Belfast, Northern Ireland
The disabled cruiser visiting Belfast will benefit from an accessible transportation system. The bus service has handicapped accessible buses with ramps and wheelchair restraints. The rail service has dedicated space on-board for two wheelchair users, a ramp stored on board to assist with access and step free access around the station. Many taxi providers, such as Value Cabs, can provide wheelchair-friendly accessible vehicles when requested.
For those walking/rolling in Belfast, you’ll experience mostly flat and smooth surfaces, with the exception of a few mild cobblestones.
The Titanic Experience is exceptionally well-equipped to cater to disabled visitors, with accessible bathrooms, blue badge parking, and rentable wheelchairs. Ulster Museum, can be easily navigated. The elevator accesses all floors and the walkways are wide and spacious, with slopes alongside staircases, meaning that very little in this museum need be missed.
Visit Belfast City Hall which offers free, daily tours and their permanent visitor exhibition stretches over 16 rooms. For those with mobility issues, a lift is available to transport guests to different floors, and a wheelchair is also available to rent. Or venture out to The Giant’s Causeway. Instead of following the path, the shuttle bus provides a suitable alternative for those with mobility issues.
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Belfast is the capital and largest city in Northern Ireland, part of the United Kingdom.
Among the most popular trips whilst in Belfast include the Bushmills distillery tour, Titanic Belfast, Belfast Castle, Ulster Folk & Transport Museum, Belfast Cathedral and the Botanical Gardens. Belfast Zoo is a good choice for younger guests and animal lovers.
Further afield, around a 2 hour drive from Belfast lies the Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland’s most famous natural attraction.
Where You’re Docked
You’ll dock at the Port of Belfast, about 2 miles northeast of the city center.
Free shuttles run between the harbor and the city center every 15 minutes.
On Foot: Belfast is one of those small, intimate cities that caters to pedestrians, so walking here is a pleasure. Many attractions are within a short stroll of each other and there are plenty of pubs for those who need to stop along the way and refortify themselves.
By Bus: Belfast’s Metro bus system is quick, easy and fairly inexpensive. You can purchase one-way trips or all-day passes. All buses are wheelchair accessible.
By Taxi: Cabs in Belfast are plentiful but expensive. Look for the classic black London-style taxis, and avoid the non-official varieties that may not have a meter and can sometimes charge outrageous fares. Many taxi providers, can provide wheelchair-friendly accessible vehicles when requested.
By Rental Car: Avis, Budget and a host of other rental car companies have offices in Belfast. Trying to drive and park in the downtown area can be quite a chore, though, so it’s better to rent a car only if you’re planning to explore the surrounding countryside.
Belfast, like the rest of Northern Ireland, uses the British pound. Many large stores will accept euros as well, although a service charge may apply.
Most banks are open Monday through Friday. ATM machines are commonplace, and you’ll find one on practically every corner. Currency exchange booths are plentiful, too. You’ll find one located inside the Belfast Welcome Center on Donegall Place.
The official language in Belfast is English. Unlike in the Republic of Ireland, you’ll rarely find Gaelic signage in the north.
St George’s Market, near Belfast Railway Station is Northern Ireland’s largest indoor market.
Victoria Square Shopping Center is located in the heart of the city center. Popular buys include whiskey, Irish marmalade, linens and Belfast crystal.
Local dishes include ‘sausages with champ’ (mashed potatoes mixed with spring onions and butter), oysters and Irish stew.
Points of Interest
- Giant’s Causeway – Along the Antrim Coast is the world-renowned Giant’s Causeway. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Giant’s Causeway is considered the Eighth Wonder of the World. The Disabled Cruiser visiting The Giant’s Causeway, will be pleased to discover the pathway to the causeway is relatively flat and wheelchair-friendly, however the shuttle bus provides a suitable alternative for those with mobility issues. Even if you simply stay in the visitor center, you can explore the different interpretive exhibits, such as a 3D coastal model. The majority of the exhibits are tactile, interactive and/or available in Braille.
- Antrim Coast – The Antrim Coast in the north of Northern Ireland, is one of the most scenic coastlines in Britain and Ireland, with breathtaking landscapes, the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, and the dramatic cliff-side ruins of Dunluce Castle.
- City Hall & Titanic Memorial – The Titanic Memorial, located on the east grounds of Belfast City Hall, honors those who died in the RMS Titanic disaster, and includes a list of all those who perished on April 15, 1912. The Disabled Cruiser visiting The Titanic Experience will enjoy that it is fully accessible with a flat main entrance and smooth surfaces within the interior. Elevators are also available inside to help navigate the exhibition floors. Accessible restrooms with wide doors and grab bars are located on the site. It is a bit of a walk from the entrance to the old shipyards and some of the paving is the original cobbled paving, The walk to the Titanic’s Pump and Dock house is mostly flat, with some smaller uneven spots throughout. These can be avoided by staying on the main paths.
