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Things to know
about Belfast

Capital City of Northern Ireland


Belfast is Northern Ireland’s capital and most famously, the birthplace of the "Unsinkable" RMS Titanic, which struck an iceberg and sunk in 1912.

This legacy is recalled in the renovated dockyards' Titanic Quarter, which includes the Titanic Belfast, an aluminium-clad museum reminiscent of a ship’s hull, as well as shipbuilder Harland & Wolff’s Drawing Offices and the Titanic Slipways, which now host open-air concerts.

Belfast is a rising star, emerging from years of political unease to take its place among the UK’s must-see destinations.

A visit will swiftly be rewarded with welcoming locals, superb pubs and restaurants, and top attractions including the atmospheric Crumlin Road Gaol and walking tours of Belfast’s famous murals.

The city has historic landmarks such as Belfast Castle and Belfast City Hall, plus a unique blend of traditional and modern culture.

Belfast’s industrial heritage has shaped a richly cultural city which offers the buzz and vibrancy of a British capital whilst being a gateway to the rural retreats of Northern Ireland.

Head out from the city on a tour of the Causeway Coast to find the Game of Thrones filming locations.

You can fly to Belfast from most British cities. From London it is a 1 hour and 15 minute flight.

Plenty of things to see, do, eat & drink!


Belfast is incredibly well connected with frequent rail routes connecting the city with Bangor, Larne Harbour, Coleraine, Londonderry, Portadown, Newry and Dublin.

Translink provides an extensive public transport network, while Stena Line also operates ferry routes from Liverpool, Cairnryan in Scotland and Douglas on the Isle of Man.

Purchase a Belfast Visitor Pass for unlimited travel around the centre of Belfast over 1, 2 or 3 days, as well as special offers and discounts on many Belfast attractions.

  • "Visit Belfast" has a useful selection of maps and guides to help you plan your trip to the city, and you can download the free Visit Belfast app for information on Belfast’s landmarks, tours, hotels restaurants, culture and nightlife

  • Hop-on hop-off Belfast Bus Tours from City Sightseeing Belfast stop off at 23 Belfast attractions and are available in six languages.

  • Several companies offer Black Taxi Tours of Belfast, showcasing the city’s murals, political history and notable locations from its past.

Belfast has a vibrant and varied nightlife which is improving year on year.


The most popular areas tend to be the Cathedral Quarter and around the Dublin Road area.


Closing times and last orders are generally a source of confusion even to many locals - but as a rule of thumb nights out in Belfast begin early and end earlier than in many similar European cities.

Check out "gotoireland"'s Eating and Drinking guide for all the best spots here.

How does Belfast Compare? 

The average cost of living in Belfast is approximately €1326 / £1120, which is in the top 33% of the most expensive cities in the world, ranked 3045th out of 9294 in a recent global list, 227th out of 277 in the United Kingdom, and 4th out of 6 in Northern Ireland.

The median after-tax salary is €2231, which is enough to cover living expenses for 1.7 months.

Ranked 224th (TOP 2%) in the list of best places to live in the world and 20th best city to live in the United Kingdom, Belfast is also the 1st most "liveable" city in Northern Ireland.

With an estimated population of 334K, Belfast is the 13th largest city in the United Kingdom

The average one-bedroom apartment in Belfast city centre stands at around €969 / £818 per month. If you're okay with an apartment outside of the city centre that will be cost around €713 / £602.

Cities with a similar cost of living index include Aachen, Germany; Kansas City, US; Doha, Qatar; Marseilles, France; Mobile, US; Albuquerque, US; Liverpool, UK; Kingston, Jamaica; Taichung, Taiwan; Malta city, Malta; Dresden, Germany; and Barcelona, Spain.

Belfast is among the UK's most affordable cities, and is significantly cheaper than Dublin – especially in terms of rent.

According to, the average rent in Belfast is 34% lower than a similarly sized place in Dublin and 53% lower than in London.

Dubbed a "UK City that's actually affordable" by BBC Travel, Belfast is a great to live and work, also named as one of the top cities to work in on Glassdoor. 

Cost of Living
in Belfast

Not all income is taxable and you’re only taxed on ‘taxable income’ above a certain level. Even then, there are other reliefs and allowances that can reduce your Income Tax bill – and in some cases mean you’ve no tax to pay.

When you become an employee, your employer is responsible for deducting Income tax and National Insurance from your salary before you receive it. This system is called PAYE (Pay As You Earn). You’ll get paperwork relating to PAYE from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and your employer.

