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© Christine Schmitt

Welcome to Belfast: An introduction for Lionesses fans

Next week the Lionesses are taking on Northern Ireland and we’ll have a Fans’ Embassy service helping those at the match. Meanwhile, our friends at Amalgamation of Official Northern Ireland Supporters’ Clubs (AONISC) have kindly taken the time to give us an introduction to city…

Travel: Getting there & getting around

We have two airports, George Best Belfast City Airport (often referred to as ‘the City’) and Belfast International (aka ‘Aldergrove’). The City Airport is close to the city centre, and although there are public transport options, including a train, it’s just as easy to get a taxi from outside the terminal building.

Like most places, the journey time will depend on the time of day as traffic can be heavy on the bypass which forms the main route from the airport to the city centre.

If you’d prefer to use the train, which can take you right into Great Victoria Street Station in the centre of Belfast. Here’s a link with info.

If you’re travelling into Belfast International, you’re a bit further out from the city centre (probably 25 to 30 minutes).

Taxis can be costly, (fares are displayed near the terminal exit) but there’s a pretty good bus service available from outside the terminal which will again take you into the Europa Bus Centre in the city centre.

A Single journey ticket costs £8 and a Return is £11.50. You can buy your tickets at the Tourist Information Desk or from the driver.

There are no train services available at Belfast International Airport.

Eating & drinking

Belfast now has a pretty vibrant nightlife with lots of pubs and restaurants throughout the city.

One of the most popular areas to visit is the ‘Cathedral Quarter’. You’ll find plenty of bars and eateries in Hill Street, Commercial Court and Waring Street.

Not everywhere will allow you to wear sportswear, so that can be hit and miss.

Nearer to the stadium, there are other well-known pre-match venues including Ryan’s and Cuckoo. Ryan’s serves food at very reasonable prices.

There are a host of restaurants and take-aways around Bradbury Place, Dublin Road, Lisburn Road and Botanic Avenue so you can take your pick!

Benedicts serves good food in their upstairs restaurant (the public bar has a ‘no sportswear’ policy) including a ‘Beat the Clock’ discounted menu. Booking is recommended as it’s a popular spot!

We’ve organised a fans meet-up at the Royal Belfast Naval Association (known locally as The Naval Club) at Great Victoria Street.

This has the advantage of being a city centre location but without city centre prices! Unfortunately it doesn’t serve food, but they’ll let you order in.

It’s a fairly easy walk from there to the stadium and we’ll be organising a ‘Fans Walk’ from the Naval Club. Join us!

Getting to the ground

Depending on which entrance your ticket advises, from the city centre it’s a walk of maybe 25 to 30 minutes to the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park.

There are entrances at Donegall Avenue (off Donegall Road) and along ‘Windsor Way’ (off Boucher Road).

If you’re approaching the stadium from the Lisburn Road, you can walk along Tates Avenue and this will (eventually) bring you to either entrance.

There’s also the option of coming down Lower Windsor Avenue and crossing the railway footbridge. Unfortunately the footbridge isn’t wheelchair accessible.

There are kiosks inside the stadium which sell food and drinks, these are now cashless.

There’s also a JD Superstore and the ticket office is beside this, if you require assistance.

Things to see and do

Depending on how long you plan to stay, there’s plenty to see and do.

There’s the standard ‘hop on, hop off’ bus tours, we have Titanic Belfast, a visitor centre which tells the story of the ill-fated vessel also and the Crumlin Road Gaol (a former prison) tour.

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