Style City: Belfast

December 10, 2012

Daily Digest, Lifestyle

Style City: Belfast

A few years back, I headed to Belfast on a shopping trip and discovered some great places to shop and eat out.

I revisited Belfast this weekend and thought the best way to sum it up was with Instagram photos.

Christmas Continental Markets at Belfast City Hall, Room and retro phone at the Fitzwilliam Hotel, Belfast


Christmas Markets at Belfast City Hall

I am glad to report that there are now even more places to shop, stay and eat out and from now until December 20th, there’s even a Christmas market complete with stalls selling gingerbread men and handmade Christmas food and gifts. Enjoy a hot chocolate or mulled wine  as you wander around and soak up the festive atmosphere.


Me enjoying the Christmas market at Belfast City Hall, the Apple store at Victoria Sq shopping centre and Louboutin (window) shopping at Belfast's Merchant Hotel

Afternoon tea

Festive Afternoon Tea at the Merchant (£29.95 per person) 16 Skipper Street, Belfast

If there’s one thing you should indulge in in Belfast, then I wholeheartedly recommend this glam experience. During Afternoon Tea at The Merchant Hotel you are waited upon with silver service, entertained by a live jazz band  – all while soaking up the opulent surroundings of The Merchant hotel’s dining room.

The three tiered silver stand boasts finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam and a selection of seasonal cakes, macaroons and pastries including mince pies and Christmas cake, accompanied by a cup of tea served on the fanciest of delf.

There was lots of eating and drinking:

A vegetarian fry for breakfast on the the train to Belfast (There’s nothing nicer than potato bread which I quickly discovered is a firm fixture on a Northern Irish fry), Festive Afternoon Tea at The Merchant and cocktails at The Fitzwilliam Hotel

Belfast Restaurant

James Street South, 21 James Street South, Belfast  Tel: 028 9043431

My last visit saw me fine dining in Deanes (Howard Street Belfast) and so this time I tried another of Belfast’s top restaurants;  James Street South. Chef/Owner Niall McKenna focuses on serving local seasonal produce cooked with classic French flair.

Shopping in Belfast

Before IKEA opened in Dublin, I used to frequent IKEA in Belfast for homeware but shopping in the Northern Irish capital doesn’t stop there.

The city centre boasts not only the shops around Donegall Square (Space NK, Karen Millen, Superdrug and Avoca) and there’s now an Apple store in Victoria Square Shopping Centre (Belfast BT1 4QG Tel: 028 9032 2277) which is home to 50 stores including House of Fraser, Topshop, Cruise, Reiss and All Saints.

Independent shops and designer boutiques

If your idea of retail heaven is exploring some really great independent shops, a stroll down South Belfast’s Lisburn Road is an absolute must. Boasting a wide range of outlets from boutique clothes shops, jewellers, delis, cafes and some of the best eateries Belfast has to offer. For designer boutiques, head to Bloomfield Avenue.

Hotels in Belfast

Fitzwilliam Hotel, Great Victoria Street, Belfast, Tel: 028 9040 2080

I loved staying in this boutique hotel – the bedroom’s green and brown decor was modern with spacious bathrooms and king sized beds. The cocktails at the Fitzwilliam Hotel are a must-try too – the bar’s mixologist recently impressed Rihanna and her entourage with bespoke cocktails.


The Merchant, 16 Skipper Street, Belfast Tel: 028 9023 4888

The five star Merchant Hotel (pictured above) in Belfast is a harmonious blend of Victorian grandeur and Art Deco inspired sleek modernity. Room rates in this former bank start at £220 a night, it features a bar with the most expensive cocktail in the country (£450 !), a gym, a spa and nail bar and a private rooftop hot tub which boy band JLS frequented recently. This place is luxurious with a capital L !

Day spa and beautician

I had time for a quick manicure in the glamorous and indulgent surroundings of the Nail Bar at the Merchant hotel. The Spa offers treatments and massages too – you might even spot some of the Ulster rugby team walking by in white robes as they often come here for a massage.

Getting there

Dublin Connolly to Belfast by train takes 2 hours 15 minutes (online fares start at €15.99 one way) and if you treat yourself to first class, you can enjoy breakfast or lunch on board.

Click here to see our recommendations for shopping and eating out in New York, Paris, Prague and Madrid.

For further information contact the Northern Ireland Tourist Board on callsave 1850 230 230, visit  the Tourist Information Centre, Suffolk Street, Dublin 2 to avail of its free advice and booking service or click on

Related posts:

  1. Style City: Belfast Part I
  2. Style City: Manchester
  3. Style City: Paris
  4. Style City: Glasgow
  5. Style City: New York
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One Response to “Style City: Belfast”

  1. A Certain Vintage Says:

    As a Belfast girl, I loved this wee post on all the finer things here! Looks like you had a good trip!

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