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Parking at Belfast City
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BHD has a short-term parking facility located to the south of the terminal, as well as a main car park just 328 feet (100 metres) to the north. There is also a fast-track parking option, the use of which puts passengers' vehicles as close as possible to the terminal building.
There are a number of benefits to using the fast-track parking service at George Best Belfast City Airport, including complimentary access to the fast-track security lane inside the terminal building and the shortest possible journey between your vehicle and check-in.
Fast-track parking is only available to passengers who have pre-booked and paid the full fee for their time at the airport, which is charged at a daily rate. It’s typically the most expensive option available at BHD.
A shuttle bus runs every 15 minutes to take passengers to and from the main parking facility at BHD, but the walk to the main car park only takes a few minutes if you don't have heavy luggage or children to worry about.
Long-term parking rates start at a low charge for the first 15 minutes, followed by varying rates for up to 12 hours, 12-24 hours, one-to-two days and two-to-three days. The daily rate increases at varying increments for stays of up to 15 days and there is a set daily rate thereafter.
BHD's short-stay car park offers the most affordable place to leave your vehicle for up to 24 hours. The first 10 minutes of parking in the short-stay car park are completely free of charge and the rates charged for stays of up to 30 minutes and 60 minutes are low.
After your first two hours in the short-stay car park, the parking rate increases every two hours up to 12 hours and the cost of parking for between 12 and 24 hours is the same as the daily rate chargeable thereafter.
You can park in this facility without making a reservation, but Looking4Parking.com can help you save if you do book ahead.
There are clearly marked bays for disabled parking in the short-stay car park at George Best Belfast City Airport and passengers can show their Blue Badge at the information desk in the terminal building to ensure the rates they are charged are the same as those charged in the long-stay car park.
There is a passenger drop-off and pick-up zone located between the short-stay car park and the terminal building at BHD. Like the short-stay car park itself, this zone offers free parking for up to 10 minutes.
Named after Northern Ireland's legendary footballer, George Best Belfast City Airport (BHD) is the third-busiest airport on the island of Ireland and Northern Ireland, handling over 2.7 million passengers each year. Known as Belfast City Airport until 2006, it was renamed after George Best on May 22nd 2006, when the late footballer would have celebrated his 60th birthday.
The airport has been a hub for independent regional airline Flybe since 1993 and the majority of flights out of BHD are Flybe services bound for cities across the United Kingdom. However, there are international flights available to destinations including Iceland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain and Portugal through a number of other operators.
The airport is located just 1.8 miles (2.9 kilometres) from Belfast city centre, off the A2 Sydenham bypass. It takes just 10 minutes to reach the airport by car from the city centre via the A2. BHD is less than 90 minutes’ drive from Londonderry and less than two hours' drive away from Dublin in the Republic of Ireland.
Public transport to the airport is available, with the Airport Express 600 service running throughout the week from Belfast city centre, with a reduced service on Sundays. The airport is adjacent to Sydenham train station and rail services run to Belfast Central and Victoria Street stations on a half-hourly basis during the daytime and on an hourly basis at night.
Taxis are also available to transport passengers between BHD and Belfast city centre.
Belfast has a long and proud history of air travel and the city made some key contributions to the development of passenger flights. Aerospace company, Short Brothers, was the first in the world to make production aircraft and the company founded an airport alongside its factory at Sydenham in 1937.
The site was developed for civilians to use and the inaugural flight from the airport now known as George Best Belfast City was made to Glasgow in 1938, after Mrs Anne Chamberlain, then-wife of British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, opened the newly named Belfast Harbour Airport on March 16th of that year.
The airport became known as RAF Belfast during World War II and played a vital role in the war effort, with development and deployment of famous aircraft, such as the Shorts Sunderland flying boat, taking place on the site.
Post-war expansion of the airport included the lengthening of the runway to 6,000 feet (1.8 kilometres) and the facility was renamed Belfast City Airport. Another aviation milestone took place on the site when the SC1 made the world's first vertical take-off from the airport, making it a forerunner to the famous Harrier jump jet.
