Belfast Weather

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Local time Belfast

Currency

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Travel to Belfast

Flying to Belfast

Flights to Belfast from elsewhere in the UK include a mix of low-cost and scheduled airlines, including Aer Lingus, British Airways, Flybe and easyJet. Connecting flights are available from the USA. Cheap flights to Belfast are available during the autumn and winter when temperatures fall, and the weather is more unpredictable.

Flight times

From London - 1 hour 15 minutes; New York - 9 hours 30 minutes (including stopover); Los Angeles - 13 hours 10 minutes (including stopover); Toronto - 10 hours 10 minutes (including stopover); Sydney - 26 hours (including stopover).

Travel by road

The rules of the road in Northern Ireland are the same as in the rest of the UK. Traffic drives on the left. Speed limits are 48kph (30mph) in urban areas, 113kph (70mph) on motorways and dual carriageways, or 80kph (50mph) or 97kph (60mph) as marked. The minimum driving age is 17. Drivers must be insured and possess vehicle registration documents. The two major motoring organisations, the AA (tel: +44 800 887 766; www.theaa.com) and the RAC (tel: +44 844 891 3111; www.rac.co.uk) are good sources of information.

Emergency breakdown services

AA (tel: 0800 887 766, in the UK); RAC (tel: 0333 2000 999, in the UK).

Routes

From Dublin and the south, the M1 motorway (this is a toll road) is well signposted for Belfast. It ends at Newry (61km/38 miles south of Belfast) and becomes the A1, which re-joins a different stretch of M1 then the A12 to the city centre. From the ferry port of Larne, take the A8 and then the M2, which goes right into the city centre. From Ballymena, Antrim and the north, the M22 joins the M2.

Coaches

National Express (tel: +44 871 781 8181; www.nationalexpress.com) services run to Belfast from mainland Britain, via Stranraer, with connections to destinations throughout Northern Ireland. Translink Goldline (tel: +44 28 9066 6630; www.translink.co.uk) operates services within Northern Ireland as well as to Dublin. The main bus and coach station is Europa Buscentre located at Glengall Street, off Great Victoria Street.

Time to city

From Dublin - 2 hours; Derry - 1 hour 30 minutes; Ballycastle - 1 hour 5 minutes; Omagh - 1 hour 15 minutes.

Travel by Rail

Services

You can reach Belfast from most towns and cities in Ireland, north and south, via an integrated bus and rail network.

There are four railway stations in Belfast. Belfast Central Station, East Bridge Street, located close to the Waterfront Hall and St George’s Market, is a 10-minute walk from the city centre. This station offers services to Dublin and other spots in Northern Ireland. Great Victoria Street Station, Botanic Station and City Hospital Station offer suburban rail services.

Operators

Translink (tel: +44 28 9066 6630; www.translink.co.uk) operates Northern Ireland's bus and rail network. The Translink Enterprise rail service runs eight times daily from Belfast Central Station to Dublin.

If you're travelling from Scotland, Scotrail (tel: +44 344 811 0141; www.scotrail.co.uk) sells Rail & Sail tickets, which are valid from any station in Scotland to Belfast via Ayr and Cairnryan. This includes the ferry crossing from Cairnryan.

Steam train journeys in vintage carriages are also available from Belfast (tel: +44 28 9358 6200; www.steamtrainsireland.com) on select dates.

Journey times

From Dublin - 2 hours 10 minutes; Bangor - 30 minutes; Lisburn - 25 minutes; Portadown - 35 minutes.

Transfer

A free bus links Belfast Central Station to the city centre on production of a train ticket.

Travel by boat

There are frequent passenger sailings each day from Belfast Harbour (tel: +44 28 9055 4422; www.belfast-harbour.co.uk), as well as from Larne Port (tel: +44 28 2887 2100; www.portoflarne.co.uk), which is about 35 minutes' drive from the city. During the summer months, international cruise ships also call at Belfast.

Ferry operators

Stena Line (tel: +44 344 770 7070; www.stenaline.co.uk) offers services to Belfast from Liverpool (journey time - 8 hours) and from Cairnryan, Scotland (journey time - 2 hours 15 minutes). P&O Ferries (tel: +44 130 444 888; www.poferries.com) operates crossings from Cairnryan (journey time - 2 hours) and Troon (journey time - 2 hours 15 minutes) to Larne. The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company (tel: +44 8722 992 992; www.steam-packet.com) runs ferries from the Isle of Man to Belfast (journey time - 2 hours 45 minutes).

Transfer

Translink (tel: +44 28 9066 6630; www.translink.co.uk) runs rail services from Belfast Central Station to Larne Port. The journey takes about 50 minutes. It is then a 10-minute walk to the port.

Port Website

Featured Hotels

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Tara Lodge

Located in the heart of the Queens Quarter, near the vivacious Botanic Avenue, this stylish 4-star hotel offers affordable luxury. With 34 rooms to choose from, all come with comfy beds, white and gold furnishings and large bathrooms. The breakfasts are pretty decent too.

Ten Square Hotel

Located just steps from City Hall, this 22-room boutique hotel is set within a Grade I listed building. Offering sophisticated interiors, with baroque touches and colonial finishes, its sleeping quarters stick to the modern. Cubist art and chaise longue make rooms unique, while its renowned restaurant is worth booking too.

Ravenhill House

This beautifully restored Victorian guesthouse, near leafy Ormeau Park, is a 10-minute bus ride from the city centre. With only five guest bedrooms, it exudes a homely, intimate ambience. Each room has handcrafted furniture and there is a library of books and music, plus Wi-Fi and award-winning organic breakfasts.

Ramada Encore Belfast City Central

A short saunter from St Anne's Cathedral, this recently opened Ramada offers all the quality you'd expect from a large chain hotel. Rooms are snug, with all modern amenities, and the breakfast offers a mixture of hot and cold choices.

Malmaison Belfast

Occupying a handsome converted mid-19th-century seed warehouse in the Cathedral Quarter, Malmaison is a stylish boutique hotel that combines period features (iron pillars, beams and stone-carved gargoyles) with its trademark contemporary style (Bordello-style bedrooms with mood lighting). Expect long, heavy velvet drapes, red and purple over-sized suede chairs, and a sleek bar.

The Merchant Hotel

One of the city's most luxurious stays is the sumptuous Merchant Hotel built in 1860 as the Italianate headquarters of The Ulster Bank. Located in the Cathedral Quarter, the Grade 1 listed property features classically styled interiors, sculptures and antiques throughout. The pièce de résistance is the stunning Great Room Restaurant where meals, including traditional afternoon teas, are served beneath its grand dome.