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The capital and largest city of Northern Ireland, Belfast began as a hamlet on the River Lagan that blossomed as a haven for repairing and building ships. While the city's maritime history is its defining feature, Belfast is packed with culture and heritage that make it a fascinating destination to explore. Visit the former Harland and Wolff shipyards where the famous RMS
was built, or spend your time exploring Belfast's unique neighborhoods, like the Gaeltacht Quarter where Irish culture finds its heart. With a wealth of Edwardian architecture and modern structures, the city has an abundance of eye-catching sights to see and exciting things to do.
There's fun for the entire family no matter where you wander in Belfast. Here are a few family friendly experiences to try together that are bound to make your escape memorable:
Belfast was built up around its distinct quarters. Originally centered around industry trades, the quarters are now popular destinations for their rich history, unique culture, and vibrant local flavor.
Cathedral Quarter - The Cathedral Quarter is home to the St Anne's Cathedral and many of Belfast's oldest and most architecturally impressive buildings. Known as the cultural quarter, it hosts the annual Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival and the street performance-focused Festival of Fools, centered around the Belfast Community Circus School. The Cathedral Quarter also features the Northern Ireland War Memorial and the historic Custom House Square.
Queen's Quarter - Named after the Queen's University Belfast, the Queen's Quarter is a lively student area. The long-running Belfast Festival at Queen's, now known as the Belfast International Arts Festival, takes place in the quarter each autumn. Visit the incredible 28-acre (11-ha) Botanic Gardens, stopping by the Ulster Museum on the way. Queen's Quarter also contains part of the Golden Mile, where the city's best bars and restaurants are found.
Titanic Quarter - Doused in Titanic heritage, the Titanic Quarter is the area where the famous ship was built in 1912. New developments give the quarter a unique character that mixes modern innovation with history. At the Titanic Dock and Pump House, see the original site-unchanged since 1911-where the RMS
last sat on dry land. You can also visit the restored and renovated SS
, the tender of the Titanic.
With thousands of years of history, Belfast has plenty of sights both ancient and modern. Slip back in time to 1912 at the Titanic Belfast Maritime Museum, located in the former Harland and Wolff shipyard where the RMS
was built. Belfast is the hometown of author CS Lewis, and literary lovers can visit CS Lewis Square to see bronze sculptures from
The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe
. For a taste of modern Belfast, head to Windsor Park, the home of the Northern Ireland national football team, or Kingspan Stadium to catch an Ulster Rugby match.
In addition to fascinating history, Belfast is full of opportunities for adventure in nature and modern culture. Beautiful and wild Northern Ireland is home to numerous filming locations for the TV series
Game of Thrones
, with many scenes filmed in The Paint Hall studios in Belfast itself. Take a day to explore
Game of Thrones
sites outside of the city, or inspire your imagination with a visit to the dramatic geological formations of Giant's Causeway and other natural wonders of the region. Take a step back in time with a stop at Hillsborough Castle, an 18 th -century Georgian country house with rooms filled with items from the Royal Collection and immaculately manicured gardens. In Cave Hill Country Park, visit Belfast Castle and take in views overlooking the entire city and Belfast Lough. The park is full of lush trails for hiking and walking as well as gardens and the historic caves for which the area is named.
There's no need to constantly reach for your wallet in Belfast. The following won't cost a red cent.
Big Fish - If you're eager to get cultured, stop here and appreciate the creativity on display.
Lagan Meadows - Give the kids a good time or unleash your own inner child — this attraction just screams fun.
The Hall of Friendship - If you're eager to explore the region's history through its landmarks, put this one on your to-do list.
Linen Hall Library - Make room in your must-see list to look at this place of local significance.
St. Anne's Cathedral - Whatever your beliefs, this place will invoke a sense of reverence.
Black Mountain - Bring your camera and let Mother Nature stimulate your imagination.
Dover Street Millennium Park - No matter if you know your bamboo from begonias, you'll no doubt find beauty in this picturesque display.
If you're after some fun under the sun, check out these outdoor adventures:
A Aspire Lounge by Servisair at Belfast City Airport (BHD) is an excellent indoor activity to try if the weather forecast isn't great.
You'll want to put these attractions at the top of your sightseeing list to make the most of your visit:
You'll find lots of fantastic experiences here that'll catch your eye if you're watching your budget:
You could store your credit card in the hotel safe for the day, because these terrific attractions will cost you nothing: