Belfast is a thriving and creative city, with reams of recent investment in shopping and entertainment pushing up visitor numbers this year. Adults and children alike will love the Titanic Quarter and Belfast Castle, as well as Belfast Zoo and Aunt Sandra’s Candy Factory! If you visit for a longer holiday there is plenty to explore by car outside the city. For getting around town though, a Belfast City Tour family bus ticket is well worth the money allowing you to hop on and off as much as you like for 48 hours. Kids always enjoy a double-decker bus; just remember to pack the waterproofs.
Yes you can visit a zoo anywhere but Belfast does have a great one. Home to over 1000 animals, Belfast Zoo specialises in exotic and rare species, yet also run a conversation programme for native wildlife. Less native to Ireland is the giraffe and elephant enclosure, and rainforest house, both sure to excite visitors of all ages. There are also 55 acres of plants and gardens, open all year round.
If your kids have already learnt about the Titanic at school, or even if they haven’t, they’ll be thrilled to visit the world’s largest Titanic attraction. You can explore the history of the fated ship and view original recovered artefacts. The interactivity and vibrant galleries make it a great family friendly day out.
Belfast Castle looks like it’s straight from a fairy-tale. The castle offers great views over the city and the small museum attached to the castle is free to enter. If the weathers fine, kids will love running round the Castle gardens. The Cellar Restaurant on site has a great Children’s menu should you want to stop off for some lunch.
Aunt Sandra’s Candy Factory has been producing sweets since 1953. You can visit the shop at any time but will need to book if you want special ‘magic tickets’ for a show. If you manage to get tickets the larger-than-life hosts will demonstrate how candy is made and show guests through to the honeycomb factory. And yes, you get tasters!
Northern Ireland is fairly compact compared with the Republic of Ireland so if you’re there for more than a weekend hire a car and head to the heather-clad slopes of the Sperrin Mountains, Northern Ireland’s largest and most beautiful mountain range. A 20-minute drive out of the city also takes you to the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum where you can go back in time and discover a way of life from 100 years ago.
If the weather is bad you can stay in the city and head to the Odyssey Pavilion for bowling or shopping, or visit the Botanic Gardens for unseasonal warmth set under the Victorian glasshouse. Eating out isn’t too pricey and you can get to Belfast on the cheap with Flybe who offer convenient family friendly flights. Download the iTunes Visit Belfast app for the most up-to-date tourist information to carry in your pocket, just in case.
Article written in association with Flybe