally better to book as early as possible to avoid the most expensive places around Belfast!
Going out in Belfast & N Ireland
PUBS & BARS
Going out, also, is not the same as in most other countries. Here it starts early and finishes early! So you can go for some food and stay the rest of the evening drinking beers and enjoying some live music, because most pubs close at 1 am. Clubs will probably be open longer.
Around Queens quarter:
If you want to enjoy a beer, have some food, play pool (just 1 pound for 1 game) or dance, Lavery’s is a very big club/bar in which tourists and local people meet to have party. They have different rooms, with a different atmosphere (pub/sportsbar/club) Admission 5/6 £ on a Friday or Saturday Night. Check out their fb page for their events (Lavery’s Belfast). Location: at the very beginning of University Road, not far from Botanic Ave and Lisburn Road. (12-18 Bradbury Pl)
The Student Union offers different options. Usually for the night life there are some events at the ground floor (admission around 3/5£) or you can join the bar upstairs (free admission) where you can play pool for free (remember to bring an ID with you!) and you can have 3 beers for 5£!! Location: in front of the Lanyon Building (75-79 University Road).
The Botanic Inn is a very big pub, with different floors and rooms. Perfect if you want to have a beer and meet a lot of local people. Often rugby matches are shown on big screens. Usually free admission, but for the events check out the Fb page (The Botanic Inn). On Thursday night, upstairs, you can join free salsa or bachata lessons, but the admission is 6£. Location: in Malone Road, three minutes from Queen’s Lanyon Building.
For some live music you can go to the Five points, my favourite for some Irish music 7 days a week and a good atmosphere. Location: 44 Dublin Rd. XXX Social (located opposite Points) has great cocktails at an average price of £10-£12. It has a great atmosphere, but if you want live Irish music and a traditional pint, Points is definitely the place to be.
Right across the Five Points there is Filthy McNastys, which has an interesting looking bar, but a lovely and colourful patio outside “The secret garden” which is very nice to get an afternoon drink in the sun (whenever that may happen) or in the evening the atmosphere is cosy with all the little lights on. Location: 45 Dublin Rd.
The Jeggy Nettle is situated in Stranmillis, a five-minute walk from QUB. Bit more on the expensive side (around £6 for a pint), but nice atmosphere and close to campus.
In Queen’s Quarter you can also try The bar with no name with sometimes live music, The Empire with quiz nights, and Speakeasy which often has special offers if you want to buy more than one drink, there are also quiz nights.
For cheap cocktails you can either go to Madissons (59-63 Botanic Ave) or Benedicts (7-21 Bradbury Pl) both bars in fancy hotels, which offer happy hours until 10 o’clock, with cocktails for only £3.
Check out Trademarket at 14-16 Dublin Road! It’s a nice place to sit outdoors, often very crowded with a good variety of different food stalls and drinks.
For the cheapest drinks and foods, stop at the Wetherspoons at 35-43 Bedford Street.
If you're not a huge drinker and just want somewhere to sit, enjoy a delicious coffee or do some work on your laptop, check out The Thinking Cup Café - it's a beautiful bookshop cafe with great drinks/sweet snacks and a bright space to work at.
In the city centre:
If you want to enjoy a beer (or more) a very typical and historical place that you cannot miss, is the Crown Liquor Saloon or Crown Bar, Belfast’s most famous pub. Even if not for a beer, you should visit it because it is one of the most authentic Victorian bars. Location: near Europa Bus station and the Grand Opera House (46 Great Victoria St).
Cathedral Quarter is probably the best neighbourhood to go to for some beers, there is plenty of choice all really near each other, definitely visit Commercial street which is a cute little street. Keep your eyes open for a small patio which has some nice street art. Around there you will find The Duke of York, The John Hewit Bar, and The Dirty Union which all have live music. The Dirty Union also has a nice beer garden (again for when it is good weather) and upstairs they serve a lot of chicken (you can either choose ¼, half or a whole chicken). Other pubs with live music are Woodcutters, Maddens, Kelly’s Cellar (the last one has a nice terrace outside).
