The North’s largest city is an eclectic mix of charming Victorian and Edwardian buildings, engaging attractions and a grand history that’s on display around every corner. Your tour will begin as your coach travels through stately Donegall Square
in the heart of Belfast. Among the square’s architectural treasures is City Hall. Completed in 1906, the 300-foot long main façade is topped with a copper dome that rises 173 feet. As you make your way around the city you’ll see many more Victorian buildings with the same distinctive verdigris green domes. Also in the square stands Belfast’s oldest library, the Linen Hall Library
, which was established in 1788. Continuing on, you’ll journey past Queen’s University, renowned for its world-class achievements in cancer research and environmental research. Marvel at the thoroughly modern Waterfront Hall
, a concert venue , housing development and hotel. Just 12 miles from Belfast in the historic village of Hillsborough sits the distinguished Hillsborough Castle
. Built in the 1770s, the mansion is the official residence of the British Royal Family when they’re visiting Northern Ireland. You’ll set out on a guided tour through this lovely 2-story late Georgian manor adorned with beautiful furniture and master pieces of art. Visit the State Room, where all visiting dignitaries are formally welcomed. Next door is Candlestick Hall where the panels around the room, made in the early 19th century, are made from hand-painted wallpaper and depict scenes from Cervantes’ Don Quixote. Visit the castle’s two dining rooms: the Red Dining Room, which looks out over what is claimed to be the largest rhododendron bush in Europe, and the State Dining Room where official state dinners are served. You will also visit the Throne Room, where citizenship ceremonies are held; the State Drawing Room, which overlooks the Jubilee garden; and Lady Grey’s Sitting Room. At the conclusion of the tour, feel free to meander through the lovely gardens or stroll to Hillsborough village before rejoining your coach for the ride back to your ship.
Please note: It is recommended that guests dress in warm, layered clothing and wear flat, comfortable shoes.