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A toast to Belfast's other iconic Titan


In the heart of things: Europa Hotel

In the heart of things: Europa Hotel

In the heart of things: Europa Hotel

THERE is nothing more liberating than throwing a change of clothes into a bag and whisking the family off for a weekend away.

It's even better in my case when you don't have to drive or catch a plane.

Hop on the train and head for Belfast - the most invigorating, happening city in Ireland.

And where better to stay than the iconic Europa Hotel?

It was once known as the 'Hardboard Hotel' - a moniker earned after being damaged by bombs no fewer than 33 times during the Troubles.

It's determination to stand tall and proud is as evident today as it was in 1970 and this historic building is as much a part of the Belfast experience as Titanic itself.

Situated right in the heart of the city, the four-star hotel is within walking distance of Great Victoria Street railway station and bus depot.

Nestled in the centre of the Golden Mile, you have the Grand Opera House almost next door and right across the road is one of the best watering holes in the country - the Crown Bar.

If shopping is your thing then you'll be in retail heaven. A 10-minute walk and you'll have the equivalent of Grafton St and Dundrum Shopping centre, only right next to each other.

Royal Avenue is home to the Disney Shop, Primark and Castle Court while across the road in Victoria Square is where you'll find among others; House of Fraser, Calvin Klein, Boss, the Apple Store, Ted Baker and Tommy Hilfiger.

Culture vultures and of course kids (44-year-olds included) will absolutely love the Titanic experience - a wondrous journey back in time to the birth of a legend.

This world-class exhibition tells the story of the doomed liner over nine galleries - including a theme park ride around the ship yard and a 3D deck-by-deck tour of the vessel to the underwater discovery of the wreck.

All that excitement is sure to drum up an appetite where the Europa offers superb dining options for guests including The Piano Bar for cocktails and afternoon tea or the Lobby Bar for pub grub and light bites.

We opted for dinner in the contemporary Causerie Bistro where one can choose from either a set menu or a la carte with main courses starting from as little as £10.00 (€11.50).

An equally delicious hot and cold buffet-style breakfast is served too.

A brilliant, fun-filled weekend which we promised ourselves we'd do again.