Visiting Belfast With A Toddler

As you may be aware we are expecting a new arrival at the beginning of next year and have decided we won't be going abroad for our usual family holiday in November as I will be heavily pregnant. We have been looking at places to visit across the UK and Ireland and have narrowed it down to Ireland.

We have wanted to visit Ireland for a while now and would love to visit a few cities such as Dublin, Belfast and Cork and have a 10 day road trip. Belfast is definitely only of the cities we would most like to visit as it's the capital of Northern Ireland and the birth place of the Titanic.

Here are some tips for visiting Belfast with a toddler in tow:

Where to stay 

If you are wanting to see and explore a lot of Belfast itself I would advise to stay pretty central to the City especially with young children. It will be easier for you to get back to your accommodation if they get tired and will save you from carrying them around the city after a long day. If you are looking to stay outside of Belfast I would recommend finding a lovely holiday home in the countryside where you can all relax.  Many of them offer child friendly facilities such as stair gates, cots and highchairs so it's worth checking when you book. Where ever you choose to stay you can find great deals on websites such as Hotel Direct for family deals all year round.

How to get there

There are many ways to travel to Belfast depending on where you are travelling from. If you are traveling overseas there are two airports in city, with Belfast International airport which is 17 miles from the city center or George Best city airport only three miles from the centre both offering domestic and european flights from more than 20 airports in the UK flying with easyJet, British Airways and Jet2.com. Flights only take an hour however can cost up to £200 per person one way at peak times. The earlier you book, the cheaper your flight is likely to be.

Belfast also had a large port for ferry services where Stena Line runs regularly from many places across the UK such as Liverpool and Holyhead in North Wales. With a crossing time of around 2 hours travelling across on the Ferry may be the easiest option for families as your children can sleep in the comfort of your own car and there is less hassle of getting a taxi from the airport of hiring a car on the other side with all of your luggage, car seats and pushchairs.

Getting around the city

Belfast which is the capital of Northern Ireland, is a small and compact city making it highly walk-able. Most of the center of the city is a pedestrian only district making it about one hour to walk from one side of the town to the other. You can also find tourist buses operating hop-on-hop off services which can be great with tired toddlers who won't sit still. Belfast also has a good bus service which you can check timetables for buses in and around Belfast at Translink

For travelling across the city if you have a young baby it's a good idea to take a baby carrier if you have a toddler or other children to run around after too. There are also many wonderful parks and gardens around the city which are great pit stops to let your toddler burn off some energy or for a picnic. If you will be out and about and exploring hiring a car may be the best option for you, especially with young children or even driving over on the ferry as it can be easier than flying with toddlers. 

Eating Out

Eating out with toddlers is never the most enjoyable experience especially if they are at that 'I don't want to sit in my chair' stage. There are numerous places to eat out in Belfast including many child-friendly restaurants. An Irish stew and Beef and Guinness Pie are a must if you are wanting to try some traditional Irish food and you can find many pubs across the City that serve home cooked traditional food.

If you are staying in self catering accommodation and needing to do a grocery shop or to pick up nappies the main supermarket chains in Ireland are Dunnes Stores and Tesco, you can find these in and around the city.

Things to do and see with young children

Children will get tired of sight seeing so make sure you do some activities which involve them too. There are plenty of activities and places to go with children in and around Belfast and here are some of the most popular ones:

1. Belfast Zoo - Who doesn't like a day out at the zoo? Spend a day at the zoo and visit with the animals while enjoying a panoramic view over Belfast Lough. There will be plenty for your toddler to do and see as well as a play park and animal meetings. 

2. Belfast Treasure Trail - A great way for your family or friends to have a day out to explore Belfast. There are six great Treasure Hunts for you to choose from. 

3. Maud's Ice Cream - Maud’s Ice Cream is made in Northern Ireland and is a real treat for the young and old alike. With several locations to choose from, you’ll be spoiled for choice in deciding your favourite flavour. Firm favourite for little ones. 

4. W5 - Belfast’s Science centre is a great way to get the kids learning with over 250 interactive exhibits. There are special programs offered during school holidays as well. 

5. Aunt Sandra’s Chocolate Factory - Go back in time and try some honeycomb or traditional “Yellow Man” candy. Call ahead and book an Experience Show and learn how the candy is made.

6. Titanic Experience - After 100 years Belfast has its own Titanic museum. You learn about Belfast’s industrial history and how it lead to shipbuilding. There are lots of interactive displays to keep young ones interested and the two hour experience sails by quickly.

7. Carrickfergus Castle - Just 15 miles away is this 12th century Norman castle. Do a self-guided tour in any season. During the summer there are often “living history” days. Just across the street is a huge Pirate-themed playground to let the kid burn some energy.

I hope you found these tips helpful and find Belfast to be hospitable for you and your family. It is a beautiful European City which is well suited to families with toddlers and has a lot to offer. 

Do you have any recommendations on what to do in Belfast with a toddler?

*Written in association with Hotel Direct

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  1. I'd love to check out the Titanic museum! Great post as usual!

    XO Chloe - A Latte Lipstick

  2. Sometimes traveling with a toddler can be hard and stressful lol but great post
    L x


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