26 Things to Do at Belfast International Airport in Northern Ireland

26 Things to Do at Belfast International Airport

Belfast International Airport is the busiest airport in Northern Ireland and offers flights to over 70 destinations in Europe, North America, and the Middle East. With 5 million passengers passing through it each year, it's one of the main gateways for tourists visiting Northern Ireland and the surrounding areas.

While you're waiting for your flight at Belfast International Airport, there's plenty to keep you occupied, from shopping and dining to lounges and play areas. Here are 26 of the best things to do during your time at Belfast Airport:

1. Browse the Duty-Free Shops

Once you've made it through security, stop by one of the many duty-free shops to browse their selection of items. You'll find perfumes, cosmetics, alcohol, chocolates, toys, and more, all available at tax-free prices. Pick up some last-minute souvenirs or treats for the journey. There are several WHSmith and Boots outlets throughout the terminal buildings.

2. Grab a Pre-Flight Bite

If you're feeling peckish, Belfast International Airport has no shortage of places to grab a snack or meal. Popular options include Burger King, Cafe Ritazza, The Food Village, and The Friary. You'll find these eateries in both the East and West Terminal buildings.

3. Relax in the Belfast Bank Lounge

For the ultimate pre-flight experience, upgrade to access the Belfast Bank Lounge, located after security in the West Terminal building. Enjoy comfortable seating, free food and drinks, newspapers and magazines, free Wi-Fi, and more. Entry can be purchased at the door or in advance online. It's a tranquil oasis above the busy terminal.

4. Let the Kids Play in the Soft Play Area

Traveling with little ones? You'll find a fantastic soft play area located in the Belfast Bank Lounge. The area features a multi-level play frame and a ball pit that will let kids burn off some energy before the flight. Parents can relax nearby while keeping watch.

5. Get Some Work Done at the Business Lounge

Need a quiet place to work or hold a meeting before your flight? Check out the airport's Business Lounge, located after security in the East Terminal building. The lounge provides business services like printing and free Wi-Fi in a professional environment. Day passes can be purchased at the door.

6. Take in Some Art Displays

As you explore the airport, keep an eye out for the interesting art displays showcasing works by local Northern Irish artists and artisans. You can find pieces celebrating the city of Belfast as well as the surrounding Irish landscapes and culture. It's a nice way to get a taste of the local art scene as you pass through.

7. Charge Your Devices

Don't let your smartphone or tablet run out of juice before your flight. You'll find charging stations throughout the airport terminal, many located conveniently by the seating areas. They allow you to connect and charge while you wait. Some charging stations even have built-in stands to keep your device propped up for viewing.

8. Catch Up on Shopping

The airport offers duty-free shopping across two terminal buildings to make your airport shopping experience as smooth as possible. You'll find major retail brands like Boots, Dixons Travel, WHSmith, The Fashion Place, and more. Pick up any last-minute essentials or souvenirs before your flight.

9. Grab Some Sweet Treats

Satisfy your sweet tooth at one of the chocolate shops located in the airport, such as the Chocolate Boutique or Trading Post. Pick up some chocolate bars, truffles, or candy to snack on during your travels. You can also find sweet shops like WHSmith stocking a wide selection of candies and snacks.

10. Relax with a Drink at an Airport Bar

Fancy a pre-flight tipple? Belfast International Airport has no shortage of bars and pubs to choose from. Popular options include the Airport Bar, JD Wetherspoon, Bar 1911, and Bar des Voyageurs. Grab a beer, wine, or cocktail and soak in the airport atmosphere.

11. Get a Breath of Fresh Air at the Viewing Terrace

Need some fresh air before your flight? Head to the Viewing Terrace, located at the end of the West Pier. You can get an elevated view of the runways and enjoy some open-air lounging. Vending machines are also available when you need a snack or drink break.

12. Take Some Time to Relax

With two terminal buildings and long walking distances, it's easy to feel rushed at the airport. Be sure to build in some extra time to find a seat and relax with a coffee or magazine before your flight, especially if you have kids. There are many seating areas throughout the airport to take a load off.

13. Walk Through the Terminal Gardens

As you walk between terminals, check out the lovely terminal gardens featuring a variety of plants and flowers. During the winter months, you can see beautiful Christmas lights and decorations put on display. It's a nice area to stretch your legs and take a quick break from the crowds.

14. Catch a Game at the Sports Bar

The airport's Sports Bar, located in the West Terminal building, is a fun spot to catch a game on one of the many TV screens with a drink in hand. It's a lively place to pass some time and soak in the bar atmosphere before your travels.

15. Indulge in Some Coffee

Need a coffee fix? You'll find outlets of both Starbucks and Cafe Ritazza airside in the terminal buildings. Grab your preferred brew and a quick snack to energize yourself before takeoff. If you have more time, sit down and relax awhile in one of the cafes.

16. Do Some Plane Spotting

Aviation enthusiasts will love a bit of plane spotting from inside the Belfast City airport. Grab a seat by one of the large terminal windows overlooking the runways and taxiways. With over 30 airlines flying in and out, you're sure to see an interesting mix of aircraft.

17. Send Postcards from the Post Box

Don't forget to send postcards to loved ones back home! You'll find a Post Box located conveniently across from the Airport Information desks. Simply write your postcards, add stamps, and slot them into the box to mail off before you fly.

18. Browse Irish-Made Crafts and Souvenirs

Pop into one of the Irish craft stores like the Irish Quarter to browse quality Irish-made souvenirs like crystal, knitwear, jewelry, baked goods, and more. It's a great spot to pick up some last-minute gifts and mementos of your time in Northern Ireland.

