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Walks in Belfast: Enjoy Time Outdoors In & Around the City

Get yourself outdoors as much as possible and take in the fresh air and striking scenery that lies all around Belfast. Our guide to the best walks in Belfast covers everything from bracing mountain treks to calm parkland strolls and city exploration.

See how many you’ve done or will do on your visit to Belfast.

See What’s in the Caves

Cave Hill - best walks in Belfast
source: Kamil Juskuv – facebook.com/qamooo

Take yourself high above the city and enjoy an uphill trek through Cave Hill Country Park.

Those who reach the top of Cave Hill can enjoy sweeping landscape views all over the city and, on a clear day all the way out to Scotland.

This 2km hike will give you the chance to see another side of Belfast from the tip of what locals refer to as “Nelson’s Nose” 1300 feet above the city.

The trail takes walkers past five ancient caves dug deep into the ground, two of which are hidden from view as well as long forgotten ruins that lie all over the hillside.

There’s plenty of amazing historical and natural sights just waiting to be discovered by outdoor explorers.

Soar to Dizzying Heights Up Divis & the Black Mountain

These two peaks form the highest points in Belfast, Divis standing at 478 meters and the Black Mountain at 390 metres, together the landscape forms a lush, natural backdrop to the bustling city of Belfast.

Walkers can tackle the two colossal peaks by using a variety of trails, each tailored to the pace you wish to undertake.

All along the trails views of Britain can be spotted as well as the remains of homes dating back to the bronze age.

The name Black Mountain refers to the dark basalt rock which forms the landscape and the nearby Divis mountain so hauntingly beautiful, it became one of the many Belfast film locations for the latest Dracula Movie, Dracula Untold.

Thankfully, after a long walk, weary hikers can call in for refreshments at the nearby Divis Coffee Barn for hot drinks, cakes and light lunches.

The Lucky Cat Garden at Belfast Castle Estate

Belfast Castle Garden - best walks in Belfast
source: facebook.com/roamingsisters/

Perched on a hillside Belfast Castle boasts excellent views of the busy city harbour and the surrounding landscape.

Whilst indoors is a sight to behold in itself the ‘lucky cat-themed‘ castle gardens are the jewel in Belfast Castle’s crown.

The story behind the gardens is that of the resident white cat who stalked the castle grounds and brought luck to those who lived and visited there. It is said that as long as there was a feline presence in the castle the good fortune would continue.

All around the gardens, there are nine different cat-related installations, your task is to seek out all nine on your visit to Belfast Castle.

Outdoor Adventure at Colin Glen Forest Park

 

Colin Glen Forest Park - best walks in Belfast
source: Colin Glen Forest Park Facebook

Get the kids ready for an unforgettable outdoor adventure as you take them in search of the Gruffalo at the foot of the Belfast Hills.

Perfect for family groups, birthdays and even hen or stag parties looking for some adventure in Belfast, Colin Glen offers mountain biking trails, archery lessons, kayaking and a SKYTrek Rope Course.

Visitors to the city can enjoy one of the most stunning walks in Belfast along the forest nature trails come rain or shine and plenty of outdoor educational programmes too.

The little ones will love finding hidden fairy doors and houses dotted amongst the towering trees and bigger ones will have a blast enjoying some of the most exhilarating outdoor activities in Belfast there are.

Pretty Pagoda’s and Japanese Gardens

Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park
source: facebook.com/tmckinstry

Open to the public since 1959, Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park began life as the Wilmont estate.

Consisting of 128 acres of woodland, walled gardens and meadows the estate even housed American troops during WWII.

Lady Dixon was the last owner of the estate and donated it to Belfast in memory of her late husband. Thanks to the stunning flora and fauna that flourish in the parks Rose Garden, Belfast’s Rose Week celebrations bring thousands of visitors into the grounds each year.

Since being opened to the public the parklands have been transformed with stunning pagoda’s and a serene Japanese Garden complete with tranquil water features.

Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park is a place where people can enjoy the most leisurely Belfast walks in the heart of the city.

Rediscover Haunting History on a Belfast Ghost Tour

Spend some spooky time outside in the haunting beauty of Belfast and embark upon a journey on foot into the unknown.

Take a Belfast Walking Ghost Tour and learn all about the haunted happenings and ghostly goings-on all over the city’s ancient streets and landmarks.

Choose from a selection of organised city tours and utilise the experience of an expert guide to learn about the paranormal reports in the area.

There are excursions around Titanic Dock and the nearby Pumphouse, tours given around the Cathedral Quarter all accompanied by lessons about the turbulent past of Belfast and it’s people.

Delve deep into the darker past of Belfast on a Ghost Tour of your choice and enjoy walks in Belfast that offer visitors something out of the ordinary.

Riverside Scenic Strolls in Belvoir Forest Park

Belvoir Forest Park - best walks in Belfast
source: facebook.com/petr.balak.31

Escape into an enchanting woodland during your city break in Belfast and get back to nature in Belvoir Forest Park.

The stunning scenery is filled with winding paths that allow walkers to get lost in the beauty of the outdoors and enjoy a scenic stroll along parts of the River Lagan.

There are marked paths to help people navigate the type of walk they wish to undertake. If you stretch out your stroll you’ll pass the Lock Keepers Inn and go towards the picturesque Shaws Bridge, used to cross the River Lagan since the Stone Age.

A truly tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, suitable for all walking abilities, groups and families.

Stone Age Discoveries at the Giants Ring

Giants Ring - best walks in Belfast
source: facebook.com/leigha.robinson.35

Just past Shaws Bridge is a Neolithic landmark created around 2700BC, a place where local people gathered to host public meetings and memorial services.

