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

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

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

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.

Grand Opera House
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

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

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

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

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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Other Sightseeing Options in Belfast

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What people are saying about Belfast

This was an amazing way to spend the day!

We were able to see many of the GoT locations and listen to entertaining stories between the locations. Our guide Shereen? was an extra as a “dead wildling” and had some insider knowledge. The meal was ready for us on our arrival, delicious and reasonably priced. This is definitely worth the time and money spent!

Great value, enjoyed every minute of the tour.

Guide :-))) I recommend to anyone who wants a quick tour to see the beautiful N. Ireland coast.

The guides were very kind and passionate, so fun!

I thought majestic mike and our driver (can’t remember name) were very kind and passionate about the information presented and the places we saw. So glad to be with them! Our hosts balanced their talking points with breaks from them well!

Definitely one of the highlights of my entire trip!

Both of my tour guides were extremely knowledgeable and compassionate. I enjoyed every moment of the tours! This is a MUST do if you want a solid history of the troubles in Belfast.

Belfast: Political Conflict 3-Hour Walking Tour Reviewed by Christina, 05/09/2019

Amazing experience with an amazing guide!

I totally recommend Finn McCoolTours. The tour is very well planned to take maximum advantage of the time. I went on the Derek D. and Yuri bus and I totally recommend it. Derek will tell you about Ireland history in stages and also information to the places you are visiting. Along the way Derek will also play some Irish songs (2-3 songs) with his “little guitar” One thing I really liked is that Derek it's very clear with the timings of leaving, he says them on 4 different languages, writes it on a paper, and when he is pronouncing it on english, he speaks slowly and clearly, making enfasis on fif-TEEN or fif-TY which is a small detail but makes a huge difference. I went with them on two tours and in both of them people were always in time which gave us extra time visiting the city. In conclusion, I totally recommend this tour, and if I had to take it again I would totally go with Derek D. and Yuri again, in the end you will go how singing shaaaalala la la, and a dinga dinga dong!

Giant's Causeway Full-Day Tour from Dublin Reviewed by Jose, 05/06/2019