Discover the past and future interests of Belfast
Article by Isla Campell
Belfast – or Northern Ireland in general – may not be the first destination that springs to mind for many travellers, but according to a Frommer’s Guidebooks Belfast is one of the top 12 places for holidaymakers to consider in 2009. The guidebooks have been going since 1957 when Corporal Arthur Frommer wrote a travel guide for Americans visiting Europe and at the end of every year the editorial team comes up with a list of cities and countries they think are worth a visit. These may include value breaks, cities preparing for a major event, places with justifiable hype and alternatives for destinations with unjustified hype. Until recently, Northern Ireland and its capital city have been viewed unfavourably because of the political division; however, these clashes have been mainly consigned to history as the country reconciles and looks forward to a peaceful future. Landmarks such as the city’s cathedral, Stormont (which is Northern Ireland’s parliament buildings) and Stormont Castle are all popular tourist destinations as each displays its own unique beautiful architecture and fascinating history. Another infamous part of Belfast’s history is its part in the Titanic’s maiden voyage. The ship – the largest passenger steamship in the world at the time and apparently unsinkable – and the majority of its construction took place in the Belfast shipyards Harland and Wolff. A free one hour tour of Titanic’s Dock and Pump-House is a great way for visitors to hear the story of the ship’s creation and helps give a sense of proportion to the size and importance of the Titanic. Sometimes the more cultural and educational attractions will be unappealing to small children and rather than spend time in hotels in Belfast thinking of something to do, the city has places to see that will entertain visitors of any ages. Belfast Zoo houses more than 160 species of rare animals – some highly endangered – and the monkey park and penguin section (complete with underwater viewing facility) are always popular. Children under the age of four get in free, which helps when trying to stick to a budget. Another favourite with kids is Aunt Sandra’s Candy Factory, a small shop that has been restored to its 1953 appearance that lets visitors watch, and taste, sweets being made from recipes older than 100 years. Tourists with an appetite to see more than just the city itself often take day trips to some of the countless beauty spots in the Northern Irish countryside, with one of the most famous destinations being the Giant’s Causeway – the results of volcanic eruption which was recently voted the fourth greatest natural wonder in the UK. Belfast is a developing city in terms of attractions and popularity and its wide variety of attractions makes its inclusion on the Frommer’s list – alongside, amongst others, New Zealand’s Waiheke Island and Cambodia – completely understandable.
About the Author
Isla Campbell writes for a digital marketing agency. This article has been commissioned by a client of said agency. This article is not designed to promote, but should be considered professional content.