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When in...Belfast

Neptune Belfast is our first store to open in Northern Ireland and this exuberant city felt like the perfect place for our debut. If you’re planning a trip to see us, it may be that you’re travelling from outside the city, so we’ve put together a collection of our favourite places in and around Belfast to turn your visit into a lovely day (or two) out. And even if you’ve lived here all your life, we hope that you might find somewhere new to explore.

To do

Belfast art
Belfast is well known for its street art; you can’t fail to notice the murals from its past that decorate the sides of buildings. The best way to explore this more urban side of the city is through a guided tour – we suggest either Belfast Mural Tours or a ‘gently paced’ walk with Seedhead Arts. There are also many galleries small and large in Belfast that showcase the creative spirit of Northern Ireland. Our favourites are The MAC, which hosts live theatre and dance performances as well as art shows; the Ulster Museum, where you’ll also find exhibitions on history and natural science; and the contemporary Golden Thread Gallery.

Queen’s Film Theatre
The programme of entertainment at this independent cinema is what sets it apart and makes it a worthwhile visit, from acclaimed documentaries to old-favourites and sing-a-long screenings. It’s also well known as the only cinema in Northern Ireland with a full licenced bar, meaning you can enjoy a glass of wine or a locally distilled gin while you sit back to watch a film.

Minnowburn may be just outside the city, but here you’ll find acres of woodland and meadows, a Neolithic earth henge and an Italian sunken garden, providing a little peace away from Belfast’s hustle and bustle. The National Trust has put together a number of walking trails, so you can stretch your legs and admire the far-reaching views across the Lagan Valley.

To eat

Root & Branch
Just a few minutes’ stroll down the road from Neptune Belfast is Root & Branch, a coffee roastery and ‘brew bar’ dedicated to responsible sourcing. Not only will they make you an expertly-brewed cup of coffee (or tea, if you prefer) to enjoy within their small courtyard or on their street-side bistro tables, but you can also walk away with a bag of the beans they roast on site to savour at home.

Mourne Seafood Bar
These two restaurants, one in Belfast city centre and the other a 45-minute drive down the coast at Dundrum, are a collaboration between chef Andy Rea and fisherman Bob McCoubrey, so it’s only natural that the seafood they serve is at its very freshest. We love to stop by the Belfast restaurant for a leisurely lunch of their Japanese style oysters or traditional beer-battered fish and chips.

This much-talked-about restaurant sits on the banks of the River Lagan and is highly recommended for good reason. The atmosphere is relaxed and the food is simple, seasonally-driven and deliciously cooked. If you’re visiting us late-afternoon, this is the perfect place to stop for supper.

The Crown Liquor Saloon
The interior (and exterior, for that matter) of The Crown Liquor Saloon is a feast of elaborate mosaics, stained-glass windows, carved ceilings and a red granite-topped bar complete with a heated footrest, all lit by gas lanterns. Built by the Victorians in the Gothic style, the building is owned by the National Trust but it still runs as a working bar and restaurant. We recommend cosying up with a drink in one of the snugs.

To shop

Envoy of Belfast
This pared-back boutique sells elegant, modern women’s clothes and accessories by designers both well-known, such as Dries Van Noten, and more under the radar, like VISVIM, whose pieces are patterned with hand-applied dyes.

Put together by the non-profit Craft & Design Collective, this gallery and retail space in the centre of the city showcases a collection of prints, jewellery, ceramics and more by artisans who all design and make locally.
And should you be feeling a little peckish after your visit to Space CRAFT, Sawyers Deli, with its floor to ceiling shelves of gourmet goods, is just next door.

Co Couture
The delicious chocolate bars and truffles created by Co Couture are made in small batches using the finest quality ingredients, sourced locally whenever possible. Stop by their boutique on Chichester Street to pick up an array of treats to give as a present, or enjoy all to yourself.

St George’s Market
This indoor market, built in the 1890s, is a delight to wander through. There are three different markets to visit – the Friday Variety Market, where you can find anything and everything from antiques to fish; a food and craft market on Saturdays; and a Sunday market that combines the best of both. Spend a couple of hours browsing the stalls, or relax with a cup of coffee and listen to some live music.

Neptune Belfast
And while you’re in town, we’d love for you to come see us.
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