Halloween In Belfast!

I’ve travelled to a lot of different countries and have soaked up culture all over the place. I was always very lucky as a child that my parents took me on lots of trips and holidays and when I got to put pins in a map at a party recently, to show where in the world I’d been, I felt very proud to have lots of places covered. The thing is however, it showed me that I haven’t really visited many places closer to home; there are even lots of places in England my feet have never set foot in which is a bit silly really as it wouldn’t take long to get to them OR cost very much money. I haven’t even travelled to Ireland, not even once, and I really, REALLY want to visit lots of places there!

I read a lot of ‘chick fic’ by Irish authors and in my mind I know all of the places that people like Maeve Binchy and Marian Keyes speak of in their stories but the fact remains, I’ve never been. Also, my parents lived in Northern Ireland before I was born and my Mum tells me stories of her time there which she loved. Going into pubs where everyone played an instrument and impromptu jams that would happen all the time were one of her favourite memories and between the fiction I know and love and the tales my mum tells it makes me really, REALLY want to visit. I simply MUST take the children to Ireland at some point so that when they’re older they are as well travelled as me but have ALSO been to places closer to home!

Of course these days we can only go away in school holiday time, the next of which will be half term over Halloween. I’ve been looking at Belfast which looks like a very vibrant and colourful place to be with children. I don’t know Belfast at all or even know anyone who has been there recently but Hotel Direct are very good providing reviews, prices and all information you need to find your accommodation and then with that sorted you just have to ficus on all the Halloween fun you will have on holiday

I would definitely take a few halloweeny bits like these jelly window stickers away with me to make it feel festive!
I would definitely take a few halloweeny bits like these jelly window stickers away with me to make it feel festive!h

I’ve been looking on line and W5 is a children’s science and discovery museum, just up our street! It gives the different price options in both Euros and poiunds on the website and it looks excellent value, a family with 5 children and two adults would only cost £42 which makes it accessible for larger familes and for us it would only be £25.50. It seems from their website that they have lots of FREE activities to do once inside and over Halloween will be having a range of different fun and topical things like Zombie Dodgeball and a Spooky Dip. There’s also Belfast Zoo, Ulster Folk and Transport Museum and Belfast castle Estate which look like brilliant fun for children!

But where would we eat? Finding restaurants that cater well for children is difficult but when we’re on holiday I don’t really want to go to places we would visit when we’re at home so the usual Pizza Expresses and Nandos wouldn’t really appeal. However, when you don’t know an area it’s good to swat up prior to travelling and get good recommendations from locals. I usually look for something traditional to the area and somewhere where the children won’t upset anyone if they are loud and boisterous. Obviously the food has to work for them too as otherwise what’s the point? It’s there holiday as much as it is ours and I hate taking them places where all you get given is a choice between chicken nuggets or sausages. Just outside Belfast there is a restaurant called Ed’s Bar and Grill which offers a baby VIP service. I’ve heard the food is pretty goo dbut they also have booths with televisions, Nintendos and colouring books! If you don’t have a car for your visit however and the sound Soda Joe’s Diner with their extensive children’s menu and plenty of room for buggies is fab! Its isnide the Odyssey Pavilion mall so some holiday retail therapy might have to be participated in too! It’s not traditional Irish food I’ll grant you but you can’t beat a great American burger wherever you are in the world and you can soak up the culture of Belfast doing other things!

We love Halloween and if we were away we might miss out on some of the fun that we usually get up to so I would definitely want to organise something fun for the children where they could still dress up. We don’t do trick or treating but we always do a Halloween hunt like an Easter Egg hunt and I see no reason why we couldn’t do that still and to really get in the mood for the time of year the Festival of Light at Mount Stewart run by the National Trust sounds perfect especially as they have a Halloween special. The woods come alive with lights and music and the opening night of this festival which runs throughout October and November is set to the theme of Halloween and they fully encourage fancy dress! I think we would try and do our ‘Halloween hunt’ here before it gets too dark and we went home to our hotel!

This is a collaborative post.