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Belfast's compact city centre curls around the undulating west bank of the River Lagan. Most points of interest are within easy walking distance of each other, and City Hall on Donegall Square is a good central landmark to use if you lose your bearings.

Belfast hosts a plethora of festivals and special events. Summer in the City is a council-run programme of events from May to September covering everything from classical and traditional music concerts to community events and the Lord Mayor's Show.

Late March sees the week-long Belfast Film Festival, while on the 17th is St Patrick's Carnival, a celebration of Ireland's national saint marked by community festivals and a grand city-centre carnival.

The Belfast hosts a poplar Marathon and the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival which is twelve days of drama, music, poetry, street theatre and art exhibitions held annually around May. Féile an Phobail, said to be the largest community festival in Ireland, takes place in West Belfast over 10 days in early August, with a carnival parade, street parties, theatre performances, concerts and historical tours of the City and Milltown cemeteries.

The Belfast Festival at Queen's is the UK's second-largest arts festival and is held in and around Queen's University during three weeks in late October and early November. The Halloween Carnival is held from 27 to 31 October, with special events across the city, including a carnival parade, ghost tours and fireworks.