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Everything You Need To Know About Shopping In Belfast

Published by: Bounce14 December, 2022
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Belfast is a colorful port city and a vibrant cultural and historical hub on the eastern coast of Northern Ireland. It’s the birthplace of Titanic, offering the world’s most enormous Titanic tourist experience. It’s also bursting with creativity, home to award-winning art galleries at the Cathedral Quarter, the city’s epicenter of street art. Dig deeper into the city and its museums and attractions, and you’ll discover interesting layers of history and culture that make Belfast an enchanting place to explore.

However, no visit to the capital of Northern Ireland is complete without shopping in Belfast. It’s a shopper’s paradise, with charming traditional markets, specialty shops, exclusive boutiques, independent retailers, and high-street favorites. Whether you’re looking for luxury brands, craft goods, vintage items, or high fashion, the city has everything for every discerning shopper. Just within the buzzing Belfast City Centre are large shopping facilities, independent retailers, and hidden gems awaiting discovery.

After satisfying retail therapy, drop your bags off at Bounce luggage storage in Belfast. It’s the best option to lighten your load, especially if you still have other things to do or want to sightsee around the city.

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Best Belfast Shopping Centres and Arcade

Victoria Square Shopping Centre

With over 70 stores, including 50 high-end retail outlets and 18 restaurants, Victoria Square Shopping Centre provides an ultimate shopping experience in the heart of the city. It houses a number of international luxury brands and the best United Kingdom designers in the field of beauty, fashion, homeware, and many more. Some of the famous names include Tommy Hilfiger, Michael Kors, Hollister, Guess, H&M, and MAC. It also features shopping packages and a resident personal shopper with over fifteen years of experience in the retail industry.

Need to replenish while shopping in Belfast? Victoria Square Shopping Centre features the Kitchen Bar, Pizza Hut, Five Guys, Nando’s, and coffee shops to suit any taste. There’s also free WiFi to connect to social media or check your email while browsing the stores or relaxing at one of the restaurants.

Near Belfast Station, Victoria Square opened in March 2008 and has become one of the best shopping spots in the Belfast city centre and Northern Ireland's biggest shopping mall. Besides the stores and several restaurants, it boasts a cinema for entertainment and an iconic Dome offering a 360-degree view of the city. You’ll meet a professional tour guide to help you identify points of interest and local attractions you’ll see from the Dome. The free tours allow you to take in sights like the Albert Clock, Belfast City Hall, and Cave Hill.

Location: 1 Victoria Square, Belfast BT1 4QG

CastleCourt Shopping Centre

Anyone looking for family-friendly shopping should head to CastleCourt Shopping Centre. Located at Royal Avenue, an exciting city centre area, CastleCourt is a short distance from Victoria Square with an extensive selection of independent and high street stores. These include Yankee Candle, Dorothy Perkins, Argos, O’Neills, and many more. If you want to update your home furniture or add new accessories, you may browse the classy items and charming home décor at Belleek Living.

CastleCourt Shopping Centre has an array of amenities and facilities to suit every need, including parent rooms, mobility service, reliable customer service, a food court, and more. Plus, there’s a playroom for kids aged two to five, featuring tunnels, climbing equipment, slides, and interactive play areas to keep them entertained. You also don’t have to worry about parking, as it offers over 1,550 parking spaces, including charging ports for electric cars on the fifth floor.

Location: Royal Ave, Belfast BT1 1DD, United Kingdom

Abbey Centre

About six miles from central Belfast is a large indoor shopping centre called Abbey Centre. It boasts over seventy stores under one roof, including Vogue, Skechers, New Look, Warren James, Pandora, Direct Furniture, Argos, and several restaurants. It offers late shopping until 9 PM during the week and up to four hours of free parking so visitors can dine and shop at their leisure.

Abbey Center ensures a smooth and comfortable experience for shoppers. Besides free car parking, it features baby changing and feeding facilities, mobility scooters, ATMs, free WiFi, and public telephones. Other services include pharmacies, shoe repairs, locksmiths, banking, medical practice, and opticians.

Location: Longwood Road, Newtownabbey, Antrim BT37 9UH

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Queen’s Arcade

Another premier shopping destination you don’t want to miss in Belfast is Queen’s Arcade. It’s the city’s last remaining Victorian-style arcade, constructed in 1880. It was designed by James McKinnon and became a significant business thoroughfare rich in history. The Arcade went through two restorations in 1935 and 2019 to restore the beauty and grandeur of the old building. After more than a century since its first construction, it remains one of the capital’s signature landmarks.

Queen’s Arcade is located in the center of Belfast’s shopping district, a short walking distance from the majestic Belfast City Hall and Great Victoria Street Train Station. It offers luxury shopping, home to numerous high-fashion brands, accessories, and watches, such as Gucci, Rolex, Tag Heuer, and Montblanc.

At Queen’s Arcade, you’ll find the leading jeweler in Northern Ireland, Lunn’s, with more than 60 years of experience. You can also buy gorgeous gifts, locally handcrafted items, and other goodies.

Location: 4 Queen's Arcade, Belfast BT1 5FF

Connswater Shopping Centre

If you want to combine shopping with a relaxing nature walk, head to Connswater Shopping Centre. It’s a modern shopping mall and park where you can buy all your necessities while offering an accessible parkland for recreation, leisure, and community activities and events.

Whether you’re looking for the perfect gift for a loved one, lifestyle, beauty, or homeware, Connswater has got you covered. Shops include Blue Inc, Elysian Divine Jewellery, Claire’s, Bonmarche, New Look, and more. You can also dine or stroll along the retail park.

Location:  Bloomfield Ave, A20, Belfast BT5 5LP

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Kennedy Centre

Situated at the heart of West Belfast, the Kennedy Centre is a shopping complex and a community hub, providing space for 45 shops, including local independent and multinational businesses. For more than 30 years, this multi-level shopping mall has been serving the community and business owners with a convenient and accessible site to sell, shop, and dine.

