Belfast and the north coast are 'world's number one region to visit' says Lonely Planet

Giants Causeway

Belfast and the coast around Giant's Causeway has been ranked the number one region to visit in the world in 2018 by Lonely Planet.

The travel guide says Belfast is "full of hip neighbourhoods that burst with bars, restaurants and venues to suit all taste".

It adds that the north coast has "timeless beauty" and "high-grade distractions" for golf, whiskey and famous rocks.

Lonely Planet's destination editor for Britain and Ireland, James Smart said: "Belfast and the Causeway Coast topped our list of the top 10 regions because it is deservedly now recognised as a must-visit destination by travellers from across the globe.

"Dynamic Belfast has put its troubled past behind it and is a city transformed, its streets packed with buzzing bars and great stories, while the coastline beyond boasts spectacular scenery and plenty of great diversions.

"The region may be famous for Game of Thrones but its many scenic filming locations are just the start."

Giants Causeway

Here is Lonely Planet's video on Northern Ireland

John McGrillen, Tourism NI Chief Executive added: "The word is officially out there, Northern Ireland is a must see destination.

"This is a game changer for Belfast and the Causeway Coastal Route and indeed the rest of Northern Ireland.

"We are thrilled and excited to read words like ‘unforgettable’, ‘unmissable’, ‘sensation’ and ‘extravaganza’ in Lonely Planet’s praise of our tourism gems”.

Titanic Belfast

He said this accolade "will give a massive boost to our marketing campaigns, helping us engage with an even bigger global audience who look to Lonely Planet for new, unique and special places to help plan their holidays".

"We are proud and honoured to have worked with Lonely Planet down the years to showcase Northern Ireland’s tourism transformation and their recognition could not have come at a better time in terms of our ambitions for the future."

According to the travel guide, the UK is one of the world's best value destinations for 2018 because of the slump in the value of the pound.

Lonely Planet is urging holidaymakers from overseas to "reap the rewards" of currency exchange rates while the UK Government "busies itself with Brexit".

Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge

It lists the UK as number seven on its table of the best value countries to visit next year.

The Dark Hedges

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