By Saoirse Higgins
With the surge in local tourism due to restricted travel during a pandemic, a trip up north was the destination of choice for many staycationers over the past few months, and it is one that is definitely worth it. Although Northern Ireland is small it has a varied amount of scenery and amenities for you to enjoy from Belfast City to the Giant’s Causeway.
Belfast is a beautiful widespread city that is very affordable. A hotel in the middle of the city is reasonably priced especially booked a few weeks in advance. It is filled to the brim with atmospheric pubs like ‘The Thirsty Goat’ and ‘Fountain Lane’ who serve gorgeous pub food in a safe and clean environment.
The city also has lovely options for your breakfast needs, including the small chain Maggie Mays that did one of the best full Irish breakfasts I have ever had.
From there the city is bursting with shops, especially within the Great Victoria Shopping Centre, which is beautiful in itself. The city is also filled with beautiful architecture and parks from Queen’s University to the Botanic Gardens. Both are a wonder to the eye, with beautiful flowers blooming in their gardens.
While visiting the Botanic Gardens, along the lovely little paths to explore different areas of the garden, there was a Ferris wheel where you could see the whole city in all its beauty.
Belfast also has the famous Titanic Belfast Museum. Its exhibition was interactive and engaging from start to finish, with a detailed history about the tragic Titanic. I recommend you visit as it has something for everyone’s interests.
The Giant’s Causeway
If you have made it as far as Belfast it is well worth the extra hour to travel to the Giant’s Causeway. It is free to do the trail, however if you want to pay for a guided walk and parking next to the trail then you will have to buy a ticket from the visiting centre.
The walk to the Giant’s Causeway is one of Ireland’s most beautiful landmarks and is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. The wild North Atlantic sea battering the prehistoric basalt columns is magical and worth the walk every time.
Another Irish city worth your time is Derry. A city filled with history; it has lots of experiences to offer you. From its famous walls to its iconic Bogside murals, the city will fascinate you with its visible history.
It also has a range of restaurants to suit your appetite, with ‘The Pickled Duck’ offering a lovely range for breakfast and ‘Odie’s Bistro’ with their mouth-watering burgers for dinner. Furthermore, it is also worth stopping by for a cup of tea in Derry’s craft village with its charming cafés and shops situated on a pedestrianised square.
So, if you are planning your next staycation, I think the North of Ireland should be a strong contender for your list with its bustling cities, beautiful landmarks, and delicious food.