Today (September 27) marks World Tourism Day and to celebrate we’ve earmarked some of Northern Ireland’s unmissable events and tourist destinations to explore over the weekend.
Latest statistics show that NI attracted a previously unsurpassed 550,000 visitors from outside NI earlier this year, with an average of £2m being spent each day.
Famed for the warmth of its welcome and boosted by its thriving culture and arts scene, world-leading visitor attractions and world-class food, it’s little wonder that visitors are flocking to visit Northern Ireland.
Be a tourist for the weekend and explore the best that Northern Ireland has to offer. Explore the hustle and bustle of the Belfast city centre or escape to the country to get lost in the apple orchards in Armagh, there’s something to do for people of all ages and tastes, no matter the weather.
Recently voted ‘Best Day Out’ at the Northern Ireland Hospitality Awards 2019, a visit to Armagh Observatory & Planetarium is a must.
Never before has the night sky looked – or sounded – as magnificent as when viewed at Northern Ireland’s only planetarium. Immerse yourself in a unique experience which is quite simply ‘out of this world’.
In the Planetarium’s amazing digital theatre, you can relax and enjoy a 3D StarDome show that’s not to be missed. Experience our planet and beyond; touring the night sky, discovering some of the myths behind the star constellations and exploring black holes and cosmic chemistry.
Adult: £8, child: £5.75
In association with Taste the Island and Belfast Restaurant Week, celebrate all that’s great about Northern Ireland’s local food and drink at Taste The City, taking place at Writer’s Square from 10am to 4pm on Saturday 28 and Sunday, September 29.
The weekend will be jam-packed with live cookery demonstrations from some of Belfast’s best chefs including Stephen Ferris from Coppi and Damian Schultz from Cafe Parisien.
Explore the producers market, get hands on with local culinary delights and soak up free family fun throughout the day with kids activities including kite making, cupcake workshops and face painting, all set to the sound of live music.
Derry Girls star and comic legend Kevin McAleer returns to Marketplace Theatre, Armagh on Friday, September 27 for his stand-up show, Guru. An evening of hilarious entertainment not to be missed (if you're 16 and over).
Cost: £18.00/£16.00 (concession)
Halloween is coming, which means it’s time to experience a bone-chilling encounter with some of the weird and wonderful ghosts and ghouls that linger in the shadows after dark in W5.
Prepare for an audio-visual experience like no other, using state of the art immersive soundscape and projection technologies as you have an eerie rendezvous with some of Northern Ireland’s strange and terrifying Creatures of the Night.
This experience is included in the general admission price to W5 and is open on weekends from September 28 and daily from October 28 - November 3.
Travel to the dark side of the moon with the Marketplace Theatre as it presents a Pink Floyd Tribute show on Saturday,September 28. Combining great musicians, amazing singers and a spectacular custom light and laser show, this event is sure to be a hit with Pink Floyd fans. Time: 8.00pm
Cost: £20.00/£18.00 (concession)
Step back in time and jump aboard the HMS Caroline, the iconic lone survivor of the First World War’s greatest naval engagement, The Battle of Jutland.
Located in Belfast’s famous Titanic Quarter, the vessel has been restored into a floating museum, steeped in history of personal stories of those who served on the ship.
Experience a powerful film on the drama of Jutland and see first-hand the restored cabins and deck areas, as well as state-of-the-art interactive exhibits.
Cost: Adult: £10.75, child: £4.25
Navan Centre and Fort is a place where myth and reality meet. It is one of Ireland’s most famous and important archaeological sites, the legendary Emain Macha.
Prepare yourself for battle and learn the skills to survive as an ancient warrior or sit and relax and allow your imagination to wander as the great tradition of storytelling is used to pass on some of the history of the area and the great warriors who once lived here!
General admission: Adult £7.00/child £4.70/concession £5.80/family £19.15
The F.E. McWilliam Gallery and Studio in Banbridge is dedicated to the memory of sculptor Frederick Edward McWilliam, one of Ireland’s most influential and successful artists.
F.E. McWilliam was born in Banbridge on the 30th April 1909. He died in London in 1992 and the executors of his estate donated the sculptor’s studio and its contents to the town of his birth.
Featuring a permanent display of McWilliam’s work, temporary exhibitions of Irish and international art, a craft shop, cafe and Banbridge Tourist Information Centre, the F.E. McWilliam Gallery and Studio attracts a wide range of local, national and international visitors.
Take a visit to the Orchard County of Armagh and get lost among the apple trees at Long Meadow Cider Company. Take a guided tour and learn all about the cider making process and of course, sample some of the delicious range of craft ciders.
Tour packages can include either tea/coffee and apple tart or a VIP picnic lunch from Yellow Door Deli.