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What To Do In Belfast When The City Re-Opens?

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Belfast’s stay-at-home order has been lifted after being in place for more than three months, as further Covid lockdown restrictions ease.

Outdoor spaces such as parks and gardens are open, and outdoor sport has been able to resume. Restaurants, cafés and all retail businesses are also able to open for takeaway and click and collect services.

For upcoming easing of restrictions, here are some dates to save in your diary:

From 23 April

  • Outdoor visitor attractions can reopen

From 30 April

  • All shops can reopen
  • Pubs, cafés and restaurants can reopen outdoor eating and drinking (for six people from two households)
  • Caravan parks and self-contained accommodation can reopen
  • Curfews for off-sales and takeaways will be removed
  • Outdoor gatherings can take place with up to 15 people from three households

From 24 May (indicative date)

  • Restaurants, cafés and pubs can recommence indoor service
  • All tourist accommodation will be permitted to reopen
  • Indoor visitor attractions can reopen

For the latest government advice, go to nidirect.gov.uk.

Outdoor Attractions – Belfast

Picking in the Belfast Park

We can finally enjoy brighter and warmer days. This is the perfect occasion to go on a picnic. You can also support local places whilst getting some takeaway food and drinks. And when it comes to parks and picking that perfect picnic spot? There’s plenty of places that you can enjoy.

Here are our top favourite:

  • Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park,
  • Botanic Park
  • Lagan Meadows
  • Belvoir Forest Park
  • Belfast Castle Grounds
  • Victoria Park

If you want to stay more active then, these places will be perfect for a walk/hike or even a run:

  • Cavehill
  • Divis and the Black Mountain

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Rent a Belfast Bike

While Belfast may not necessarily be known worldwide for its acclaimed cyclists, rest assured that the cycling routes here are still spectacular. As a result of its improved cycle paths, recent years have seen cycling flourish in the North’s historical capital. With beautiful, green parks sprawling over the city centre and Belfast’s iconic Lagan River running through scenic hotspots, cyclists are utterly spoiled for choice.

With that in mind, why not ditch your car and see Belfast by bicycle instead?

Get around Belfast with Belfast Bikes.

Did you know that there are 46 docking stations located throughout the city centre that offer residents and visitors to Belfast a new low cost and convenient way to travel? Invite some friends and go on an adventure.

Here are our top picks:

  • Lagan Towpath – one of the best routes for cycling in Belfast

  • Belfast Lough – lose yourself in the history of Belfast’s docks

  • Newtownabbey Way – for a woodland adventure

Outdoor sport has also resumed – that means golf courses have reopened and certain outdoor activity centres have opened for sports like mountain biking, open water swimming, archery, fishing and more.

Let’s Go Hydro

Let’s Go Hydro has everything you need to play, eat and relax. If you’re looking for a family day out, it’s the perfect place for everyone to find something they want to do. Not to mention, it’s also Ireland’s largest inflatable aqua park.

Activities include:
Floating inflatable Aqua Park, Aqua rugby, Kayaking, Canoeing, Stand-up paddleboarding, Forest walks, Cable watersports, Glamping, Camping and lastly, Luxury alternative accommodation with plenty of eating options.

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We Are Vertigo

As the only indoor inflatable fun world on the island of Ireland, We Are Vertigo offers the ultimate day out to remember right in the heart of Belfast. With a range of sessions to choose from at We are Vertigo, there is something to suit everyone and all ages. Activities range from Indoor SkyDiving, Adventure Climbing, Inflatable Park and more.

Belfast Zoo

Now that the Covid-19 restrictions continue to be eased across the UK & Northern Ireland, outdoor attractions are finally permitted to open again soon. As one of the oldest visitor attractions in Northern Ireland, many visitors have fond memories of visiting the gardens, which have been home to the animals since 1934. Belfast Zoo is now a leading and award-winning visitor attraction in Northern Ireland, with more than 200,000 visitors each year. Furthermore, it’s home to more than 140 species of animal, many of which are in danger in their natural habitat.

Titanic Belfast

Unfortunately, the museum and indoor attraction of the Titanic building is still closed until further notice… but knowing that Belfast is widely known by “Titanic” we had to include this on our list. Among being the World’s largest Titanic visitor experience and must-see attraction in Northern Ireland, it also gives provides you with the perfect scenery for a walk or a bike ride on one of the Belfast Bike’s mentioned above.

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Shops & Retail – Belfast

All of the shops got a green light for opening their click and collect services, and many of Belfast’s independent retailers have online stores on their websites. Also, from the 30th of April, all retail will be able to re-open their doors.

What are the shops that you are looking forward to visiting the most?

In shopping locally, not only are you helping to strengthen the local economy, but you’re more likely to find original and unique products!

Visit St. George’s Market

St George’s Market is one of Belfast’s oldest attractions and one of the best markets in the UK and Ireland. As well as being home to some of the finest fresh produce, with customers travelling near and far to sample the delights of Friday, Saturday and Sunday markets, it has become one of the city’s most popular places to visit.

