Belfast shopping in the Greater Belfast Area
I am a man and therefore no absolutely nothing about shopping. However I am a married man with an excellent shopping wife and two twenty year old shopping daughters. When I came to write this post, I therefore went to them for their expert advice, so here goes. With the Peace Process now in place many people are now either returning to shop in Belfast, or are visiting Belfast for the first time. When visitors are discovering is that there is a thriving cultural scene along with a very unique heritage. There has been a complete regeneration of the city over the last five years and Belfast is a much changed city.
Belfast is now awash with prestigious shopping malls like the Victoria Square Shopping Centre and CastleCourt Shopping Centre. There are many big brand High Street stores, family run businesses, luxurious designer shops and speciality shops to chose from. These combined with a huge variety of pubs and restaurants is more then enough to have a cracking day out with your credit card. Belfast also has many visitor attractions, fascinating tours, award winning hotels and a great nightlife to match.
If you like your style then start in Donegall Place with stores like Karen Millen and Zara and not far from that the CastleCourt contains Debenhams, GAP and Warehouse. The new Victoria Square Shopping Centre has shops like Apple, CRUISE, House of Fraser and Build A Bear. There are also streets in the City Centre such as Liberty Blue, the Carter Style Emporium and stores like Rio, Brazil, Hilfiger, Miss Sixty and Diesel. Slightly out of town on the busy Lisburn Road, you will find an array of unique boutiques and designer Meccas. It is known locally as the “BT9″ area, which is simply a post code associated with a good area to live in. There are a host of great spas, restaurants, chocolate specialists and grooming parlours there as well so you will not be spoiled for choice.
In the remainder of the City there are also some great boutiques in Bloomfield Avenue including Utopia, Equinox, Steensons and The Wicker Man. There is also the multi award designer Una Rodden in Arthur Street just off Corn Market who designs for many celebrities. Catherine B makes much sought after jewellery and Mary Rose McGrath is famous for her dress design. Anita Flavin is also a famous shoe designer for celebrities such as Christine Bleakley, Shirley McLaine and Zoe Salmon.
My wife and daughters usually begin here in the Victoria Square Shopping Mall in the City Centre and check out what is new there. There are also a couple of good cafes inside the House of Fraser and I especially like the small coffee shop. Their coffee is fabulous. There are around 70 stores there so plenty to do and see. It is also packed with other eating places which offer a variety of dining options to suit almost any taste.
From there they move out and into Corn Market, browse through the shops there and make their way across to CastleCourt Shopping Mall. After that they could end up anywhere. The Ormeau Road has recently become a haven for top independent boutiques. This includes the rather exclusive Evelin Brandt, a very stylish European woman’s label.
Just a 10 minute taxi ride from the city centre is the chic Bloomfield Avenue and Belmont Road in the East of the City. If you are into Vintage, then make a point of visiting Raspberry Beret. You will also find there The White Bicycle and The Peel Fashion Store. From there it is easy to get to the range of cafes in the Connswater Shopping Centre. I have mentioned the Lisburn Road (BT9) area in the leafy suburbs of the Malone Road which is close to Queen’s University. This is best described as “every girl’s dream come true.” If you are looking for the top names in couture, accessories, beauty and designer shops then this is the place for you. It is often called a mile of style. It is rich with some of the best Art Galleries in Belfast.
Here is a quick list of Shopping Centres in Belfast and the Greater Belfast Area:
- Abbey Centre – in Newtownabbey about 15-20 minutes from Belfast City Centre
- Boucher Road Retail Park – a 10 minute taxi drive from the City Centre and includes shops like New Look, Next and Matalan
- Bow Street Mall – In Lisburn which is a 20 minute drive or taxi ride from Belfast.
- Castlecourt – right in the middle of the City Centre and has Debenhams, GAP and Miss Selfridge, Bargain Books
- Castle Mall – In the town of Antrim and about half an hour from Belfast City Centre
- Connswater – Bloomfield Avenue with over 50 shops including Tescos, Argos, Dunne’s Stores and Game.
- De Courcy Centre – In Carrickfergus and about 30 minutes from Belfast City Centre
- Forestside – This is in Upper Galwally about 15 minutes from Belfast and very popular – includes M&S, Sainsburys and Dunnes.
- InShops – Right in the centre of Belfast and has many different shops, Oriental Art, Babes and Braids
- Junction One International Outlet Centre – In Antrim about 30 minutes drive with over 70 stores and 60% discounts (My daughters fav)
- Lisburn Square – In Lisburn and about 20-30 minutes driveand a trendy place to be seen
- Queen’s Arcade – The Victorian decadence of this beautiful arcade and includes Lunn’s stores famous for their jewellery, Atelier and others
- Sprucefield Shopping Centre – a short taxi ride away with shops like M&S, Boots, JJB Sports
- The Outlet – In Banbridge and a good 45 minute drive but again a designer outlet with great discounted prices.
- Victoria Square – Right in the centre of Belfast and already discussed
- Westwood Shopping Centre – In Belfast with stores like Safeway, SUperdrug, NPO and Tylers
This is a brief overview of shopping in Belfast and I hope it gets you started for now.