Northern Ireland

We’ve compiled the best of the best in Northern Ireland - browse our top choices for the top things to see or do during your stay.

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  • 1. Sawers Deli

    Central District

    From feta cheese to foie gras, there's a dazzling selection of artisanal foods from local and international suppliers at this deli, founded in 1897. Amongst the most popular is Irish Black Butter, which is not actually a dairy product but a delicious spread made from cider, brandy, spices, and treacle for toast or local soda bread. Browse the shelves for a trip through some of the finest Northern Irish produce. Find Robert Ditty's Irish oatcakes rolled with County Armagh oats; Ballylisk, a white mold cream cheese known as the "Triple Rose of Armagh"; and a raft of jams and spiced apple chutney from Erin Grove Preserves in Fermanagh—all set alongside a selection of wheat and focaccia breads. Sawers own acclaimed coffee, roasted on Belfast's Falls Road, comes in four different blends, and don't forget the Suki tea made by the Belfast Brew company, which specializes in loose-leaf teas and old-fashioned teapots. All these treats and drinks can be sampled in a small café at the back of the premises.

    5–6 College St., Belfast, Co. Down, BT1 6ES, Northern Ireland
  • 2. St. George's Market

    Central District

    For an authentic blast of Belfast life, make your way to the enormous indoor St. George's Market on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. When it opened in the 1890s, this historic market sold butter, eggs, poultry, and fruit. Today it is a vibrant place with as many as 200 traders selling everything from oysters and live lobsters to organically grown produce, antiques, local art, and curios. The Friday Variety Market starts at 6 am and runs until 2 pm; the Saturday City Food and Garden Market, 9–3; and the Sunday Food, Craft, and Antique market, 10–4. There's an international culinary flavor with Cuban sandwiches, savory crepes, paella, tapas, pizzas, and Thai dishes. Foodies love the treats at Aunt Sandra's Candy Factory stall, with its fudge and flavored sweets, terrific breads from Riley's Home Bakery, and Tom and Ollie's for mouthwatering cheeses, pickles, and charcuterie. An excellent place to pick up picnic ingredients or stock your kitchen if you're using self-catering accommodations.

    12–20 E. Bridge St., Belfast, Co. Down, BT1 3NQ, Northern Ireland
  • 3. Victoria Square

    Central District

    Occupying an eight-block site in central Belfast, this shopping center dominates the city skyline. The eight-story, 800,000-square-foot mall, all glittering steel, is topped by a vast geodesic glass dome with a viewing gallery that offers amazing panoramic views of the city. Sadly, that's the only thing that makes Victoria Square worth visiting: the on-site retail and fast-food and beverage outlets are the same run-of-the-mill brands found in similar malls all over the United Kingdom, so there are many better places in which to spend your time in Belfast. Make your way up to the viewing gallery for great views of Belfast; admission is free and a guide can show you the sights.

    1 Victoria Sq., Belfast, Co. Down, BT1 4QG, Northern Ireland
  • 4. Artcetera Studio

    Central District

    Artcetera displays painting and photography by local artists and hosts occasional lunchtime or evening music events. The gallery also presents art by students from the nearby Ulster University.

    43b Rosemary St., Belfast, Co. Down, BT1 1QB, Northern Ireland
  • 5. Belfast Exposed

    Cathedral Quarter

    A photography gallery, Belfast Exposed also has a large digital archive of images. Book launches and talks by local artists and exhibitions are held regularly. There's an excellent range of large-format photographic books for sale, including many featuring the Troubles.

    23 Donegall St., Belfast, Co. Down, BT1 2FF, Northern Ireland
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  • 6. Castle Court

    Central District

    The city's second-largest shopping mall is euro-friendly, with most shops accepting it alongside the pound sterling. Many international stores, gift shops, and cafés can be found under Castle Court's glass roof, next to British clothing chains such as Miss Selfridge and Dorothy Perkins. For one-stop shopping, head for Debenham's department store, which has everything from cosmetics to kitchenware.

    10 Royal Ave., Belfast, Co. Down, BT1 1DD, Northern Ireland
  • 7. Craft NI Gallery

    Central District

    Unique gifts are for sale in this shop that is the retail branch of Craft Northern Ireland, a collective of local artists and designers. Here you will find traditional-frame-weaving baskets made from willow, terra-cotta plates, ceramic figurines, pewter jewelry, hand-carved papier mâché dolls, machine-stitched maps, bespoke furniture, and much more. The shop hosts exhibitions as well as the Arts Council craft collection each year and in August holds a craft month encouraging people to make, see, learn about, and buy craft products.

    Royal Ave., Belfast, Co. Down, BT1 1FF, Northern Ireland
  • 8. Faller The Jeweller

    West Bank

    It's worth calling in to hear the history of the restored Victorian golden teapot hanging outside this long-established family-run shop. Faller's specializes in brooches and icons, reflecting local landmarks in its Drop of Derry range; you can even buy a small replica of the famed teapot. The city's cultural history, music, and sporting life are featured in designs as well as Roaring Meg cannon, the Peace Bridge, Guildhall, Heart of Derry, and city walls. Even more popular are the High Crosses of Inishowen in nearby Donegal; ancient Celtic crosses such as St. Mura, Donagh, and Cooley are all available as pendants or rings.

