Living in Belfast

Belfast is home. It’s a city that welcomes you with open arms. From the moment you arrive, you’ll become part of its community. It’s Northern Ireland’s capital city – a buzzing hub of events and culture, with the warmth and friendly vibe of somewhere much smaller.

You’ll find snippets of history across Belfast, with castles, monasteries and incredible architecture all packed into a compact city that’s easy and safe to explore. It’s surrounded by natural beauty too, including Northern Ireland’s dramatic coastline with beautiful beaches to discover.

What makes Belfast unique?

  • A coastal city filled with stunning architecture and surrounded by natural beauty.
  • One of only three capital cities in the UK – but with the lowest student cost of living (Which? University 2018).
  • Voted Top Region in 2018 by Lonely Planet (Lonely Planet Best in Travel 2018).
  • Award-winning Queen's University Belfast is just a 15 minute walk from the city centre.

Belfast's popular attractions

Rich in history and culture, Belfast is home to world-class attractions. From fascinating museums to breath-taking castles and stunning architecture, there’s something for everyone in this exciting city. You could visit:

Have you heard of the TV show 'Game of Thrones'? Some of the show's key filming locations are in Northern Ireland. You can take a tour to visit Dragonstone, The King's Road, Winterfell and the Wall.

Food in Belfast

Few things are more comforting than your favourite meal from home. And, because Belfast has such a vibrant international community, you'll find tasty and authentic global cuisine across the city.

Just a few minutes’ walk from campus, there’s Botanic Avenue. On this street you can find cafes and restaurants serving foods from around the world. Try Boojum for tasty Mexican burritos, Botanic Spice for rich Indian dishes, or Sakura for fresh Japanese cuisine. All of these are very popular with students.

If you’re looking to try something more local, Maggie Mays serves traditional Irish dishes. Classic Irish foods include champ (mashed potatoes with spring onions), Irish stew, dulse (red seaweed), potato bread farl, soda bread farl and Guinness.

Belfast offers a choice of cafes, pubs, coffee shops and restaurants, no matter what your budget is. And being on the coast, it’s the perfect place to try the British classic fish and chips! Whatever you love to eat, there’s something for you in Belfast.

Shopping in Belfast

On a budget? You’ll be able to make the most of it in Belfast. It has the lowest student cost of living in the UK (Which? University 2018).

Whether you’re looking for designer goods, high street brands or unique souveniers, you'll find plenty of choices in Belfast.

The main shopping areas include Victoria Square mall, CastleCourt shopping centre and The Kennedy Centre mall. And there’s the Dock Market - an artisan crafts market that takes place in the Titanic Quarter every Saturday.

Don’t miss the St George's market held weekly in the city centre. It was named the UK’s Best Large Indoor Market in 2014 and is packed full of wonderful foods. As you walk around the market, you can snack on street food and listen to live music. It’s a great place to stock up on fresh vegetables, meat and fish as well as local specialities like soda bread.

Festivals and events in Belfast

There's always something fun happening in Belfast. Some of the best events include:

Belfast living costs

Your money goes further in Belfast, as – as well as being a vibrant capital city and home to one of the world's top-ranked universities – it also has the lowest student cost of living in the UK! (Which? University 2018)

An education in Belfast is an excellent investment in your future, especially as Queen's University offers generous scholarships for high-achieving students. You'll save on fees and living costs – but still achieve a globally-recognised degree from one of the oldest universities in the UK.

Travel in and around Belfast

Belfast is a relatively small city so you’ll find it easy to get around on foot. Queen’s University Belfast is an easy 15-20 minute walk from the Centre. There’s a good network of buses and trains for travel in and around the city.

The Metro operates around Belfast city centre and offers discounted fares for students. Translink runs a regular shuttle service to and from Belfast International Airport. Plus, it’s easy to explore the rest of the UK and beyond, with London, Manchester, Glasgow and Liverpool about an hour's flight away.

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