Getting ship-shape for Christmas in the northern star

My boyfriend and I want to treat ourselves to a weekend break in early December and are thinking of Belfast as we have never stayed there before. We want to do a little Christmas shopping while we are there and would love your advice on the top attractions that we should visit during our stay.

My boyfriend and I want to treat ourselves to a weekend break in early December and are thinking of Belfast as we have never stayed there before. We want to do a little Christmas shopping while we are there and would love your advice on the top attractions that we should visit during our stay.

Belfast is a small city but don’t let the size fool you because you won’t be short on things to see and do during your stay. Once the home of the Irish linen industry, tobacco production, rope making and the world famous Harland and Wolff shipbuilders, Belfast lays claim to a unique history. There’s something for everyone in this vibrant and cosmopolitan city with no shortage of shopping, tours, world-class dining and a great nightlife.

The city is steeped in history and is well known for being the birth place of the Titanic. Belfast’s famous shipyard Harland and Wolff created what was the most advanced piece of technology in the world at that time and the people of Belfast take great pride in the innovation, skill and engineering genius that went into the making of the Titanic.

Belfast’s millennium project, the Odyssey, acts as the gateway to Titanic Quarter and is great for entertaining all ages, from the discovery centre W5, ten-pin bowling, cinema, restaurant, bars and nightclubs. From there, you’ll be quickly immersed in Titanic’s heritage, whether taking the various tours or visiting Titanic’s Dock and Pumphouse, marvelling at the engineering feats of Edwardian Belfast. Mixing old with new, the iconic Titanic Belfast building sits next to the renovated S.S. Nomadic, the last surviving White Star vessel.

After soaking up the history of the Titanic, you might like to start your Christmas shopping. You really can shop until you drop in Belfast with all the great stores within easy walking distance of each other. Whether its high street or budget shopping, designer or couture, the city offers a wealth of choice for every taste and pocket. From the prestigious Victoria Square Shopping Centre, numerous high street stores, luxurious designer boutiques and speciality shops you will be able to fulfill all your Christmas shopping needs.

When in Belfast, don’t miss the annual Traditional Christmas Continental Market which takes place from 17th November until 20th December. The famous City Hall with its beautiful gardens provides a wonderful backdrop for this market and it is right in the centre of the city. The market features some fantastic refreshment areas such as the Continental bar and Lavery’s traditional Irish bar where you can hear some great live music or wander around the German Gluwein and Bratwurst Stands enjoying a great glass of warming mulled wine.

Belfast is known for its active nightlife and there are plenty of excellent pubs and nightclubs to choose from. One you really can’t miss out on is the Crown Liquor Saloon. This bar is one of Belfast’s best known pubs dating back to 1894 and is an old bar full of character with a charming atmosphere serving hearty pub grub throughout the day.

Where to Stay

Jurys Inn Belfast (***)

Prices start from €80 per room per night on Hotels.com

*Prices are subject to availability at the time of booking

This modern and sleek three-star hotel is located in the centre of Belfast city centre and is next to the Grand Opera House and Belfast City Hall. Just a few minutes walk from Victoria Square, Castlecourt shops and Donegall Place this is the perfect place for those looking to shop until they drop. The hotel features a restaurant and bar or if you would prefer to dine out there are a number of fabulous restaurants and bars nearby.

Stormont Hotel (****)

Prices start from €74 per room per night on Hotels.com

*Prices are subject to availability at the time of booking

This contemporary hotel sits on the edge of Belfast and is adjacent to Stormont Castle and Parliament Buildings with the Titanic Belfast being only minutes away. Enjoy complimentary use of the fitness suite and afterwards a cocktail in the bar or relax by the fireside and enjoy the hotel’s famous afternoon tea. Be sure to dine in the stylish La Scala bistro which is perfect for lunch or early evening meals.

The Fitzwilliam Hotel (*****)

Prices start from €111 per room per night on Hotels.com

*Prices are subject to availability at the time of booking

This wonderful five-star hotel is situated in the heart of Belfast’s city centre. The interior of the hotel has a contemporary but quirky style. The hotel’s bar is ultra chic and well worth a visit as it has almost every wine and champagne available by the glass. You may also like to join a group and partake in a cocktail master class which allows you to sample your creations.

For more information and travel tips on planning your holiday visit www.Hotels.com or call 1800 55 3338 to wake up happy on your holiday!