Other clubs and bars include Ulster Sports Club and the National, both of which are situated beside each other in the Cathedral Quarter. These are more clubs than bars, particularly later in the evening,
Kelly’s Cellar is a traditional Irish bar and the oldest traditional bar in Belfast, located in Bank Street; Sunflower also is a fantastic small pub with traditional live Irish music played regularly - it’s located Union Street, with The Reporter bar just beside it.
Chinawhite is a fancy club in the city centre. Generally the admission is free on Fridays, not always on Saturday. Check out their events on the Fb page (Chinawhite). Cocktails are quite expensive and not very good. Good music and nice people inside. Location: 5 minutes walking from Europa Bus Centre and the Crown Bar (43 Franklin St)
Rita’s is a fancy bar, the atmosphere is friendly and the people are nice. Not very expensive and next door to Chinawhite and other clubs. Fb page Rita’s Belfast. Free admission; cocktails and beers not too expensive. (Location: 44 Franklin St)
The Rock in West Belfast, which every Sunday has the Rebel Music Night (VERY republican).
Food in Northern Ireland consists most of the time of something fried and with a minimum of vegetables. There are a lot of take-out places, Mexican (Boojum), Indian, Italian, burgers where you can have a meal for around £5-10. Botanic Avenue is great for really cheap and delicious food, check out Umi Falafel if you're into fresh, veggie-based food, or Madame Pho for authentic Vietnamese pho; Maggie Mays and French Village also have great food options. Ryans Bar has a nice deal £10 for two courses. Laverys offer a lunch deal (burger, fries/salad, drink) for around £10
Proper dining prices rise pretty fast and will be between £15 - 20 a main course. Little Italy is a nice Italian near Queens, Harlem is a fancy restaurant with a European kitchen, just like the Barking Dog and Holohans. For Indian/Nepalese food you can go to Kathmandu or Archana or for some traditional Irish food go to McHugh’s (make a reservation because it is often packed). If you're looking for a more authentic Italian place, Vila Italia opposite the Lanyon Building is a great choice.
At The Queen’s Film Theatre students ticket are £4.60/adults 8.40 and there are very interesting movies (https://queensfilmtheatre.com/) Location: next to the Lanyon Building.
CULTURE and EVENT CENTRES
The MAC is located in the Cathedral quarter and (according to their website) “the MAC (Metropolitan Arts Centre) is one of Belfast's most exciting art venues. They are selecting, creating and mixing up music, theatre, dance and art - bringing you the very best of local and international talent under one roof.” http://visitbelfast.com/things-to-do/member/mac-1
Black box “is home for live music, theatre, literature, comedy, film, visual art, science, circus, cabaret and all points in between”. So everything, check their website to see what is on: http://www.blackboxbelfast.com/contact/ at Cathedral quarter.
The Empire is a music hall with affordable local acts and artists. The place also has a nice bar and place where you can eat pizza. Check: http://www.thebelfastempire.com/ to see what is on.
SSE Arena is located in the Titanic quarter and is the biggest indoor arena with a capacity of 10,000+ concerts and sport events. http://www.ssearenabelfast.com/whats-on/
Banana Block is located in the East of Belfast and runs different events and workshops, ranging from Family Yoga to Silent Discos. https://bananablock.org/
TO SEE IN BELFAST
St George’s Market is the covered market of Belfast. It’s a good place for a walk around, a coffee or also good for getting food especially veg and fish (it’s kind of cheap) or going for a brunch on Saturday. Besides, they have some nice crafts if you are looking for some souvenirs. It is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays only.
Culturlann, the Gaelic cultural centre on Falls Road.
Check out the murals in West and East Belfast and nice street art in the Cathedral Quarter walking around or with the Black cab tour, if you call +44 (0)28 9558 2072 or visit their website at https://cabtoursbelfast.com/, you can make a reservation and they can pick you up wherever you are staying.
The Ulster Museum is a massive museum which has exhibitions on history, nature and art (interesting for a small introduction into the Troubles for example). It is free and very close to Queens University.
