The very best metropolis parks in Belfast

Although Belfast is Northern Eire’s most urbanized locale, it’s awash in inexperienced areas and dense woodlands that evoke extra classical photographs of the Emerald Isle.

Public parks are sometimes former aristocratic estates donated to the town within the twentieth century, whereas wildlife corridors and grassy glens on the outskirts have maintained their rural really feel. So whether or not you are trying to find a secluded picnic spot, a stroll on the wild facet, or an area to let the children run free, no less than one among Belfast’s high parks will cater to your wants.

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Ormeau Park is the most important inexperienced area in Belfast © Minchen Liang / EyeEm / Getty Photos

Ormeau Park

First opened in 1871, Ormeau Park (pronounced “or-mo”) is the oldest municipal park in Belfast. It’s additionally one of the prepossessing, flanked by the meandering River Lagan on its western fringe and dotted with the architectural remnants of the Victorian-era property which as soon as stood on the property. The flower beds and thickets of deciduous timber populating the lawns ensured Ormeau Park bagged a Green Flag Award, which acknowledges the UK’s greatest inexperienced areas, every year from 2011 to 2021.

At 100 acres, Ormeau can be one of many metropolis’s largest and most various parklands. Canine walkers and cadres of joggers roam the footpaths each day, whereas these of a sporty disposition make use of the basketball nets, tennis courts, soccer pitches, BMX monitor, and the adjoining Ormeau Golf Membership. when you’ve no Sunday afternoon plans, seize meals to go from one of many Ormeau Street’s quirky cafes and watch locals play ragtag matches of soccer.

Belsonic, an eclectic music pageant attracting marquee headline acts, graces the park each summer season. As does the Belfast Ukulele Jam band on Sunday afternoons all year long.

Pink and white tulips outside the 19th-century Palm House glasshouse in Belfast twinkle in the bright summer sun
For a style of the unique, head to the Nineteenth-century Palm Home within the Botanic Gardens © benkrut / Getty Photos

Botanic Gardens

Sitting subsequent door to the crenelated, Gothic-inspired Lanyon Constructing of Queen’s College, Botanic Gardens is a park for horticulture fanatics. Although it has a group of pristine lawns on which you’ll discover picnickers and musicians lounging in the summertime, the varied flora on show generates a major proportion of the footfall.

The Tropical Ravine, erupting from a small dell plunged inside a Victorian storehouse, is alive with exotic-looking palms and ferns, belying their far more altitudinous Northern Irish environment. Guests also needs to take a look at the forged iron and glass-walled Palm Home, designed by Belfast-native Charles Lanyon within the mid-Nineteenth century. It’s one of many oldest buildings of its sort, famed for the steep curvilinear roof rising above its entrance.

Contained in the greenhouse, you’ll discover vegetation that might battle to outlive in Belfast’s frigid winters, alongside sculptures and artworks.

The gardens additionally host the free-to-enter Ulster Museum, whose displays give attention to native artwork, historical past, and pure sciences. You may’t miss its brooding facade, combining a brutalist extension from the Nineteen Sixties with the unique neoclassical foundations.

The emerald green hulk of Cave Hill Country Park in Belfast, Northern Ireland stands above the city and is crisscrossed with hiking paths
Your ft won’t thanks however Cave Hill Nation Park has some top-notch views © Posnov / Getty Photos

Cave Hill Nation Park

Named after the 5 hillside caves believed to have been primitive iron mines, Cave Hill Nation Park is one among Belfast’s hottest strolling spots. The paths tunnel by way of woodland and weave over heather to the eponymous hill’s 368m (1207ft) zenith, which overlooks the town heart, Belfast Lough, Harland and Wolff shipyard (the birthplace of the Titanic), and on clear days, the western tip of Scotland.

The 4.5-mile Cave Hill path is probably the most scenic route, attracting loads of New Yr’s and Boxing Day walkers purging themselves of their Christmas gluttony. In the event you’re less than the mildly strenuous problem, there’s an 0.8-mile path within the park’s decrease reaches, circumnavigating the manicured grounds of Belfast Fortress. You’ll nonetheless get glorious views of the town from right here, when you’ve received easy accessibility to the stone and timber fort and its cozy tavern – supreme for just a few post-stroll libations.

Connswater Neighborhood Greenway

There’s delight aplenty in East Belfast, and the Connswater Community Greenway is a 5.5-mile linear park connecting websites that remember the district’s heritage.

