Highlights of the Tour

Belfast City Sightseeing tour bus stopping off on the city tour.

You can hop off anywhere along our route in Belfast and your tickets are valid for either 1 day or 2 days depending on your ticket choice. This gives you unlimited travel and the opportunity to explore our brilliant city.

Don’t forget that you do not have to meet the bus at the same point as you got off. You can walk up and down the Shankill Road or Falls Road, and meet the the bus at any of our 19 Bus Stops! Your tickets are valid for every red bus that will pass. Some of the highlights of the tour include…

Titanic Quarter and Titanic Belfast

Titanic Belfast Museum in the Titanic Quarter.

Hop off at the unmissable Titanic Belfast visitor attraction just five minutes into the tour route! Housed in an iconic, six-floor building, this state-of-the-art visitor experience tells the story of the Titanic, from her conception in Belfast in the early 1900s, through her construction and launch, to her famous maiden voyage and subsequent place in history.

Spend as long as you want here and then join any tour that is passing – hop on at the ‘Drawing Office‘ on Queens Road – right in front of Titanic Belfast.

You should certainly pay a visit to The Titanic Dock and Pumphouse and also enjoy The Titanic Walking Tour. The Titanic Walking Tour departs from the Premier Inn Hotel beside the Odyssey Complex, and led by local legend and reknowned Titanorak Colin Cobb.

It has become one of the most highly rated tours in Belfast, and we feel the leading Titanic tour anywhere in the world. He has passion, expert knowledge and the site where she was built.

The new Titanic Belfast attraction is the largest Titanic attraction in the world and is a technology led visitor experience. You can hop off here and enjoy the building, and then hop back on any bus that is passing. It takes ten minutes to get to the building from the city centre departure points.

Waterfront Hall, St Georges Market and the River Lagan

Belfast Waterfront Hall building lit up at Night.

We love this heritage market, which is right beside The Waterfront Hall and River Lagan. There is a market every Friday, Saturday and Sunday morning offering local food, local crafts and live music.

The atmosphere is brilliant, and it is within easy walking distance of any of our tour finish points. This means you can either hop off your tour, or walk back to the market after your tour is finished. Keep in mind that the market normally finishes up around 2.00pm however.

The Cathedral Quarter

Young couple sitting in the cobbled streets of Belfast's Cathedral Quarter

This is the cultural hub of Belfast, and is characterised by narrow entries and small alleyways. The district runs from Ann Street to Donegall Street and from High Street to Dunbar Link and has a multitude of artists, crafts people, artisans, sculptors and writers.

It is also the home of the oldest pubs and bars in the city. The oldest bar in Belfast is White’s Tavern, which has been on the site in wine cellar entry since 1630.

You should explore this district on foot, and also visit St Annes Cathedral which is our anglican Cathedral in the city. It is a masterpiece and has a big spike through the roof which hovers like magic above the altar.

The Cathedral has the largest celtic cross in Ireland on the north side. This is a memorial monument to Belfast victims of the First World War.

Some great pubs and bars include:

Happy customers inside The Duke of York Bar in the Cathedral Quarter Belfast

Whites Tavern
This is in Winecellar Entry just off High Street and is the oldest bar in Belfast. The fire is brilliant and the Guinness delicious.

The Duke of York
This is down an entry off Donegall Street and has a brilliant atmosphere outside on a summer night. The live music upstairs is always great and the eclectic clientele never fail to amuse.

The Spaniard
A tiny wee bar on Skipper Street that has excellent atmosphere and great music.

The John Hewitt
On Donegall Street and good for Irish traditional music. This not for profit bar channels its profits into supporting good and charitable causes in the city.

McHughs Bar
This is in Custom House Square and is very popular. We love the steak they serve on a volcanic rock so you cook it yourself.

This area is only a few minutes walk from our tour departure points, so you may wish to complete your full tour and then explore this fascinating district.

St Annes Cathedral

Inside the stunning Church of Ireland church, St Annes Cathedral in Belfast city

Belfast Cathedral, known as St Anne’s Cathedral, was built on the site of an older Church dedicated to St Anne. The foundation stone was laid in 1899 and the nave was consecrated on June 2 1904. Over the years the Cathedral has been extended and the striking stainless steel Spire of Hope was added in 2007.