When you start work, HMRC will send you a tax code on a PAYE Coding Notice. They also send a copy of the Coding Notice to your employer, who’ll use it to work out how much tax to deduct from your pay.

Your employer may use an ’emergency tax code’ until HMRC issues the right one. If you’ve paid too much tax you’ll get it back through PAYE.

If you leave your job before you get the right code, or you want to claim tax back for a previous tax year, you can apply to HMRC for a refund.

For further information please visit nidirect – – Starting your first job – tax and National Insurance(opens in new tab)


See also:

Eligibility to Work in Belfast

Depending on where you come from, you might need a work permit and possibly a visa to work in Northern Ireland. Your employer will need to check that you have permission to legally work in the UK. Find out your employment rights and responsibilities and where to get further information.

       Information below:

  • Who can work in the UK

  • Workers from European Economic Area (EEA countries)

  • Students

  • Proof an employer will need from you

  • Finding a job in Northern Ireland

    Who can work in the UK

  • If you want to come to the UK to work, whether you can depends on your country of origin, the type of job you want to apply for, and your relevant skills.

  • If you are not a British or Irish citizen, you may need a visa before you travel here. 

  • If you have to get a visa, you'll need to be cleared by officials at a British Overseas Mission in your country of origin. Once cleared, the entry clearance certificate, or visa, will be put into your passport or travel document.

  • Visas and immigration(external link opens in a new window / tab)

  • Staying in Northern Ireland if you’re an EU citizen

  • If you want to work in the UK, you must apply under the new points-based immigration system.

    Workers from European Economic Area (EEA countries)

  • If you’re an EU/EEA (non-Irish) national, you will have to have either ‘settled status’(external link opens in a new window / tab) or pre-settled status or you will need to satisfy the requirements of the UK’s new points-based immigration system(external link opens in a new window / tab) to work in Northern Ireland.

    Frontier working

  • A Frontier Worker permit(external link opens in a new window / tab) lets you come to the UK to work while living elsewhere.

  • You may be eligible if all of the following apply:

  • you’re from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein

  • you live outside of the UK

  • you worked in the UK before 31 December 2020

  • you have kept working in the UK at least once every 12 months since you started working here

  • If you’re an Irish citizen, you do not need to apply for a Frontier Worker permit but you can choose to do so.

  • If you’re a frontier worker, you’ll need a permit to enter the UK to work from 1 July 2021. You can use your passport or national identity card until then.

  • There’s no fee to apply for the permit.


  • If you're an international student you may need permission to work here when you're studying.

  • You should check the visa stamp in your passport.

  • If it says 'prohibited' you can't work in the UK.

  • If it grants you leave to enter or stay in the UK as a student, you can work here provided you don't:

  • work more than 20 hours a week during term time, unless the employment is part of your studies, or is an internship

  • engage in business, are not self-employed and don't provide services as a professional sportsperson or entertainer

  • take a permanent full-time position

    Proof an employer will need from you

  • You'll need to show a prospective employer your:

  • passport

  • national identity card or Home Office registration certificate

  • UK Border Agency work document if need permission to work

  • Employers can face unlimited fines if they employ illegal workers and need to make sure that no one they employ is working in the UK illegally.

  • However, to protect themselves against discrimination laws they should treat all job applicants equally. So don't be offended if you're asked to prove your nationality, as even UK nationals will be asked to provide proof.

  • Apply for a UK residence card(external link opens in a new window / tab)

    Finding a job in Northern Ireland

  • There are lots of ways of finding a job, including through personal contacts and Jobs and Benefits Offices. 

  • You can also improve your chances of getting a job by getting training and learning for work to improve your skills.

    Check if your qualifications are recognised

  • If you're resident in Northern Ireland, a qualifications equivalence service is available to check your qualifications against the UK equivalents. This service is free of charge and available from the following offices:

  • Jobs and Benefits offices

  • Careers Service

  • Staff at the offices will access the UK National Recognition Information Centre (NARIC) databases on your behalf, and provide you with comparison information and advice on your specific qualifications. Your country of origin needs to be listed on the NARIC databases to avail of this service.

  • You'll need to have a copy of your qualification certificates or details. 

    More useful links

  • Benefits for non-UK nationals

  • Ensuring your workers are eligible to work in the UK(external link opens in a new window / tab)

  • EU settlement scheme: evidence of UK residence(external link opens in a new window / tab)

All information taken from :

Want to work in Belfast? Click here for information on all multi-lingual roles in Northern Ireland

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