As the capital city of Northern Ireland, the United Kingdom, the city of Belfast enjoys a storied history. Today, Belfast is a modern area with a dynamic food, art and entertainment scene. It is also a travel destination that offers plenty in the way of interesting attractions with something for every type of traveller. With these points in mind, the following information is designed to let travellers know more about why Belfast is a great destination and what they need to know about the UK ETA for Belfast.
The Origins and Early History of Belfast
Evidence of occupation in the Belfast region extends back to the Neolithic period. The area’s oldest surviving human construction is a 5,000-year-old henge known as the Giant’s Ring, located a short distance from Belfast.
The Medieval history of the Belfast region comes into a fuller view in 1177 when the Norman soldier John de Courcy acquired lordship over lands that included the village that has grown to become today’s city of Belfast. The area would grow significantly in population and importance over the coming 500 years. The 18th and 19th centuries were a time when Belfast expanded further as it became a thriving industrial town.
Recent History of Belfast
Over the past 50-plus years, Belfast has become a modern and thriving city. The region enjoys a place as one of the top travel destinations on the island of Ireland. Travellers from around the world come to Belfast to explore the area’s history, cuisine, entertainment, nightlife and culture.
Dining in Belfast
Traditional foods that are popular in the Belfast region include the Ulster Fry and Boxty. Travellers in Belfast have dining options ranging from traditional Irish cuisine to international options. There are plenty of restaurants, pubs, and takeaway spots conveniently located around the city that serve everything from fried chicken and burgers to kebabs and pizza.
Music and Entertainment in Belfast
Belfast has a thriving music and entertainment scene. On most nights, live music can be heard coming from the city’s pubs. There are also larger music venues, including the Belfast Empire Music Hall, Limelight and Voodoo. The area is also home to several cinemas, such as the ODEON.
The Belfast Art Scene
Travellers who admire great works of art will find various options to explore in Belfast. The city is home to popular galleries and museums, including the MAC, Ulster Museum and Golden Thread Gallery.
Typical Belfast Weather Conditions
Belfast tends to experience warm summers and cold winters. The region has milder temperatures than most other places with similar latitudes due to the warmth of the Gulf Stream. Belfast experiences less rainfall than Northern England but more than Dublin.
The Notable Landmarks and Popular Sights of Belfast
Titanic Belfast is one of the top visitor attractions in the city. It opened in 2012 and is a monument to the long and storied maritime heritage that the region is known for. Located on the place where the RMS Titanic was built, the facility includes an extensive series of galleries that tell the story of the shipyards.
Located in Belfast’s Botanic Gardens, Ulster Museum features a collection of fine and applied art and archaeological finds across its 8,000 square metres. It is one of the most visited spots by travellers who go to this part of Ireland.
Belfast City Hall
Construction began in 1898, and Belfast City Hall is the hub of governance for the region and a major focal point in the city. As one of the most recognizable buildings in the city, it is also a popular site for travellers to visit.
What Travellers Need to Know About the UK ETA for Belfast
The UK ETA for Belfast is a system that has been planned by the United Kingdom Home Office, which intends to have the system fully in place by the end of 2024. The UK ETA will serve as a pre-check for international travellers who are coming into the country. The online ETA application will be put through a series of security databases to determine whether a traveller can enter the UK. Past criminal activity will be a primary factor regarding how the applications are processed. Travellers who plan to visit the Belfast region from abroad must be aware of this incoming system and the application process.
Reasons for the System
The UK ETA for Belfast is part of a new strategy to improve the efficiency of UK border control and legal migration. The goal is to create the world’s most secure and effective border control system. The programme is currently scheduled to launch, starting either in 2023 or 2024. Some 30 million travellers worldwide are expected to use the new UK ETA system for tourism and business before arriving in the country.
Required Documentation for the UK ETA for Belfast
Documentation for the ETA includes a valid email address and a biometric passport. Applicants must also have a debit or credit card and will have to provide personal information, such as travel details, residential address and date of birth.
The Application Process
Understanding ETA eligibility is key for travellers considering a trip to Belfast. There are currently 92 countries from which travellers will require an Electronic Travel Authorisation before they enter the UK. Holders of British passports are exempt from the requirement to apply through the system. From 2024 onward, British nationals living overseas will also be exempt in many circumstances. It is also important to note that Irish passport holders will be exempt from the ETA from 2024 onward.
Requirements for the ETA
The ETA requirements that travellers must fulfil for the UK ETA include holding a valid e-passport from a country with no visa requirement to enter the UK for travel purposes. Travellers should plan to enter the UK for the purpose of tourism, transit purposes or business and plan on remaining in the UK for up to six months. There should be no previous immigration violations and no previous criminal record deemed to threaten UK residents’ safety. Travellers to the UK must complete the ETA application online, pay the fee and then wait for ETA approval before getting onto any flights bound for the UK.
Travel Purposes Covered
The travel purposes that will be covered under the UK ETA include tourism and business travel as well as transit purposes. Further information about the specifics of the program and the application process can be found by visiting the official ETA FAQ. Travellers planning to pay a visit to Belfast should avail themselves of this information early in the process of planning to head off to the United Kingdom. This is the best way to ensure that applications have time to be approved before any planned departures.