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14 Best things to see & do in Belfast

  • Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom (UK)

Last updated: 15 June, 2024
Expert travel writer: Nicola Brady
  • Bushmills, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom (UK)

Coast with hexangular rocks

Bucket List Experience

Giant’s Causeway

With its roots in both Irish mythology and ancient geology, the Giant’s Causeway is an astonishing rock formation that’s become an icon of Northern Irish tourism.

Tumbling towards the sea on the country’s northernmost section of coast, this collection of around 40,000 naturally hexagonal basalt columns is constantly battered by the Atlantic, and at its most atmospheric when framed by glowering skies.

Theories differ on how the neatly-shaped columns and stones came to look this way – some believe they were placed by the giant Finn McCool, on his way to battle in Scotland; others concede the formation was more likely due to volcanic activity (though not when they’re within earshot of the local storytellers).

Either way, a blustery stroll among these impressive hexagons is a must-do while in Northern Ireland.

Good for age: 6+

  • Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom (UK)

External view of the striking museum with giant silver walls

Bucket List Experience

Titanic Belfast

In the very docks where the ill-fated ‘unsinkable’ ship was built, the angular peaks of the Titanic Belfast museum stand, reminiscent of the vessel’s memorable bow. Inside, this ode to the world’s most famous cruising disaster is an immersive, multimedia experience, from the interactive ride through the original dockyard to the recreation of the ship’s cabins.

The end of the journey is the most moving; an illuminated tunnel, with voices of survivors echoing along the walkway, telling their stories of that fateful night. Sombre, respectful and fascinating for anyone interested in this tragic, historic event.

Adult price: £20

Good for age: 8+

  • Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom (UK)

Large graffiti mural on side of a row of terrace houses

Bucket List Experience

Belfast’s Street Art

Though Belfast may be associated with the political graffiti of the Peace Wall (which commemorates the Troubles), the contemporary street art in the city centre is a more vibrant display of modern-day creativity.

There’s barely an inch of bare wall space left in the Cathedral Quarter, where publicly daubed artworks span from tiny, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it pieces to huge, beautiful murals. Indeed, the city has become something of a hub for international street artists, who come to leave their mark on any available surface.

Pieces change constantly, with murals painted over and new pieces popping up in different locations, so taking an artist-led tour is the best way to tick off all the best current works. They’ll lead you to the most impressive spots and tell you the story (and scandalous gossip) behind the art.

Adult price: £15

Good for age: 8+

Duration: 1 hour

  • Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom (UK)

There’s far more to Belfast than The Troubles, but that doesn’t mean the city’s chequered past should be forgotten. If you’re curious about Belfast’s political history, the best way to learn about it is on a black cab tour around the city. 

These tours are led by people who lived through The Troubles, and have a unique insight into that tumultuous period of time.  

They’ll share personal stories that can’t be found in any history book, and tell the tales behind the city’s unique political murals, as well as visiting areas of the city you might not choose to visit independently, including  the Peace Wall, separating Shanklin Road and The Falls. 

Adult price: £65

Good for age: 13+

Duration: 2 hours

  • Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom (UK)

External view of the prison during the daytime

Bucket List Experience

Crumlin Road Gaol

There’s an undeniable sense of spookiness to Belfast’s Crumlin Road Gaol, from the haunting cells to the underground tunnel, linking the old Courthouse to the jail. Open for 150 years and closed in 1996, the prison is steeped in history, and a guided tour around its halls and cells offers a unique insight into the story of Belfast.  

 Some of the prisoners who lived within the imposing walls played key roles in the history of Northern Ireland, from Ian Paisley to the suffragettes who were imprisoned in 1914.  

Adult price: £12

Good for age: 13+

  • Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom (UK)

A road in the countryside with people walking in the daytime

Bucket List Experience

Game of Thrones filming locations

It’s hard to turn a corner in Northern Ireland without stumbling upon a location from the insanely popular TV series Game of Thrones.

From the mythical woodlands that doubled up as the Haunted Forest, to the wave-battered Cushendun Caves (where Melisandre birthed a shadow demon), numerous locations across the country served as the ancient-feeling backdrop to the series.

While some can get crammed with fans (it’s best to visit the Dark Hedges first thing to avoid the crowds), you’ll likely have most of them all to yourself.

Good for age: 18+

  • Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom (UK)

Kicking around since 1896, Belfast’s St George’s Market is the longest-running market on the island of Ireland – there has been a market here on the site since 1604. It’s a buzzy, bustling hub of local producers and craftspeople inside a beautifully-restored Victorian building. Locals gather to pick up goat bacon from Broughgammon, or Young Buck blue cheese from Newtownards.

It’s not just food, either. On Friday it is a ‘variety’ market, with around 250 stalls selling everything and anything; Saturdays is ‘Food, Craft and Garden’ and Sundays is ‘Food, Craft and Antiques’. A shopper’s heaven.

Good for age: 18+

Crown Bar

  • Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom (UK)

Street view of the colourful Crown Bar decorated in full colour

Experience

A Victorian ‘Gin Palace’, restored to its original glory by the National Trust and now a Belfast landmark. The elaborate interiors feature colourful mosaics, stained-glass windows, decorative ceilings, and snugs lit by gas lamps.

Good for age: 18+

Belfast Botanic Gardens

  • Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom (UK)

A row of flowers in front of a magnificent large white Victorian greenhouse

Experience

A 30-minute stroll from the city, these gardens (and beautiful Victorian greenhouse) cover 28 acres, packed with unusual trees and shrubs – perfect for a picnic on a sunny day.

Good for age: 6+

Belfast Castle

  • Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom (UK)

External view of the castle during the daytime

Experience

Built in 1860 and one of the city’s most famous landmarks. If you need a break from the city, go for the city views, landscaped gardens and some local history at the visitor centre.

Good for age: 18+