Sawers

Established in 1897, Sawers is full of culinary delights. Serving only the best in fresh seafood, olives, cheese, charcuterie, cooked meats, Italian pastries, deli to go, oils, game, preserves, marmalades, teas, coffees and much more. So why not visit and check out the extensive selection of local products as well as the best gourmet cuisine from all around the globe. Shopping at local, independent stores has many benefits and it often works like a chain reaction: by purchasing from local shops, you’re helping those businesses grow, sell more goods from the area and employ members of the local community, which keeps money circulating around your neighbourhood.

Victoria Square

Victoria Square is Northern Ireland’s premier shopping and leisure destination, with over 70 fabulous stores and restaurants suitable for the whole family. Aside from being one of the biggest shopping centres in Northern Ireland, it’s also a viewing Gallery. Its Dome viewing gallery offers a stunning 360-degree view of the city.

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Memento

Were you amongst the people that went crazy over plants and flowers during the first lockdown? Yes? No?

No matter what the answer is, we have the perfect place for your shopping list. When supporting local, don’t forget to pop into Memento, which is a local florist located on the Ormeau Road in Belfast. Specialising not only in beautiful flower bouquets and plants but also in home and lifestyle products. And when things are completely back to normal, you can sign up for one of the workshops held at Memento.

Food & Drink – Belfast

From local coffee shops to fine dining and everything in between, Belfast offers a range of culinary experiences.

James St. South

Aside from one of the best restaurant’s in the heart of Northern Ireland, James  St.South also offers a different outtake on culinary experience, the cookery school. Browse some of our favourite picks below:

” … whether you are a first timer in the kitchen or a really good amateur cook, a parent who wants to spice up the weekly meal planner or a fair weather BBQ king or queen our classes are there to suit everyone. ” – James St.South

The Juice Jar

The Juice Jar is the place that Belfast was missing. It’s now one of the top spots for a healthy pick up in the city. Pay them a visit whilst walking through the city to pick up your dose of vitamins in the form of a healthy shake, smoothie bowl or energy-boosting coffee.

Afterall…

” Your health is your wealth ” – Juice Jar

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General Merchants

Are you a coffee lover? Perhaps, you prefer tea or hot chocolate? Maybe even a healthy snack, breakfast, brunch or lunch? General Merchants is the place you should visit. They are located in East Belfast, Ormeau Road, Forestside and have also one more location called 5A on Stramills. This makes it a great spot for a visit when out walking or shopping.

Deanes EIPIC

If you’re one of the people that can’t wait to enjoy a meal at a restaurant and want to make it a memorable experience, try Deanes EIPIC. The Michelin Star Deanes EIPIC restaurant serves the very best of local ingredients, cooked to the highest of standards. It serves not just the food but also, the entire experience of dining, which makes it highly desirable.

Villa Italia

Villa Italia is a family-run pizzeria restaurant established in 1988 in the heart of South Belfast, just a stone’s throw from Queen’s University. A listed Georgian building, its success as one of Belfast’s most popular eateries. Who isn’t a fan of pizza and pasta?! Inside you can enjoy the rustic Italian charm of our interiors; picturesque murals, terracotta tiles, hanging grapevines and the subtle smell of garlic in the air… maybe we can’t go on a holiday just yet, but if you’re missing the holiday atmosphere and want to be transformed to Italy, then this place deserves your visit.

Try Coffee Caravans

What’s better than a walk in fresh air and a cup of tea or coffee to spice up your day and makes you feel like we are back living our normal lives without the usual boring routine? Coffee Caravans have been very popular across Northern Ireland, especially when the only time we could get a nice treat and a “cuppa” was through ordering it for a takeaway. Then coffee caravans started popping up in one of the nicest locations, and this made our lives (coffee lovers ) a lot brighter. These are our favourite picks:

Coop Coffee Co.

This retro caravan is located on the Upper Malone Road and is a recent sensation ( all thanks to its beautiful aesthetic and plenty of TikTok’s and Reels ) We also need to mention that the Coop Coffee Co. had an amazing initiative celebrating Earth Day by “Lagan Clean Up”. All participants could earn a free coffee by collecting litter in the area. Furthermore, as part of the Coop Coffee menu, you can now order a puppuccino for your dog to enjoy while you get your coffee fix. It’s a win-win as who wouldn’t want to make their furry friend happy?

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Coop Coffee Co. 

The Foxy Tail Coffee Caravan

Located at the Stormont Hotel Carkpark, it gives you the opportunity to walk around the  Stormont Estate and the Parliament Building along with the Stormont Castle. It’s also nice scenery for a picnic or a day out with your kids as the area has a big playpark called the Mo Mowlam Play Park. Similarly, as to the above, you can also treat your dogs to the “pupuccino” which is free of charge but you can give back by donating to the animal charity/sanctuary at the coffee van.

It’s worth mentioning that the Foxy Tail Coffee & Prosecco Company is…

 “A fully equipped coffee & prosecco bar, this is the ultimate addition to any event, be it your wedding, a corporate event to impress or even just to treat your staff …” 

This makes it a great addition to spice up your pending summer events!

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The Foxy Tail Coffee & Prosecco Company

What is your favourite place in Belfast?

We can’t wait to find out about the places that made your ” To Visit ” list as our city re-opens just in time for brighter days and warmer temperatures! Let us know in the comment section about your upcoming plans for the next few weeks.

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