How do you rate Belfast?
Living in Belfast
Queen’s University in Belfast has a great location; close to the waterfront and right on top of all the main attractions that Northern Ireland’s Capital has on offer.
There’s a lot here for sports fans, with professional football and rugby teams playing at venues in the city, and an ice hockey team at the Odyssey Arena. There’s also the Gaelic games played over at Casement Park. These games are unique to Ireland and if you’ve not watched them before the vicious speed and skill of a hurling match is really something to see.
Belfast is cheaper than most cities of a similar size in the rest of the UK, so you can really get your money’s worth when you go shopping. Two key places to know about are the Victoria Square Shopping Centre, which includes over 50 shops, restaurants and a cinema, and St George’s Market. This historic market is over 150 years old but is still a major part of city life and a great place to track down some bargains.
There are several cinemas in the city, including the QFT art house cinema that’s run on the Queen’s campus, and a good number of theatres. The nightlife here is as good as you’d hope, and there’s a fairly even mix of pubs, clubs and bars to suit everybody - of course with the usual student favourites like The Bot and Laverys. However it’s the live music scene in Belfast that is truly fantastic, with a huge variety of venues showcasing live acts from traditional Irish right up to contemporary mainstream music. Bigger venues include the Odyssey Arena, Waterfront Hall and Ulster Hall, but it seems like every other pub in Belfast has a band in it too, so try out a few different ones and find your favourite.
It’s raining! What can I do?
- Get cultured: Belfast’s history is culturally rich and intensely political, and you can find out all about it at the Armagh County Museum. Then again, you could just go the Ulster Museum instead and enjoy the dinosaurs and Egyptian mummies. Who doesn’t love a 10ft high reindeer?
- The Titanic: It’s impossible to talk about Northern Ireland’s capital city without mentioning the ill-fated Titanic, which was built and launched from Belfast’s drydocks. Recently the city has been celebrating this part of its impressive engineerings heritage more, so if that floats your boat the Titanic Belfast experience in its iconic building is easy to find.
- Get cultured: The Grand Opera House, Lyric Theatre and Tinderbox Theatre provide a range of shows, comedy and music acts. Check out their websites to see what takes your fancy.
Good to know
- Bus: The Metro service runs from the centre to the outskirts of the city in several directions, while Ulsterbus connects you up with the rest of Northern Ireland. Check their websites for routes and times.
- Taxi: Value Cabs or Fonacab
- Ferry: As long as the weather’s good, there will be between 2 and 6 ferries going between Dublin port and Liverpool per day.
Read Belfast Reviews
Coming from England, a train return ticket to the nearest town over is £18. Here, you can go across the entirety of Northern Ireland with a return for £4! Renting is super cheap too. A 3 bedroom house with a garden costs around £500 a month, which split between three people is pennies! Pubs are really popular here, with people turning up with their own instruments to play music and everyone coming over for a chat. You can't go on a night out here without making a bunch of new friends. There are some really amazing nightclubs too, all of them so different to one another that you have to go to them all to find out what one is your style. Victoria Square is the main shopping centre, although there are multiple. It's extremely pretty with a large selection of shops. It is also only a couple minutes walk away from the Titanic quarter which is an absolutely gorgeous place of the city. Restaurants are also dirt cheap. Me and my boyfriend have gone out on date nights and spent £25
Cheap and safe. Belfast gets a bad reputation for what happened 40-50 years ago but the reality is its now one of the safest places in the UK due to incredibly well-trained police and security. Public transport can be hit or miss, so expect to arrive 5-10 minutes later than the bus service tells you to. Food quality is very high due to Northern Ireland being an agriculture-driven economy.
Belfast is only a wee place, you can walk it in a day which makes it a good university city. On top of that the people are the friendliest you could hope to meet and it's cheap to live. It's also better than England, being Ireland.