BELFAST has been named the best British city by readers of The Guardian and The Observer.
The Northern Irish capital came out on top in the newspapers’ annual travel awards, voted for in a poll by the readers.
It is the first time the city won the title of ‘Best UK City’ – its best result since making the top five in 2009.
Deirdre Hargey, Chair of Belfast City Council’s City Growth and Regeneration Committee welcomed the award for Belfast saying: “This is testament to how far the city has come in recent years and we are thrilled that Belfast has been officially recognised by Guardian and Observer readers as their favourite city.”
“This award clearly demonstrates the strength of Belfast’s expanding tourism offering and the quality of the visitor experience that we collectively deliver.
Hargey said the Visit Belfast Welcome Centre has been “a great success”, dealing with almost 700,000 enquiries in 2015.
Belfast has been growing in popularity in recent years as a destination for visitors.
According to the latest City Council figures, 7.59million people travelled to the city for an overnight stay in 2012 – up from 6.9m five years previously.
Among the city’s biggest attractions are City Hall, the Titanic Quarter and Belfast Castle.
The city is also used as a base for sightseers wishing to travel to many of the North of Ireland’s best-known tourist attractions – from Antrim’s Dark Hedges to the North Coast and The Giant’s Causeway.