This is a delayed post, documenting my 24 hour visit to Belfast at the end of October 2016. After visiting my old housemate in Seville over half term, the cheapest flight back to Manchester was via Belfast. I delayed my return flight by 24 hours so I would have the chance to look around a city I have wanted to visit for a while!
I flew into Belfast City Airport, there is a regular shuttle bus to the city centre bus station and it was a short walk to the hostel I was staying in- Vagabonds Hostel Belfast (http://www.vagabondsbelfast.com). I arrived around 9pm to find my roommates already in bed, so with difficulty I got ready in the dark to have a few drinks with people I had just met in the kitchen. Being the only English person in the hostel, I got a little teasing about Brexit from the others (I didn’t even bring it up!).
The hostel was great, I would definitely stay there again, very welcoming, clean and good value. I got some good advice about where to spend my short time in the city.
I was awake early, checked out (leaving my bag in reception) and rented a city bike from a bike port just outside the hostel. Possibly the best decision I made that day, it was so much fun and felt really safe as the streets are so much emptier than Manchester and Sheffield, where I am used to.
As it was before 10am, the museums were yet to open, so I cycled around a bit, got lost somewhere near Queen’s University and had to cycle back up a big hill.
By that time it was 10am and the Ulster Museum was open. From what I can remember, this was a really eye opening museum, there was an exhibition about The Troubles with lots of detail I wasn’t aware of. The building itself was really interesting, old flowing into new with great floor to ceiling windows in the cafe area.
After the Ulster Museum, I had a quick look around the botanical gardens before cycling along the river to St George’s Market. I think the market is busiest (or maybe only open?) on Saturdays, which was lucky as I was there on a Saturday. There was so much amazing food, I had patatas bravas and falafel, also bought a ring with a cat on it, happy days.
Next stop was to see some of the street art on the Falls Road. I was very conscious this was a residential area showing recent history, and not a tourist attraction, so I cycled through quickly and didn’t stop to take loads of photos. I found it really interesting but it did reiterate how recent all the Troubles were.
I cycled back to the hostel to pick up my bag before getting the bus back to the airport. I was really glad I got to see Belfast and would definitely arrange flights in the future to allow myself a day to explore another UK city!