Belfast is a modern European capital city with all of the facilities and amenities you would expect. It is served by two airports, one directly adjacent to the city centre and the other 15 miles to the west. The centre of the city is packed with cultural and artistic centres, cutting-edge nightclubs and restaurants and accommodation in all shapes and sizes.
This modern feel runs parallel with a much older, more traditional city, one that is ever present as you explore. The rich history of Belfast is exemplified in the many stunning Edwardian and Victorian buildings to be found on the streets around its centre, and also by the timeless and rugged landscape that is only ever a short journey away.
Staying in Belfast
There are numerous hotels in the centre of Belfast, ranging from small-scale, trendy boutique accommodation to gleaming five star edifices. One thing they all have in common, however, is the warmth of the traditional Irish welcome you’ll receive. Whether you’re pampering yourself in a spa hotel, crashing out in a hostel or treating the family to a stay in a guesthouse, you’ll be looked after warmly and well from the moment you arrive.
Cave Hill Country Park
One of the advantages of a Belfast city centre hotel is that it’s equally well placed for exploring the thriving metropolis that surrounds you, and the stunning countryside just a short distance away. A fine example of the latter is the iconic Cave Hill Country Park.
Finding Cave Hill Country Park
In many ways, Cave Hill itself is extremely easy to find, since its towering outline is visible from many parts of the city centre. It’s easy to reach by car, by simply following the signs along Antrim Road, and the number 1 bus departs regularly from Donegall Square in the centre of Belfast to the entrance to either Belfast Castle or Belfast Zoo, both of which are part of the heady mix of attractions on offer in Cave Hill Country Park.
Exploring Cave Hill Country Park
Cave Hill itself rises to a height of over 1,207 feet and the land surrounding it encompasses Hazelwood and Ballyaghagan nature reserves, Bellevue, Belfast Castle and Carr’s Glen. As you explore, and you’ll probably want to come back more than once to do so, you’ll find ancient forts and cairns, a limestone quarry and a selection of paths and trails designed to suit walkers of all ages and abilities.
Belfast Castle sits in the heart of the park and you can opt to take a guided tour or recharge your batteries in the atmospheric Victorian surroundings of the Cellar Restaurant. Children between the ages of three and 14 will be able to run wild in the adventure playground, get lost in the Millennium Maze and seek out the nine cats carefully hidden in the formal landscaped gardens surrounding the castle.
The views across Belfast city centre from vantage points all over the park are stunning and a vivid and powerful reminder of just how closely the modern urban landscape and its wild and untamed forerunner can co-exist.