15 Best Things To Do In Belfast, Northern Ireland

15 Best Things To Do In Belfast, Northern Ireland

By will

Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland, is a vibrant city full of history, culture, and a thriving nightlife. With a variety of attractions to choose from, it can be hard to know where to start.

To make the most of your time in Belfast, I’ve compiled a list of the 15 best things to do in the city. From exploring the historic Titanic Belfast to taking a cruise on the River Lagan, you’re sure to find something that appeals to you.

So, get ready to discover the best of Belfast!

Visit Titanic Belfast

Titanic Belfast
Photo by Rossographer

Titanic Belfast is a must-see for anyone visiting Belfast – it’s an incredible experience that you won’t soon forget!

As soon as you come in contact with the building, you’ll be struck by the sheer magnitude and grandeur of the museum.

It’s equipped with six interactive galleries, which take you through the story of the Titanic from its conception in Belfast in the early 1900s, right up to its current status as a sunken relic of the past.

As you meander through the galleries, you’ll be mesmerized by the artifacts, photographs, and stories of the people who lived and died on the Titanic.

The second floor of the museum offers an amazing 3D model of the Titanic, allowing visitors to explore and gain a better understanding of the ship’s layout and engineering.

On top of that, you can even try your hand at the interactive digital quiz, which tests your knowledge of the Titanic.

All in all, Titanic Belfast is an awe-inspiring experience and a must-see for anyone visiting Belfast.

Explore the Grand Opera House

Belfast's Grand Opera House, Great Victoria Street
Photo by Eric Jones

Step inside the magnificent Grand Opera House for an unforgettable experience, offering a diverse range of entertainment. From plays to musicals to ballets, the Opera House has it all. Located in the heart of Belfast, the Opera House has been a pillar of local culture since 1895. It opened its doors as a lavish Victorian theater. With a history that includes some of the world’s most famous acts, such as the Beatles, and icons such as David Bowie, the Opera House is a must-see for any visitor.

The Grand Opera House is home to a variety of performances. It hosts musicals, plays, ballets, and operas. With a rich history and ornate design, the Grand Opera House is a beautiful venue for any event. The building itself is a sight to behold. It has ornate columns, intricate ceiling designs, and hand-painted murals. A trip to the Opera House is sure to be an experience you won’t soon forget. Whether you’re seeing a show or just taking in the architecture, you’re sure to be mesmerized by the grandeur of the Grand Opera House.

Walk Along the Peace Lines

Albert Memorial Clock, Belfast
Photo by David Hillas

Explore the history and beauty of Belfast’s streets on a journey along the Peace Lines, a series of walls and fences that divide the city’s communities.

As you walk along these lines, you’ll get a sense of the history of Belfast’s Troubles and the city’s efforts to manage the conflicts that arose from them.

Along the way, you’ll see murals and graffiti, making for a striking visual journey through the city’s past.

You’ll also be able to take in the beauty of many of Belfast’s landmarks, such as the City Hall and the Albert Memorial Clock Tower.

The Peace Lines are a reminder of the city’s turbulent history, but they also provide an opportunity to appreciate the beauty of the city and its people.

As you walk, you’ll get the chance to meet locals and learn about the city’s culture and history.

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Taking a walk along the Peace Lines is a great way to experience the sights and sounds of Belfast, and to learn more about the city’s past and present.

Take a Stroll Through Botanic Gardens

Stroll through the lush greenery of Botanic Gardens and take in the breathtaking beauty of the flowers, trees, and shrubs.

With more than 6,000 different species of plants from around the world, this tranquil oasis in the heart of Belfast is the perfect place to relax and unwind.

Get up close and personal with nature as you explore the Victorian Palm House, the Tropical Ravine, and the Japanese Garden.

The formal gardens are a must-see with their beautiful flower beds, lawns, and shrubs, all surrounded by a terrace of historic buildings.

The park also boasts a café, a playground, and a popular boating lake, making it a great spot for the whole family.

With its stunning views and tranquil atmosphere, Botanic Gardens is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.

Visit Belfast Castle

Take a trip back in time and visit Belfast Castle, a 19th-century Scottish baronial style castle situated atop the slopes of Cave Hill. It’s one of the most iconic landmarks in Belfast, and it’s a great place to visit if you’re interested in history and architecture.

The castle was built in the late 1800s by the 3rd Marquess of Donegall and was designed by Charles Lanyon, a prominent architect of the time. It was originally used as a residence for the Donegall family, but it has since been converted into a public attraction.

