A breeze to navigate and full of music, culture and culinary delights, Belfast also offers plenty of attractions for travellers who are watching their pennies.
From admission-free museums and wonderful public parklands to Game of Thrones® highlights and arts attractions, you can enjoy quite a lot of Belfast without having to spend a thing. Check out the top 10 free things to do below.
1. Look down on Belfast from Cave Hill Country Park
Belfast is surrounded by hills, but Cave Hill Country Park in the north of the city has the best vantage points and walks. Panoramic views sweep over Belfast Lough and the city, and on a clear day you can see the Isle of Man and even Scotland. There are also several trails to tackle and the stately Belfast Castle to explore.
2. Follow the Glass of Thrones Trail
Game of Thrones® has a massive connection to Northern Ireland, which is home to 26 scenic filming locations, manmade sets used in the show, numerous ‘Thrones’ experiences and the excellent Game of Thrones Studio Tour. In Belfast you can get a strong taste of Westeros without dipping into your budget through the excellent Glass of Thrones trail.
3. Check out C.S. Lewis Square
Fans of the world of Narnia will want to visit C.S. Lewis Square. This trendy public space is dedicated to the Belfast-born author and includes the JACK coffee shop and a series of spectacular sculptures based on Lewis’ Narnia characters, including Aslan and the White Witch.
4. Go for a riverside adventure on the Lagan Towpath
Connecting south Belfast to the city of Lisburn, the Lagan Towpath is an 11-mile greenway that runs alongside the centuries-old River Lagan canal system, passing meadows and woodland. Strap on sturdy boots or hop on a bicycle to enjoy the journey.
5. Meet a mummy at the Ulster Museum
The free admission to the Ulster Museum opens the door not just to Takabuti, its famous Egyptian mummy, but to a world of impressive art, science and history collections. The home of Northern Ireland’s past and present treasures offers a journey across the globe and the chance to see the famous Game of Thrones Tapestry, on display until 25 September.
6. Launch yourself into the Titanic Quarter
Head over to Belfast’s Titanic Quarter, one of the world’s largest urban waterfront regeneration schemes, and stroll along the Maritime Mile. With a great many free things to explore, including the Great Light and public art sculptures like the Sound Yard, you will learn lots about the city’s shipbuilding heritage without having to splash the cash.
7. Discover the War Museum Memorial
During World War II, Belfast was hit with Luftwaffe bombing raids, which became known as the Belfast Blitz. What happened is one of the focal points of the free-to-enter Northern Ireland War Memorial Museum in the buzzing Cathedral Quarter. Other exhibits to explore include the role of the US Forces and women in wartime Belfast.
8. Take a self-guided architecture tour
Wander Belfast’s streets and you will soon see a range of Georgian, Edwardian and Victorian architecture mixed with neoclassical structures and modern designs. From gems such as Queen’s University and the Albert Clock to Titanic Belfast and the Opera House, the cityscape is a veritable treat for aesthetes. Don’t forget the magnificent City Hall, where free public tours of the marble-filled interior are available.
9. Make for the MAC
There is no price tag to dive into this Belfast hub of art, culture, theatre and creativity. The MAC is short for Metropolitan Arts Centre, and galleries are typically free of charge (though donations are welcomed). You can also explore exhibitions and immersive contemporary art by local creatives and world-renowned virtuosos.
10. See Belfast’s street art
Each year Belfast attracts a host of international artists who add to the city’s ever-evolving portfolio of street art. Some of the city’s top murals can be found around the culture and entertainment-laden Cathedral Quarter in the city centre, and there is much more to be explored if you venture out to the suburbs and wider Belfast area.