The Cathedral is a Romanesquebuilding with five large pillars each side of the central nave with half pillars in the walls at either end; windows that are each a single huge light, mosaics in two ceilings and covering a tympanum above the west door and that above the entrance to the Chapel of the Holy Spirit. Four archangels are carved high in the corners of the nave, an apse and ambulatory at the east end and massive round arches throughout the whole building.

There is much artistic merit in the finer detail of the Cathedral. The Chapel of the Holy Spirit, added in 1932, has stained glass windows relating to the activity of the Holy Spirit as described in the Bible, from the Creation in Genesis to Saint John’s vision in Revelation.

On the opposite side of the Cathedral is the baptistery. The carvings are by Rosamund Praeger, who also designed the bronze plaque above Lord Carson’s tomb. He is the only person buried in the Cathedral.

The detailed nave pillar capitals, each with a different theme, were carved chiefly by Morris Harding, whilst the fine carving on the West façade of the Cathedral is the work of Esmond Burton and is a memorial to those who lost their lives in 1914-1918 World War.

The Cathedral’s mosaics of Italian glass are the work of two sisters, Gertrude and Margaret Martin. The mosaic over the font is said to hold more than 150,000 pieces.

The Cathedral has many stained glass windows; the huge nave windows depict characters from the Old Testament, those in the ambulatory show some of the fruits of the Spirit, there are three abstract windows high above the altar, while the east window pictures the parable of the Good Samaritan and was moved to this position from the old St Anne’s Church.

Looking the other way the west windows are perhaps the most impressive of the whole Cathedral; the central window depicting Christ in glory. Modern windows are to be seen in the Chapel of Unity and the Royal Irish Regimental Chapel.

St Anne’s has some very fine needlework on display, especially the individually designed, hand sewn, tapestry cushions and kneelers. The stunning Titanic Pall commemorates the lost lives in the sinking of the Titanic, and hangs on the south wall of the nave when not in use.

You can now enjoy an even richer experience of St. Anne’s Cathedral with your own personal audio guide. The audio guide takes you on an intimate, 40 minute tour of Belfast’s magnificent cathedral. Point by point you’ll find out how the Cathedral’s story is intertwined with that of its home city, discover its rich historic artefacts, and be introduced to the people who helped to shape this sacred place.

Using state-of-the-art technology, the simple one-click audio tour system will add a new level of experience to your exploration of this great Belfast icon. An audio tour costs £4 per person.

Booking isn’t necessary for individuals or small parties; however groups of more than 10 are advised to book to check if a sufficient quantity of audio tour handsets are available or if it would be more appropriate to arrange a guided tour. For group bookings, please email bursar@belfastcathedral.org to discuss, giving as much notice as possible.

The Cathedral is open to visitors from 9am to 5.15pm Monday to Saturday, (last audio tour at 4.45pm), and 1 to 3pm only on a Sunday. Please note that the Cathedral will sometimes be closed for special services like weddings and funerals.

Belfast Cathedral is a sacred space and is open for worship and services outside of these hours. Anyone can come into the Cathedral freely at any time of the day for quiet and a place to pray. Please check the website for the times of services.

The Crumlin Road Gaol & Courthouse

Crumlin Road Gaol exercise yard and wings on a bright morning

HMP Belfast, also known as Crumlin Road Gaol, is a the former prison situated in north Belfast. It is the only Victorian era prison remaining in Northern Ireland and has been derelict since 1996. It is popularly known as the Crum.The Northern Ireland Environment Agency has given it a grade A listed building status because of its architectural and historical significance.

The Crumlin Road Courthouse, also derelict, stands opposite the Gaol. A tunnel under the main road connects the two buildings and was used to transport the prisoners to the courthouse. During the history of the prison between 1846 and 31 March 1996, when it was closed, an estimated 25,000 prisoners were held here.

Designed by Sir Charles Lanyon, the prison was built between 1843 and 1845 and cost £60,000. Built as a replacement for the County Gaol on Antrim Street in Carrickfergus, and known as the County Gaol for Antrim, it was constructed of black balsalt rock on ten acres at the bottom of the Crumlin Road. Partly based on HM Prison Pentonville, it was one of the most advanced prisons of its day. Built within a five-sided wall, the four wings are up to four storeys in height and fan off from the central area which was known as The Circle.

The prison was originally built to hold between 500 and 550 prisoners in cells that measured 12 x 7 feet. It was the first prison in Ireland to be built according to “The Separate System”, intended to separate prisoners from each other with no communication between them. Later, especially in the early 1970s, as many as three prisoners were placed in each cell.