Whether you need new items to add to your wardrobe, ingredients for your cooking, local produce, or home and gifts, Kennery Centre can help. It may not be the largest shopping center with all your favorite retail stores, but it’s a lovely place to take your family. It has an indoor soft play center and entertainment facility where you can play games, test your skill, win tickets, and collect great prizes.

Kennedy Centre is easily accessible via public transportation. It also has 800 free parking spaces, including 57 family zones and 43 designated areas for those with mobility issues.

Location: 580 Falls Rd, Belfast BT11 9EA

Top Belfast Markets

St George’s Market

Constructed between 1890 and 1896, St George’s Market is one of the best markets in Ireland and the United Kingdom and one of Belfast's oldest attractions. But even before it was built, there has been a favorite Friday market on the building’s site since 1604. Today, this alluring Victorian building offers one of the city’s most colorful and energetic Belfast destinations.

St George’s Market is a wonderful spot for retailers and sellers to meet. It has about 200 stalls selling everything from fresh produce, like vegetables, fruits, fish, and meat, to antiques, clothes, and books. It’s also where you can buy locally-made gifts, unique home items, accessories, and vintage goods.

Many travelers travel near and far during Friday markets to sample lovely food, fish, traditional delights, and dairy-free chocolates. But if you come to Saturday Food and Craft Market, you’ll find yourself surrounded by tempting specialty food from around the world. Take your time to explore handcrafted gifts and souvenirs, metalwork, glass, and pottery. There are also lush greens, plants, and flowers to take home.

On Sunday, you’ll be delighted to find a perfect blend of the Friday and Saturday markets. You’ll also find more local arts and crafts by creative artisans, artists, and designers showing off their works.

Location: 12-20 East Bridge Street, Belfast, County Antrim, BT1 3NQ

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Inns Cross Market

If you’re in south Belfast, don’t miss the chance to visit Inns Cross Market on Saintfield Road. It’s a monthly farmer’s market with approximately thirty stalls of products by local artisans, farmers, and food producers. A few vendors also offer high-quality handmade cosmetics, skincare, and sustainable living items.

This is your authentic farmer’s market that takes pride in its role in giving local artisan producers and farmers from Northern Ireland a platform to showcase their products. Come visit, browse the stalls, and meet the producers while embracing the buzz of the farmer’s market. When you shop here, you’re also helping locals and getting authentic food from the region in one location.

Location: Saintfield Road, Newtownbreda, Belfast, County Antrim, BT8 7HN

Smithfield Market

Nestled at the center of the city’s retail district, Smithfield Market is a historical, hidden gem, home to numerous specialist shops. It’s an incredible place to hunt for antiques, unique souvenirs, secondhand goods, and one-of-a-kind gifts. The original market can be traced back to the 1700s but was destroyed in 1974 by firebombs.

Smithfield Market now stands on a former bus station, home to over 30 independent retail units. There’s everything here for everyone, from collectible toys and garment alterations to army supplies, mobile phone repairs, and more.

Location: Winetavern Street, Belfast, Antrim, BT1 1JE

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Specialty Shops and Independent Stores in Belfast

Born & Bred

Located on Ann Street, Born & Bred is an impressive treasure trove of high-quality local handmade products in Belfast. It’s a three-level shopping facility showcasing the best in UK designers and creative Irish talents. It features over 85 shops, offering everything, including clothing and accessories, homeware, souvenirs, gifts, food, and drinks.

Born & Bred was founded in 2014, and since then, it has been actively involved in mentoring makers, allowing them to sell locally-made gifts in the shop. When you purchase any item from the store, you know you’re getting something made by the creative hands of local designers and producers. It’s the perfect place for anyone who wants to buy an original piece of Northern Ireland to take home and share with loved ones.

Location: 60-62 Ann Street, Belfast, Antrim, BT1 4EG

Peel

If you’re shopping entirely for fashion, Peel is the place to go. It’s a mini department store with an outstanding collection from Paris, Milan, London, Germany, and Antwerp. Choose your favorite clothing and complete your look by adding accessories and jewelry to create the style you want, from classic with a contemporary twist to something whimsical and quirky to match your personality.

You’ll be greeted by warm and friendly staff as soon as you enter the store. If you need a break, relax on the cozy sofa on the ground floor while having a chat or sipping a cup of coffee. Just a few doors from the main store is a smaller Peel Fashion sale shop where you can grab a bargain and enjoy up to 80 percent off.

Location: 107 Bloomfield Ave, Belfast, BT5 5AB

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Oakland Antiques

Antique lovers will rejoice as they explore Oakland Antiques. It is one of the busiest antique shops in Northern Irelands, with two extensive floors of retro furniture and antique items, including clocks, glass, porcelain, silver, gold, jewelry, chests, rugs, runners, and more. It’s a collector’s paradise and an art gallery quarter at the center of Donegall Pass, just off Ormeau Rd.

If there’s a particular item you want to get, you may call the shop or fill in an inquiry form online, and they will get back to you as soon as possible. Besides selling their products, they also rent their fine furniture and antique pieces to theaters, TV productions, and the film industry.

Location: 135 Donegall Pass, Belfast BT7 1DS

Shopping in Belfast

There’s no shortage of shopping options and retail facilities in Belfast for savvy shoppers and fashionistas. Even if you’re traveling on a budget, be sure to set aside funds for shopping, as you’ll likely be tempted to spend when you explore its busy streets filled with independent retailers, lovely boutiques, and shops. You can also stop by the large shopping centers and get everything you need under one roof. Now that you've shopped and bought the best in Belfast, spend some time enjoying free things to do!

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