Belfast is a city rich in history and culture. And, luckily, the city has done a tremendous job of marking and commemorating these moments.
From government buildings still in operation to statues and museums, this is a veritable hub of unforgettable landmarks. All of these spots are easy to get to, whether you’re staying at an airport hotel or choosing accommodation that’s more central.
The history of the Titanic is complicated – a story of craftsmanship, commerce and ultimately tragedy. Fascination with this ship has not waned in the 100+ years since its launch, and the Titanic Museum is a gorgeous, elaborate journey through the ship’s creation, life on board, and its legacy.
Even before you enter the museum, the building itself is something to behold – an imaginative, epic creation that resembles the ship’s prow.
Stormont / Parliament
The site of numerous momentous events, most notably The Good Friday Agreement, Stormont stands as a symbol of what can be achieved when people work together.
The building and grounds themselves are glorious. The former are monuments of Greek-style architecture with elegant, stately interiors to match. The grounds, meanwhile, are immaculate gardens. Both are open to the public. You can even book tours of this historic landmark.
Grand Opera House
The Grand Opera House is a building familiar to any local, and it has a grandeur that fits its name. This theatre maintains a plush, ornate interior, with gold and red used liberally in its décor. As you might expect, the main auditorium is vast and gorgeous.
Theatre is for the people, so as well as beloved operas or ballets, the Opera House also schedules gigs, modern musicals and pantomimes.
Visiting performers love this place, and you will too.
Belfast City Hall
More than just a place to register births, marriages and deaths, the majestic Belfast City Hall is the very definition of a public building. The public can explore, look at the statues, stained-glass windows and new visitor exhibition. You can even sit in the opulent Council Chamber. And there are free guided tours for visitors.
Standing over 400 feet above sea level, the grounds of Belfast Castle provide some of the best views of the city. This building dates back to the 13th Century, when it was home to the First Baron Chichester.
Thankfully it’s been open to the public since the 1930s, so you don’t have to be a baron or an earl to explore its beautiful grounds. In fact, now it’s the site of a restaurant, café, popular guided tours and even weddings. It’s not just humans who enjoy Belfast Castle and its surrounding Cave Hill Park: keen-eyed visitors might spot wildlife as diverse as owls and sparrowhawks there.
As a nice bonus, kids will enjoy its award-winning playground.
You’ll see these throughout Belfast, but especially if you opt for a black cab tour. These massive paintings (both political and apolitical) on the sides of walls and buildings mark city’s complex past and – in many cases – optimistic future.
The Searcher: CS Lewis Wardrobe Statue
CS Lewis has captivated millions with his Narnia books. The Belfast native was also a hugely acclaimed author in other genres, especially his philosophical books like The Screwtape Letters.
He is commemorated in Belfast with a statue of him and – fittingly – a wardrobe. As any Lewis fan knows, that piece of furniture was the first step in his epic adventure, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
The Big Fish
If you’re looking for a public ceramic ornament of a great big fish, then this is the landmark for you! The Big Fish spans 10 metres / 32 feet and is adorned with historical images of the fish’s home city. This is a relatively new installation, created by a local artist in 1999.