Belfast: Top 10 Attractions & Sights

Belfast's number 1 attraction Titanic Belfast

Titanic Belfast

Opened in 2012 as part of the city's centenary commemorations of the sinking of RMS Titanic, Titanic Belfast is now the world's largest Titanic visitor experience.

This virtual museum is located in Belfast's docklands close by Harland & Wolff drawing offices where the ship was designed and beside the slipways where it was launched. If you're visiting the city you may be interested to know that the Drawing Offices have now been transformed into a hotel.

The building along with the shipyard's two cranes Samson and Goliath now dominate the city's skyline and are a constant reminder of Belfast's past maritime glories.

This Titanic experience takes you back in time from the ships design and creation to the stories of those who became part of the ship's legend.

Titanic is so much more that a Hollywood blockbuster, 1500 souls were lost, families and cities changed forever. Visit our essential guide for more on RMS Titanic and on details of what is arguably the city's top visitor attraction!

SS Nomadic - Belfast's top 10 attractions

SS Nomadic

With over 100 years of history, the SS Nomadic was built at the same time as RMS Titanic and like Titanic was designed by Thomas Andrews and owned by the White Star Line.

The purpose of this small vessell was ferrying first and second class passengers from Cherbourg out to deeper water where RMS Titanic was anchored.

The Nomadic was brought back to Belfast and at the time of the Titanic centenary was in the process of being restored. The ship now fully restored to its former glory is docked in front of the Titanic Belfast at Hamilton Dock. It welcomes tourists and visitors from around the world seeking the full Titanic experience.

HMS Caroline - Belfast's top 10 attractions

HMS Caroline

HMS Caroline was opened in 2016 just in time to commemorate the centenary of the 1916 Battle of Jutland. The ship is owned and managed by the National Museum of the Royal Navy and is moored in Alexandra Dock in Belfast's Titanic Quarter. The ship which is a five star rated visitor attraction now forms part of the city's maritime trial and is close by the main RMS Titanic attractions. Step back in time and visit the Captain's Cabins, Ward Room and Officers mess. View the state of the art interactive exhibits onboard along with galleries housed in the Dockside Museum.

Discover the facinating history of this C-class light cruiser and its fight at the Battle of Jutland, which is reported as the largest naval battle in history!

Ulster Museum - Belfast's top 10 attractions

Ulster Museum

The Ulster Museum is one of the city's most loved attractions and what makes it better is that its FREE! The museum offers visitors a walk through the culture and history of Northern Ireland's past and focuses on its glorious achievements, for we were once world class in industries such as linen making, ship building and rope making.

The museum is the centre piece of Belfast's Botanic Gardens and sits next door to Friar's Bush Graveyard, which is believed to be Belfast's oldest Christian burial ground. Access to this graveyard is only possible through appointment, so if you wish to view it on your visit to the city, don't forget to plan ahead and book. This graveyard is famous in the city as it contains a mass grave of hundreds of victims of Belfast's cholera epidemics. This graveyard is also recognised by the Irish government as Belfast's official Irish Famine site. If you don't wish to make an appointment, there are excellent views of the graveyard from inside the Ulster Museum.

Plan a great day out and explore the museum's various art galleries, history zones, natural science and discovery centres. Belfast's Ulster Museum is one of the city's top attractions and it's a great fun day out (and did I mention it's Free!)

Belfast Zoo - Belfast's top 10 attractions

Belfast Zoo

Located on the slopes of Cavehill, Belfast Zoo boasts a stunning natural setting, providing panoramic views of Belfast Lough and the surrounding countryside. Its unique location allows visitors to immerse themselves in nature while enjoying close encounters with a diverse range of animal species, making it a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. Whilst the zoo is known as Belfast Zoo it is also known to locals as Bellevue.

Belfast Zoo is home to over 1,000 animals from majestic lions and playful primates to fascinating reptiles and colorful birds. Visitors can embark on a safari-like adventure as they explore themed habitats around the site. If you time your visit just right you will have the chance to witness the daily feeding of animals such as chimpanzees, visayan warty pigs, penguins, maned wolf and california sea lions. These interactive sessions provide valuable insights into the behaviour and habits of the animals and is fun for visitors to engage with.

This attraction is a recommended day out for photographers and a must for families. The zoo runs workshops and events which should be planned ahead. There has been many improvements in recent years with a temperature-controlled Rainforest House included in 2008, a Treetop Tearoom in 2011 and a large outdoor play park built in 2015 to mention just a few. Whilst you have to pay admission, family and group tickets are available to ease the cost. This is one of Belfast's top attractions and a must for visitors and locals alike.