For decades, the passenger facilities at the airport consisted of a collection of mobile buildings connected by a network of narrow corridors, but a new terminal at Belfast City Airport was opened in 2001 amid a period of rapid growth in passenger numbers.
Following the renaming of the airport to George Best Belfast City in 2006, budget airline operator, Ryanair, began operating services from there. The budget airline ceased its Belfast operations in 2010, but the airport has since been home to services delivered by easyJet, Bmibaby and Aer Lingus.
The floor-to-ceiling windows at George Best Belfast City Airport look out over the spectacular landscapes of Cave Hill Country Park, which makes time spent there that little bit more pleasant and relaxing.
Those views only open up once you've passed through security at BHD, but you can enjoy Italian coffee, locally sourced food, a well-stocked pub and takeaway sandwiches on either side of the turnstiles, not to mention free WiFi throughout the terminal.
Passengers requiring special assistance at the airport should contact their airline, travel agent or tour operator at least 48 hours before arriving at BHD. This information will be passed on to the airport's staff and assistance will be provided from arrival through to take-off.
Facilities at George Best Belfast City Airport include:
While there are no hotels situated on the grounds of George Best Belfast City Airport, there are a number of conveniently located options to suit all accommodation budgets and tastes in the surrounding areas.
Belfast Titanic Quarter Premier Inn hotel is just one mile (1.6 kilometres) away from BHD and just 328 feet (100 metres) from the M3 motorway. The hotel has a restaurant, fully air-conditioned rooms, free WiFi throughout, blackout curtains and powerful showers. The Titanic Quarter itself, where the world-famous RMS Titanic was designed and built, features an incredible visitor experience as well as shopping, bars and pubs. While there aren't any parking packages offered by this Premier Inn, the hotel does recommend the parking facilities at the Gateway Hotel car park, which is next door.
Just 2.6 miles (4.2 kilometres) from the airport along Belfast Road is Rayanne House, a multi-award-winning, five-star guesthouse with its own private fine dining restaurant. The exceptional quality of food on offer there is what attracts many of its visitors - the gourmet breakfast and Titanic-themed evening menu have received rave reviews - but the guesthouse also offers excellent accommodation, free WiFi and free parking for the duration of your stay.
If you're a golfer, Rayanne House is just two minutes' walk from Holywood Golf Club, home of local-lad-turned-sporting-superstar, Rory McIlroy.
The nearest hotel to BHD is Park Avenue Hotel. Just six minutes' drive or half-an-hour's walk from the airport, Park Avenue offers four-star accommodation along with free WiFi, ample free parking and the only Marco Pierre White restaurant in Northern Ireland, the Steakhouse Bar and Grill.
George Best Belfast City Airport is blessed with a breathtaking view of Cave Hill Country Park, which rises above the city to the north. The scenic hillside trails and ancient ruins of Cave Hill reach as high as 1,214 feet (370 metres) and are visible from all over the city, but the view of this rugged landscape from the huge windows at BHD is one of the finest around.
The best that most airports can offer when it comes to a place to sit and watch the world is a view of the runway, but at BHD, you can grab yourself a coffee or a bite to eat and sit back to admire one of Northern Ireland's most inspiring scenes.
Harvest Market might be a chain of airport food and drink outlets, but the company's owners have clearly tried to give a distinctly Northern Irish feel to its BHD branch.
The selection of dishes on the menu is inspired by local traditions and features locally sourced ingredients. You can enjoy fish and chips complete with cod caught by the city's own fishermen or beef and Guinness stew that is made with meat reared and butchered in the surrounding areas.
There are takeaway options available at Harvest Market, as well as teas and coffees by SD Bell, who have been importing fine blends into Belfast for four generations.
With flight services connecting BHD to cities all over the UK, the airport is an ideal meeting point for anyone with business links to England, Scotland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland.
