If you’re taking a trip to Northern Ireland and you’re not sure whereabouts to stay or what to do, we don’t blame you, because there’s so much to choose from! Northern Ireland has a whole host of interesting places to visit and things to see, to the point where you might need to plan ahead to make sure you can fit everything you want to do into your schedule. The main thing about planning ahead for a trip away is to budget, but luckily, Northern Ireland is home to countless affordable sightseeing spots and other attractions.
For those who have never been, yes – there is more to Northern Ireland than the spaces where Game of Thrones is filmed! Areas such as Omagh, Coleraine, Enniskillen and Derry are particularly popular with visitors, but for now we are focusing on Belfast and Newry. The two beautiful Northern Irish cities are less than an hour apart by car, and are both jam-packed with things to do for under a fiver!
5Ulster Museum, Belfast
Located in Belfast’s stunning Botanic Gardens, Ulster Museum is home to Egyptian mummies, fossils, and dinosaur skeletons – making it the perfect day out with the family. It’s free to get in, meaning your fiver can be spent on a snack when you are ready for a rest! The museum also features a fantastic collection of art, history and hands-on activities for the kids, so make sure you set aside a whole morning or afternoon for your visit.
4Stormont – Parliament Buildings, Belfast
If you fancy doing a bit of sightseeing and architecture is your thing, one of the most impressive buildings in all of Northern Ireland has to be the Parliament Buildings in Belfast, also known as Stormont. It is free entry and open to the public Monday to Friday between 9am and 4pm, and you can even have a tour inside the building if you want to know what goes on! We recommend having a walk around the grounds; the views are stunning, particularly on a clear day.
3Queen’s University, Belfast
Another building the architecture buffs can’t miss is Queen’s University in Belfast; in particular, the spectacular Lanyon Building. Just a stone’s throw away from the Botanic Gardens and Ulster Museum, the awe-inspiring Lanyon Building is definitely worth a stop-off for a few photos. Depending on the weather, you can either sit in the grounds and soak up the surroundings, or there are plenty of cafes nearby if you fancy a pit-stop for a coffee.
2Slieve Gullion Forest Park – The Giant’s Lair and Adventure Playpark, Newry
If you’re visiting Northern Ireland with the kids, you simply cannot miss this spellbinding park, complete with the Giant’s Lair, designed to spark the creative imaginations of children. The Giant’s Lair Story Trail takes you on a memorable journey of tiny fairy houses, witches, dragons and giants, leaving kids dreaming about it for weeks afterwards. The best bit? Entry to this magical park is free, and Park & Ride is only £1 per person.
1Mourne Mountains, Newry
Whatever the weather, the Mourne Mountains attract thousands of visitors every year, and it’s no surprise why – the scenery has to be some of the most picturesque in all of Northern Ireland. The novelist CS Lewis was so inspired by the Mournes that he conjured up the infamous fictional world of Narnia, stating: “I have seen landscapes (in the Mourne Mountains) which, under a particular light, made me feel that at any moment a giant might raise his head over the next ridge.” If you’re visiting during the summer months, we recommend throwing on your walking boots and sun cream, packing a rucksack with a picnic and spending a day out enjoying the incredible views.
*The information presented is accurate as of March 2017.