Looking for the best things to do in Belfast for a weekend break? I visited Belfast during the British Isles cruise as one of the stopovers. Belfast is the capital of Northern Ireland. It is located in the northern part of the Emerald isles that is part of the United Kingdom.
It has been a popular destination for all the visitors that wish to see and experience the beauty and British cultural heritage around the British Isles. Due to the exceptional natural beauty of Northern Ireland, it is considered one of the best places to visit in the UK and has been a popular filming location for various Hollywood movies and series like Game of Thrones.
I would like to share with you some of the best things to do in Belfast that you can include in your UK travel itinerary.
Best Things To Do in Belfast For Weekend Breaks
1. Visit the Titanic Belfast
The most popular ocean liner in the world, Titanic was assembled in the Wolff shipyard and old Harland docks of Belfast. After the downfall of shipbuilding, this area of Belfast Lough had been in ruins for more than 10 years. Titanic Belfast has been revamped completely since the 2000s and is also called the Titanic Quarter.
The bold and cutting-edge design of Titanic Museum Belfast looks like four ship bows. Established in the year 2012, the multisensory technology is the icing on the cake of this Titanic exhibition Belfast that will take you back to the 1910s in Belfast when Titanic, along with its sister ships Britannic and Olympic was launched and assembled.
Elements have been reproduced well in this Belfast museum from the interiors of Titanic and you can learn the important details of how the ship was sinking at the Titanic Experience Belfast. You can book your tickets to Titanic Experience Belfast here via Get Your Guide.
2. Have fun at Belfast Zoo
When it comes to visitors’ traffic, Belfast Zoo is one of the best Belfast tourist attractions in Northern Ireland. It is spread over 22 green hectares towards the north of Belfast Castle.
There are up to 130 species in the park, including all-time favourites like zebras, giraffes, lions, tigers, and Asian elephants, and a huge range of primates. A visit to Belfast zoo is one of the best things to do in Belfast for families with kids. You can book your tickets to the zoo here via their own website.
3. Ulster Museum
On the northwest of the Botanic Gardens in Belfast, the Ulster Museum Belfast exhibits traces of everything hence it is one of the best things to do in Belfast for culture and history.
If you love decorative items, you can find a range of ceramics, glassware, textiles, jewellery, costumes, and metalwork. You can find the polished Neolithic axes from the distant past, jewellery pieces, as well as the mummy of a noblewoman from Thebes, Takabuti, dated back to the 25th Dynasty of Egypt.
The museum has some of the jewellery from the Spanish Armada wreck, sliced from the meteorite and an exhibit about Mairead Corrigan awarded Nobel Peace Prize. She was the witness to her three nephews and nieces being killed by the shooting of an IRA member in a road accident and reacted by rallies known for reconciliation and peace.
4. Relax in Botanic Gardens
Established in 1828 as a private park, Botanic Gardens Belfast was opened to the public around 70 years ago. The Palm House is one of the best Belfast attractions built in the 1840s and it is one of the initial curvilinear glasshouses in the world at the turn.
Richard Turner, the Irish iron founder, who would go on to build serene glasshouses at Glasnevin and Kew, built the building. You can look for a few of the specimens in the Palm House an 11m long globe spear lily and a 4-century old Xanthorrhoea.
The Tropical Ravine is another architectural wonder built in the 19th century. It has tropical fauna and an indoor sunken garden. It also houses the birds of paradise along with the viewing galleries.
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5. St Anne’s Cathedral Belfast
St. Anne’s Cathedral Belfast was built at the beginning of the 20th century in stages on the site of the ancient parish church of St. Anne dating back to 1776. It has neo-Romanesque architecture, which has plenty of things similar to the High Medieval churches. Some of the best examples are carved capitals in the nave, tympanums on the west entrance, and the apse with an ambulatory.
In the nave, those 10 capitals are usually the art of Morris Harding, and each of them has a unique theme. Also, look for the Good Samaritan window in the sanctuary, the only surviving aspect dated back to the 18th century. A fun fact is that St. Anne’s is not actually a cathedral. It is because it is not the diocese seat, although it is the main church for both Dromore and Down, as well as Connor dioceses.
