Belfast
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Top attractions in Belfast

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The 10 Best Things to Do in Belfast

Belfast's quarters brim with a bevy of cultural attractions, revealing bright and troubled years of history amid a spectrum of art and architecture. Its vibrant music scene will also keep your feet tapping into the wee hours, be it at a modern venue or pub.

Ulster Museum

This top museum's highlight is the Armada Room, which contains the wreck of Girona from 1588, along with treasures, including gold and personal items, from Spanish Armada ships.

Belfast City Hall

This grand Baroque Revival structure is on the site of the city's former 19th-century Linen Exchange. On St Patrick's day and other dates the façade is illuminated with a variety of coloured floodlights.

Belfast Castle

Located on Cave Hill, the 3rd Marquess of Donegall commissioned the re-construction of Belfast Castle in the 19th century. Each of the first two castles in the city burned down.

St. Anne's Cathedral

Construction began in 1899 and finished in 1981. At 131 feet, the Spire of Hope was an addition in 2006. You'll find splendid mosaics and stained-glass windows inside.

Photo: William Murphy@flickr CC BY-SA 2.0)

Grand Opera House

The refurbished theater, which opened in 1895, hosts operas, concerts, and musicals. During the years of "the Troubles," bomb explosions damaged it in 1991 and 1993.

Botanic Gardens

The gardens first opened as a private park in 1828 and then became public in 1895. The Palm House is its most striking feature, due to its cast iron and glass construction.

Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park

Lady Dixon dedicated the park to her late husband in 1959. There are 40,000 roses and the famed Rose Week celebration in summer. There's also a Diana, Princess of Wales garden.

Waterfront Hall

The main auditorium can host opera and musical performances for up to 2,000 people. The copper, domed roof will ultimately turn green, matching that of City Hall's, among others.

The Odyssey

Located in the Titanic Quarter and comprising the SSE Arena, Odyssey Pavilion and W5, it's Northern Ireland's top venue for sports, concerts, and comedy shows.

Carrickfergus Castle

Thirty minutes from central Belfast, the Norman castle has stood on the shores of Belfast Lough for 800 years. A tour inside will take you back to medieval times.

Planning Your Belfast Visit

How many days to spend in Belfast?

A four-day tour of the city will allow you to see the sights at a leisurely pace and simply enjoy the rhythm of the city. Add a couple extra days if you plan to make day-trips to the surrounding area, such as Carrickfergus Castle or Giant's Causeway.

Getting around

It's easy to get around the heart of the city and see its top attractions on foot. There is a bus system, called Metro, which runs from 6:00AM - 11:00PM. Donegall Square is the hub of public transport. Taxis are the other option, especially if you miss the last bus.
It's 30 minutes by car to Carrickfergus. There is also rail service from Belfast Central Station, departing on the half hour, and the journey takes just as long.

Where to stay in Belfast

Stay in the city center, for example in Cathedral Quarter, a center of nightlife, restaurants, pubs, and art. Queen's Quarter also has its share of shops, cafes, and bars.

Good to know

  • Language
    English, Irish Gaelic, and Ulster Scots
  • Currency
    British Pound (£)
  • Time Zone
    UTC (+00:00)
  • Country Code
    +44
  • Best time to visit
    The high season is from May to September, when temperatures are warm and fairs, markets, and carnivals are in full swing. Try to visit in May or September if you want the summertime benefits with fewer crowds.

Things to Do in Belfast

Top Attractions in Belfast

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What people are saying about Belfast

Excellent value for your money. David our driver and tour guide.

This included commentary which I did not expect, however David our driver was excellent and had a great sense of humor. Weather was great although you really needed a jacket.everyone was on time and all enjoyed both the rope bridge, Bushmills, and the "extra" photo stops that David made. Thanks for a great day

From Belfast: Giant's Causeway Guided Tour Reviewed by JOHANNA, 17/09/2018

Great day trip to the Giants Causeway from Dublin

Our tour guide Daniel and our bus driver Andy were organized and fun. Very nice guys overall. Daniel gave us a lot of information about the various areas and the history of Ireland. He also put on an Irish 'concert' on the way back -- guitar and songs! Fun! Felt very safe with Andy driving! He did a great job! Would definitely recommend this tour company again. Thanks for a great day!

Giant's Causeway Full-Day Tour from Dublin Reviewed by Tim, 16/09/2018

One of the best walking tours I've ever been on!

There's more to Belfast than just it's recent turbulent history. This tour will take you through the eras from it's humble beginnings to the present in microscopic detail. You will ebb and flow from Enlightenment to Punk through a meander of alleys and thoroughfares. You will see things that, although are in plain sight, are hidden from the eye. Art Magee (your guide) is a philosopher, historian, wandering minstrel, native of the city and a self-professed "eejit". Most of all he is an optimist and thoroughly decent bloke who is passionate about the place he was brought up in. There is hardly a corner turned where he isn't greeted with a handshake or a friendly insult. This tour is not only educational and thought-provoking but also humorous and at times heart-wrenching. It scratches well below the surface of this fascinating city but leaves you with the desire to dig for more!

Very informative a really worthwhile tour.

I would recommend this tour to anyone. A great background to understanding what happened during the difficult times here in Northern Ireland.

Belfast Taxi Mural Tour Reviewed by Peter, 06/09/2018

A real feel for a historic event and it's significance.

A thoroughly enjoyable experience exploring the life and times of those involved in the building of the vessel as well as those crew and the passengers in a well laid out interactive environment. An extra treat was to get aboard the SS Nomadic and get the look and feel of the vessel that took passengers out to the great ship.