North Of The Border…

Went north of the border over the weekend (and not for the first time in recent years) because the kids had asked for the last while now could they go see Titanic Belfast and I quite liked the idea too.

It’s better than you think.

The building itself (and I know it’s had some detractors) is a shimmering series of slivers standing up in the Docklands next to the almost anonymous Odyssey. I wandered around it for a while (even though it was freezing), it’s beautiful in and of itself.

Once you get inside it uses every trick in the book to tell the story. Serious walls of information, pictures, giant newsreels of the early 20th century, huge overhead maps of the city that light up when you hit buttons relating to the piece of information you’re looking for…

Then it gets serious. There’s a huge ride that brings you down through a mock-up Harland And Woolf shipyard in the time of the Titanic, and enormous 3D room that brings you up through the levels of the ship from the boiler room to the deck (actually made my knees a bit wobbly, that one), a cinema showing actual footage of the wreck from a submarine and then a glass floor you can stand on which whisks you over the debris field at the bottom of the Atlantic.

All hugely worth your time, all 3 of mine from 5 to 14 and the adults loved it too.

Went up to the Giant’s Causeway too for the second time in the last few years. I’ll be straight up with you – I hate interpretive centres usually. My *usual* opinion is “leave places of natural beauty alone and stop building big ugly buildings near then so you can have a gift shop”. So it was with a little trepidation that I arrived knowing there was a newly built one there…

I shouldn’t have worried.

The building itself is so well hidden in the hillside that it’s almost invisible and so starkly beautiful once you’re inside it that I forgot any concerns I might have had. That doesn’t happen often with me when it comes to facilities like this, genuinely.

Fun things for the kids to do, facilities for adults (you might not think it but when you’re going to spend 5 or 6 hours behind the wheel of a day, a well hidden, well equipped coffee shop and toilets are a godsend) and a choice of short or long walk along the cliffs to one of the most extraordinary places in the country, or anywhere.

You should make the trip.

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