6. Belfast Castle
Belfast Castle is styled in Scottish Baronial architecture at the south of Cave Hill Country Park. It was built by the 3rd Marquess of Donegall, George Chichester in the 19th century. The building is named after the Norman Belfast Castle at the centre of the city.
Later on, the stronghold was set on fire at the beginning of the 18th century. The Chichester who were the owners moved to this address in suburbs. The Scottish Baronial style has a blend of Gothic and Renaissance styles and the house is beautifully endowed with false machicolations, stepped gables, and turrets. You can soak in the views of Belfast afar from the ground. There is an antique shop, visitor centre and restaurant inside.
Cave Hill is actually a range of basalt cliffs puzzled with five caves over the northern suburbs of Belfast. These were bomb shelters and ancient iron mines during the period of World War II. As the name suggests, Cave Hill is embedded in meadows, heaths, and moorland, peppered with serene archaeological attractions and blessed with panoramic views of the city, along with the Scottish coast, Mourne Mountains, Belfast Lough, and Carrickfergus.
A heavy basal outcrop, Napoleon’s Nose is the most amazing natural attraction and one of the best places to visit in Belfast Ireland. It might be an inspiration behind Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift in the 18th century. The rock here seems to be a sleeping giant. Mc. Art’s Fort was fortified during the early Neolithic period atop Napoleon’s Nose. It is now a scenic attraction to spot kestrels and peregrine falcons.
8. Albert Memorial Clock
Albert Memorial Clock is a neo-Gothic Victorian monument that stands at only 35m. It is a cool way finder on Queens Square, located by the left bank of the Lagan River. The square is located on the land which was reclaimed from the river. In the late 1860s, the clock tower was built as a tribute to the prince consort of Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert.
The clock is located upriver from the docks and it would have been a vital vantage part to witness the launch of the Titanic in 1911. The marshy ground beneath the tower has left the tower with a lean of 1.3m. It was worse at the beginning of the 2000s until it got a preservation project.
9. Crumlin Road Gaol
This Grade-A complex was once HMP Belfast and it is the only Victorian cellar that survived in Northern Ireland. Founded in 1846, the Crumlin Road Gaol housed suffragists, murderers, and both Republican and Unionist terrorists for the next 150 years. It was associated with the courthouse that can be reached by a tunnel to traverse on the tour.
In this jail, around 17 executions were held and the last one was held in 1961 you can also see where it happened inside the cell. Well, you can also get to know more about these walls. For example, 1866’s escape attempts and 1991’s bombings by Provisional IRA. The jail remained vacant for around 15 years. In 2010, it was renovated and became the function hall for weddings and dinners and a live music venue.
10. Visit the Lewis Square
Walk along the CS Lewis Square and relive the charm of The Chronicles of Narnia novel series. It is a public space, which pays tribute to C.S. Lewis, an author born in Belfast. It features 7 bronze sculptures including The White Witch, Aslan, The Beavers, Mr Tumnus, The Stone Table and The Robin, which belonged to ‘The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. It is a beautiful display of art for the public. I personally love this book series and read them as a teenager!
CS Lewis Square is located where the Comber Greenways and Connswater intersect, along with the EastSide Visitor Centre, which can be accessed from innovative screens, wall maps, and interpretative panels, which connect people to the popular faces of EastSide. It also consists of a coffee bar, which is named after CS Lewis, JACK Coffee Bar. It presents products from food makers and local artists.
Map of Belfast, Northern Ireland
How to use this Google Map:
Click on the left SQUARE icon next to the title to see the various things to do and point of interest in this itinerary. You can see more information about the different attractions when you click the icons, as well as show and hide each day of the itinerary and the driving routes. You can also import this itinerary map to your own Google Maps account by clicking the STAR icon next to the title. Then go to your own Google maps app, head over to the SAVED tab and scroll down and press the MAPS icon.
I hope that helped you in learning the best things to do in Belfast for your weekend break! These various attractions will definitely make your trip super fun!
Have you been to Belfast?
Share with us your best Belfast travel experience in the comment box below.