Summer Sundays: Queen's Quarter
The Queen's Quarter offers culture, cafes and craic
No better way to start the day than a leisurely traditional Ulster breakfast in Café Conor (11a Stranmillis Rd, tel: 028 9066 3266, open 9am to 9pm), the delightful former studio of Belfast’s ‘people’s artist’ the wonderful William Conor.
Take a short stroll to the Queen’s Welcome Centre at the Lanyon Building at Queen’s University (tel: 028 9097 5252), to meet up for the Queen’s Quarter Walking Tour at 11am. The 90-minute tour, taken by a Blue Badge guide, begins at the Great Hall and also features the Seamus Heaney Library, Union Theological College, Queen’s Film Theatre, Botanic Avenue, Botanic Gardens, Palm House and Elmwood Hall.
Try to make time for another Queen’s gem, the award-winning Naughton Gallery (tel: 028 9097 3580, www.naughtongallery.org, 11am to 4pm), which hosts a series of excellent exhibitions this summer, with the occasional workshop too.
If you’re feeling energetic you might prefer a cycle tour around Queen’s, down the Lagan towpath and to the city centre and back leaving the Belfast Bicycle Workshop (1a Lawrence Street, tel: 028 9043 9959, www.belfastbicycleworkshop.com) at 11am. It will work up an appetite for the famous Sunday lunch at a Belfast institution, the romantic Beatrice Kennedy (44 University Rd, tel: 028 9020 2290, opening hours, 12.30pm to 2.15pm and 5pm to 8.15pm, earlybird menu from 5pm to 7pm).
Meet up at the gates of Friar’s Bush Cemetery at 3pm for an unforgettable guided tour with historian Eamon Phoenix of Belfast’s oldest Christian site, with its mass famine grave, famous citizens and tales of bodysnatching.
Maybe a gem of world cinema could tickle your fancy at the Queen’s Film Theatre at 20 University Square (tel: 028 9097 1097, www.queensfilmtheatre.com), before an early dinner at the informal, family-run Café Renoir (93 Botanic Ave, tel: 028 9031 1300, open 9am to 10pm).
Finish your evening at the atmospheric former church, The Belfast Empire (42 Botanic Avenue, tel: 028 90 4 9276, www.thebelfastempire.com), with some energetic live music in the basement from 10pm to midnight.