Wet and cold? Spend an afternoon in Belfast Botanical Gardens and be transported to a friendlier climate. Established in 1828, the Gardens are probably most famous for their Palm House, which was built soon after. The Palm House, designed by Charles Lanyon, is of gracefully curved steel and glass with a birdcage dome and filled with seasonal displays and, in the 'stove wing', a mini-jungle.
The gardens also have a Tropical Ravine - a building with a bridge overlooking tropical varieties like banana, cinammon and orchids - an alpine garden, sculptures and rose beds.
The Albert Memorial Clock Tower is yet another symbol of the love Queen Victoria bore her consort. At 30 metres (100 feet) tall, and with a statue of Albert in ceremonial robes, it's a grandiose love letter to her departed husband.
Unfortunately, as the tower was built in marshy ground, it's developed something of a lean, leading the waggish of Belfast (and there are plenty of them) to make it the butt of their jokes.
A recent renovation cleaned the tower back to its original whiteness and restored its verticality somewhat by fortifying its wooden foundations.
Belfast’s mix of a turbulent political past, maritime history and modern-day urban regeneration make it one of Europe’s most interesting cities to visit now. From Titanic sites to the famous murals of the Troubles to the lively waterfront district, Belfast will both entertain and enlighten you.
You’ll dock in Belfast Harbour, a couple of miles north of the city center. There’s not much around the port, so take one of the free shuttles into downtown. If you want to visit the Titanic Quarter, note that while it’s located in the port area, it’s not walkable, so your best bet is to take a cab.
Start in the Titanic Quarter, a waterfront historical and entertainment district dedicated to Belfast’s role in the Titanic’s tragic story. Your main destination here is the striking Titanic Belfast building and it’s Titanic Experience, an interactive museum where exhibits explain the ship’s entire history, from its creation to the aftermath of the sinking.
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