It is a small centre run by staff and volunteers that provides information about local and migratory species and an area with a large window where you can see species in the lagoon and marshes surrounding the centre. There are also a few shelters and the staff sometimes offers guided walks during certain times of the year. In the center of the city there is still a lot of street art to see, but most are not strongly political or religious in nature. While some cover serious topics, you’ll also find street paintings of dogs, famous people, fairies, local monuments, dragons, and monkeys. Some are made by relatively unknown local artists and others are by more well-known artists such as Smug, and there have been local initiatives that have helped fund legal street art in Belfast.
Most of these attractions are located in the city of Belfast, but some are located in areas just outside Belfast. Most can be reached by public bus in 30 to 40 minutes and some can be visited with the hop-on hop-off tour buses. All rooms are a 30-minute drive from the city centre and some are less than a 10-minute drive from the city centre. It was a great introduction to Belfast, the main neighbourhood and attractions, and the Troubles.
Fascinating tours tell of the women and children imprisoned here, as well as the segregation of Republican and loyalist prisoners. However, a recent wave of new openings, from hotels to restaurants to museums, is slowly drawing larger crowds to Northern Ireland’s capital. The busiest times in Belfast overlap with the best times to be there in terms of events and weather.
Autumn in Belfast is a great time to visit the city and take advantage of the packed calendar of musical and artistic events. The cultural festivals that take place from September to November celebrate the local talent that Northern Ireland has to offer. While relatively hot summer days are quickly forgotten, temperatures tend to hover around highs in the 50°F and drop to average lows in the 40s. Summer crowds are disappearing, meaning there’s a shorter wait to get to Belfast’s top attractions, but the downside is that October is usually one of the rainiest months in Northern Ireland’s capital. The Belfast Experience also offers walking tours and taxi tours of Shankill Road, giving visitors the opportunity to “integrate into historic events with a practical and stimulating approach”.
It has often had to play second fiddle to its southern neighbour, but Northern Ireland offers a diversity of attractions that often confuse first-time visitors. In recent years, walls and political murals painted along or near the walls have become tourist attractions. Visitors have the opportunity to write their own message on the Peace Wall, which is covered in murals, as well as signed by famous people such as the Dalai Lama and former US President Bill Clinton.
We saw parts of several neighborhoods including Cathedral Quarter, Queen’s Quarter, Linen Quarter, Sailortown, and Titanic Quarter. We also visited the Peace Wall and saw a plethora of political murals in traditionally loyalist and Republican neighborhoods, including along Falls and Shankill Roads. Most of the tour was in the taxi, but we also got the opportunity to get off and walk a bit at some things to do in Belfast stops. A guided tour includes information about Belfast’s history and governance and visits to many of the building’s largest and most important spaces and rooms, including the Grand Staircase, the grand rooms, the reception and the room. One of the interesting features of the building is the large number of stained glass windows, most of which are original to the building and date back to 1906.