The Belfast Peace Wall

Young woman signing the Belfast Peace Wall that divides two communities.

The Cupar Way Peace Wall is one of the original ‘ peace ‘ barriers in our city. This area is completely safe for tourists, so please feel free to hop off, sign your name on the wall and explore the Shankill Road and Falls Road. These streets were the scene of early civil unrest in the 1960’s and initially temporary barricades were erected.

Over time, these became more permanent. The Shankill Road and The Falls Road can be easily explored from Cupar Way, and you can the just hop back on any bus that passes you.

The Shankill Road

Bayardo Memorial Garden on the Shankill Road in Belfast

The Shankill Road is a vibrant, dynamic and fascinating Belfast community. We have three hop off stops on the Shankill Road which will allow you to explore the area at your own pace. The area is mainly British in national identity, and is home to planty of extraordinary wall murals and political imagery. A great place to start your visit is The Spectrum Centre at the corner of Tennants Street and The Shankill Road.

They have regular events that showcase the best of the Shankill including historical exhibitions, cultural events, art displays, dance displays and musical performances. They will provide excellent advice on other events and activities in the community during your visit.

Remember that you can walk down the Shankill Road and meet the next passing tour bus at any of our hop on/off points. You do not need to get back on exactly where you jumped off.

The Falls Road

Hunger striker Bobby Sands mural on the Falls Road in Belfast.

The Falls Road is another dynamic and lively Belfast district. The area is mainly Irish is national identity and has a large concentration of political wall murals. The community organises the biggest community festival in Europe every year – www.feilebelfast.com. You can hop off at any of our three stops on the Falls Road. Remember that you can hop off at the bottom of the Falls and walk up as far as you want.

There are great Home Bakerys and Fish and Chip Shops in which you will find delicious local food. We can’t promise that it is healthy – but we promise that you will love it all! There is a fantastic Irish Language cultural centre on the Falls Road called An Culturlann – www.culturlann.ie. There is a great restaurant inside and regular Irish language events, plays and exhibitions.

Queens University, Botanic Gardens and Ulster Museum

Couple walking around the Queens University Belfast Lanyon Building

Queen’s University Belfast (Irish: Ollscoil na Banríona, Béal Feirste) is a public research university in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The university’s official title, per its charter, is the Queen’s University of Belfast. It is often referred to simply as Queen’s, or by the abbreviation QUB. The university was chartered in 1845, and opened in 1849 as “Queen’s College, Belfast”, but has roots going back to 1810 and the Royal Belfast Academical Institution.

Queen’s is a member of the Russell Group of the UK’s 20 leading research intensive universities, the Association of Commonwealth Universities, the European University Association, Universities Ireland and Universities UK. The university offers academic degrees at various levels and across a broad subject range, with over 300 degree programmes available. The university’s current President and Vice-Chancellor is Professor Peter Gregson, and its Chancellor is the current Secretary General of the Commonwealth of Nations, Kamalesh Sharma.

The University also forms the focal point of the Queen’s Quarter area of the city, one of Belfast’s seven cultural districts.The Ulster Museum has recently benefitted from an extensive regeneration programme.

It is a modern, bright and airy asset and has excellent exhibitions covering The Troubles, The Spanish Armada, AncienT Egypt and Irish Art – www.nmni.com/umBotanic Gardens beside Queens University is a classic victorian public park. It is best enjoyed in spring and autumn but has festivals, events and displays on all year round. It closes at sun down and has plenty of cool little cafes and delis nearby where you can refresh and re-hydrate!

Great Victoria St, Crown Bar, Grand Opera House & Europa Hotel

Barman serving a couple at the Crown Liquor Saloon in Belfast

The Crown Bar is a popular Belfast pub. It is owned and manage by The National Trust, and is a protected heritage site. Enjoy a Guinness in here, or a lovely meal upstairs. You will get a discount by showing your hop-on / hop-off ticket!

The Europa Hotel is a Belfast institution and was the only hotel in our city during the worst years of our disagreement. It survived everything that was thrown at it, and has been completely refurbished. Enjoy a cocktail in the piano bar, or meal in the lobby bar and people watch for celebrities and Belfast characters.

For bookings and enquiries email our customer services on info@citysightseeingbelfast.com or give us a call on +44 (0)28 90 321321.

City Sightseeing Belfast Hop-on Hop-off Open-top Bus Tour