Flights to Belfast
Belfast is the capital and largest city of Northern Ireland and it’s in the east of the country on the coast where it acts as a major seaport. Belfast has been a centre for industry yet today it’s a thriving city offering culture, entertainment and more for those who visit.
There are two airports serving Belfast, the George Best Belfast City Airport, and the Belfast International Airport (airport code: BFS) which is about 22 kilometres outside of the city, in the town of Antrim. From South Africa a flight to Belfast will usually arrive at the international airport and there are 24-hour buses running between the airport and the city. Flights to Belfast that connect in London are offered by South African Airways, Virgin Atlantic and British Airways. They average around 16 hours long, including transfer times. KLM has connections in Amsterdam and London, and their flight to Belfast is slightly longer.
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The Tourist Attractions of Belfast:
Belfast had a bad reputation during the ‘troubles’ when there were plenty of bombings and shootings in the city between 1969 and 1997, but since 1998 this has really changed. Today Belfast is a thriving and safe city for visitors, and was in fact granted the award as the safest city in the UK. Tourists coming to Belfast today will see a revitalised city and have lots to keep them occupied!
Belfast City Hall
One of the grandest buildings in Belfast is the City Hall. It was started in 1898 and completed in 1906 and is one of the major Belfast landmarks. It’s a Baroque Revival building that has similarities with the Old Bailey in London. The grounds are particularly popular during the summer when people come here for lunch or to see the various statues and memorials. There’s a Garden of Remembrance with a Cenotaph which is a memorial to the war dead of the First World War, and there’s a Titanic memorial too.
The aptly named Cathedral Quarter of Belfast is where many of the city’s most historic buildings can be found, including St Anne’s Cathedral which sits right in the heart of this district. St Anne’s Cathedral is a very beautiful building that was started in 1899 and completed in 1904. Technically it’s not actually a cathedral but either way it’s well worth seeing.
The rest of the Cathedral Quarter contains some good little cafés and bars and an interesting assortment of historical buildings.
If you’re travelling to Belfast with children, all the architecture and history may become a little boring for them; a visit to Belfast Zoo should help! Opened in 1934 and set upon 55 acres Belfast Zoo is one of the top attractions in Northern Ireland and it’s home to over 1200 animals from 140 different species.
Belfast Botanic Gardens
Belfast Botanic Gardens is another popular attraction that was opened back in 1828. It features the Palm House that dates from 1840 and has local plants inside. There’s also a Tropical Ravine which is a unique attraction to Britain, while outside there are acres of lawns and gardens and plenty of nice places to sit and enjoy the atmosphere.
When Should You Visit?:
Like most of Britain Belfast has a temperate climate remaining mild on average across the year. Summers are usually the most popular time to visit though and there’s an average high of 18C from June to August, however July is the wettest month of the year. There’s less rainfall in the spring and mild temperatures – the average high in May is 15C for example.