Local businesses and companies from further afield benefit from the excellent conference suite at the airport, which features a range of meeting rooms to cater for all manner of events.
You can call the airport's information desk on (+44) 028 9093 9093 to make your business arrangements before you arrive.
There are two lounges at BHD, both of which offer passengers a way to escape the busy environment of the departures area and relax with a bit of extra personal space.
The Aspire Lounge is an executive facility that overlooks the iconic Belfast docklands where, in March 1909, construction work began on the RMS Titanic. The lounge is available to all passengers, regardless of their destination or chosen airline, and offers fast, unlimited WiFi as well as tableside charging for devices and runway views.
The lounge serves food all day, along with an extensive selection of beers, wines, spirits and cocktails.
If you are flying with British Airways or if you are a member of the British Airways Executive Club, you can head to the first floor of departures (after security) to the British Airways Lounge, located by Door A. This’ll allow you to access lounge facilities including light meals and snacks, a work and entertainment zone and ample space for relaxing.
The information desk at George Best Belfast City Airport hands out free copies of Belfast In Your Pocket, which provides a handy guide to the city. Updated regularly and also available in mobile app format, Belfast In Your Pocket features recommendations for things to see and do in the city, as well as places to find the best food, most exciting nightlife and ways to get around.
The Belfast Waterfront is Northern Ireland's only purpose-built conference centre; it features a concert hall, two bars, a brasserie, several coffee houses and a gift shop.
Located on the banks of the River Lagan, the Waterfront opened in 1997 and it has played a big part in the regeneration of that part of the city. The area around the glass-fronted building makes for a pleasant riverside walk and a visit to the centre itself delivers experiences that are defined by the season in which you visit.
With regular free art exhibitions as well as musical and dramatic events held throughout the year, if you're keen on culture during your layover at BHD, the Waterfront will be a good bet.
You can get from George Best Belfast City Airport to the Waterfront in less than 10 minutes by car, 30 minutes by bus or an hour on foot.
There is no better place to learn about the history of the 20th century's most famous ocean liner than the city in which it was built; that’s why Titanic Belfast is the largest visitor experience dedicated to it anywhere in the world.
The visitor centre takes visitors through every step of the story of the RMS Titanic, all the way from the booming shipbuilding industry and pioneering technology that led to its creation to the ship's first launch on May 31st 1911.
There are nine interactive galleries that utilise special effects to allow you to walk through full-scale reconstructions of the ship's decadent interior, explore the decks and even take a ride on a virtual reality version of the boat.
This attraction is suitable for all the family, providing youngsters with an unparalleled insight into one of the UK’s most famous stories and giving history buffs an opportunity to get to the heart of the tragedy.
Titanic Belfast is just 10 minutes away from BHD by car or by bus.
The Titanic Quarter in Belfast is a 185-acre (74.9-hectare) area that has undergone significant regeneration to turn it into one of the most popular parts of the city for tourists to visit. A great way to see all the major sights and attractions in the quarter when you're on a tight timescale is to hop onto a Segway and glide around the waterfront.
Segway NI is located at the ARC apartments and you can head over there for training and instruction before you begin your Segway tour of the Titanic Quarter, which will take you Titanic Belfast, Odyssey Pavilion, Titanic Studios (where parts of HBO's Game of Thrones were filmed), and Titanic Dock (the spot where the Titanic itself was launched).
To get to Segway NI's offices, head to Titanic Belfast and look for T13 over the road, behind the restaurant named Cast & Crew.
The Metropolitan Arts Centre in Belfast, known locally as The MAC, is only 10 minutes away from George Best Belfast City Airport by car.
If you're at BHD with a few hours to spare, it's worth checking the centre's programme of art exhibitions, live theatre performances and other events, as you might be just in time to catch one of The MAC's many unforgettable shows.
No matter what time of year you visit, you'll be able to see the permanent exhibition by Irish artist, Mark Garry, which uses 400 metal wires to create a dazzling array of colours in the centre's foyer.
