Commercial Property Area Guide: Belfast - Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland’s capital sits on the banks of the River Lagan and the port city has emerged as a thriving commercial location despite its chequered past. Historically, it has played a major role in the shipbuilding industry and the Titanic was built in the city at the Harland and Wolff shipyard. Now, the city is where you’ll find many of the UK’s most important aerospace businesses, as well as lots of companies involved in the missiles industry.
During the early 19th century Belfast became a major port and had a key role in the industrial revolution that swept across the UK. By the last two decades of the century, it was the centre of Irish linen production, tobacco processing and rope making. It was made the capital of Northern Ireland in 1921 but many of the trades that helped the city to grow were less prominent after the two world wars.
Political troubles were rife in the city throughout the 1970s and 80s, but Belfast has bounced back over the last three decades. It’s now a popular place to visit, welcoming tourists from across the globe. The city has also established four cultural quarters to make it easier for them to explore: the Cathedral Quarter, the Gaeltacht Quarter (where the use of Gaelic is promoted and showcased), the Queen’s Quarter (named after Queen’s University) and the Titanic Quarter, adjacent to Belfast Harbour.
The Golden Mile, which spans the area between Belfast City Hall and Queen’s University, is home to some of Belfast’s most exclusive shops and eateries. Ballyhackamore, in the Eastside area of the city, has also been voted as one of the best places in Europe to grab a delicious brunch, earning it the nickname ‘Ballysnackamore’.
If you’re looking to base your business in Belfast, here’s everything you need to know about the vibrant Northern Irish capital.
Travel and transport in Belfast
There are eleven train stations across BelfastGetting around Belfast by rail is easy, as there are lots of stations dotted across the city. There are:
- Sydenham (close to George Best Airport)
- Titanic Quarter
- Yorkgate (just off the M2 heading out to Belfast Castle)
- Belfast Central & Lanyon Place (both close to East Bridge Street)
- Great Victoria Street (close to the Grand Opera House)
- City Hospital
- Balmoral (close to the golf club)
From all these stations, you can get around the city itself and travel to and from nearby places including Bangor and Lisburn.
Belfast is served by a good network of buses Translink operates most of the buses across the city, including its metro services. There are regular services to and from the airport, between the city centre and its outskirts as well as between the city’s quarters.
You can get to the rest of the UK by boatRegular ferry services that cross the Irish sea depart or terminate at Belfast’s port. Most operate between Liverpool and Belfast and the journey takes around eight hours, but it’s a handy alternative for those that need to travel lots for work who aren’t keen on flying.
George Best Airport is located to the east of the city centreThe A2 connects the airport, which is also known as Belfast City Airport, to the city centre. It’s roughly a 15-minute drive from the centre of Belfast and a number of bus and train services operate from across Northern Ireland to the airport.
Belfast is connected to the rest of Northern Ireland by two motorwaysThe M2 goes north from the centre of Belfast to Randalstown, which connect the city to Londonderry in the north west. In the other direction, the M1 passes through Lisburn all the way down to Dungannon. From there, the A4 can take you all the way to the border with the Republic of Ireland at Belcoo.
Where to eat in Belfast
Where can I grab a coffee in Belfast?
Belfast has lots of handy facilities
There are more than 60 gyms and leisure centres across Belfast including:
- Anytime Fitness
- DW Fitness First
Where can I find a bank or Post Office in Belfast?There are more than 40 banks in Belfast including:
- 10 Danske Bank
- Nine Ulster Bank
- Six Bank of Ireland
- Five Halifax
- Three Barclays
- Three Allied Irish Bank
- Two Santander
- One Nationwide
- One Lloyds
There are more than 55 post offices dotted across Belfast. You can find them everywhere from the city centre to the suburbs, in areas including Loughview, Holywood, Strandtown and Lagmore.
Belfast has lots of choices when it comes to supermarketsThere are plenty of places to stock up on tasty groceries in Belfast, whether you’re looking to do a weekly shop or pick up a quick snack during the working day.
- Three Asda superstores
- More than 20 Tesco, including superstores by Belfast Zoo and Woodvale Park and in Dunmurry and Ballyrushboy
- More than 20 Co-Op
- Three Sainsbury’s superstores
- Four Lidl
If you’re looking for high street brands, fantastic places to eat and late-night shopping; Victoria Square shopping centre is one of Belfast’s most popular destinations. All along the Golden Mile, which stretches from Dublin Road to University Road, you’ll be spoilt for choice with both designer and affordable brands, chic bars and trendy eateries for every taste and dietary requirement.
Commercial real estate agents operating in Belfast
Cushman & Wakefield
Realla has lots of exciting commercial properties to rent in Belfast – here’s a few of our favourites
Belfast is home to lots of notable businesses
Thales Air Defence
Allied Irish Banks
Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce
Interesting facts about Belfast
There are more than 3,000 acres of parkland across Belfast.
The pneumatic tyre for bicycles was invented in Belfast, by John Dunlop, in 1887.
Belfast is famous for its signature yellow cranes, which are named Samson and Goliath and transport items across the docks.
The world’s largest dry dock can be found in Belfast.
More than 1.5 million tourists visit Belfast every single year.