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The Celtic cousins road trip

You’ll struggle to find two more character-packed cities than Belfast and Glasgow, and a driving adventure between them includes the novelty value of a ferry ride across the Irish Sea. Art and history combine with seriously inventive cooking.

The Celtic cousins road trip
Titanic Belfast. Image: Getty

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Belfast

See & do: The Titanic was built in Belfast, and the Harland and Wolff shipyard where it was put together is now home to Titanic Belfast, an attraction that delves into the story of the ill-fated ocean liner. Elsewhere, it’s worth taking a taxi tour to get an understanding of Belfast’s troubled history and see the dozens of murals along residential streets.

Stay: The Europa Hotel has hosted a swathe of big name guests, including Bill and Hillary Clinton, and is still the place where deals happen and rock stars hang out.

Nightlife: The Crown Bar is a rare beast — a pub that’s owned by the National Trust. It serves good beer, but it’s the look and atmosphere that count. This former Victorian gin palace is covered in exquisite tiling and mosaics.

Eat: Ox showcases the culinary works of Stephen Toman, who makes a point of using locally sourced meat and fish, but the real selling point is the elevation of vegetables to key ingredients rather than something to pad out the plate.

Nearest INFINITI Centre: Belfast
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Drive time: Belfast to Glasgow

The adventure starts in a Superfast Suite on the Stena Line ship from the port of Belfast to Stranraer on Scotland’s west coast. That’ll take 2hrs 15mins, and from there it’s a two-hour scenic drive north to Glasgow — although stopping for 18 holes at one of Ayrshire’s world-class golf courses is a tempting way to work up an appetite. 

Glasgow

See & do: Glasgow has strong artistic leanings, with memorable highlights including the House for an Art Lover — built to Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s ultra-distinctive plans in Bellahouston Park. The big-hitter, though, is the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, which has everything from stuffed elephants to a Spitfire hanging from the ceiling and Dali masterpieces.

Stay: The Principal Blythswood Square Hotel is surrounded by handsome Georgian townhouses and offers Italian marble-clad bathrooms, super-comfy beds plus a highly regarded in-house spa for shameless pampering.

Nightlife: Once upon a time, Glasgow’s nightlife was a choice between the down-to-earth city centre and the more refined and aspirational West End. This is changing with the emergence of Finnieston as a destination between the two — dozens of bars have opened up there in recent years. The snug Ben Nevis, specialising in whiskies and craft beers, is an excellent starting point.

Eat: There’s no such thing as an off-cut at the Gannet, perhaps the restaurant that’s done more than any other to put Finnieston on the map. The invention comes from using every bit of a guinea fowl or mallard, and creating dishes to suit. There’s also a strong game focus — expect top-drawer venison and pheasant.

Nearest INFINITI Centre: Glasgow
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