Categories: things to do

Maybe it’s the promise of the good clean air and spectacular scenery. Perhaps it’s the food, the golden warm whiskey or the cosy pubs. Or could it be there’s just so much to do and see? There are so many reasons to visit Northern Ireland, but here are some for now to get you thinking. Once you’re done with the thinking, start planning, booking and getting ready for your best ever adventure.  

Our Giant Spirit and famous faces

The number one reason to visit us is...us. We might be a small place but we are a warm, welcoming, innovative and adventurous bunch and there is nothing we like more than talking to strangers. Whether it’s in our Belfast Black Cabs, on our buses and trains or behind the counter of a bar, we are always up for a chin wag and a chat. 

From the famous to the everyday, we have an iconic array of colourful characters that make a trip to Northern Ireland a fun one. Immerse yourself in their legends by visiting Seamus Heaney HomePlace, C.S Lewis Square, Belfast Music Exhibition & Tour OR the Van Morrison trail. There’s poetry and music as well as football. What more do you need? 

And our very own native Kenneth Branagh, has recently wrapped up a coming-of-age black and white drama.  Belfast is a semi-autobiographical film and follows the life of a working class family in Belfast during the troubles in the 60’s.  Featuring a raft of famous faces from here and filming locations across the city, the movie also features a soundtrack from another of our own, Van Morrison.

Our world-class visitor attractions and natural wonders

Titanic Belfast is located in the heart of the city that built her. Inside this shimmering landmark you’ll unearth the story of the famous, fateful ship in a top-notch 5* interactive experience full of history and surprises.

The UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Giant’s Causeway is our most popular attraction, but a stellar line up of natural wonders await for those who go off-the-beaten track. Visit the Cuilcagh Lakelands UNESCO Global Geopark, the idyllic Fermanagh Lakelands and the captivating Mourne Mountains.  

Seamus Heaney HomePlace opened to great acclaim in 2016, paying homage to the talented life and career of the Nobel Prize winning Irish poet Seamus Heaney. Did we mention Titanic Belfast or the only remaining completley walled city in Ireland, located in Derry~Londonderry?

Did someone say Road Trip?

Drive the spectacular Causeway Coastal Route - rated one of the Top Five Road Trips in the world. Navigate winding, rugged coastal roads along the Irish Sea and around the Atlantic Ocean stopping off in white-washed villages or sandy stretches of beach, cliff top walks and of course the basalt columns of the Giant’s Causeway

Plus you can drive from city to coast to countryside in just a few hours and get a taste of Northern Ireland in a few days. Our cities and towns are extremely compact and easily explored on foot. No busy undergrounds or messing about with apps or maps and sure if you’re stuck, we’ve said it before, we are always on for a chin wag.  

We're Game of Thrones® Territory

Northern Ireland's epic landscapes have been used as the backdrop for the hit HBO series Game of Thrones®. If you're a fan of the show, embark on a tour of filming locations including Winterfell Castle, Kingsroad and Riverrun. Fill your passport on the Journey of Doors

Our buzzing nightlife and festival scene

Big city boppers will love the legendary nightlife in Belfast or Derry-Londonderry. There’s always a great buzz at night and there’s something of a choice for everyone. Whether you're a fan of pints and ballads and trad or a disco queen with a penchant for cocktails we have it all here for you. 

We like to let our hair down in this neck of the woods and sometimes we go into the woods to do just that. Annual events include Belfast’s popular Belsonic Music Festival and the campers’ favourite, Stendhal Festival in Limavady. The long-running Belfast International Arts Festival gets better each year and has stiff competition from the younger Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival. 

Our ever-growing number of Distilleries and Breweries

Northern Ireland is renowned for its whiskey, so pay a visit to The Old Bushmills Distillery or Echlinville. If gin is more your thing, then take a trip to Rademon Estate Distillery where Shortcross gin is produced or Boatyard Distillery in County Fermanagh. 

We can’t go talking about the hard stuff without giving the local beers a mention. There has been a boom in micro-brewing these last few years in Northern Ireland and you can see how it all comes together at the Walled City Brewery in Derry-Londonderry or the wonderfully fun Hillstown Brewery in Randalstown. 

Our world-famous Golf 

Northern Ireland is home to some of the best links golf in the world. As well as Royal Portrush, which hosted The 148th Open in 2019, there are other gems like Portstewart and the beautiful Royal County Down near the Mourne Mountains. These courses are part of any golfing trip to the island of Ireland so make sure they're on your card. 

Our Giant outdoors and star-gazing

Northern Ireland's lush green fields, dramatic coastline and tranquil lakes make an amazing outdoor playground. We have stunning cycle routes and some of the best wreck-diving in the world. As if that were not enough you’ll find a heap of giant loughs and rapid rivers perfect for all levels of kayaking and paddleboarding. For those who like the gentle art of fishing, you’ll find plenty of space to cast your reel in these parts. 

Or have you ever tried bathing in a forest?  No costumes needed here, it’s the practice of slowing down and immersing yourself in the forest atmosphere.  Visitors to Minnowburn, just outside Belfast will be able to experience this calming practice on one of the 3 beds placed throughout the forest.  The beds are strategically placed to make the most of the sensational seasonal views and will be moved to different spots throughout the year.

If you fancy something a bit more adventurous to get your adrenaline pumping take a trip to Colin Glen, on the outskirts of Belfast and try Ireland’s first Alpine coaster and largest zipline.  Coast your way through the Belfast hills or traverse the ropes on the zipline – if you’re brave enough to try this at night, keep an eye out for seasonal SKYTrek by Starlight sessions.

Northern Ireland’s most remote parts can reward you with superb stargazing. The Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) have dazzled the north coast in recent years, and there are designated dark sky sites like the Sperrins where the new OM Dark Sky Park and Observatory will put the skies above in a whole new light for you. You can even sleep under them in some places. 

Our warm welcomes, great breakfasts and exceptional accommodation 

In Northern Ireland we use a five-level star grading system to indicate the standard of customer care, quality and range of facilities. From the uber-cool Bullitt and the iconic Titanic Hotel to quirky options like glamping, there is really something for everyone of every taste and every budget in Northern Ireland. 

Our exceptional food scene 

Following a designated Year of Food and Drink in 2016, there has been a real restaurant boom in Northern Ireland. If the truth be told, people were finding out about us already. Our meat and dairy produce are among the best in the world. A visit to St George's Market in Belfast is a must and while you’re here you really should try one of our Michelin-rated restaurants. Don’t forget your Ulster Fry and the sweet Yellowman treat.  

There has been an abundance of different foodie options popping up in Northern Ireland in recent years and one of Belfast’s newest additions is well worth a visit.  Common Market is a covered indoor market and caters for a variety of taste buds with lots of delicious food and drink stalls to choose from.  And bonus points for being dog-friendly so you can bring your four-legged mate with you.

 So that’s a small taster of what makes us great and what makes our adventures giant.  What are your favourites?  Join in the conversation online with #EmbraceAGiantSpirit.