In 1995, Belfast City Hall provided the backdrop for the city's Christmas lights switch-on event, with the button being pressed by none other than the President of the United States of America at the time, Bill Clinton.
The hall was built in a Baroque revival-style to mark Queen Victoria awarding Belfast its city status in 1888. On a sunny day, it provides a pleasant place to sit on the lawns to the front of the building and enjoy a picnic. Inside the hall, you will find various exhibitions as well as The Bobbin café and the opportunity to take a free, 45-minute guided tour of this iconic building.
Even if you've only got a short layover at BHD, the hall is just 11 minutes away by car and makes for an ideal photo opportunity to mark your visit to Belfast.
More than 2.7 million passengers travel through the single terminal at Belfast City Airport each year on flights provided by six commercial airlines.
The majority of flights out of BHD are bound for cities in Scotland, England and Wales, but there are flights available to other European countries, such as Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain. More than 50 flights depart George Best Belfast City Airport each day on the following airlines:
|Aer Lingus||Main terminal|
|British Airways||Main terminal|
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If you are driving to BHD from Holywood or Bangor, you can take the A2 all the way to the airport. From the city centre, drivers should take the Sydenham bypass, following signs for George Best Belfast City Airport. Anyone travelling by car from northerly destinations like Antrim and Ballymena can take the M2 and follow signs for the airport until they reach the bypass or the A2. If you are travelling by car from areas south of Belfast, the M1 will lead you into the city, where you can join the bypass.
The city centre traffic system can be a little confusing at times, but if you have a sat nav system, you can enter the post code BT3 9JH to get directions to the airport.
The Airport Express 600 bus service runs between George Best Belfast City Airport and the city centre every 20 minutes during the day, with a reduced service operating until around 9pm every evening. You can catch the bus at locations across the city, including Europa Buscentre, Loganside Buscentre and Donegall Square East.
The Airporter bus service also connects BHD with Londonderry, with 18 departures from the airport every day during the week, eight departures every Saturday and 10 departures every Sunday.
You can head to the airport taxi rank outside the terminal building to find BHD's approved taxis, which can take you into the city centre in around 10 minutes, depending on traffic.
If you are travelling into Belfast city centre from the airport by bus, you can purchase a Metro day ticket to ride the 600 service and any other buses in the city. You can purchase your tickets at the tourist information centre in the arrivals hall or the airport's 24-hour information desk.
While the WiFi at George Best Belfast City Airport has been completely free and unlimited since Ulster Bank first provided sponsorship of its network in 2014, passengers do need to re-enter their details every four hours to stay connected. The WiFi network is called 'Free WiFi City Airport'.
If you or a member of your travelling party are on the autistic spectrum, there is a series of videos on the George Best Belfast City Airport website that explains the process of passing through the airport in detail. These videos are filmed from a young person's perspective and offer helpful reassurance to anyone flying for the first time or feeling unsure about what to expect. You can find the videos on this page of the airport's website.
George Best Belfast City Airport features scanners that are compatible with mobile boarding passes, so if you are travelling with an airline that offers mobile check-in and app-based boarding cards, you can use your phone instead of printing your flight tickets to save on paper and remove the danger of misplacing them.
BHD provides special assistance to any passengers who require it, from drop-off through to boarding and from arrival through to pick-up. The assistance includes help with check-in, security and the boarding process during departure, as well as baggage collection and passport control upon arrival.
If you require special assistance during your time at BHD, you need to notify your airline at least 48 hours prior to your arrival at the airport. Once you arrive, you can head to the airline check-in desk to be referred to the airport's special assistance team. If you have already checked in online, you can head directly to the special assistance desk near the main entrance to the airport.
No, it is not possible to sleep overnight at BHD Airport because it closes overnight. There are nearby hotels that you can utilise if you have an early departure or a late arrival.
Smoking is forbidden inside the terminal building at BHD, but there is an area outside the entrance doors where you are able to smoke as long as it doesn’t affect others inside the building.
The coordinates for BHD are:
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