19. Pick Up a Book for the Flight

Make sure you have something good to read on the flight. Newsstands and bookstores like WHSmith offer a wide selection of bestsellers, magazines, newspapers, and more. You'll find books on Northern Ireland travel and history to flip through on the plane.

20. Catch Up on Your Beauty Essentials

Swing by Boots to pick up any drugstore essentials you may need for your trip like makeup, skincare, dental care, medications, and more. It's a handy spot to pick up any last-minute toiletries you may have forgotten to pack.

21. Give the Kids a New Toy

Are kids bored on the flight? Pick up a new travel toy or activity book to keep them occupied onboard. The Toybox is a shop conveniently located in the West Terminal that stocks games, stuffed animals, books, electronics, and more for children of all ages.

22. Grab Some Local Treats

Sample some Northern Irish food and drink specialties by visiting shops like the Irish Food Pavilion in the West Terminal. Try local favorites like Irish cheese, chocolates, candies, oatcakes, jams, and whiskey to take the taste of Northern Ireland with you.

23. Exercise Your Mind with a Book of Puzzles

Keep your mind sharp on your travels with a book of puzzles and brain games from one of the newsstands or bookstores. Choose from Sudoku, crosswords, word searches, logic puzzles, and more. It's an engaging way to pass the pre-flight time.

24. Stock Up on Tax-Free Fragrances

Find your new signature scent at the airport's perfume and cosmetics stores. Airport prices already reflect tax savings, so take advantage by testing out fragrances and buying fragrances before your flight. The stores also carry makeup, skincare products, and more.

25. Unwind with a Spa Treatment

For the ultimate pre-flight pampering, book a treatment at the airport's Be Relax Spa in the West Terminal. Offerings include massages, manicures, pedicures, facials, and more. It's a relaxing way to de-stress before your travels. Appointments can be booked online in advance.

26. Keep Your Eyes Peeled for Art Displays

As you explore Belfast International Airport, don't forget to check out the interesting art displays showcasing works by local Northern Irish artists. You can find photography and paintings celebrating Irish culture and landscapes. It's a nice way to absorb some local creativity as you pass through the terminals.

This Dublin Airport guide provides good general information on getting to Ireland's capital city airport.

Bonus Northern Ireland Attractions Near the Airport

If you have time before your flight, consider checking out some of the amazing attractions and scenery nearby the airport that Northern Ireland has to offer:

  • Visit the Titanic Belfast museum in the capital city to learn about the history of the famous ocean liner built in Belfast.
  • Tour the Game of Thrones filming locations along the Causeway Coastal Route including the Dark Hedges and Cushendun Caves.
  • Marvel at the magnificent Giant's Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with 40,000 interlocking basalt columns.
  • Stop at Carrickfergus Castle, one of the best-preserved Norman castles dating back 800 years.
  • Stroll through the historic Ulster Folk Museum showing what Irish life was like over 100 years ago.
  • See the beauty of Dunluce Castle, a medieval castle dramatically perched on a rocky outcrop.
  • Hike the trails of Divis and Black Mountain for stunning city and countryside views.
  • Visit Belfast Castle and Cave Hill Country Park for urban green space.
  • Check out attractions like the Titanic Quarter, City Hall, and St George's Market in Belfast city center.
  • Journey through the lush Mourne Mountains dubbed the home of Irish mythology.

So there you have it - 26 great things to do during your time at Belfast International Airport and Northern Ireland's top attractions located just a short drive from the airport. With so much to see and do just minutes from the airport, it's easy to make the most of your layover or pre-flight time. Enjoy all that this fantastic region of the world has to offer!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How can I get from Dublin Airport to Belfast International Airport?

A: One easy option for airport transfer between Dublin Airport and Belfast International Airport is to take the shuttle bus run by Aer Lingus. The bus leaves Dublin Airport every hour and takes about 2 hours to reach Belfast International Airport in Northern Ireland, UK. You can book tickets in advance online. There are also private transfers available by taxi or shuttle bus companies.

Q: What is there to see and do near Belfast International Airport?

A: Some top attractions near the airport include the Titanic Museum in Belfast city center, the Ulster Museum, Belfast City Hall, Crumlin Road Gaol, and the Cathedral Quarter for lively pubs and restaurants. The airport is also a great starting point for visiting the famous Giant's Causeway and Causeway Coast scenically located 1.5 hours north.

Q: What amenities does the Causeway Lounge at Belfast International offer?

A: The Causeway Lounge offers comfortable seating, free WiFi, newspapers, TVs, and charging points. It also provides a selection of complimentary drinks, light snacks, and meals. Shower facilities are available, and you can purchase access to the lounge when booking flights or at the door.

Q: Are there hotels close to Belfast International Airport?

A: Yes, there are a few airport hotels within 5-10 minutes of Belfast International. Good options include the Ibis Belfast, Holiday Inn Express, Premier Inn Hotel, and Crowne Plaza Belfast. Most offer amenities like free airport shuttles. Additionally, you'll find many affordable hotel choices in Belfast city center.

Q: Does the airport have long-term parking available?

A: Belfast International Airport offers several long-term and short-term parking choices. The Long Stay 1 parking lot is closest to the terminal and provides discounted rates for stays over 1 week. Long Stay 2 is a bit farther but cheaper. You can also find deals on airport parking when booking in advance online and can arrange parking through companies located near the airport.


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