Free tours in the City Hall, which will take just 30/40 minutes and will run three times per day (http://www.belfastcity.gov.uk/tourism-venues/cityhall/toursofcityhall.aspx )
Free Walking Tours in the city centre, which give you a good introduction on the history and culture of the city and shows you around most places of interest. There are two different organisations that offer the tour and start in front of City Hall, just join the one with the smallest group. https://free-belfast-tours.com/tours/free-original-belfast-walking-tour/ & https://www.belfastfreewalkingtour.com/free-tour, the last one also organizes Political walking tours through west Belfast. Part of the tour will be given by an ex-political prisoner from the Republican side and part of it by the ex-political prisoner from the Unionist side.
Linenhall Library is in front of the City Hall, a fancy and ancient library to visit but also good if you want a place to work, read or study. Do not miss their Café upstairs for a stop!
Belfast Castle is a small but beautiful castle outside the city centre. You can reach it by bus, Metro Service number 1 (3,70 £ daily ticket). You can ask the driver at the bus stop where to get off. The admission to the Castle is free, but it’s not always possible, it depends if some events are going on inside. After having visited the Castle you can ask at the reception for some information to get to Cave Hill. They will suggest the best path to reach the caves and the top of the hill. Prepare yourself with adequate trainers: the paths are often muddy because of the rain. The landscape is amazing as well as the view of Belfast. It is definitely worth walking up there! Location: outside the city centre, towards the North. Approximately 30 minutes from the City Hall by bus.
Titanic Quarter is a beautiful place to visit. You can reach it by bus (Metro Service 26/Glider 2) from the City Hall (10/15 minutes) or you can also walk there (20/25 minutes). The quarter is perfect if you want to walk around and you can stop and have a break at The Dock Cafe (http://www.the-dock.org/blog/). Open Tuesdays to Saturdays, 11am to 4pm. Run by teams of volunteers, it serves coffees and soups, scones and bakes. There is plenty of space to relax on comfy sofas, and free Wi-Fi to catch up on work. There is no price list; instead, they have an honesty box and let customers choose what to pay. The view from the cafe is lovely.
Two minutes walking from the cafe, there is the Titanic Belfast. From their website “Titanic Belfast is the world's largest Titanic visitor experience, exploring the Titanic story in a fresh and insightful way.” Prices: Adult £24,95; Student/Unemployed - Mon-Fri only £19. It is quite expensive for a museum, but you can easily spend a few hours there. It is not only focused on the ship itself, but also gives some context about the history of the city and its development etc.
Victoria Square is a big shopping centre, three minutes walking from the City Hall. Inside you can find shops, restaurants, cafes, a cinema but it is worth to visit because of the panoramic dome. Check out the website to find out the time in which you can reach the dome and enjoy the view of Belfast. http://www.victoriasquare.com/dome/
Botanic Gardens is a nice place for a stroll, it is a well-kept park with a nice rose garden (blossoms around June) and a beautiful palm house which is a nice place to warm up during the winter.
Besides public transport, renting a bike is a nice way to get to know the city or the surrounding areas. All throughout the city there are rental stations with Belfast Just Eatbikes (http://www.belfastbikes.co.uk/en/belfast/) once registered online, it is very easy to rent by an app. It will cost you £5 pounds to register for 3 days in a row, or you can take an annual subscription for £20. The first half an hour is free and afterwards you pay around £1 per hour.
If the city centre is too busy for you to go by bike, you can also cycle out of the city on the Lagan Towpath towards Lisburn. Which is a nice ride along the river lagan.
TO SEE IN NORTHERN IRELAND: DAYTRIPS/WEEKEND
Translink is the main public transport company http://journeyplanner.translink.co.uk/
web/XSLT_TRIP_REQUEST2?language=en, good to look up your times and prices. However not the best website ever, for a better overview of your travel options use google maps. The trains have some nice discounts offers when you travel on Sundays or besides peak times (note, not all museums are opened on Sundays) (http://www.translink.co.uk/Find-The-Right-Ticket/train-tickets/)
Derry/ Londonderry: buses are probably the cheapest option, but you can also go by train. You can walk around the city centre, see its city wall and enjoy the murals in Bogside. They also offer free walking tours around the city and the city walls.
