Belfast International Airport lies 19 miles north-west of Belfast, and is the largest and busiest airport in Northern Ireland. The journey from the airport to the city centre takes around 30 minutes by road, and the airport handles over 4 million passengers per year. There were seven million visitors to Belfast in 2012, the last year for which figures are available; the fact that Belfast International Airport carried over 50% of that figure underlines its importance to the city.
It is open 365 days of the year and handles flights from all over Europe and parts of the USA, provided by 11 different airlines. Facilities at the airport include places to eat and drink, banking and currency exchange outlets and WiFi.
There are several hotels in direct proximity to the airport itself and even more within easy travelling distance. The accommodation in question ranges from luxury chains to small-scale, family-run bed and breakfasts, and includes lodges, guesthouses and country clubs. This means that you’ll be able to find the accommodation you’re looking for no matter the make-up of your party, the size of your budget or the exact type of visit you’re hoping to enjoy.
The relative proximity of Belfast International Airport to the centre of the city itself means that a hotel adjacent to the airport is ideally placed for exploring the rest of the city. The journey in can be made on public transport, via the 300 airport shuttle which runs around the clock every day of the week, although if you hire your own car you can easily drive via the A57 and M2.
Although an international airport jetting people in from around the world may seem like the epitome of urban mechanisation, the fact is there are hotels just a few minutes away from Belfast International Airport that are perfectly placed for appreciating the quieter and more tranquil aspects of Irish life.
The hotels close to the shore of Lough Neagh, for example, are only four miles from the airport and yet sit on the banks of one of the largest lakes in the UK, while Templepatrick Golf and Country Club, Massereene Golf Club and Allen Park Golf Club are all just a few minutes’ drive away.
The appeal of the golf courses is obvious, in that they provide the chance to hone your skills amid some of the most spectacular scenery in Northern Ireland, while Lough Neagh, as well as being a genuinely tranquil setting, offers the chance to take a scenic boat trip around the shoreline, try your hand at angling or experience the adrenaline rush of power boating.
The welcome you’ll receive in Belfast will be warm and hospitable no matter what time of the year you visit, and events such as the annual film festival in April and the Writers on Writers Festival in May will prove irresistible to those with specialist interests.