You can’t find a better deal (or, perhaps, a better meal) in Belfast than the $15 prix fixe at the renowned Deane’s. Chef-owner Michael Deane, who balks at the term “fusion,” serves dishes that meld French and Asian flavors with classic Irish recipes. The gourmet lunch—fish-and-chips; beef shin; braised pork cheek—is presented on linen tablecloths.
Uncovering authentic local finds and having experiences that make you feel like you’ve really connected with a place are important elements in ensuring an extraordinary vacation. We’re taking advantage of our partnership with Travel + Leisure to get their editors’ recommendations and insider tips on the places you will want to visit. Here are their picks for just one of the 150 destinations they covered.
The architects behind this castle, built for the Marquis of Donegall in 1862, must have appreciated great real estate: the fortress stands on top of one of the city’s tallest hills, affording it the most commanding views in all of Belfast. Don’t miss the intimate Cellar Restaurant, where dishes include smoked trout topped with crème fraîche and pork-and-leek sausages.
St. Paul’s Cathedral was the inspiration for the whispering gallery of this civic building, which reopened to the public in 2009 after a two-year, $17 million renovation. Highlights include the grand marble staircase and a 173-foot dome with stained-glass windows. On the sprawling grounds, also check out the Titanic memorial, which was unveiled in 2012—for the 100-year anniversary of the ship’s sinking.
These gardens were accessible to the public only on Sundays when they first opened in 1828—which meant that 10,000-plus visitors would stroll the tree-lined pathways on the day of rest. Now that the grounds are open daily, there are fewer crowds and plenty of spots throughout the 28 acres for quiet picnics. Stop by the Palm House conservatory—a cast-iron glass house with an impressive dome—to see tropical plants like bromeliads and frangipani.
Be sure to visit our Shore Excursions page or speak with our onboard Destination Concierge for arrangements to any of these must-sees.