Top 10 best free things to do in Belfast, ranked

Worried about breaking the bank? Not to worry, for we have you covered with our ultimate list of the best free things to do in Belfast city.

City breaks can be one of the best ways to break up the year, and as an up-and-coming vibrant city in the northeast of Ireland hoping to shine through the post-pandemic surge, a trip to Belfast may be on your cards.

With an energetic night scene returning, fans on their way back to sports stadiums and the shopping centres open again for business, we recommend that you reserve your hard-earned cash for these activities. Why not save a quid or two on the many complimentary things to do in Belfast?

Here are the top ten free things to do in Belfast, ranked!

Our top tips for visiting Belfast:

  • Pack some waterproof clothing. Weather in Ireland is unpredictable at best, so it’s best to have a raincoat to hand just in case!
  • Remember that the currency is the pound sterling in Belfast, rather than the euros.
  • Belfast is an excellent base for exploring the Causeway Coastal Route. Renting a car is your best bet for exploring outside the city.
  • Always book accommodation in advance. Belfast is a popular destination, so its hotels get snapped up quickly. Booking in advance is the best way to secure a great deal.

10. Glass of Thrones Trail – for the GOT fans

The Glass of Thrones trail is one of the best free things to do in Belfast.

One of the best free things to do in Belfast is to walk the Glass of Thrones Trail, a 3 km (1.8m) trail of six glass-stained windows. These windows depict some of the most memorable scenes from the hit Game of Thrones TV series.

The trail was established to celebrate ten years of GOT filming in the North of Ireland, and you can find each location here.

MUST READ: Ireland Before You Die’s guide to the best Game of Thrones tours in Ireland.

Address: 583 Donegall Quay, Belfast BT1 3WH

9. Public Record Office of NI – find your family tree

The Public Records Office can help you access your clan lineage.
Credit: Instagram / @publicrecordofficeni

The ‘your family tree series’ from the Public Records Office of NI (PRONI) can help you access your clan lineage and is designed for both beginners and experts. One of the more useful free things to do in Belfast. 

More info: HERE

Address: 2 Titanic Boulevard Titanic Quarter, Belfast BT3 9HQ

8. Linen Hall Library – the oldest library in Belfast

The Linen Hall Library is one of the best free things to do in Belfast.
Credit: Instagram / @jess__armstrong

Founded in 1788, the Linen Hall Library is the oldest library in all of Belfast. It is home to the definitive archive of conflict-era material, books by accomplished writer C.S. Lewis, and its revered Irish and Local Studies Collections.

RELATED READ: The IB4UD guide to the most beautiful libraries in Ireland.

Address: 17 Donegall Square N, Belfast BT1 5GB

7. James Connolly Visitor Centre – free for Belfast residents

The James Connolly Visitor Centre is free for all visitors to explore.

The Centre is the first ever to commemorate the socialist who was executed for his role in the 1916 Easter Rising. It is based only yards from where Connolly lived in Belfast, and the Connolly Experience is now free for Belfast residents.

READ MORE: Our guide to the James Connolly Visitor Centre.

Address: 374 Falls Rd, Belfast BT12 6DG

6. Tropical Ravine at Botanic Gardens – one of the best free things to do in Belfast

The Tropical Ravine at Botanic Gardens is one of the best free things to do in Belfast.
Credit: Instagram / @margarita_travels

The Tropical Ravine undertook reconstruction between 2013 and 2018. It is now one of the best free things to do in Belfast, retaining its Victorian interior with a blend of new modern features such as its frameless glass façade. 

Address: College Park Ave, Botanic Ave, Belfast BT7 1LP

5. Belfast City Hall – a free history of the city

At the Belfast City Hall, you can learn about all of its history.
Credit: Tourism Northern Ireland

The tours of Belfast City Hall are free and led by an experienced guide. Here, you will learn about the history of the City Hall in the space of 60 minutes. Afterwards, take a break in the City Hall gardens.

Address: Donegall Square N, Belfast BT1 5GS

4. Dome at Victoria Square – for panoramic city views

The Dome at Victoria Square is one of the best free things to do in Belfast.
Credit: Tourism Northern Ireland

This stunning glass building sits at the head of the bustling Victoria Square shopping centre. A tour guide will help you locate Belfast’s finest attractions, such as the Harland and Wolff cranes.

Address: 1 Victoria Square, Belfast BT1 4QG

3. Walk the Peace Wall and International Wall of Murals – where Belfast divides

Walk the Peace Wall and International Wall of Murals.
Credit: Instagram / @mattia_tromboni

One of the best free things to do in Belfast is to visit the Peace Wall, which separates the nationalist Falls Road and unionist Shankhill Road. Afterwards, examine the International Wall of Murals for historical art and local stories about Northern Ireland.

Address: 15 Cupar Way, Belfast BT13 2RX

2. Ulster Museum – the secret door to an ancient past

The Ulster Museum is one of the best free things to do in Belfast.
Credit: Instagram / @leewanderson

The Ulster Museum is Belfast’s secret door to our planet’s past, with a rich collection of art, history, and natural science. A trip here will do no damage to your wallet and purse, a perfect thing to do in Belfast with kids, and make sure to keep an eye out for the mummified body of the Egyptian Takabuti.

Address: Botanic Gardens, Belfast BT9 5AB

1. Climb Cave Hill – for amazing views over Belfast

Climb Cave Hill for some of the most amazing views over Belfast.
Credit: Tourism Northern Ireland

Unfortunately, Belfast’s premier cost-free activity will require you to strap up the walking boots and put in some hard yards. However, we can attest the walk is worth it, so be sure to add this stop to your Belfast bucket list.

Start off at Belfast Castle before making your way to ‘Napoleon’s Nose’, where you will be treated to unrestricted views of Belfast Lough and the city centre.

For the early risers, we would also advise a trip up Cave Hill in the wee hours of the morning to catch the glaring eye of the golden sunrise over Belfast city.

Address: Antrim Rd, Belfast BT5 5GR

Your questions answered about free things to do in Belfast

We realise your might still have some questions about this topic. That’s why we’ve answered some of our readers’ most frequently asked questions as well as some that appear online.

Can you do Belfast in one day?

We always recommend an extended stay anywhere in Ireland to get the most out of your trip. That said, Belfast is a relatively small city that you can explore in one day if you’re pushed for time.

Is Belfast a walkable city?

The city centre itself is quite compact, making Belfast a fairly walkable city. Although a car or public transport is best for exploring the outskirts.

Why is the Shankill called the Shankill?

The Shankill Road gets its name from the Irish word ‘Seanchille’, which means ‘old church’.

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