The Ultimate Guide to Living and Working in Belfast
Here is everything you need to know about Belfast, use the list below to jump between the relevant sections!
House price’s in Belfast
Is Belfast a nice place to live?
Is Belfast safe?
Travelling in Belfast
Universities in Belfast
Eating and drinking in Belfast
Shopping in Belfast
Hotels in Belfast
Top 10 things to do in Belfast
Belfast is the capital city of Northern Ireland; it stands on the bank of the River Lagan. Belfast is the 12th largest city in the United Kingdom and the 2nd largest in the Isles of Ireland. In 2015 the population was 333,871.
As of 2020 the population of Belfast is estimated as 630,632. This is an increase of 18,445 since 2015 and represents a 0.60% annual change.
As of November 2020 the average house price in Belfast is £159,529, which is a rise of 2.47% over the previous 3 months.
- Terrace houses sell for an average of £131,223
- Detached houses sell for an average of £343,962
- Semi-detached sell for an average of £194,020
- Flats sell for an average of £133,532
Renting in Belfast
The average rental price in Belfast is £824 per calendar month
In terms of employment, Belfast has a lower rate than the national average, with only 68% of the population in work, it’s not the lowest in the country, but it is definitely on the lower end. However, with 44% of people in full time employment is closer to the national average.
When it comes to income Belfast ranks well, with the average household income being £508.60 a week. It’s a different story when it comes to disposable income; Belfast is at the lower end of the scale with the average disposable income being £15,049.
Life expectancy in Belfast is well below the national average and among the lowest of the whole country. Male life expectancy is 75 years old and female life expectancy is 81. The 6 year difference between men and women is the largest gender gap within the UK, with the average gap being 4 years.
If you’re looking at communication factors in Belfast is does relatively well, with 99% mobile network coverage and with average broadband speeds off 33.6Mbps, which is the highest on the whole country.
Belfast has both positives and negatives when it comes to living there. Positives include; cheap houses, good technology and better than average incomes. However, the negatives including the low life expectancy and poor employment statistics, may give you pause for thought about living there.
History and Landmarks
One of the big historical things Belfast is famous for is that the fated Titanic was built and set off on her maiden voyage from the docks in Belfast. At almost 883 feet in length and 92.5 feet at its widest point, it was a big undertaking. At the time the Titanic was the largest manmade object in the world and it weighed 46,328 tonnes. It included a gym, heated swimming pool and electric escalators. On 2nd April 1912 the Titanic was waved off by over 100,000 people from the Belfast Dock.
In 2012 Titanic Belfast was opened, a monument to Belfast’s maritime heritage. It was built on the former Harland and Wolff shipyard (where the Titanic was built) in the cities Titanic Quarter; visitors go there to experience the stories of the Titanic. The building contains more than 12,000 square foot of floor space, which contains a series of galleries, private functions rooms and Hickson’s point destination bar, which was added in 2018. The attraction has been enormously popular since it opened, surpassing expectations and receiving 807,340 visitors in the first year. In 2019 the Titanic Belfast was the second most visited tourist attraction in Northern Ireland with over 800,000 visitors. This landmark has been credited for helping transform tourism in Northern Ireland, between 2017-18 Titanic Belfast saw 84% of its visitors coming from outside of Northern Ireland.
The Troubles, also known as the Northern Ireland Conflict, was a conflict in Ireland during the late 20th century. It began in the late 1960s and generally considered to have ended in 1998 with the signing of the Good Friday Agreement. The Troubles mainly took place in Northern Ireland, but did at times spill over into parts of the Republic of Ireland and sometimes into England. The conflict was mainly political and the biggest issue was the constitutional status of Northern Ireland the Unionists wanted Northern Ireland to remain within the United Kingdom, whereas Irish Nationalists wanted to leave the United Kingdom and join a united Ireland. This led to Belfast and other areas of Northern Ireland being considered dangerous places to go. However, Northern Ireland has not been considered a dangerous place to go in many years and now enjoys a thriving tourism industry.
Northern Ireland is statistically the safest region of the UK, safer than Scotland, Wales and England. Going even further, a survey found that Belfast is one of the safest cities in the UK. According to the survey, Belfast is safer to visit than London, Manchester, Leeds or Cardiff.
As in most cities, there are strong transport links in Belfast, buses, coaches, taxis, even ferries. Translink is Northern Irelands main provider of public transport.
There are two main airports near Belfast, Belfast International Airport that is around 20 miles from Belfast city that has both international and domestic flights. There is also George Best Belfast City Airport with is around 2 miles from the city centre and mostly runs domestic flights within Ireland and the UK.
