Scotland, Europe, the world

a. "m"

Belfast and lose


Belfast and the surrounding area of Larne provide ideal therapy for the mind. body, and credit card, discovers Anna Millar.

oungmg in a hot tub. gazing met the sea waxes lashing agaiz‘. .t the elllls. a wooden htrt as shelter the hustle ot' Beltast‘s eit} eentre seems an eternity away. In realrt) It s a were lotrr hours (and 40 minute ear drix'el siiiee the mlam ‘11s ('rown Liquor Saloon prox'ided us with ehamp and (ruir‘rness. A nourishing end to a morning‘s shopping tnd tourism in Bellast‘s hits} main thoroughlaie. 'l‘he perleet graft aposition ol lilslot‘). eulture. eountrs'side. and w aterrng lr::les. Bellast and the nearby Larne alloid an} \ rsitor the ultimate long weekend break. binee lls tormatite tltt}s as a Village in the 17th eentur). Bellast has grown and tliVCl'slllL‘tl with the ex'olxing soeio politieal elimate. Mueh like Manehester. (ilasgow and l.i\'erpoo|. it's resoluter repositioned itsell as a eultural huh appealing to a young market with mone) to burn. \‘l'andering along the main streets it‘s elear that }e.rr' on )ear' the regeneration boom is having a startling irnpaet. The titer lront ls translormed and the eity eentr'e pedestriar‘rised. Beautitul 'v'ietorran and lzdwardian buildings line the streets. while ornate seulpttrr'es hang o\'et' doors and windows. Wherever you turn. stone-earx‘ed heads ol gods and poets. seientists. kings and queens peer down l’rom the high ledges ol hanks and an old linen warehouse a tetehing reminder or the eit)"s heritage. lzas} to naVigate. this plaee has a range ol permanent

116 THE LIST Is: " 'i'.'i:‘., (U

attr'aetions. Bellast /.oo is impressixel) hotrsed on a mountain park high ahme the ell); the l'lster‘ Museum in the Botanie (iardens is hulging with international and loeal art. tlispl;r_\irrg Ireland‘s legae) met the past 9000 )Cttls. and the (it) Hall and (irand Upera House ean both he admired lor their impressix e arehiteetuie and interiors. Alternatitel}; Queen‘s l'riixersit). built in Iii-1‘). provides the perleet surrounds lot a gentle stroll. theatre and musre hulls are bound to eriitw King's Hall. l'lster Hall and the l.}'r‘ie ’l‘heatre. And lashion lians won‘t be disappointed either. l'rom major high street brands to speeialty stores. lielltrst eit) eentr‘e is anything but sh) ahout show easing its impressiVe aria) oi shopping emporiums. ('omenientl)‘ pedestrian lriendl). the main street. eomplete with stalwarts like llekM and Kara. is a shoppers paradise.

By night. the pub and eluh etrlture is intensil‘}ing with equal terror. Irene and Nails. a sliek 5()s—st)le bar. is perfect tor the ultimate in ehilled out tippling 'l’he lt‘tipl‘Cssch eoektail list and menu are per'l‘eet l‘or hardeore party people wanting to squeeze ever)‘ last drop ol tun lrom the weekend. The Milk har-eum—elub and the Botanie Inn are also good ehoiees for a night ol‘ unpretentious i’ex‘elr‘). lior‘ more st)'le—etiriseititrs eluhhing. La Lea pla_\ lull) r'eVels in its own sell-importance.

l'or an easy es'eape lrom the Big Smoke. Bell‘ast’s surrounding landseape has a mass or activities on otter. lrom

Belfast Castle; St Georges Market; Big Fish (this page, clockwise); Smyth & Gibson shirtmakers; Albert Clock; The Great Hall; St Annes (opposite page, clockwise).