With ancient castles, famous shipyards and an abundance of local charm, Belfast is a joy to behold. Here are our favourite places to visit.
Mount Stewart is an 18th-century house and garden in County Down, Northern Ireland, owned by the National Trust. Situated on the east shore of Strangford Lough, a few miles outside the town of Newtownards and near Greyabbey, it was the home of the Vane-Tempest-Stewart family, Marquesses of Londonderry. The house and its contents reflect the history of the Vane-Tempest-Stewarts, who played a leading role in British and Irish social and political life.
This geological phenomenon sits in an area of outstanding natural beauty on the North Antrim coast and is a world heritage site and a fabulous day visit from Belfast.
Botanic Gardens is an important part of Belfast’s Victorian heritage and a popular meeting place for residents, students and tourists. It contains two important buildings, the Palm House and the Tropical Ravine, as well as a children’s playground, a bowling green, walking routes, a rose garden and assorted tropical plants, mature trees and flower beds.
The building that stands today was built from 1811–70 by the 3rd Marquess of Donegall. It was designed in the Scottish baronial style by Charles Lanyon and his son, of the architectural firm Lanyon, Lynn and Lanyon. After Donegall’s death and the family’s financial demise, the 8th Earl of Shaftesbury completed the house. The original Belfast Castle, built in the late 12th century by the Normans but was burned down in 1708, leaving only street names to mark the site.
St. Anne’s Cathedral
Consecrated in 1904, the Cathedral held a memorial service shortly after the tradgic sinking of the Titanic which was attended by several members of Thomas Andrew’s family.The Cathedral contains mosaics designed by Sir Charles Nicholson and executed by Gertrude and Margaret Martin. It has the largest Celtic Cross in Ireland, and mosaics and stained glass on Celtic themes.
Titanic Belfast, opening on 31st March 2012, will be a “must see” visit in any tour of Belfast and Northern Ireland. It is located in the heart of Belfast, right beside the historic site of this world-famous ship’s construction. Housed in an iconic, 6-floor building, this state-of-the-art visitor experience tells the story of the Titanic, from her conception in Belfast in the early 1900s, through her construction and launch, to her famous maiden voyage and tragic end.
Dunluce Castle is a now-ruined medieval castle, located on the edge of a basalt outcropping in County Antrim (between Portballintrae and Portrush). The castle is surrounded by extremely steep drops on either side, which may have been an important factor to the early Christians and Vikings who were drawn to this place where an early Irish fort once stood.
Learn more about our kings and queens, castles and cathedrals, countryside and coastline in every issue of BRITAIN magazine!