10 Free Things to Do in Belfast Today
10 Free Things to Do in Belfast Today
The city of Belfast in Northern Ireland has a fascinating history that includes being home to some rather famous people, including the legendary Manchester United player George Best. It was here where HMS Titanic came into existence as well and she would go on her fateful voyage from here just one year after construction began at their shipyard. The city has many options available to keep you occupied on your travels here including museums and walking trails (if the weather stays nice enough). Game of Thrones fans worldwide visit Belfast in their droves and for good reason with some of the scenery on offer. The city also has an enormous 3,000 acres of lush green parks making the city one of the greenest cities on the British Isles. Wondering what to do in Belfast for free? Check our top places below!
In this blog post we list:
- The best places to visit for no charge at all
- Show all places on an interactive map to help you locate each place easily.
Belfast has many options for things to do today which can sometimes be hard to choose which is best. There are museums like The Ulster Museum and War Memorial Museum or if you fancy some time outdoors, the Botanic Gardens and Cave Hill Country Park. In the table below is a list of free things to do in Belfast. Click on each name to be taken straight to the part of the blog post for that recommended activity.
Updated and correct as of 28/09/23.
Free Things to do in Belfast Quick Links
Visit Belfast: Discover Some Exciting Free Activities
Embark on an unforgettable journey to Belfast, a city teeming with unique attractions and vibrant culture. As you plan your visit to Belfast, we've selected some of the most exciting free activities that showcase the best of what to do in Northern Ireland. From exploring historical sites to enjoying contemporary street art, these activities offer a glimpse into the rich tapestry that Belfast weaves. Whether you're a history buff, an art enthusiast, or simply looking for a memorable experience, our guide to free Belfast attractions ensures your trip is both enriching and budget-friendly.
Museums and Galleries
Located in the Botanic Gardens, the Ulster Museum is home to a rich collection of art, history, and natural sciences. The museum tells the story of the people of Northern Ireland and has many collections spread over 8,000 square metres of public square space. One of the highlights is the ancient Egyptian mummy called Takabuti who arrived in Belfast in 1834. The museum tells the story of how the famous mummy came to be here. You may have to book tickets before your arrival.
Northern Ireland's War Memorial Museum
The museum tells the story of Northern Ireland's role in the First World War and Second World War. Learn more about the Belfast Blitz, the Ulster Home Guard, the role played by women in the war and the presence of US forces from 1942 to 1944. The centre-piece of the gallery is a bronze sculpture depicting a mother guiding her child through the ruins of Belfast on the morning after a devastating air raid in April 1941. A must see for anyone interested in this difficult time in Northern Ireland's history.
Discover 'The Mac', Belfast's hub of inspiration and culture, a place where ideas and creativity converge. This renowned venue is not just a building; it's a vibrant community where artists from diverse backgrounds gather to share their vision and spark imagination. With free admission, visitors can immerse themselves in a world of innovative art exhibitions, captivating performances, and interactive workshops. 'The Mac' stands as a testament to Belfast's rich cultural landscape, inviting everyone to explore the transformative power of art. Whether you're an art aficionado or simply curious, a visit to 'The Mac' promises an enriching experience, filled with new perspectives and artistic brilliance.
History and Culture
The Parliament Buildings on Stormont Estate
Set in the beautifully landscaped grounds of the Stormont Estate, the Parliament Buildings offer a historic location that fuses together old-world grandeur with modern elegance and style. The free tour gives access to the chambers and provides a deep knowledge of the history and goings on in Northern Ireland and of its leaders. The Stormont Estate itself is huge and has plenty of walking trails where you can take pictures of the majestic buildings from different angles.
Belfast City Hall is Belfast City Council's civic building. It is located in Donegall Square, in the heart of Belfast city centre. It first opened its doors on 1 August 1906. Free public tours are available lasting around an hour. The experienced guides uncover the history of Belfast City Hall, while exploring some of its finest features. Don't miss the Titanic Memorial Garden and a number of monuments and memorials in the grounds. The building is stunning architecturally and at night is illuminated with a variety of different colours.
Belfast Castle is one of the city's most famous landmarks. Built in the 1860's, the castle and grounds are free to be explored. Located in the Cave Hill area of North Belfast, the castle is located next to Cave Hill Country Park where you can challenge yourself to climb to the top for panoramic views of Belfast (see below). Learn about the history of the area from the Cave Hill Visitor Centre which can be found in the castle basement.
Walks and Nature Trails
Belfast's Botanic Gardens was established in 1828 and contains exotic tree species and impressive plant collections from the southern hemisphere. Designed by Sir Charles Lanyon, the building shows how advances in glasshouse technology allowed horticulturists to grow exotic plant species during the Victorian period. The gardens are a Green Flag Award winner and has some beautiful displays on offer. The Palm House contains a range of tropical plants and birds of paradise. A must see on your visit to the gardens.
View across Belfast from Cave Hill Country Park
Cave Hill Country Park
Enjoy panoramic views across Belfast from several viewpoints on this challenging walk in Cave Hill Country Park. The outline of the hill is visible from across the city with its most prominent feature known locally as 'Napolean's nose'. The park offers walks for all levels and is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike. Check out the Cave Hill Visitor Centre which is located at Belfast Caste for free entry into this fascinating and intriguing museum.
Belvoir Park Forest
The forest opened in 1961 and covers 75 hectares along the south bank of the River Lagan. It is a vibrant, working forest within the city with a variety of wildlife and a range of trees within easy reach of Belfast's outer ring road. There are a number of historic sites within Belvoir Park Forest, including the Norman motte which dates back to the 12th century.
With wildlife galore including red grouse, skylarks and peregrine falcons, the Black Mountain is a great way to spend 3 hours trekking along the ridge trail offering spectacular views of Belfast along the way. The walk is around 4.2 miles on a moderate grading which is mainly made up of gravel and stone with rough sections in places.
Use the map below to locate all the best things to do in Belfast mentioned above to create your itinerary for your trip. We’ve also added places in the city to eat that offer good food at a decent price for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Open Google Maps to see distance information between locations and directions on how to get to each place.
All outdoor activities including walking involve a degree of risk. The walks are recommended due to the features of each forest but this may change over time and further research is required before undertaking any activity. The weather can also impact the surface and general conditions of each path so please keep yourself updated with the weather forecast before setting off to enjoy your walk!