Are you ready to explore the fantastic trails that can be found in Belfast - This is our ultimate guide!
From parks blooming with colour to peaceful towpaths providing an alternative way around the city and breath-taking views across the capital, there really is something for everyone when it comes to walking in Belfast.
Whether you’ve brought your walking boots or not you can still enjoy a wide range of walks that bring a little slice of the countryside to the city. Whilst some routes require a reasonable level of fitness there are many other interesting and picturesque walks great for people with limited mobility and small children.
It’s time to add a different element to your city visit and view Belfast from a completely different angle!
Best viewpoint trails
Divis and The Black Mountain – Ridge Trail
View the city of Belfast from a different perspective, from above! The Divis Ridge Trail allows the walkers to enjoy 180 degree views across the city and further afield including the Antrim Plateau to the north, Scotland to the east and the Mourne Mountains to the south. The trails on Divis are owned and managed by the National Trust. Entry is free and opening times for the cafe should be checked in advance of your visit. There is both a car park beside the visitor centre cafe and outside of the main gate – please park responsibly and ensure you do not block access of locals. Toilets are available on site during the cafe opening hours.
Cave Hill Country Park
The Cave Hill Trail is a challenging circular route, over unsurfaced paths, past the caves to McArt’s Fort, and crossing moorland, heath and meadows. You will discover much of what the park has to offer from archaeological sites and wildlife to panoramic views. The trail can be walked anti-clockwise beginning at Belfast Castle and following the green way marked arrows. It can also be joined from Bellevue car park, Upper Hightown Road or Upper Cavehill Road.
Not to be missed trails
Discover Belfast’s links to its unique Titanic and maritime heritage following this linear trail from the Titanic Memorial Garden at Belfast City Hall to Titanic Quarter. The trail is 2.2 miles in length and has plenty of places to stop and explore along the way.
Connswater Community Greenway
This linear walk follows the Connswater Community Greenway along the course of three rivers that splits into two different routes – Victoria Park along the Connswater River following the route along the Knock River to Marsh-wiggle Way and Braniel, or Victoria Park along the Connswater River and following the Loop River up to Cregagh Glen. You’ll come across all sorts of wildlife and greenery to bring your walk to life. Stop off at C.S. Lewis Square for some refreshments in EastSide Visitor Centre and explore the seven sculptures by Irish artist Maurice Harron inspired by the characters from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, before continuing your journey through Belfast’s own wildlife corridor.
Giant’s Ring Trail
A green oasis in the heart of the city of Belfast, Minnowburn is full of beautiful trails verging the Lagan or heading through woodland and farmland. It lies in the Lagan Valley Regional Park and is a great place to walk through fields alive with the sounds and smells of nature, or stroll along the banks of the Lagan and Minnowburn. You may spot spawning salmon or sea trout. As you leave National Trust lands and enter Ballynahatty you pass through the famous Giants Ring, a Neolithic earthwork circle set in the middle of beautiful farmland.
This 0.7 mile circular route explores an historic city park with many interesting features, buildings and botanical collections. This is a circular walk that can be started from any of seven entrances to Botanic Gardens.
Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park – Woodland Trail
The 2 mile circular woodland trail through the grounds of Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon park is the ideal trail for those looking to explore a stones throw from the city centre. The trails within this Park take walkers past some of the best rose gardens which are celebrated internationally each year. The trail through the woodland does include some steep climbs and descents and is mostly on compact paths which can be muddy underfoot. More accessible trails are available within the park. The park has a car park, cafe and playpark on site.
Long Distance Walks through Belfast
The Ulster Way (Northern Ireland’s longest walking trail) pass through a short section of Belfast. Walkers can explore the linear trail of the Lagan Towpath which connects Belfast to the nearby city of Lisburn. The trail has a strong Ulster-Scot link connecting this trail to the industrial heritage of the city. This 3.5 mile section of trail follows the path of the ‘Lagan Waters‘ known better today as the River Lagan. The walk takes you across a series of bridges and into Clement Wilson Park named after Scotsman Robert Clement Wilson. The path through this part was built over an old mill race that took water to Wilson’s factory. We recommend taking time to sit by the riverbank and listen to one of the additional videos where Mark Thompson recites ‘The Weavin‘, a poem written in the Ulster-Scots language by Agnes Kerr.
Check out an additional video which explains more about how Belfast got nicknamed ‘Linenopolis‘ and the significant role played by the Ulster Scots.
Returning to Belfast along the trail of the Lagan walkers begin their journey west along the coast of Belfast Lough picking up the North Down Coastal Path.
Dogs are allowed to explore the majority to trails in Belfast providing they are on a lead and kept under control. Please ensure that you pick up any dog waste and dispose of this in the appropriate dog bins provided. If a bin is not provided please dispose of this waste at home.
Pick up a pre-post walk coffee
If like us, you eagerly anticipate a pre/post-walk coffee then look no further than the on-the-go hot beverages available from our sponsor Barista Bar. This means you can spend more time enjoying the fantastic walking trails Northern Ireland has to offer. Barista Bar is the biggest coffee brand in Northern Ireland and delivers the experience of convenient, top quality coffee and hot beverages for SPAR, EUROSPAR, VIVO and VIVOXTRA customers. The team have even created the ultimate walking playlist check it out on Spotify at https://spoti.fi/3LYBazk
Share your Belfast walking adventures!
We always love to see your out and about on the trails pictures! We are interested to find out what trails you are exploring. Tag us on social media using #WalkNI #BelfastWalks.