From historic sites and heritage-listed buildings to trendy bars and restaurants, Belfast is a city that has something for everyone.
One of the best things to do in this lively city is explore St George's Market, where you can grab a delicious ice-cream or some oysters from the shucking station. It's a bustling place to spend some time, especially on a Friday or Saturday morning!
Located in Stranmillis Road, near Queen's University and Ulster Museum, the Botanic Gardens take up 28 acres (110,000 m2) of south Belfast. The park is popular with students, office workers and tourists.
The Gardens are also home to the Palm House and Tropical Ravine, which has a distinctive design that combines a sunken ravine with balconies on each side. The Palm House is one of the earliest examples of curvilinear cast iron glasshouses.
While it's a popular place for people to relax and get some sunshine, the Gardens have also hosted concerts and events, including the Tennents Vital music festival from 2002 to 2006. Kings of Leon, Franz Ferdinand, The Coral, The Streets and The White Stripes performed here.
The garden's history dates back to 1828, when it was first established by the Royal Belfast Botanical Society in response to public interest in horticulture and plants. The Gardens became a public park in 1895, when Belfast Corporation purchased them from the society.
One of the largest urban-waterfront regeneration projects in the world, Titanic Quarter is redefining what it means to live, work and play in Belfast. Master planned over 185 acres on the site where RMS Titanic was designed and built, it’s already a thriving waterfront destination that’s set to inspire the city’s future with its futuristic mix of residential, commercial, tourism and education space.
The area has already benefitted from a PS750 million investment, to include an attractive riverside public realm. It’s also home to major TV and film productions, cutting-edge research and development, and a vibrant mix of visitor attractions.
At the heart of Titanic Quarter is the Titanic Belfast Museum, which retells the story of the legendary ship through surviving footage and pictures. There’s also an amazing fish-eye view of the wreckage under a glass floor.
The Linen Hall Library
In an old linen warehouse on Donegall Square, the Linen Hall Library is a fascinating and unique institution. Founded in 1788, it is the oldest library in Ireland and has a reputation as a centre for cultural life.
The library is free to visit and a great place to learn about the local culture and history. You can find out more about the city’s past through their exhibitions, tours and events.
In fact, they have one of the most interesting collections of political ephemera in Ireland. They started their collection back in 1968 when Jimmy Vitty, the Deputy Librarian at the time, came across some civil rights leaflets in a bar.
Founded in 1934, the zoo has long been one of Northern Ireland's leading visitor attractions and offers a variety of animals for visitors to see. Many of the species here are in danger in their natural habitat and the zoo is committed to carrying out important conservation work.
Belfast Zoo is set amidst beautiful woodland on the spectacular hillside of Cave Hill, which offers stunning views over Belfast City. It is a great place to visit for wildlife enthusiasts and is now one of the most up-to-date zoos in Europe with a number of exciting new exhibits including a walk-through tropical rainforest exhibition called The Rainforest House, which provides an exciting range of exotic animal species.
The zoo has a wide range of attractions for the whole family to enjoy including a play area, Adventurers' Learning Centre and a cafe with hot and cold food, snacks and drinks. There is also a fantastic picnic area at the lakeside which is ideal for a day out and a chance to recharge your batteries.