Our cheap birthday break turned out to be a fantastic adventure filled with laughter, good drinks, and plenty of exploration. It all began at Newcastle airport, where we kicked off the festivities in style at the Aspire Plus lounge. A few quiet drinks and some delicious food set the tone for a relaxing journey ahead.
With EasyJet as our carrier, the short hop to Belfast was a breeze. Upon arrival at Belfast airport, we hopped on a bus straight to the city's bus station. Little did we know that our hotel, the Hampton by Hilton, was conveniently located right next to the bus station exit. Talk about a stroke of luck!
Check-in at the hotel was quick and easy, thanks to the jolly receptionist who greeted us with a warm smile. Our room, a standard Hilton affair, was clean, functional, and had all the essentials for a short city break. After a speedy change of clothes, we were ready to hit the streets and get our bearings.
But before diving into exploration mode, we made a beeline for the famous Crown pub, craving a pint or two of the legendary black stuff. Sipping on our delicious pints, we soaked in the cozy atmosphere and chatted with the friendly locals. It was the perfect way to start our Belfast adventure.
To see the city's sights, we decided to hop on one of those big red buses, a trusty favorite of ours. Not only did it provide a convenient mode of transportation, but the hop-on-hop-off feature made it a breeze to get around. The bus commentary was surprisingly informative, covering everything from local attractions to delving into Belfast's past, particularly the Troubles.
Speaking of attractions, Belfast had plenty to offer. We made a point to visit the Crumlin Road Prison, with its eerie underground tunnel and fascinating old courtrooms. The Titanic Museum, although not exactly what we expected, still offered a glimpse into the history and craftsmanship behind the famous ship.
One of the stops on the bus tour was the Titanic Belfast, a must-visit for any Titanic enthusiast. The museum was incredibly well-designed, with interactive exhibits that brought the story of the ill-fated ship to life. I couldn't resist taking a cheesy photo pretending to be the king of the world on a replica of the Titanic's grand staircase.
After the museum visit, we decided to explore the city on foot. We wandered through the streets, taking in the vibrant murals that depict the Troubles, a significant period of conflict in Northern Ireland's history. It was fascinating to see how art has been used to convey powerful messages and express the hopes and dreams of the people.
No city break is complete without a visit to a market, and St. George's Market on a Sunday morning was a true delight. The food stalls tempted us with their mouthwatering array of choices (perfect for nursing a hangover), while the craft and "tat" stalls added a touch of local charm.
Now, let's talk about the Irish spirit! Celebrating a birthday in Belfast meant immersing ourselves in the lively pub scene. A couple of pints of the black stuff and a few Irish whiskeys, accompanied by live music, were all the entertainment we needed. The city had no shortage of venues to enjoy these indulgences.
Three days in Belfast felt like a whirlwind, with so much to see and do. The vibrant energy, the friendly people, and the rich history left a lasting impression on us. In fact, I'm already itching to return for a longer stay because, let's face it, three days is simply not enough time to soak up all the magic Belfast has to offer.
So, if you're looking for a light-hearted and adventure-filled city break, Belfast should definitely be on your list. Sláinte!