Rainy Days and Sundays don’t always get me down!

When it comes to Sundays in our house, it’s a bit of a lost day spent eating, lounging on the sofa and watching tv. So when Tourism NI asked me if I would be interested in blogging for them I jumped at opportunity of getting out and unplugging the kids from the matrix for a few hours.

Our first trip was a day in Belfast, yesterday 13th December. So, like the Griswolds on tour we set off from our home in Upperlands for the BIG SMOKE (girls up front and boys in the back to avoid any unnecessary arguing – it really gets on the kids nerves!).

The secret to harmonious car journeys, divide and conquer - girls in the front and boys in the back!

Living in the heart of mid Ulster is great as it means nowhere in NI is more than a 1 hour drive (apart from Fermanagh), so after an hour we arrived at our first port of call – the Ulster Museum and found it surprisingly easy to find on road parking literally steps away from the entrance. Admission to the Museum is FREE with a suggested voluntary donation of £3.00.

At the Ulster Museum

The staff on duty were extremely helpful, however we were warned that we were not allowed to leave without visiting the Mummy!

We spent at least two hours at the museum which opens at 10am to 5pm Tuesday to Sunday and there is something there to appeal to all tastes and ages.

Charlotte and I were more keen to see the art – and were not disappointed. The Colin Davidson exhibition “Silent Testimony” had been on my to do list for a while so I was pleased to get the chance to see this which is very moving.

Charlotte and Joseph were surprised by the diversity of art on display as you can see by Joseph’s face! He was more interested in the Natural History section.

There are plenty of activities on offer – yesterday there was a lantern making workshop for children in the run up to the Lantern Parade next week.  The children had a stab (successfully) at creating a compound (their teachers would be pleased!). So all in all it was educational, entertaining and thought provoking and the general consensus of opinion was that we would need to go back for a full day to see everything. Oh and yes we were allowed out – after seeing Takabuti – she has great teeth for a lady of her years!

Two old mummies.... well she's about 2,500 years older than me!

We then made our way to the Cathedral Quarter and parked at St Anne’s Square, which is only short walking distance to the City Hall where we visited the Continental Christmas Market. Despite the constant drizzle of rain the good folk of NI were in good spirits – we are a hardy bunch and won’t let a bit of rain spoil our fun or dampen the Christmas spirit.  The market was very busy and if you like crepes be prepared to queue for a while.

Enjoying the sights, sounds, and amazing smells of The Continental Christmas Market at City Hall

Suitably hungry, we made our way to Little Wing Pizzeria on Ann Street – you can’t really go wrong with pizza for teenagers (or my husband).  This branch of Little Wing is walk in only, you can’t book a table in advance, but thankfully we only had a 5 minute wait before we were seated. This was my first Little Wing experience and found it very relaxed, with friendly staff and authentic pizzas. The varied menu also includes pasta dishes, salads and vegetarian and gluten free options, and is good value for money. We paid around £70 for four starters, four main course pizzas, four desserts, four milkshakes, a coke and a pot of tea.  Probably double what we would pay in the usual stopovers at McDonalds or KFC so this was a treat, but felt that it was well worth it for the quality of the food and the standard of service.

Tucking into Pizza!

Our final stop was Downstairs at the MAC to see Rumpelstiltskin – tickets start at £12, the show runs until the 3rd January and is suitable for all the family.  The MAC is located in the heart of the Cathedral Quarter in St Anne’s Square with a fantastic programme of events to keep the family entertained over the Christmas period.

Waiting for the fun to begin at the Mac

So as you can see we managed to cram a lot in to one rainy day in Belfast and it didn’t cost an arm and a leg. The kids were entertained, fed and watered. Joseph’s highlight was Little Wing Pizzeria, Nigel’s highlight was the Colin Davidson exhibition at the Ulster Museum, Charlotte’s was Rumpelstiltskin and mine was seeing the Mummy Takabuti for the first time.

That’s all for now, until the next time.