October - November 2012
Arriving & BAsics
In Your Pocketbelfast.inyourpocket.com
It’s come over all golden as we welcome autumn’s glossy glow. Now’s the perfect time to head indoors and experiencesome of the city’s finest emporiums. And by that we meanatmospheric inns, hip hostelries and beautiful bars allstocked with the best of beers, ales and whiskies. Flickering fires, traditional Irish music and achingly cool crowdscomplete the tourist-friendly scene. Flick to Nightlife (p.4)and find your own fave drinking den.Meanwhile, it’s the annual return of The Lady Boys of Bangkok who’ll be pitching their extremely glamorous tent at Custom House Square for two weeks in November. Expect a flurry of fabulous outfits, sleek song and dance routinesand lots of laughs. Find out more - and bag yourself a pair of tickets - on p.12.Before the grand dames arrival, prepare for some shocking sights and glittering lights as Hallowe’en events take over town. It’s candy apples ahoy on p.14. Then, whisper it, withthe imminent arrival of Mr. S Claus, start embracing the festive season with the switching on of the city’s ChristmasLights and arrival of City Hall’s ever popular ChristmasMarket. Jingle those bells on p.16.Belfast and NI Sightseeing highlights (from p.42 and p.51),including the opening of Crumlin Road Gaol (p.42) and acertain ship called Titanic (p.22), complete your autumnalextravaganza.Since it opened just over ayear ago, The Hudson Bar has fast become one of Belfast’scoolest hostelries. Its arrival at the heart of the old SmithfieldQuarter is spearheading a renaissance in the areawell ahead of the relocationof the University of Ulster and its thirsty students in2018.
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Ferry terminals are a swift 5-10min well-signposted drivenorth of the city centre.
Isle of Man: Steam Packet Company
(G-2), AlbertQuay, tel. (+44) (0)8722 992992, www.steam-packet.com.
(April-Sept.) c.3hr sailing to Douglas.
Scotland and Liverpool: Stena Line
(G-1), WestBank Rd, tel. (+44) (0)8447 707070, www.stenaline.co.uk.
Stena’s new Superfast ferries sail to Cairnryan in2hrs 15mins. They are the largest ships ever to sail theroute and include, among other delights, a Nordic spa, freewifi and the multi-sensory POD Lounge with games, internet and music. The Liverpool journey takes 8hrs (overnight or daytime options).
By taxi (incl. Taxi Tours)
Taxis range from the traditional black hack (see p.50) toconventional cars. The former can be hailed if the orange TAXIlight is on, the latter is more a phone and wait affair. Thesetried and trusted companies also run tours:
Fonacab (+44) (0)28 9033 3333, www.fonacab.comTaxi Trax (+44) (0)28 9031 5777, www.taxitrax.com
NI’s border with the Republic of Ireland is 360kms long fromCarlingford Lough in the south to Lough Foyle in the north.Crossing it is a seamless affair. Non-EU drivers should holdan International Driving License.
Drive on the left on bothsides of the border,
and look out for speed limit changes- marked in
in the Republic of Ireland and
in NI. A quick calculation is 100kph = 60mph (ie 3/5).
Approx. 1300 on-street city centre parking meters charge£1.20 per hour (free Sun and after 6pm) payable by coin, mo-bile or credit/debit card. Check street signs as many spacesare restricted by time and red-jacketed traffic wardens areomnipresent. Privately operated car parks vary in price fromthe affordable to the eye-watering.
Customs & Visas
Check the Imports & Exports section of the HM Customs &Excise website
. EU citizens, and those from most other western countries, do not usually require avisa. Check with the British Embassy in your home country or contact UK Visas,
George Best Belfast City Airport
H-1/2, tel.(+44) (0)28 9093 9093, www.belfastcityairport.com.
Named after the East Belfast-born footballing legend, this airport is just 3km east of the city centre,off the A2 Sydenham bypass. It has conference facili-ties, ATMs, foreign exchange, wifi, and a small selectionof shops and food outlets. To
get to town by bus
, hopon the Airport Express 600; tickets £2/3 single/return,buses run every 20mins peak times Mon-Sat, reducedservice Sun. Tickets can be purchased at the Airport TIC or on the bus. Approved airport
charge c. £8 for the 10min ride into the city centre. You can take a less frequent
into the city or, in the opposite direction, to
from the nearby
Belfast International Airport
K/L-3, tel. (+44)(0)28 9448 4848, www.belfastairport.com.
Situated29km north of the city centre along the M2 motorway, fa-cilities include postal services, ATMs, currency exchange,a business lounge, wifi and a tourist information desk.
Toget to town by bus
, Airport Express 300 to the EuropaBuscentre runs every 15mins at peak times Mon - Fri,(reduced frequency Sat & Sun) and hourly through thenight. The 30-40min journey costs £7/10 single/return.A taxi to the city centre takes 30mins and costs c.£30;a list of other sample fares is displayed in the exit hall.
By train & by bus
Translink (tel. (+44) (0)28 9066 6630, www.translink.co.uk)
operates all NI bus and rail services; itsthree main Belfast transport hubs are listed below. Thereare
no left luggage facilities
at any Translink stations.
Belfast Central Rail Station
D-2, East Bridge St.
All major destinations are served such as Derry (including a picturesque portion of the North Coast) and Dublin (ac.2hr journey on the flagship Enterprise service). ATMsdispense Euros and £Sterling. Keep your rail ticket for a free bus ride into town via any Metro service outside themain entrance. Alternatively, turn left outside the mainentrance and take a 10min stroll into the city centre.
Europa Buscentre and Great Victoria StreetRail Station
B-2, Great Victoria St.
Buses from thecity’s most centrally located transport hub serve theSouth and West, including Dublin, Derry, and Belfast andDublin airports. National Express buses from GB andcontinental Europe also terminate here. The Gt. VictoriaSt. railway stop is at the far end of the concourse.
D-1, Donegall Quay.
Thecity’s second shiny bus station serves the Northand East including Portrush, Bangor and the ArdsPeninsula.
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City centre location
Belfast Visitor Pass