Belfast’s Closest Hospital
Hospitals in Belfast are;
- Belfast City Hospital
- Forster Green Hospital
- Knockbracken Healthcare Park
- Mater Infirmorum Hospital
- Musgrave Park Hospital
- Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children
- Royal Jubilee Maternity Hospital
- Royal Victoria Hospital
Queens University Belfast-
This is one of the leading Universities in the UK with a rich heritage and history. It was founded in 1845 and became an independent university in 1908. They are ranked in the top 200 universities in the world and is a member of the Russel Group of UK intensive universities.
University of Ulster-
Ulster University has an international reputation for excellence, innovation and regional engagement. It has made major contributions to the economic, social and cultural development of Northern Ireland. Their core business activities are teaching and learning and has a widening access to educational ns research.
Home prides itself on offering feel good food and you’ll find it in the heart of the city centre. The exposed columns, stainless steel shelving and wooden floors all add to the welcoming atmosphere and with the cosy lighting you are sure to feel right at home. There is an extensive menu of all-time favourites and all the produce used is fresh and local. Home restaurant has won the Michelin Bib Gourmand for the past six years, so you know you’re getting quality food.
Zen is an Asian restaurant that is much loved by the locals in Belfast. The restaurant itself is spectacularly furnished which adds to the unique experience, designed to provide a unique and personal experience the seating layout is comfortable and provides privacy. The menu matches the décor in terms of quality, you will find experimental dishes along with old favourites, Zen also offers fusion dishes which cater for a taste that is more western.
The Great Room Restaurant-
You’ll find this restaurant in the 5-star Merchant Hotel and it serves some of the best food on Belfast. This grand location is a perfect setting for sumptuous food inspired by the classics that simple ingredients provide amazing flavour. The Great Room uses local produce to show off what the locals have to offer. They are famous for their wine list, which will impress even the most sophisticated of pallets, it changes regularly to match the season, so you will get a new experience every time you go. You can also find a fabulous afternoon tea there Monday-Saturday.
You’ll find Novelli at the City Quays and is run by the multi-Michelin- starred chef Jean Christoph Novelli. It has stunning views of the waterfront, which are optimised by the double height double glazed façade as well as an open-air terrace. The menu is Mediterranean and uses locally sourced produce and offers all day dining.
Although the food and view maybe to quality, Novelli offers a relaxed brasserie style experience and has an open and airy feel. You will find lots of interesting ornaments and out if this world books that serve as great talking points.
Considered Northern Ireland premier shopping and leisure destination, Victoria Square has over 70 shops and restaurants. With a huge House of Fraser department store as the focal point, Victoria Square has four levels of luxury brands, high street stores, restaurants and a cinema. You will find brands such as; Urban Outfitters, Mango, Pull and Bear, Hollister, LK Bennett and the only Apple store in the whole of Ireland! If you get hungry after visiting all those shops you can eat at one of the many restaurants, you will find; Wagamama’s, Nando’s and Starbucks, along with many others. Victoria Square is topped by an iconic dome and has stunning views of the city and the River Lagan, you can even glimpse the Mourne Mountains.
You could also visit Castle Court, a family friendly shopping centre with a wide range of stores and cafes. Castle Court is open Monday to Saturday 9am-6pm and on Sundays its open 1pm-6pm. You’ll find a huge selection of shops including; Argos, Matalan, Dorothy Perkins, Starbucks and many more. You and the family can find food to suite anyone’s taste in the food court and with over 1550 car parking spaces, it’s a great place to visit.
Titanic Hotel Belfast
The Titanic hotel is a 4-star hotel that features 119 luxury bedrooms. With an Art Deco inspired décor, tasteful furniture and luxurious linin, a good night sleep and excellent stay is guaranteed. The bedroom pays homage to the history that Belfast has with the ill-fated ship, while also offering all the mod cons you would wish to find in a 4-star hotel. Rooms start at £94 per night.
The merchant hotel aims to be your home away from home in Belfast and creates a relaxing and enjoyable atmosphere by offering you home comforts. There is free Wi-Fi, children’s TV and a gym included in your night’s stay. It’s a great place to stay for those looking to explore Belfast’s landmarks, its 0.1 mile away from the Cathedral Quarter and 0.2 miles from City Hall. Room prices start at £180 per night.
Grand Central Hotel
Grand Central Hotel calls itself ‘more than just a hotel’, you will find it in the up-and-coming Linen Quarter and it’s the jewel in the crown of the city. It’s a good place to stay if you are interested in exploring the Titanic history or the cathedral quarter as these are right on the doorstep. you’ll find a flat screen TV in every room, free Wi-Fi and can access a taxi service front eh front door making this a great spot for business and leisure trips. Rooms start at £137 per night.
- Ulster Museum
- Titanic Belfast
- City Hall
- Botanic Gardens
- St Anne’s Cathedral
- Crumlin Road Gaol
- HMS Caroline
- Titanic’s Dock and Pump House
- Ulster Folk and Transport Museum
- Grand Opera House
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