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Belfast Premier Inn Hotel
Category: Cities

Visit Belfast – A Renewed City of Style and Culture

by Keith on 1 Feb 2012

Magnificent but underestimated, Belfast is an impressive city that fascinates visitors year round with its glorious art scene and intriguing heritage. The capital of Northern Ireland, it has been overshadowed for decades by Dublin and other destinations throughout the isle. This is mostly due to its former reputation as a city full of conflict and prejudice, but times have changed dramatically. Not only has Belfast reinvented itself cosmetically, but a national survey recently found the city to be one of the safest in the United Kingdom.Belfast Premier Inn Hotel

The success of the reinvention of Belfast is largely due to urban regeneration projects. Of these, the most acclaimed is the Titanic Quarter, a waterfront development partially constructed on the old shipping yards of Harland and Wolff, the company that built the Titanic. Overlooking Belfast Harbour, the vision for the Titanic Quarter is to establish a centre for science, technology, and entrepreneurship. It will also become a cultural hub comprised of apartments, hotels, entertainment venues, restaurants, and tourist attractions. Numerous companies have invested in the area. The first hotel to commence business in the Titanic Quarter was the Titanic Quarter Premier Inn, and the Belfast Metropolitan College moved one of its main campuses to the area, closing several of its other campuses in the process.

Belfast Titanic Quarter

Regeneration projects such as the Titanic Quarter have inspired the rest of the city to follow suit. Countless businesses have revamped their premises, especially restaurants, accommodations, and shopping centres. This has earned Belfast the prestige of having some of the trendiest hotels in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Glamorous red carpet events frequent the streets such as the MTV European Music Awards and the Belfast Festival, a celebration of the arts. The reopening of Victoria Square in city centre welcomed the inauguration of retailers new to Northern Ireland, including Urban Outfitters and All Saints. It also introduced to the public the largest House of Fraser in the United Kingdom.

Belfast City Hall

Though the skyline of Belfast is transforming, longstanding attractions still enthuse visitors to the city, honouring its legacy. Victorian and Edwardian architecture is prevalent across Belfast, the finest example being City Hall. Designed by Alfred Brumwell Thomas and completed in 1906, the grounds of the iconic building house The Garden of Remembrance and Cenotaph, a war memorial. Likewise, the Grand Opera House and Queen’s University Belfast endorse the elaborate beauty of Victorian structures.

Belfast Castle

Belfast Castle is a stunning Scottish Baronial castle situated in Cave Hill Country Park. Finished in 1870, it replaced two castles of the same name that successively came to ruin in city centre. Just outside of Belfast in Cultra is the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum. One of the largest tourist attractions in Ireland, it contains a series of reconstructed settlements that chronicle traditional Irish customs. In preparation for the centennial anniversary of the sailing of the Titanic, the museum has launched an exhibition dedicated to the ship and its passengers.

The healthy expansion of Belfast continues as contemporary elements are integrated alongside old institutions. The scars of the past are nearly invisible in this is fresh, cosmopolitan city where fashion and history mingle. With 2012 being the centenary of the Titanic disaster it is fitting that Belfast assuages some of that memory and the city deserves its place on lists of must-see destinations for this year.

Belfast also provides an excellent base from where to visit the rest of Northern Ireland where awaits gorgeous scenery of rolling hills and lochs, a forbidding and craggy coastline and timeless villages where the welcome is warm and the beer is cold.

It’s reasonable to assess that Belfast could soon outshine its southern competition to become the favourite destination in Ireland.