Belfast Castle is open to the public and offers a range of activities and events. Visitors can take a guided tour of the castle and learn more about its history or take a stroll around the grounds and admire the stunning views of Belfast.

There’s also a cafe, gift shop, and an interactive exhibition that tells the story of the castle and its history. Whether you’re visiting Belfast for a weekend or longer, a visit to Belfast Castle is a must.

Explore St. George’s Market

Experience the vibrant atmosphere of St. George’s Market, a historic market located in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Dating back to 1890, St. George’s Market is the last surviving Victorian covered market in Belfast and is a must-see attraction for visitors.

The market is open every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday and features over 200 vendors offering an array of goods including wooden crafts, handmade jewelry, fresh fruits and vegetables, textiles, and much more.

Visitors can also enjoy a variety of traditional Irish music, food, and dance performances.

With its lively atmosphere and unique offerings, St. George’s Market is a great place to spend a day, no matter what your interests are.

Visit the Ulster Museum

Come and explore the Ulster Museum, a rich cultural hub located in Belfast, Northern Ireland. It’s one of the best places to visit in the city.

This museum offers so much to explore and learn about. It houses a large collection of art, artifacts, and other items that represent the culture and history of Northern Ireland. This includes artifacts from the prehistoric period, the Viking era, and the Middle Ages. Visitors can also view the collections of Irish art, furniture, and silverware.

In addition to its collections, the Ulster Museum also has an auditorium where visitors can explore audio-visual presentations and temporary exhibitions. There are also educational activities for children and adults, such as hands-on activities and interactive displays.

A visit to the Ulster Museum is an opportunity to experience the rich culture and history of Northern Ireland in a fun and educational way.

Explore Cave Hill Country Park

Explore Cave Hill Country Park, a picturesque landscape nestled in the hills of Belfast, Northern Ireland.

With its rolling hills, lush green meadows, and dramatic limestone cliffs, Cave Hill Country Park is one of the most beautiful natural attractions in the region.

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A visit to Cave Hill Country Park offers the opportunity to take a leisurely stroll through the park’s many trails, enjoying the breathtaking views of Belfast Lough, the city skyline, and the distant Mourne Mountains.

Cave Hill Country Park is also home to a number of historical sites, including the ruins of Napier’s Tower, which was built in 1845 by the 2nd Marquis of Donegall.

The park also features a number of other interesting attractions, including the Belfast Zoo, an 18th-century windmill, and a variety of wildlife.

For those looking to explore the natural wonders of the park, Cave Hill Country Park offers a range of activities, from birdwatching to orienteering.

With its unique combination of natural beauty and historical heritage, Cave Hill Country Park is the perfect place to spend a day exploring the best of Belfast.

Visit the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum

Immerse yourself in the history and culture of Northern Ireland at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum. Located near Belfast, this museum offers visitors a unique opportunity to explore the past and present of this region.

The museum is divided into two sections, the Ulster Folk Museum and the Ulster Transport Museum. At the Ulster Folk Museum, you can discover how life was lived in the 19th and 20th centuries in Northern Ireland. This museum features several homes, shops, and a 19th-century rural village that can be explored.

At the Ulster Transport Museum, you can marvel at a variety of vehicles from the past, including motorbikes, buses, and classic cars. You can also see a vast collection of railway artifacts. Additionally, this museum features a food hall that serves traditional Irish dishes.

Visiting the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum is a great way to learn about the history and culture of the area. Whether you’re a history buff or just looking for a fun day out, you’ll find something to enjoy here.

Take a Tour of the Crumlin Road Gaol

Take a journey back in time with a tour of the Crumlin Road Gaol, a historic prison located in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Built in 1845, this former prison was used to house some of the most notorious figures, including political prisoners, during the Troubles.

The prison was decommissioned in 1996.

Today, visitors can explore the Gaol with a guided tour.

You’ll get to see the entrance hall, the exercise yard, the chapel, the governor’s office and courtroom, and the condemned man’s cell.

Hearing the stories of the prison’s inmates and staff, and seeing the cells, will give you an insight into the history of the Troubles.

The tour is a great way to learn about the history of Northern Ireland in an informative and engaging way.

Explore the City Hall

Belfast City Hall

Experience a piece of Belfast’s past by visiting the City Hall, an iconic building that has stood in the city centre since 1906. This incredible Edwardian building was designed by Alfred Brumwell Thomas, and remains an impressive example of the city’s architecture.

Inside, visitors will find a grand central hall in the style of an Italian courtyard, with intricately-carved marble and mahogany detailing. The building’s interior also features several stunning stained-glass windows, with intricate designs depicting notable Belfast figures, events, and landmarks.

