Despite its challenging history, Belfast is fast becoming a hugely popular tourist destination for those looking to get away for a few days. There is certainly plenty to see and do. In the latest of our Accessible Getaways series, Quingo Scooters looks at just a few of the fantastic things you can enjoy during a few days in this great city.
Where to start? There’s so much to explore in Belfast’s various quarters, from the cobbled streets around its cathedral and its Game of Thrones connection to the hundreds of great bars and restaurants and of course its sites of historic and cultural importance like the Peace Walls and its many murals. Here’s our pick.
- Go for a Black Cab tour
It’s not just London that’s famed for its black cabs. Belfast has its own version too and hiring one for a tour is a great way to get an insight into this fascinating city, its history and its culture. Like in London, Belfast cabbies always have plenty to say, so you’re sure to learn a lot about the city along the way. So much of the city’s history, good and bad, has come down to the significance of different areas and the relationships between communities, and few people understand the geography, and people, of a city better than a cab driver.
The cabs used by Belfast Taxi Tours, one of a number of operators, are all fully accessible. We recommend contacting them directly to discuss your particular requirements here.
- Visit the birthplace of the Titanic
The loss of the Titanic is one of the most enduring and tragic stories in maritime history and it began in the Harland & Wolff shipyards in Belfast. After the decline of shipbuilding in the city (a tragic story in itself), the land was transformed into the Titanic Quarter. Today, it’s home to Titanic Belfast, home of the world’s largest Titanic visitor experience. The museum tells the Titanic story across nine different galleries and you can even walk on the decks of the last White Star vessel, the SS Nomadic. The Slipways themselves, where the great ships were once launched, is also an unmissable experience. It was awarded Europe’s Leading Tourist Attraction and the World’s Leading Tourist Attraction by the World Tourism Awards a couple of years ago, and its easy to see why.
As you’d expect from one of Europe’s leading attractions, the Titanic Belfast is fully accessible. You won’t be able to take your scooter onto the Shipyard Ride, but other than that all attractions are easily accessed via level access. There are also lifts to all levels. Blue Badge holders do have to pay for parking here – there are ten accessible spaces available. Find out more here.
- Take in the Peace Walls and Murals
Around half of the people who died during The Troubles in Northern Ireland did so in Belfast, and the city still bears the scars of that conflict today. A visit to the Peace Walls is an important reminder of that past, and the way in which the city was once divided. The Northern Irish government has said it will remove them all by 2023, but it is a hugely controversial subject. The barriers were built to separate Protestant and Catholic communities, and today along with the city’s many murals it is well worth taking time to see them. The best way to visit the walls and the powerful murals that have been painted on many city buildings is to take a Black Cab tour.
The walls and murals are on typical residential Belfast streets and roads, so in that sense they are easily accessible. However, if you’re taking a Black Cab tour – which we recommend – the cabs are also fully accessible.
- The Ulster Museum
From dinosaurs to Egyptian mummies, meteorites to beautifully polished stone axes and treasure from the Spanish Armada, the Ulster Museum is a must visit. There’s an exhibition on The Troubles, and a Game of Thrones tapestry, as well as the peaceful Botanical Gardens next door where you can relax afterwards.
The Museum car park is free for Blue Badge holders, and there are five designated bays available. Some of the surfaces leading to the entrance are uneven, so you may need some assistance, but the museum itself is fully accessible with a lift to all floors. To find out more, visit here for a full guide.
Where to stay
There are plenty of places to stay in Belfast, from great B&Bs to stunning 5 star hotels. We recommend the city centre if you’re staying a few days, to cut down on travel time, but the historic Cathedral Quarter also makes for a more interesting alternative. It’s packed with great cafes and pubs too. Queens Quarter is more focused around students, but is still a vibrant place to base yourself for a few days.
Belfast has a great range of places to eat out, to suit any budget. If you’re looking for an affordable breakfast, we recommend Conor, which is locally-sourced comfort food in a lovely environment.
You’ve also got plenty of choice for lunch. We love the West Gourmet Sandwich Bar which is accessible and great if you’re in the centre of town. It’s always busy and friendly. Find out more on Facebook here.
One of the best things about Belfast is how straightforward it is to get to for visitors from the rest of the UK. It’s a short hop by plane, with Flybe, Aer Lingus, British Airways, KLM and Eastern Airways all servicing Belfast City Airport. You can also fly to Belfast International Airport with EasyJet, Ryanair, Jet2, Wizz and Norwegian Airlines.
An alternative is the ferry. There are a number of lines running from Liverpool, Cairnryan and the Isle of Man. And if you’re coming by car, the M1 is the main road into the city from Dublin.
The Quingo Scooter range features six models to suit your needs and budget. New models are now available from just £22/week on our new contract hire scheme which includes all servicing and maintenance, Insurance, Roadside Recovery, Call Outs and Consumables including Batteries and Tyres. For more information on this or the latest Quingo Scooter range, please visit our website. Alternatively, if you have any service questions you can always contact us or call customer services on 01582 430 900.
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