My now-not-so-little-sister, who turned 30 this weekend, is currently living it up in the city of Belfast, so last month I hopped across the sea for an action packed weekend of sightseeing, eating and exploring!
We packed in a lot for a few days and I came away with a great sense of this buzzing city: an explosion for the senses with friendly locals; live music; great vegan food options and lots to see and do, all within walking distance.
Here are my highlights:
Rooftop bar – we enjoyed drinks before dinner on Friday evening at The Perch, a quirky hidden gem that if you can skip the lift for the stairs you might even nab a seat at. It’s a converted Victorian warehouse and although it doesn’t have any views of Belfast, like a rooftop might imply, it does make up for that by the decor, live music and atmosphere.
Tess booked a table (do, it was was super busy and rightly so) at Yugo for dinner and their veggie/vegan menu was superb – sushi platters (great value), bao buns (above), curries and tasty sides! I would highly recommend.
Parkrun – what better way to start your Saturday and in Belfast there are over 10 to choose from! We headed to the nearby Ormeau parkrun, which is a beautiful green open space with some lovely forest trails thrown in for good measure.
Remember 1. your barcode and 2. like Scotland, it’s a 9.30am start!
Breakfast – for post-parkrun coffees and fuel, we headed to 387 Ormeau Road vegan cafe just a 10 minute walk from the park. They serve up a bangin’ avo toast, coffees, cakes and have a little whole foods shop too.
Promise me you’ll try their fifteens cake though – a Northern Irish specialty, it’s an incredible fridge cake with cherries, marshmallows and coconut. So good with a cuppa.
St George’s Market – after a stroll into town, stopping off to watch the crowds as it was Pride weekend! we headed into one of the city’s oldest attractions, the market hall. We wandered round the many stalls and food tents inside and finally picked Nomad Kitchen for lunch and their delish Lebanese-style open wraps with beetroot hummus, avo, salad and pickles. You could spend hours here, sitting eating and people watching, listening to music and moseying around the craft stalls, even if it’s just a little window shopping.
Theatre – on Saturday evening we got a little cultural and I would highly recommend checking out what’s on to grab some tickets if you fancy a bit of a different night out. We loved watching Paperboy at The Lyric, but there’s also The MAC and the Grand Opera House to check out as venues.
Belfast Castle and Cave Hill walk
On Sunday morning we got up early-ish to jump on a bus out of town to see the city’s castle and get a bit of fresh air with a stroll up to Cave Hill. It was too nice a day to be inside and tour the castle, but we did see a bit of the gardens and grounds before following the path towards the hilltop for some incredible views across the city and out to the sea. The walk isn’t well marked if I’m honest, but follow your nose, keep climbing and you’ll get there.
Last lunch – before flying home we stopped off for lunch in the sunshine at cute cafe, Down Tools. They have some good vegan options, great coffee and a nice laid back vibe.
Eating out in Belfast as a vegan felt so easy, or maybe it was my super host showing me the best places! but everywhere was accommodating and the food was delicious!
Let me know if you know any hidden gems in Belfast or you’re planning a trip soon!