Belfast City Hall - Belfast's top 10 attractions

Belfast City Hall

Belfast City Hall sits in the heart of of the City Centre but it is not as old as you might think, for whilst Belfast is over 400 years old it was only granted city status during the reign of Queen Victoria. In 1888 Queen Victoria, who's statue sits directly outside the grand entrance of City Hall, granted Belfast city status and a decision was made that a new seat of local government was required to reflect this new grand status.

Belfast City Hall was commissioned and opened its doors for the first time on the 1st of August 1906, three years after the unveiling of the statue of Queen Victoria which took place in 1903.

Scattered around the grounds are many points of interest including a statue Sir Edward Harland, co-founder of the city's world famous Harland and Wolff shipyard. In 2012 the council also opened a memorial garden to all those lost on RMS Titanic 100 years earlier, on this momument are the names of all those lost when the ship sank.

Free tours of both the grounds of City Hall and the building itself are available most days. Why not take a look at our Belfast photo albums to see photos of City Hall, its grounds, tours and exhibitions. This attraction is a most see for all visitors to the city and a tour is highly recommended.

Parliament Buildings - Belfast's top 10 attractions

Parliament Buildings Belfast

Parliament Buildings sits in the heart of the Stormont Estate in East Belfast. It is arguably the most famous building in Northern Ireland (until the arrival of Titanic Belfast). Referred to locally as Stormont, this building is home to the Northern Ireland Assembly and as such acts as a symbol of political power in NI. The building itself was built in 1921 but was not officially opened until on the 16th November 1932 by the then Prince of Wales, on behalf of King George V.

Parliament Buildings is open to the public and guided tours can take place within the building Monday to Friday although the ground are available all week long but close in the evening. So if you fancy a two mile stroll simply walk from the main gates to Stormont at the bottom of Prince of Wales Avenue to the front steps of Parliament Buildings, which is one mile away, then stroll back.

Want to know why this one building is called Parliament Buildings, take a look at our photo album on Stormont

Victoria Square Shopping Centre - Belfast's top 10 attractions

Victoria Square Shopping Centre Belfast

Victoria Square is arguably Belfast's premier shopping centre with a range of luxury shops, brands, restaurants and cafes. The complex spans four levels with a popular glass dome viewing level, enabling visitors to view and photograph panoramic views of Belfast and the surrounding landmarks. Victoria Square offers visitors a unique shopping experience and with personal shopping sessions available to book on its website, should you fancy treating yourself.

Stores range from highend boutiques and department stores such as House of Fraser, to luxury brands such as Hugo Boss and even boasts an Odeon cinema.

Most visitors to the city enjoy exploring the centre, especially when it is holding events, including live music performances, exhibitions and seasonal festivities. Why not take a look at our photo albums where some of these events at Victoria Square have been snapped. In terms of shopping Victoria Square rates as one of city's top attractions.

Belfast Castle - Belfast's top 10 attractions

Belfast Castle

Belfast Castle sits in a commanding setting on the slopes of the Cave Hill Country Park overlooking the City of Belfast. On your visit to the city a visit to the castle is recommended as is one of Belfast's top attractions with over one hundred thousand visitors each year.

The castle is marking an important milestone in 2024 as it will be 90 years since it was gifted to the citizens of Belfast by the The Earl of Shaftsbury back on the 26 July 1934. Belfast Castle was built in 1870 with its predecessor burning down in the 1700's.

Whilst there are many planned events at the castle, its restaurant and cafe are open to the public and of course you can have a great free family day out in the estate grounds. Why not explore its landscaped gardens or woodlands or simply get lost in the Millennium Maze. The Castle and its Estate, like most of Belfast's top attractions, is very photogenic both inside and out, so do don't forget your camera. For more photos on this attraction why not view our Belfast Castle photo album.

Belfast Waterfront - Belfast's top 10 attractions

Belfast Waterfront

Belfast's Waterfront takes you on a journey along the banks of the River Lagan and Belfast Lough. There are many of the city's attractions to be seen and photographed.

Iconic landmarks include the Waterfont Hall, Belfast's many bridges, the Big Fish, Titanic Belfast, SS Nomadic, Lagan Weir and Locks, Lagan Towpath, Custom House Square, Belfast cranes Samson and Goliath and HMS Caroline.

Should you decide to walk a trail along Belfast's waterfront you will also see public art, momuments such as The Beacon of Hope and stained glass street installations marking the city's involvement in the Games of Thrones series. Our Belfast photo albums have photos on city's many attractions, should you decide to snap your own why not share them with us here at Simply Belfast.

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