Belfast is the capital city of Northern Ireland, located on the east coast of the country on the floodplain of the river Lagan. It is served by two airports, Belfast International and George Best Belfast City Airport, and it is by far the most popular tourist draw in the country. In 2012, the last year for which figures are available, 7.59 million visitors flocked to Belfast.
As might be expected for such a popular destination, Belfast offers accommodation of every size and type. From luxury 5 star hotels close to the centre of the city to cheap and cheerful hostels, no matter what brings you to Belfast you’ll be able to find a bed to rest yourself after a day spent exploring or a night sampling the legendary Irish hospitality. Families taking a holiday or business people attending a conference are equally likely to be able to find a bed and breakfast, inn or guesthouse that meets their requirements and budget.
Queen’s College District
As with many major cities, Belfast can be divided into separate districts, each with its own distinct flavour, mood and appeal. One of these is the Queen’s College District, located to the south of the city centre and centred on Queen’s University, the largest university in Northern Ireland. The presence of thousands of students gives the area a youthful, vibrant feel, and if you stay in a hotel in or close to Queen’s College you’re bound to get a taste of just how much fun a stay in Belfast can be.
Boundaries of Queen’s College District
The Queen’s College District is located between Ormeau Road to the east and Lisburn Road to the west, and some of the main streets contained within it include Stranmillis Road, Botanic Avenue and Malone Road. The large student population has led to a boom in the number of cafes, pubs and coffee bars in the district, making this the ideal part of Belfast to head for when you need to take on board refreshment at any time of the day or night.
The Golden Mile
The area centred around Great Victoria Street as it runs from City Hall to the university has been dubbed the Golden Mile of Belfast, thanks to the large number of pubs, bars and restaurants clustered along it. Book a hotel close to the golden mile and you’ll only be a short walk away from sampling some of the most famous nightlife in Europe. The Crown Liquor Saloon is located on the Golden Mile, and is the only working pub in the UK to be owned by the National Trust. Having been open as a Victorian gin palace in 1885, it offers a warm welcome, a stunning tiled interior and, if you’re lucky, the chance to sit in one of the 10 snug booths offering privacy and table service.
Culture in Queen’s College
The proximity of the university, and a selection of different venues, has led to the Queen’s College District being one of the most culturally vibrant in Belfast. Venues such as the Lyric Theatre, the Crescent Arts Centre and the university’s own Speakeasy and Bar Sub offer entertainment of all kinds throughout the year. Annual cultural highlights include the Belfast Film Festival, which takes place at the Queen’s Film Theatre during April each year, and a range of open air concerts throughout summer in the Botanic Gardens.