With only roughly an hours drive from our nights stay glamping in Cushendall we found ourselves in Belfast city centre, for a two night stay.
The hotel that we booked was Etap Hotel . This hotel is right in the heart of Belfast city centre near the central train station.It offers modest prices and friendly reception staff. A bright spacious foyer greets you as the enter the hotel, I particularly liked the vibrant green colours as they were fresh and bright.There is free WiFi throughout the hotel and the front desk is manned 24/7. There is also snacks and drinks for sale in this area which is very handy. They do offer a buffet breakfast which is good value but having not eaten breakfast there I can’t comment on how good.
The rooms are small enough but sufficient and more importantly were clean. The shower and toilet are separate but when you step out of shower you are actually in the bedroom, I did not personally like this feature but nor was it a problem. Rooms can cater for three as there is a double bed with single bunk above it, however if three adults it may be a bit of a squash, probably more ideal for two adults and a child. Our room looked out on to the beer garden of Filthy Mcnastys a very busy spot, was not a problem for us as we were staying midweek and noise level was ok, it may differ of a weekend night.
All in all I would definitely recommend staying at this hotel, great location , clean and bright, and friendly staff which always helps. There are several eatires just steps away from hotel such as pizza joints, chinese, nandos and Wetherspoons.However, there is no on site car parking facilities at hotel , but directly across the street is the cinema car park and they do you a discounted rate if you mention to them you are staying at hotel, works out about £9.50 a day.
What to do…
So with just two days to explore the city we pretty much knew what we wanted to do. As always my most favorite thing to start with is the city sightseeing hop on hop off bus. Our hotel was kind enough to ring the tour for us who collected us in a smaller bus to bring us to stop number 1 so as not to miss anything.The bus has about 20 stops , covering Titanic Experience, Crumlin Road Jail, Odyssey Pavilion, City hall, Falls Road, Shankill Memorial Garden and many more. The bus does stop at Parliament Buildings , which is absolutely beautiful as I had seen on a previous bus tour, however it does not make this stop before 10 or after 15.30 so if it is something you would like to see try work your bus stops around this. The bus ticket costs £12,50 and valid for two days so realistically you could spread it out if you wanted. Stop no 4 was Titanic so that’s where we decided to depart the bus. It stops just across the street from the entrance, you would need to allow at least a few hours as you will need it to get around and see all that is on offer..
Titanic experience offers a self guided tour where you can delve deeper into the Titanic Story. There are 9 interactive galleries for you to experience the tale of one of the worlds most famous ships. At the beginning of the tour you learn all about why the Titanic was built-in this city and about the industries that were booming back then.As you move onto the shipyard, there is an interactive floor and you can view different blueprints of the ship and also stand at the top of a gantry. Shipyard ride is worth taking , there may be a few minutes wait but line moves quick enough. You can not imagine the heat these people worked in until you have taken the ride. Moving along there is a 3D tour from the boiler room up to the deck of ship. I loved this feature stood on it twice , I felt like I walked up those amazing stairs and like I was in the dining room of Titanic. There are so many artefacts to view from menus used on board to the type of curtains and carpets that it was fitted with, to the story’s of survivors. I found it to be interesting, overwhelming and sad all at same time. I would advice at least three hours to go around at a minimum as there is a lot to see and read.If you took the sightseeing bus they will give you a discount of £3.oo of the entry price.
Escape Room – Belfast
Escape Room Major Plott’s Revenge is spy escape game , where you must enter the office of an evil spymaster and escape with his secret dossier. You are locked in the office and against the clock for 60 minutes. My god it is the quickest 60 minutes ever. There are several units and boxes all locked some with padlocks needing keys and some which need 3 or 4 digit codes, and its up to you to use your intelligence and with to try open these which in turn lead to another clue or item.It is a bit harder than you would think, I don’t want to give too much away, but it is so much fun and it went way to fast. There is a monitor from which you will be given clues if needed as there is loads of cctv in the room and they can see how you are progressing through out the game .Communication is the key lol…. I highly recommend this game and can’t wait to play it again.
If you are a fan of splashing the cash there is no shortage of shops here.There are high street stores, designer boutiques, markets and the incredible Victoria Square and CastleCourt shopping centres – they are all within close walking distance of each other.
Most shops are open Monday – Wednesday 9am – 6pm, Thursday 9am – 9pm, Friday and Saturday 9am – 6pm and Sunday 1pm – 6pm.
Belfast is an amazing city to visit and there is so much more to do than the few things I mentioned such as musuems and cultural experiences, pubs clubs and much more. Definitely worth a visit if your looking for a city break that has it all.