Constructed with a view to reviving a uncared for and polluted ecosystem, the greenway’s northern finish hosts CS Lewis Sq. – bearing the identify of the homegrown writer and sculptures depicting characters from his legendary realm Narnia – and Victoria Park, a haven for birdwatchers, with gulls, herons, swans, geese, mallards, and wagtail roosting there all year long.

Within the south, the greenway bifurcates in the direction of Orangefield Park, which comes alive with wildflowers in spring, and the wooded Cregagh Glen, winding alongside small waterfalls and a wildlife hall in the direction of the Castlereagh Hills.

A concrete path curls around to the left between the Rose Gardens of Lady Dixon Park Park in Belfast with grass stretching out beyond them
The resplendent rose backyard of Girl Dixon Park © Jim Hamilton / 500px / Getty Photos

Girl Dixon Park

Girl Edith Dixon was famend for each her largesse and philanthropy, donating greater than £100,000 to charitable causes within the early twentieth century, with specific emphasis on the servicemen concerned in WWI. This cemented her as a outstanding determine in Northern Eire, which was later honored with the founding of her namesake park – formally referred to as Sir Thomas and Girl Dixon Park – donated to the town in 1959 in reminiscence of the Girl’s late husband.

The resplendent, 128-acre greenspace is reflective of Girl Dixon’s love of botany, aesthetics, and the pure world, that includes rolling meadows sure by hedgerows, squirrel-filled woodlands, mandala-like flower gardens, and stonework water options. The Japanese-style backyard, which shows landscaping strategies and design themes paying homage to historical waka poetry, is maybe probably the most arresting part of the park.

Rose Week attracts 1000’s of flower-viewers every July, whereas the barbecue areas and picnic tables are scorching commodities on these uncommon Northern Irish days when the solar doth shine.

White and yellow daffodils and a blossoming tree sit in the foreground of Stormont Park with the Stormont building seen in the background
The Stormont Property is the place magnificence and paperwork mix © Chris Hill / Getty Photos

Stormont Park

Stormont park, also called “Stormont Property”, is a public park in east Belfast with tree-shaded strolling trails, flower gardens, and a youngsters’s play park. Begin the day with an early morning stroll or jog alongside the two.5-mile woodland path (free journey guidebooks can be found on the principal entrance), or head to the Bullfield, an enclosed space the place canine roam freely off the leash whereas their homeowners sit back on the picnic tables.

Additionally housed throughout the property are the Stormont Parliament Buildings, the house of Northern Eire’s devolved authorities for the reason that 1998 Good Friday Settlement which established peace within the nation after 30 years of sociopolitical battle. The principle constructing, bearing a colonnaded neoclassical facade and an imposing concave driveway, is open to the general public for guided excursions Monday by way of Friday.

An orange sun sets across the frost-covered hills and trees of Lagan Meadows in Belfast
A style of rural Eire – with out leaving Belfast © Getty Photos / Design Pics RF

Lagan Meadows

Taking its identify from the River Lagan, which hugs the japanese rim of the park, Lagan Meadows is a rolling expanse of verdure mendacity south of Belfast metropolis heart. With few facilities, the park is ideal for walkers who need to get a taste of untamed Eire with out straying too removed from the town. The Lagan Towpath trails southward from the meadows connecting Belfast to Lisburn Metropolis, round 7.5 miles away, bisecting the Lagan Valley Regional Park en route.

The scenic walks meander by way of copses of birch, pine, and hawthorn. They tread over moss-smothered steps connecting forest glades and alongside the duck-filled Lagan’s decrease reaches. There are many secluded picnic spots when the climate is behaving, and improved water high quality tasks and recuperation of the river ecosystem imply fishing alternatives can be found on some sections of the river – see seasonal calendar and allow data for details.

Belvoir Park Forest

Belvoir Park Forest (pronounced “Beaver”) is a richly wooded space related to the trimmed fairways of Belvoir Golf Membership and a various arboretum first planted in 1839. Set throughout the Lagan Valley, the open-to-the-public forest is characterised by cloistered strolling trails, pervaded by birds conversing of their twittering tongues and the crunch of twigs and leaves underfoot.

This perceived isolation makes Belvoir Park Forest really feel as previous as time, nevertheless it hosts newer historic websites too. These embody a WWII air-raid shelter, now usurped by vegetation, and a Twelfth-century Norman motte, the place as soon as stood a timber-and-earth bailey used to survey the encircling land and mount defenses towards invaders.