The City Hall is also home to the Lord Mayor’s Parlour, where you can admire the ornate furniture and artwork on display. You can also explore the Governor’s Room, which was the center of local government from 1906 until the 1970s.

Today, the City Hall hosts many events such as concerts, exhibitions, and talks, as well as being the perfect spot for a leisurely stroll around the grounds. Whether you’re a history buff or just looking for a unique experience, a visit to the City Hall is an essential part of a trip to Belfast.

Take a Cruise on the River Lagan

Sail along Belfast’s historic River Lagan and discover its many hidden gems – from its lush green banks to its abundant wildlife – as you cruise along its tranquil waters.

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I took a cruise on the River Lagan during my visit to Belfast and it was a great experience. The cruise boat takes you past some of the city’s most iconic sights, including the Harland and Wolff Shipyard, the birthplace of the Titanic.

You can also spot a variety of birds and other wildlife along the river. The crew onboard is also knowledgeable, so you can ask them about the history of the river and the various sights you can see.

The cruise also serves drinks and snacks, making it the perfect way to spend a leisurely afternoon or evening in the city.

Visit the Belfast Waterfront

Admire the beauty of Belfast’s Waterfront from the comfort of the iconic glass atrium, where you can hear the hustle and bustle of the city’s vibrant nightlife while taking in the stunning views of the River Lagan.

Visitors to the Belfast Waterfront can stroll along the riverside promenade, take in a show at the theatre, or take a boat tour of the River Lagan.

The Belfast Waterfront also offers plenty of shops and restaurants, making it the perfect place to spend an afternoon or evening. Enjoy the local music, browse the independent stores and galleries, or just relax with a coffee or a pint in one of the many pubs.

With an onsite cinema and a bowling alley, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

The Waterfront is the perfect place to experience the city’s culture and vibrancy, whether you’re looking for a romantic evening or a night out with friends.

Enjoy the views of the city skyline from the atrium and make some unforgettable memories in Belfast.

Shop at Victoria Square Shopping Centre

Shop ’til you drop at the world-class Victoria Square Shopping Centre, offering something for everyone with its mix of high-end boutiques and well-known stores.

Located in the heart of Belfast, this shopping centre is the largest in Northern Ireland and boasts a wide range of stores, from international labels to local brands. You can find everything you need here, with more than 100 stores, including Marks & Spencer, Next, Primark, Debenhams, and House of Fraser.

There’s also a great range of restaurants, cafés, and bars to choose from, as well as a cinema and an interactive family entertainment area.

Victoria Square Shopping Centre is also home to the iconic ‘Spire of Belfast’, a 120-metre-high stainless steel spire that towers over the centre. This impressive structure is visible from all over the city and serves as a symbol of hope and a reminder of Belfast’s past.

The centre also offers a variety of services, from free WiFi to a concierge service and even a free shuttle service to and from the city centre.

Whether you’re looking for the perfect gift, a bite to eat, or just some entertainment, you’ll find it all at Victoria Square Shopping Centre.

Wander Through the Cathedral Quarter

Stroll through the vibrant Cathedral Quarter and explore its unique range of independent shops, cafés, art galleries, and pubs.

Meander through the narrow cobbled streets and admire the brightly coloured buildings and street art.

Take a break in one of the quaint cafés and sample some of the delicious local food and drinks.

Take a stroll down St Anne’s Square and explore the unique boutiques that line the streets, offering a wide selection of locally produced goods.

Enjoy a night out in the many pubs and bars that offer a range of live music and entertainment.

Visit the numerous art galleries and experience the diverse range of modern and contemporary art on display.

Take a peaceful moment to admire the historic Saint Anne’s Cathedral, built in the 19th century, standing proudly at the heart of the quarter.

The Cathedral Quarter is the perfect place to experience the best of Belfast’s culture and atmosphere.

Conclusion

After a full day of exploring Belfast, I’m exhausted but satisfied. I’ve seen Titanic Belfast, the Grand Opera House, the Peace Lines, and Botanic Gardens.
I also visited Belfast Castle, the Belfast Waterfront, and took a cruise on the River Lagan.
I found time to shop at Victoria Square and wandered through the Cathedral Quarter.
It’s been a wonderful experience, and I’ve seen some truly amazing sights.
I’m already planning my next visit to Belfast, and I’m looking forward to discovering even more of the city’s history, culture, and attractions.

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About the author

Will is an avid hillwalker and traveler. You may find him surfing in Cornwall or hiking in the Yorkshire Dales.