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Living in Belfast

Friendly, fun and affordable. Belfast is the ideal student city. Northern Ireland’s cosmopolitan capital may be compact, but it packs a lot in.

Here you’ll find a lively social life, a growing food scene, legendary natural beauty and tons of history.   

Safe and easy to explore, Belfast is a city that truly welcomes you. There’s no better place to prepare for your Russell Group education. 

Why students love Belfast

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Exploring Belfast and beyond

Cathedral Quarter

Bustling cobblestone streets home to live music, theaters, clubs, comedy and modern street art.

Mourne Mountains

Business is booming in Belfast. The city has a growing tech scene and is a leading global location for investment projects. Along with the creation of 20,000 new jobs as part of the Belfast Region City Deal £1 billion+ investment, Belfast is a promising city for graduates. 

Take advantage of Queen’s University Belfast's links with some of the biggest employers in Northern Ireland, including: 

  • Almac, world leaders in pharmaceutical drug development 

  • Citigroup Inc., experts in global investment banking and financial services 

  • PricewaterhouseCoopers, one of the ‘Big Four’ accounting firms in the world 

  • Spirit Aerosystems, an international aviation engineering company. 

Few things are more comforting than your favorite meal from home. And, because Belfast has such a vibrant international community, you'll find tasty and authentic global cuisine across the city – with options for every budget. If you’re feeling really hungry, head to St George’s Market to try a Belfast bap – a large bread roll filled with sausages, bacon and egg! 

Belfast has the UK’s lowest cost of living (Mercer Cost of Living City Ranking 2023), so you’ll have more money to spend on all the city has to offer.  

In fact, compared to London, Belfast is over £300 per month cheaper for students to live in (Which? Student Budget Calculator 2022). 

 Estimated budget (for illustrative purposes only, actual costs may vary) 

Transport (single journey) 


Taxi from the airport 


Eating out (inexpensive meal) 


Weekly grocery shop 


Cappuccino (regular)


Cinema ticket 


Sources include 2023

Belfast is a relatively small city, so you’ll find it easy to get around on foot. There’s a good network of buses and trains for travel in and around the city.  

Belfast also has 2 airports, connecting you with the rest of the UK and beyond – London, Manchester, Glasgow and Liverpool are about an hour's flight away. 

Belfast is a hub of creativity, offering cultural events and attractions for all tastes.   

  • Festivals – experience Chinese New Year, Belfast Pride, the iconic St Patrick’s Day parade plus a huge variety of international film, music or dance festivals throughout the year.   

  • Galleries – visit art exhibitions at Belfast Exposed, The Golden Thread Gallery and the MAC, or Queen’s University Belfast’s own gallery: The Naughton Gallery.  

  • Museums – learn about Northern Irish history at the Ulster Museum, science at interactive discovery center W5 and visit Titanic Belfast, the birthplace of the world’s most famous ship.   

  • Music – enjoy live music every night of the week, with world-class acts at SSE Arena, Ulster Hall and Waterfront Hall, or up-and-coming names at venues such as Black Box and Voodoo.  

  • Theater – see a West End production, comedy, cabaret and more at venues including the MAC, Lyric Theatre, Waterfront Hall and Grand Opera House.   

For more information about everything Belfast has to offer, check the latest updates on the Visit Belfast website.  

Thanks to Northern Ireland’s spectacular scenery, there are countless outdoor pursuits to enjoy – from hill walking to rock climbing and mountain biking to kayaking. If you’d rather watch than participate, there are lots of big sporting events on. Watch professional sports teams, including the Northern Ireland national football team, The Belfast Giants or Ulster Rugby.  

Ready to start your study abroad journey in Belfast?