Segway NI: Belfast’s best guided tour!

I’m a sucker for city tours. In each city I visit, one of the first things I like to do is jump on a hop-on-hop-off bus tour to give myself a feel for the place, the people and the history of the area. My own city is steeped in culture and interesting facts, and so when I played host at the beginning of the month to two friends from England, I did some researching online. I soon found something a little alternative to give them a proper taste of Belfast city – Segway NI.

Image Courtesy of Segway NI

Image Courtesy of Segway NI

For those of you unfamiliar with a Segway it’s defined as a two wheeled electric vehicle. What’s different about it is it’s powered by new technology which detects and uses centre of mass to control its movement. Drivers shift their weight forward to go forward and backwards to reverse – clever, eh?!

The idea was perfect for the girls’ first trip to Belfast. Vanessa, Katie and I arrived, grabbed some fetching high-vis jackets and helmets, and set off (a bit shakily at first!) for an afternoon’s outdoor exploring. Of course, we were given some time to familiarise ourselves with operating the Segways first – and you’d be surprised how easy it is!

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The 2 hour tour costs £30 per person and takes visitors around the entire Titanic Quarter in Belfast which includes Titanic Belfast, the SS Nomadic ship, the slipways, the Titanic Docks and Pumphouse, the Harland and Wolff Cranes and Titanic Film Studios, where HBO are currently filming Season 5 Game of Thrones. Our tour leader fantastic; very knowledgeable about the area and very patient with those of us who took a little longer to find our feet  sorry, wheels…

Not me of course, I was a natural… eventually!

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A big thing that impressed me was their high level of customer service. Unfortunately, one of the girls missed her flight in the morning and would have been unable to make the scheduled tour time. Segway NI were extremely accommodating and quickly changed our booking to a later time free of charge and without any difficulties (thanks again, guys!).

Here’s a quick little video taken by us during the tour. Segway NI really helped to make the trip very memorable for Katie and Vanessa- and as for me, I’m already talking my work colleagues into booking the off road tour!

Be sure to check out Segway NI on Facebook, Twitter, Tripadvisor and their website for details on their upcoming tours!

Kathy x

All you need is Love… and a Black Tie Ball

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Love (and snow!) was in the air on Tuesday night on board the SS Nomadic in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter. The Black Ball, an annual event jointly hosted by the supported training and employment organization NOW and Belfast’s Black Box, celebrates the groundbreaking success of the ‘Black Moon’ disco and is always a sure-fire good night on Northern Ireland’s social calendar, having sold out in all previous years.

Going strong since 2010, ‘Black Moon‘ is a club night held on the first Tuesday of each month in the Black Box nightclub for and by adults with learning disabilities. The monthly event is supported by NOW and is always buzzing with people coming out to socialize, hear great tunes from resident DJ Mark and of course, showcase some new moves! Once a year, The Black Ball rolls around and gives guests the opportunity to dress to impress and explore new venues in new areas of Belfast City. This year it was full steam ahead on the recently opened SS Nomadic, nicknamed the Titanic’s little sister, and the last remaining White Star Line ship in the world. And with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, there was enough love going around to make even Jack and Rose jealous!

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Two talented harpists and a champagne reception greeted guests as they boarded the ship, but there was no hanging around; as soon as DJ Mark took to the decks the dance floor was a mass of beats, bodies and ballgowns ready to get the party into full swing!

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Party food was provided by Loaf Catering, NOW’s catering company and cafe chain who employ train and use all profits to help local adults with learning difficulties in the Greater Belfast area. There was also a raffle draw with top prizes donated by local businesses including Belfast Cookery School, Roger Michael Fine Furniture and Movie House Cinemas.

Jim Corr Photography really managed to capture the essence of the night with singles, couples, and groups taking advantage of the chance to get a professional memento from the ball. The full range of photos can be viewed here

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I have been interning with NOW’s marketing team for a few months, and to my delight was given a lot of creative control over the organization of The Black Ball. I’ve enjoyed every moment of the planning, and watching it all come together and the enjoyment of the guests on the night made all the hard work worth every minute. NOW is a truly inspiring non-profit organization which makes a real difference in the local community, and something I find very rewarding to be a part of.

The event was a huge success and a great night for NOW and Black Box staff, as well as guests, who all show a genuine passion for what they do and the difference they help to make in Northern Ireland. You can find out more about NOW at www.nowproject.co.uk.

So mark it in your calendars, because NOW are looking forward to seeing YOU at this all-inclusive event in Northern Ireland next year!

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Lots of Love, K.