How to see the foodie side of Belfast, Northern Ireland

Small enough to really get to grips with in one day, Belfast is an ideal destination for cruise travellers. If you’re hoping to experience the best food and drink around the city, here’s how to fill your itinerary

By Laura Potter

Belfast is a mix of elegant 17th-century mansions, 14th-century almshouses and Gothic churches, making it a haven for history buffs. But where it will really surprise and delight you is in its food and drink offerings. Here are some of our must visit’s…

Start the day with a stroll through the charming St George’s Market, where stallholders will tempt you with fish, meat, fresh fruit and veg, and locally made chocolates.

Then prepare to be spoilt for supper choice. There are two Michelin-star restaurants in Belfast: EIPIC on Howard Street, with a focus on local, seasonal produce; and Ox on Oxford Street (dish above), which gives as much love and attention to veg as it does local meat and sustainably sourced fish. A more relaxed, buzzy option is Coppi, an Italian opposite St Anne’s Cathedral specialising in cicchetti.

If you’ve got a sweet tooth, check out Co Couture, which makes luxury, small-batch truffles, including its award-winning Irish Whisky Truffle, at its city-centre shop near City Hall.

No visit to Belfast would be complete without experiencing the local pub culture, so spend two-and-a-half hours sampling lagers, ales and the rest on a Princess Cruises guided walking tour.

Finally, rooftop bar The Perch is buzzing, and the perfect place to warm up with a boozy hot chocolate in winter or cool off with a signature cocktail in summer.

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Bask in Belfast architecture

As you eat your way through the city, be sure to pause to enjoy the incredible architecture that fills this historical town.

Head to the Cathedral Quarter, one of several “quarters”, each with its own distinct character – it’s all rambling streets and trendy restaurants. While in the neighbourhood, visit the Merchant Hotel, formerly home to the Ulster Bank headquarters. The opulent sandstone building, complete with Corinthian columns and imposing sculptures, is the perfect stop-off for a cocktail. City Hall (above) houses a 53m-high dome, and the Albert Memorial Clock is known as Belfast’s answer to the Leaning Tower of Pisa, its own signature tilt thanks to the fact it was built on a reclaimed river bed.

Then arrive at the Saint Malachy’s Catholic Church. Completed in 1844, it was constructed using only handmade bricks. If you have time, the grand Belfast Castle is just four miles outside of the city, nestling in Cavehill Country Park, and the view from the top of the hill is breathtaking.

In Queen’s Quarter, a 45-minute walk from the Cathedral Quarter, the Palm House was one of the first greenhouses to be constructed out of glass and iron. The cool wing is a riot of colour and scent, with geraniums, fuchsias and begonias. Tropical Ravine is bursting with tropical plants and birds. Entry is free.

About the Author

Laura Potter

Laura Potter

Laura started her career at The Observer Magazine, and has written for many of the UK's biggest publications. She has a passion for exploring other cultures, discovering local food trends and throwing herself into unique experiences, from kayaking on Lake Michigan to cheering on the riders at the Tour du Rwanda.

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