The 5 Best Parks in Belfast You Don’t Want to Miss
Typically known as the birthplace of the RMS Titanic story, Belfast should also be renowned as an incredibly ‘green’ city full of places to enjoy the countryside and the great outdoors. In fact, the Northern Ireland capital is deemed to be one of the greenest major cities in the UK. So whether you are visiting the city for business or leisure, why not take the opportunity to take a stroll or enjoy a picnic at any of these best parks in Belfast.
Victoria Park will most likely be the first park to be familiar to those who are visiting the city via the George Best Belfast City Airport. It offers a breath of fresh air with an area packed full of modern-day infrastructure. The Conn’s Water river surrounds the park, and there’s a small lake within the park too; both of which can be explored via the two walking trials.
With there being plenty of water, the park is packed full of nature and scenic spots to sit back and take in the atmosphere. Despite that, Victoria Park can also get lively, with local sports enthusiasts and teams taking advantage of the football pitches, a bowling green and the cycling track.
Now we have the oldest park in the capital city, Ormeau. Opened in 1871, the park has come a long way since it was first designed by young architect Timothy Hevey. His ideas for the 100-acre site can still be seen today, amidst the modern-day vibrancy that floods the park today.
Thanks to eco trails, orienteering routes, football pitches, a BMX track, basketball, tennis and netball courts, the park is often very busy throughout the day, creating a lively and fun atmosphere. Expect a lot of students though, with the Queen’s University Belfast being based just a five-minute walk away.
Lagan Valley Regional Park
The Lagan Valley Regional Park is particularly special, as it is the only regional park in the whole of Northern Ireland. It covers over 4,000 acres and has an ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ status. Its focal point is the River Lagan, and the park encapsulates all its nature and wildlife to form a great place to explore and enjoy the great outdoors.
As well as all the nature and wildlife on show here, as the Lagan Valley Regional Park website says, the park “attracts many visitors, some to enjoy the beauty of the River Valley with its iconic views and vistas, others to embrace the outdoors with all the challenges it presents.” There are routes here to walk or cycle, trails to go horse riding, spots to enjoy water sports, and much more!
Opposite Ormeau Park on the other side of the River Lagan and the A24, the publicly open Botanic Gardens encompass 28 acres in southern Belfast. Of all the parks we’ve talked about, it is here that you’ll find Belfast’s most exotic array of plant species, following years of development in horticulture and botany over the last two centuries.
The areas designated for botany and horticulture make up only a small part of the overall park though, as there’s also plenty of space for everyday locals and visitors to take walks, enjoy the scenery or even attend some of the festivals and concerts that are held all year round.
Whilst it is the Stormont Parliament Building that takes centre stage, the 230 acres Stormont Park shouldn’t go noticed. Being the land that surrounds the country’s most important political building, the park is jam-packed with historical heritage and eye-catching structures. It may be a fifteen-minute drive from the city centre, but it is well worth visiting purely for its significance as one of Northern Ireland best green spaces, credited with a Green Flag award.
Pastor Sam, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
There’s something to do here for everyone as well. History enthusiasts can appreciate the various sculptures and statues dotted across the park, there’s a children playground, perfect for families and a few walking and running trails for anyone to enjoy.
Belfast has many lovely parks which are well worth a visit, whether you are visiting the city for business reasons, or a leisurely getaway. We recommend visiting them all if you get the chance!
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