Predating Egyptian Pyramids, The Giants Ring is a protected site and only in the 1990’s evidence was unearthed proving the sites use as a ritual ground.

The massive manmade enclosure is over 200 meters around and 15 foot high in parts and at the centre a structure of five large stones is capped with a slab to form an anciet tomb.

Such an astonishing piece of ancient history should not be missed, and as far as walks in Belfast go, this is one that will take you back in time.

Therapeutic Play at Musgrave Park

This immaculately kept parkland is a fun family day out spent among the flowering gardens and towering trees.

A secluded and tranquil therapy garden has, as its feature, a whispering wall that has been outfitted to encourage young people and those with disabilities to explore their senses. Various acoustic devices and therapeutic features are decorated in an artistic mosaic which kids will simply love discovering.

Visitors can enjoy a playful experience running through the willow tunnel, building sandcastles in the sand play area and learning more about nature in the regularly hosted story circles and musical workshops.

Musgrave Park is also home to two bowling greens and a camogie pitch where the popular Irish sport is played and a Highway to Health route where people can enjoy getting fit outdoors.

A popular place to play and enjoy getting back to nature, Musgrave Park has something for everyone perfect for taking lovely long walks in Belfast during their visit.

Away A Wee Walk Over the Causeway

Away A Wee Walk

Book yourself a one of a kind excursion along the breath-taking Causeway Coast of Belfast with Away A ‘Wee’ Walk.

This local company specialise in giving visitors unforgettable experiences along the cliffs and causeways that are such popular places to see during a break in Belfast.

Making sure to get the most out of this riveting seaside scenery the company focus on avoiding popular tourist spots where possible and take groups on daring excursions along rarely walked cliffside paths.

The team are expert’s when it comes to navigating their local landscape and delight in sharing their knowledge with walkers along the way.

There’s only one way to see the Causeway Coast and thats by booking your walks in Belfast with Away A ‘Wee’ Walk.

Exciting Events at Lagan Valley Regional Park

Lagan Valley - best walks in Belfast
source: Lagan Valley Photography

Wander along the meandering banks of the River Lagan and through the natural beauty of Lagan Valley Regional Park.

This sweeping natural landscape is home to hundreds of species of wildlife and heritage sites as well as remnants of the local linen industry and Stone Age settlements.

This year the park is celebrating a special landmark occasion, the 50th anniversary, and to mark the occasion there will be plenty of organised events and walks in Belfast to get involved in.

Set out on a Twilight Walk along the towpath or learn more about Secrets of the Stone Age as you explore the natural wonders of Lagan Valley Regional Park.

The Oldest Park in Belfast

Belfast’s oldest city centre park has become a haven for those who enjoy outdoor activities in Belfast. Ormeau Park has its own playing fields, bowling greens and pavilions as well as basketball and tennis courts and a daring BMX track.

Since the 1880’s Ormeau Park has been frequented by the like of cycling clubs and was once home to the Donegall family whose name appears on many of Belfast’s famed streets.

Ormeau Park - best walks in Belfast
source: Facebook Des Spratt

After selling the park in 1869, a competition was run asking the public to provide ideas for the parks redesign and a young architect by the name of Timothy Hevery won. His designs can still be seen today in and around the land with only a few changes made to modernise the facilities.

This historic parkland is a prominent piece of Belfast’s history and makes a fantastic addition to our guide the best walks in Belfast.

The Beauty of Belfast Botanic Gardens

Belfast Botanic Gardens - best walks in Belfast
source: Friends of Belfast Botanic Gardens

For walks in Belfast that are pretty as a picture from visit Belfast Botanic Gardens.

Open since 1895 to the public, these stunning grounds are home to two exceptional examples of Victorian greenhouses, each home to hundreds of botanical species.

This, as well as the surrounding rose gardens and the longest herbaceous border in the UK, makes the Botanical Garden’s a must visit place in Belfast for fans of horticulture and the outdoors.

 

Secret Stairways and Ancient Dens

Cregagh Glen - best walks in Belfast
source: Mike Thompson facebook.comToMp/O360

A short but exciting adventure out into the woodlands of Belfast this wonderful walk gives explorers of the outdoors a chance to delve deep into a darkened glen.

Ascend a set of sunken stairs in Cregagh Glen and follow in the footsteps of generations before you. Listen out for the sound of gently flowing water along the Glen River and pass underground until you reach the grounds of Lisnabreeny House.

Today the old stone walls of the gardens are covered in ivy blanket and there’s a place to build a woodland den or play in the natural playground.

At the top of the small climb, there are remains of a rath, which would have once served as the fortified home of an elder or chief in times gone by.

The walk back is the way you came so no danger of getting lost although you may wish to linger in the glorious natural surroundings of the magical Cregagh Glen for as long as possible.

A Victorian Park in Modern Surroundings

Victoria Park is an inner-city oasis complete with central lake and outdoor gym equipment.

The green heart of Belfast is easily reached by a new bridge connecting it to the popular Titanic Quarter and plenty of seating for people who simply wish to watch the world go by.

There are three routes that circle the park, one closer to the water another on the outer ring, and one that takes a winding path through the trees and flower beds each one provides views of the stunning park in its entirety.

There’s so much more to Belfast than industry and nightlife, these are just the tip of the city’s attractions, what really makes Belfast worth visiting is the natural landscape in and amongst the bustling urban spaces.

Take time out and go on some long walks in Belfast to discover all you can about the city on your visit.

When we open the doors of The George Best Hotel, all these remarkable outdoor adventures will be within easy reach of our guests.

George Best Hotel Room - best walks in Belfast

Visitors can get themselves outside and explore the stunning city and its surroundings using our guide to the best walks in Belfast when staying at The George Best Hotel.

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