Exploring the UK

An overview of: Belfast

Where is Belfast?

Belfast is the capital and largest city of Northern Ireland. The city is located in the northeastern part of the island of Ireland and serves as the political, economic, and cultural hub of Northern Ireland, with a rich history and vibrant urban atmosphere.

About the region

The region is known for its stunning landscapes, including rugged coastlines, rolling hills, and picturesque lakes.

Belfast, the capital and largest city of Northern Ireland, serves as the economic and cultural centre of the region. In recent years, it has undergone significant redevelopment, transforming into a modern and vibrant city with a thriving arts and music scene.

Northern Ireland’s unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty makes it a compelling destination for both residents and visitors.


Belfast has well-developed transport links, making it easily accessible by various means of transportation:

  • Car: Belfast is well-connected by road networks, with major motorways like the M1 and M2 providing links to other parts of Northern Ireland. The M1 connects Belfast to the southwest, connecting to cities like Lisburn and continuing to the border with the Republic of Ireland. The M2 links Belfast to Antrim and the northwest.
  • Air: Belfast is served by two airports. Belfast International Airport (BFS), located around 18 miles (29 kilometres) northwest of the city centre, offers domestic and international flights to various destinations. George Best Belfast City Airport (BHD), located just 3 miles (5 kilometres) from the city centre, provides domestic flights and connections to select European cities.
  • Train: Belfast Central Station and Great Victoria Street Station are the city’s main railway stations. They offer train services to various destinations within Northern Ireland and to Dublin in the Republic of Ireland. The Enterprise service connects Belfast with Dublin, providing a comfortable and scenic journey between the two capital cities.
  • Public Transport: Belfast has an efficient public transport system operated by Translink, which includes buses and the Glider bus rapid transit system. Buses serve various routes within the city and connect Belfast to nearby towns and villages. The Glider offers a fast and frequent service along dedicated routes, providing a convenient mode of transportation for residents and visitors.

Living in the area

Belfast offers a variety of housing options to suit different preferences and budgets.

The city provides a mix of accommodation types, including apartments, townhouses, semi-detached, and detached houses. In the city centre, you can find modern apartments and townhouses, offering convenience and proximity to amenities, restaurants, and entertainment options. Suburban areas like Malone, Stranmillis, and Holywood provide spacious family homes with green spaces and good schools nearby.

The cost of living in Belfast is generally lower compared to some other major cities in the UK; living expenses, such as transportation, food, and entertainment, are all reasonable. Belfast offers a good mix of affordable and high-quality amenities, making it an attractive choice for residents seeking a balance between urban living and cost-effectiveness.

The city’s affordable housing options and relatively lower cost of living contribute to its appeal as a place to live, work, and enjoy a comfortable lifestyle.


Belfast offers a diverse range of schooling options at the primary, secondary, and university levels, providing students with a wide array of educational opportunities.

  • Primary Schools: Belfast has numerous primary schools, both state-funded and independent, catering to children aged 4 to 11 years. These schools follow the Northern Ireland Curriculum and offer comprehensive education, including core subjects such as English, Mathematics, and Science, along with other subjects like History, Geography, and the Arts.
  • Secondary Schools: At the secondary level, Belfast provides a variety of schools offering education to students aged 11 to 16 years. These schools also follow the Northern Ireland Curriculum, which includes the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) examinations. Students can choose from a range of subjects based on their interests and future career aspirations. Belfast offers both grammar schools, which require an entrance exam for admission, and non-grammar schools, providing diverse educational paths to suit different learning styles.
  • Universities: Belfast is home to two major universities, offering a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate programs. Queen’s University Belfast, founded in 1845, is one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the UK. It offers a broad spectrum of academic disciplines and is renowned for its research excellence. Ulster University, with its main campus in Belfast, is another prominent institution providing various courses and degrees across different fields.

Overall, Belfast offers a comprehensive range of schooling options, ensuring that students have access to quality education at every level.


Belfast offers a vibrant and varied leisure scene, providing an array of activities for residents and visitors to enjoy.

The city’s rich history and culture are evident in its numerous museums and galleries, such as the Ulster Museum and the Titanic Belfast, which tells the story of the iconic ship’s construction and tragic sinking. For music enthusiasts, Belfast’s lively music scene offers live performances in venues like the SSE Arena and Ulster Hall. Sports enthusiasts can catch football matches at Windsor Park, the home of Northern Ireland’s national team, or enjoy rugby games at Kingspan Stadium. The city’s green spaces, such as Botanic Gardens and Ormeau Park, provide opportunities for leisurely walks and picnics. Additionally, Belfast’s vibrant nightlife, centred around the Cathedral Quarter and the Linen Quarter, offers a plethora of bars, restaurants, and entertainment venues, ensuring that there is always something exciting happening in the city.


Belfast Health and Social Care Trust is a prominent and comprehensive healthcare provider in Northern Ireland. Operating multiple hospitals, health centres, and social care facilities, it offers an extensive array of medical and support services.

The trust’s hospitals, such as the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast City Hospital, and Mater Hospital, cater to various medical needs, including emergency care, surgery, and specialised treatments. In addition to acute care, the trust also focuses on community and mental health services, ensuring patients receive appropriate care in their local communities.

Royal Victoria Hospital: The Royal Victoria Hospital (RVH) offers a wide range of medical services, including emergency care, surgery, and specialist treatments in various disciplines. It is a major trauma centre and plays a crucial role in providing high-level care for patients with complex and serious injuries or illnesses. The Royal Victoria Hospital is also involved in medical research and is affiliated with Queen’s University Belfast.

Belfast City Hospital: Belfast City Hospital specialises in cancer care, renal services, and other medical specialities. The hospital is known for its expertise in oncology and offers comprehensive cancer treatments, including chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Additionally, Belfast City Hospital provides a range of medical services, including general medicine and surgery.

Mater Hospital: Mater Hospital offers a variety of medical services, including accident and emergency care, general medicine, and surgery. It plays a significant role in providing healthcare services to the local community and beyond.

Relocation support

How do Doctors Relocate assist with your relocation?

In addition to providing personalised career guidance, facilitating interviews and managing negotiations to secure the right job opportunity for each individual, we offer ongoing relocation support to our candidates, helping with practical matters such as accommodation arrangements, banking, and setting up other essential services.

Our dedicated team is readily available to address any concerns or queries that you have along the way, ensuring that you feel supported and confident throughout your relocation.

With our guidance, you can confidently navigate the relocation journey, focusing on your professional and personal growth in the UK.

Your essential reading list: Top blogs to help with your relocation to the UK

Moving to the UK: Planning and packing tips

Driving in the UK with an overseas license

Buying a car in the UK

The UK education system

School Holidays in the UK

Supermarkets and grocery stores in the UK

Public holidays in the UK

International airports in the UK

Urgent and emergency care services in the UK

Useful information and contacts in the UK

Registering with a GP and Dentist in the UK

Childcare in the UK

Arranging accommodation in the UK

If you’re a doctor interested in NHS positions, please contact our team to discuss the opportunities available to you.