    12 Strand Rd., Derry, Co. Londonderry, BT48 7AB, Northern Ireland
  • 9. Foyle Books

    West Bank

    Derry's largest selection of secondhand and antiquarian titles can be found here. The specialties include English lit, Irish-language books, criticism, poetry, biography, local history, heritage and culture, travel, music, and sports. For further browsing check the website, where it is known as Walled City Books accessible through the Abe Books site.

    12 Magazine St., Derry, Co. Londonderry, BT48 6HH, Northern Ireland
  • 10. Golden Thread Gallery

    Cathedral Quarter

    One of Belfast's best arts venues, the Golden Thread has exhibited at the internationally acclaimed Venice Biennale. The gallery presents visual art from paintings on canvas to the latest digital arts. Their two key objectives are to increase public access to the contemporary visual arts and generate support for Northern Irish art and artists.

    84–94 Great Patrick St., Belfast, Co. Down, BT1 2LU, Northern Ireland
  • 11. No Alibis

    University Area

    For more than 20 years, No Alibis has been specializing in Irish, British, and American crime thrillers, as well as general fiction and nonfiction, plus a smattering of the work by local novelists and poets. All in all, it's a bibliophile's delight with knowledgeable staff and regular book launches and literary readings, some of which are held in the nearby Ulster Museum.

    83 Botanic Ave., Belfast, Co. Down, BT7 1JL, Northern Ireland
  • 12. Occasions

    East Bank

    This remains one of Derry's best showcases for Irish crafts, cards, and gifts.

    48 Spencer Rd., Derry, Co. Londonderry, Northern Ireland
  • 13. Queen's Arcade

    Central District

    Running between Donegall Place and Fountain Street, this historic mall is home to upscale brands such as Gucci, TAG Heuer, Rolex, and Mont Blanc, and to the cozy Queen's Café Bar (closed Sunday and Monday), which serves massive cooked breakfasts, sandwiches, and burgers from 11:30 am--5 pm.

    29--33 Donegall Pl., Belfast, Co. Down, BT1 5FF, Northern Ireland
  • 14. Smart Swag

    Central District

    As you walk through the front door of this gift shop and studio—hidden halfway down a narrow street—a rich aroma of soy candles and sacred tree incense envelops you. Bespoke jewelry made from vintage elements, lovingly handcrafted gifts, and screen-printed T-shirts sit alongside Derry Girls mugs (£10) and digitally designed fun postcards of the city with artwork by local illustrator Domnáll Starkie. The downstairs room is crammed with retro furniture and upcycled antiques.

    12 London St., Derry, Co. Londonderry, BT48 6RQ, Northern Ireland

    Shop Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Sun.--Mon.
  • 15. The Steensons

    Central District

    A major draw of the superb handcrafted and locally designed jewelry in this goldsmiths is a new range of products inspired by the Game of Thrones TV series. Display cabinets showcase sterling silver cuff links, necklaces, earrings, and a range of pins and pendants connected to the series costing between £95 and £145. Pieces include crowns, Margaery's "Purple Wedding," Cersei's lion pendant, and Littlefinger's mockingbird pin. The shop also stocks the work of more than 50 European and local designers.

    Bedford St., Belfast, Co. Down, BT2 7FD, Northern Ireland
  • 16. The Wicker Man

    Central District

    Aficionados of Game of Thrones love this shop, which specializes in merchandise from the hit TV series. Offerings linked to local locations from the program include coasters, calendars, mugs, notebooks, shot glasses, mats, badges, posters, and postcards. Shelves and cabinets are filled with quality Irish crafts including knitwear, pottery, linen, and jewelry such as claddagh rings, as well as mini sods of Irish-turf incense and tea towels bearing colloquial Belfast and Ulster phrases.

    18 High St., Belfast, Co. Down, BT1 2BD, Northern Ireland
  • 17. Thomas the Goldsmith

    West Bank

    Head here for exquisite work by Irish and U.K. jewelry designers. Ask about their Peace Bridge Collection, handcrafted and individually designed in the workshop which includes pendants, brooches, bracelets, and cuff links.

    7 Pump St., Derry, Co. Londonderry, BT48 6JG, Northern Ireland
  • 18. Utopia

    Central District

    It's worth calling in here to smell the earthy and floral scents of the candles produced by the Bearded Candle Makers. They are made from soy wax which comes from sustainable soy farms in America, and the collection includes The Real Turf Fire, Wild Achill Island, or Burren Susurrus. Utopia also stocks everything from toys to costume jewelry and many other inspiring gifts.

    College St., Belfast, Co. Down, BT1 6ET, Northern Ireland

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