Walk from Bangor to Hollywood (approximately 3 hours) – the route is taking you on the side of the Belfast Lough, our bay: on your way you will pass by the WWII fortification and memorial, sandy beach for seasons bathers, and Ulster Transport and Ulster Folk Museums (in Cultra, next to the train station) At the end of the tour, turn into the Dirty Duck for food and/or beer, with some nice views on the waterside; great for outside sitting weather permitting (The pub is right next the Hollywood trainstation, taking you to Belfast)
Walk from Belfast to Lisburn along the Lagan Towpath (approximately 3 hours) with some spectacular natural landscapes; you will pass by a mini version of the Stonehenge, swamps and waterlocks, wet meadows, and Linen Mills on your way up the river Lagan. Take the train from Lisburn back into Belfast after lunch in Lisburn, and, if you have the time, cosy local history museum on the central square.
Mourne Mountains are very nice. From Newcastle you can walk up the tallest mountain on the island and enjoy some spectacular views. Newcastle itself is a ‘forgotten’ touristic seaside town and interesting for a stroll around the pier. You can reach Newcastle by bus and takes you 1 hour 15 minutes.
Portrush is another seaside town and has a lovely beach. From the centre take the local bus towards Dunluce Castle (10 minutes) and walk back to Portrush along its beautiful coast line and the beach.
The Coastal Route is a lovely road along the coast of Northern Ireland. Best done by car (but if you are very adventurous, I saw people cycling it as well). Hire a car at George Best city airport (Sixt, Hertz or Europcar) so you don’t have to drive around in the city. If you are over 25 it will only cost you around 20/25 pounds to rent the car, otherwise they will charge you an extra fee for young people). Take the highway up to Carrickfergus, there you can catch your breath if it is your first time driving on the left side and enjoy the view of a little port and its castle. From here on you can follow the coast all the way up to the Carrick-a-reed rope Bridge, (keep in mind you need to pay to get on the bridge and your ticket is valid for a certain time) and the giants causeway. (Here, you don’t need to pay entrance to go the causeway, you can just walk along the visitors centre and through the tunnel. Besides, when by car there are other parking lots just 3 minutes’ walk that do not charge you the idiotic amount of money for parking and entering). Depending on the amount of stops and walking you do, you can get a dinner in Portrush and ride towards Belfast, with a detour along the Dark Hedges (Game of Thrones), all in one day.
Cuilcagh in Fermanagh is a famous scenic walk also, more information can be found here.
If you do not want to challenge your driving skills, there are lots of different agencies that offer tour to the Giant’s causeway (one day trips). (Check out Groupon, which sometimes have nice offers on one of the tours, as well as offers on diners or cocktails in Belfast).
McCombs coach tour: Giant’s Causeway Tour - stops of the tour: Carrickfergus Castle (photo stop); Causeway Coastal Route; Bushmills Distillery; Carrick-a-rede rope bridge; Giant's Causeway; Dunluce Castle (Photo stop); The cost is 25£; Coaches are comfortable and new.
McCombs coach tour: Game of Thrones Tour - stops: Cushendun Caves; Carnlough;Dark Hedges aka The Kings Road; Ballintoy (Pyke) Harbour; Giant's Causeway; Carrick-a-rede rope bridge; cost 35£
Allen’s tour: Giant’s Causeway Itinerary - Stops: First stop Carrickfergus and Carrickfergus Castle; Magheramorne Quarry drive past with information; Travel Along the Antrim coast road; See the Glens of Antrim; Cross The Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge; Visit the Larrybane Quarry; Lunch Stop (30 minutes and you can have your own food from home in the cafe); The Giants Causeway; The Dark Hedges. The tour is 18£, but check out on Groupon their offers (often tickets from 11/12 £); not all the coaches are new and comfortable, but the guides are very funny. The tour is a mixture of the previous ones by Mc Combs.
Kilkeel Taxis – Joes taxi 417 637 93; Premier taxi 028471 64397