Explore Belfast’s maritime heritage in 24 hours and take in the sights of Belfast Docks, Sailortown and Harland & Wolff. The itinerary includes the Out of Stores Exhibition in Titanic Belfast and dinner in the Novelli restaurant at City Quays, and an overnight stay in the AC Hotel Belfast.
Heritage – 24 hours
Make your way to the Big Fish at the west end of the Lagan footbridge. Here you can hop on a Belfast Bike and enjoy a leisurely morning cycle along the Maritime Mile. Start by heading up the path to City Quays, taking in the beautiful architecture of the Belfast Harbour Commissioners Offices before exploring Clarendon Dock – one of the oldest in Ireland dating from 1800. These are the old Belfast docks where sailing ships would offload nails & nuts, pigs & pins, boilers, books, bonnets, brooms, butter and gin from across the globe. Around them is the neighbourhood known as Sailortown which was a 5,000 strong community of sailors and mill workers gathered around the towering St. Joseph’s Church. This is an area rich in social history and you can discover a bit of it at the American Bar in Dock St. Cycle back along the quays to the footbridge and cross to the Titanic Quarter.
You’ll most likely be hungry at this stage so head up to the marina where you can get fantastic food to go at the Spar & Green Deli. Find a spot to sit down and take in the sights of Belfast’s new Titanic Quarter, a thriving tourist destination in the shadow of the famous yellow cranes, Samson and Goliath. Explore it on foot and get a sense of the size of the ships that were built here. If you have the time wander up to the Thompson Dock where the Titanic sat on the eve of her first voyage. No other place will give you a sense of the scale of the great ship.
Now you’ll be ready for more Titanic history and the one-hour Titanic Discovery Tour lets to walk in the footsteps of the men who built Titanic in Belfast’s historic shipyard. You will explore the history of the famous barrel-vaulted Harland & Wolff Drawing Offices where Titanic and the rest of the mighty ‘Olympic’ class ships were designed and discover some of the maritime metaphors hidden within the architectural design of Titanic Belfast.
Complete your day of maritime heritage with a visit to the free Out of Stores Exhibition in Titanic Belfast, a unique exhibition of Harland and Wolff artefacts celebrating the hard work and passion of the islandmen (shipyard workers). From draughtsman’s tools to tracing linen, an extra-large industrial sewing machine and a Thompson works theodolite these incredible items give you a real insight into shipbuilding during the Titanic era and beyond.
Finally, make your way back along the Maritime Mile to the Big Fish, and check in to the AC Hotel Belfast on Donegall Quay. Dinner is in Novelli at City Quays, the AC Hotel’s restaurant where you can thrill your palate with incredible Mediterranean fare by multi-Michelin-starred chef Jean Christophe Novelli. As you enjoy the finest locally sourced ingredients you can look out across Belfast Harbour to Titanic Belfast and the Great Light. What a day!
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