Shopping in Belfast
Shopping in Belfast has improved dramatically over the last few years. The CastleCourt shopping centre and the pedestrianised streets in and around Victoria Square are home to major stores, while independent businesses and smaller outlets, like those in Queen's Arcade and along Wellington Street, are giving them a run for their money. Don't miss St George's Market either - it's enjoying a revival at weekends.
Discerning shoppers should head for the designer boutiques along Ormeau Road, Bloomfield Avenue and Belmont Road, whilst Lisburn Road is known as the 'Style mile'.
St George's Market on East Bridge Street, opposite the Waterfront Hall, dates from 1896. Not content with being the oldest covered market in Ireland, it's among the best markets in the British Isles. Its Variety Market on Fridays (0600-1400) sells food, clothes, books, antiques and also features the largest indoor fish market in the country; the Saturday City Food and Garden Market (0900-1500) offers a wide range of local and continental high-quality specialist foods; while Sundays (1000-1600) are all about antiques.
Shopping in Belfast was spruced up with the arrival of the Victoria Square shopping centre offering 100-plus, chain-style shops and restaurants. Its viewing gallery, in a 35m-high (115ft) glass dome, features a great panorama over the city rooftops and dizzying views into the shopping complex. Meanwhile, Castle Court shopping centre, Royal Avenue, features more than 70 stores. The Outlet Village in Banbridge is about a 25-minute drive from the city and offers discounts of up to 70% on exclusive designer brands.
Generally, Belfast's shopping hours are Monday to Wednesday 0900-1800, Thursday 0900-2100, Friday and Saturday 0900-1800 and Sunday 1300-1800.
Irish music, jewellery, fudge, Guinness, whisky, shamrock-inspired crafts, pottery, perfumes, clothes made with Irish wool and Celtic-designed wares are among the most popular souvenirs in the city.