- Belfast Pubs – Belfast Pubs have been the cornerstone of Belfast life for centuries. Some have music, many have good food and all offer a great pint or a comforting hot whiskey and loads of craic (the term for fun and conversation in Irish).
- Botanic Gardens – The Botanic Gardens reflect Belfast’s Victorian heritage, boasting two notable period buildings, a children’s playground, a bowling green, a rose garden and assorted tropical plants and trees. The Disabled Cruiser visiting the Gardens will enjoy the Gardens as they are paved so wheelchairs can move around the grounds without problem. This park has been very well laid out and is completely accessible for disabled/wheelchair users.
- Londonderry – Originally named Derry, Londonderry is the second largest city in Northern Ireland and lies on the west bank of the River Foyle. It features an almost completely preserved circuit of medieval walls.
- Downpatrick – The town of Downpatrick in County Down, Northern Ireland has a strong connection to St. Patrick. It is here that St. Patrick began the conversion of Ireland and built his first church.
- Carrickfergus Castle – Considered the first real Irish Castle, Carrickfergus was built in 1180 by the Norman John de Courcy to guard the approach to Belfast. For the Disabled Cruiser visiting the castle there is wheelchair access around the outside, most of the limitations are going up into the keep. Inside is semi wheelchair friendly, a lot can be accessed without problems.
Belfast Accessible Excursions
In the historic capital of Northern Ireland, Belfast, you’ll find an incredible array of breathtaking architecture, beautiful nature and intriguing historic buildings. Belfast accessible tours are step-free, lead by friendly, knowledgeable guides using accessible vans equipped with ramps or lifts.
Highlights of Belfast Wheelchair Accessible Guided Tour
This 4 hour accessible driving tour of Belfast begins with your friendly guide picking you up at the Belfast cruise dock in an accessible van to explore different popular sights of the city including the Peace Wall, St Anne’s Cathedral and the Old City Hall. You will head out on a relaxing panoramic drive through the city en-route to your first stop of the day the intriguing reminder of ”the Troubles” from 1969, the Peace Wall. Lead by your guide, you will have take a leisurely stroll along the Wall as you learn about the troubled social history of Belfast.
Following this, you will continue your panoramic drive through the heart of Belfast. As you admire the city’s many highlights, you will get to see the spectacular City Hall, the Parliament building, the Queen’s University and Saint Anne’s Cathedral.
Your last stop will take you to the the world-famous Titanic Exhibition, built right by beside the harbor in which the original Titanic ship was made. This incredible exhibition is a combination of modern interactive experiences, videos and displays throughout, teaching you about the story of the Titanic from the birth to the death.
Highlights of Belfast Wheelchair Accessible Guided Tour takes place in a fully accessible van equipped with a ramp. It includes very limited walking. For the stops along the way, you’ll experience mostly flat and smooth surfaces, with the exception of a few mild cobblestones.The tour has been designed to include accessible restrooms along the way. The accessible van used for this tour is equipped with a wheelchair ramp or lift to enter. It is suitable for manual wheelchairs, power chairs and mobility scooters alike.
Accessible Half-Day Tour to Antrim Castle Gardens
Located only a 30 minute drive from Belfast, the 400 year old gardens have been transformed into a unique living museum. This 4 hour accessible driving tour of Belfast begins with your friendly guide picking you up at the Belfast cruise dock in an accessible van. You’ll then head out on a comfortable 30 minutes drive to the Antrim Castle Gardens to explore this beautiful, colorful site firsthand. Few historic gardens in Ireland offer such evolutionary design characteristics, with layer upon layer of garden design features and planting styles over centuries.
As you explore the Gardens, you will admire the 17th Century Anglo-Dutch style canals, ponds and avenues, a 12th Century Motte, Victorian Pleasure Garden and a recreated Large Parterre. In addition to the Gardens, you will also see the restored Clotworthy House which is the former coaching house and stables for Antrim Castle.
As you leave the Antrim Castle Gardens, your tour guide will take you on a short panoramic drive that includes the Lough Neagh Park. You’ll also make a stop at one of the finest and complete Round Towers in Ireland, the Antrim Round Tower. Sitting in a serene green setting, this 28-meter tower which dates back to about the 9th Century and served as a bell tower for a former monastery.
The Accessible Half-Day Tour to Antrim Castle Gardens uses an accessible van to transfer between Belfast and the Gardens. It also follows a completely step-free tour route, however, you will have to walk/roll approximately 1 mile at the Garden site. Most of the terrain in the garden is flat with a gravel path or a thin layer of sand. The Clotworthy House Courtyard is fully accessible with flat paving stones. There are also wheelchair accessible bathrooms inside as well as wheelchair lift to access the upper levels for gallery viewing.
The accessible van used for this tour is equipped with a wheelchair ramp or lift to enter. It is suitable for manual wheelchairs, power chairs and mobility scooters alike.