Live music, great food and lots of craic make Belfast the perfect city break

TRY BEFORE YOU BUY

Head to St George’s Market to sample some of the best food in town and listen to free live music. Feast on everything from freshly caught seafood to locally made soda bread.

If you have a sweet tooth, head straight to Aunt Sandra’s Candy Factory. The stall groans under the weight of mounds of delicious caramels and sweets.

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Pass Belfast City Hall to visit the magnificent Titanic Memorial Garden, dedicated to the 1,512 people who lost their lives
The Grand Central Hotel is the tallest building in Belfast and has stunning views

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The Grand Central Hotel is the tallest building in Belfast and has stunning views

FYI, market traders are generous with samples – so much so that you can almost get a free lunch!

For shopping, look no further than Victoria Square, which has become an icon of ‘new Belfast’ (Victoriasquare.com).

It also has an amazing dome with a 360° view of the city, so you can get your bearings with landmarks such as the Harland & Wolff Cranes, Parliament Buildings at Stormont and Cave Hill.

HUNTING THE CRAIC

Grabbing a cheeky pint of Guinness and enjoying the live music is almost mandatory in the city.

The Belfast Empire Music Hall (Thebelfastempire.com) and limelight (Limelightbelfast.com) are both legendary venues, but for a traditional Irish knees down, head to Second Fiddle, which has an impressive range of craft beers and ciders (Thesecondfiddlebelfast.co.uk).

Famous for its innovative menus using the finest local ingredients, Deanes Meat Locker is one of the city’s go-to restaurants.

The tender rump steak, £28, is cooked to perfection and served with triple fries, but leaves room for a perfect tiramisu, £6.50 (michaeldeane.co.uk).

STAY WITH THE STARS

Made famous by the BBC series The Hotel People, the Grand Central Hotel is Belfast’s tallest building and boasts stunning views.

Head to the Observatory to order from the hilarious bar manager Cáelan, one of the stars of the documentary series. A double room costs from £150 including breakfast (grandcentralhotelbelfast.com).

Slightly out of town is The Culloden Estate And Spa, a favorite luxury hotel of Liam Neeson.

Order the Bridgerton-inspired afternoon tea – all delicate pastries and finger sandwiches – perfect for chatting in elegant surroundings, £35pp.

If you’re lucky, you’ll be served by the charismatic manager Andy, who also stars in The Hotel People (Cullodenestateandspa.com).

DO YOUR DUTY

Die-hard Line Of Duty fans can indulge their passion for the BBC drama on a guided tour visiting the locations of some of its most memorable scenes.

The experience begins with lunch at the Grand Central Hotel, before visiting sites such as Belfast Central Library, which doubles as AC-12 HQ, and the tunnel where agents have secret meetings.

You will also learn about the Troubles, taking into account the walls of peace, which were erected to separate Catholic and Protestant neighborhoods. Tickets cost £65 per person (Mccombscoaches.com).

TAKE THE TITANIC

No visit to Belfast is complete without a stroll along the Lagan River waterfront to the old dockyard where the Titanic was built in 1909. It now houses the iconic Titanic Belfast Museum in ship shape.

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It takes you from Edwardian ‘Boomtown Belfast’ to the present day, with a live stream from the wreckage of the ocean. Tickets cost £21.50 for adults and £10 for 5-15 year olds (titanicbelfast.com).

Then proceed to Belfast City Hall to visit the magnificent Titanic Memorial Garden, dedicated to the 1,512 people who lost their lives, which is free to enter (belfastcity.gov.uk/cityhall).

FOR YOUR INFORMATION

Return flights from the UK mainland to Belfast take just over an hour and cost from £49 (Britishairways.com).

The Hotel People is on BBC2 every Sunday.

The iconic ship-shaped Titanic Belfast museum

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The iconic ship-shaped Titanic Belfast museum
For a traditional Irish kneeling, head to Second Fiddle

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For traditional Irish kneeling, head to Second Fiddle
Slightly out of town is The Culloden Estate And Spa, a favorite luxury hotel of Liam Neeson

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Slightly out of town is The Culloden Estate And Spa, a favorite luxury hotel of Liam Neeson
Olivia Buxton with colleagues in Belfast's Cathedral Quarter

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Olivia Buxton with colleagues in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter

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