Once again, 15 of Belfast City Council’s pristine parks have achieved prestigious Green Flag status for consistently maintaining high quality standards.
The UK wide Green Flag status is awarded to parks that show excellence in management and maintaining clean aesthetic open spaces. It’s also awarded to parks promoting conservation and heritage, environmental sustainability, safety and good community involvement.
Check out the 15 parks that were awarded the coveted title below:
1. Botanic Gardens
Botanic Gardens, home to the Palm House and the Tropical Ravine, is immensely popular amongst students, tourists and city dwellers, mainly thanks to the acres of green grass which make it the ideal chill out spot when the sun is shining in Belfast.
Check out who we met when we went to Botanic on the hottest day of the year: Why Botanic Gardens is the Greatest Place to Catch the Sun in Belfast.
2. Barnett Demesne
Featuring such highlights as an arboretum, daffodil garden, ecotrail, orienteering routes, children’s playground (near Shaw’s Bridge), walking paths, refreshments (in Malone House) and scenic views, the Barnett Demesne combines tree and plant collections with semi-natural features such as woodland and wildflower meadows.
The park is home to many wild animals, including rabbits, badgers and grey and red squirrels, as well as birds such as jays, rooks and a range of songbirds. More than 70 species of wildflower grow in the meadows during the summer months.
The park has a variety of walking routes, several of which link with the Lagan towpath, Clement Wilson Park and Mary Peters Athletics Track.
3. Grove Park
The playing fields are open from dawn to dusk with the bowling greens open from 11am to 4pm, Monday to Friday (winter) and 11am to 9pm, Monday to Saturday (summer).
4. Belmont Park
The hidden sanctuary of Belmont Park is the perfect place for a scenic stroll, with its network of paths which lead through grassland, wildflower meadows and copses of bluebells and trees.
5. Cavehill Country Park
Cave Hill, distinguished by its famous ‘Napoleon’s Nose’ is renowned for its amazing panoramic views over Belfast.
All of Belfast can be seen from its peak, including the famous H&W cranes. Cave Hill is also thought to be the inspiration for Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels. Swift imagined that the Cave Hill resembled the shape of a sleeping giant safeguarding the city.
6. Dunville Park
Dunville Park has been refurbished as part of the Belfast City Council’s Investment Programme, with amazing new facilities including a modern floodlit 3rd Generation sports pitch for soccer and GAA, a new changing pavilion, car parking facilities, senior and junior playgrounds and community events space.
7. Lagan Meadows
This route explores a beautiful Local Nature Reserve in the Lagan Valley with varied wildlife habitats. A rare chance to see cows grazing within a few miles of the city centre.
8. Musgrave Park
Popular amongst both walkers and joggers thanks to the flat, surfaced path and tranquil atmosphere, Musgrave Park even contains a Highway to Health route.
That’s in addition to its two bowling greens and Gaelic football, hurling and camogie pitches. It also includes a bottle bank.
9. Ormeau Park
Ormeau Park is a popular venue for sport, with a range of facilities that are located in Ormeau Park Playing Fields including soccer pitches, two bowling greens and pavilions, a BMX track, basketball, tennis and netball courts. The park also has a children’s playground.
The park is also popular with both walkers and joggers and has a range of eco trails and orienteering routes.
10. Falls Park
Updated facilities by the Belfast City Council have made Falls Park a great place to spend the day with family, with a free outdoor gym, suitable for all ages and abilities
a dedicated youth area suitable for a range of uses, including an outdoor classroom and even a refurbished play park with modern play equipment all recently added.
11. Roselawn Cemetery
127 Ballygowan Road
Roselawn Cemetery is a large cemetery on the outskirts of Belfast which opened in 1954 on the Ballygowan Road. The ashes of association footballer George Best were buried here on 3 December 2005 after his death on 25 November.
12. Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park
Upper Malone Road
Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park in south Belfast is one of our most popular parks. It is home to the City of Belfast International Rose Garden, which attracts thousands of visitors to the stunning Rose Week celebrations, which take place in July each year.
Covering more than 128 acres, the park is made up of rolling meadows, copses, woodland and gardens and is home to a wide range of plants and animals. An ideal base for exploring nearby Lagan Valley Regional Park, it contains international camellia trials, a walled garden, a Japanese-style garden with water features for quiet contemplation.
Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park was donated to the people of Belfast by Lady Dixon in 1959, in memory of her late husband, Sir Thomas.
13. Woodvale Park
237 Upper Malone Rd
Home to Woodvale Park Playing Fields, the park was also recently refurbished as part of the Belfast City Council Investment Programme. New facilities include soccer pitches, a 7-a-side soccer area, a bowling pavilion, a children’s playground with toddlers play area, an outdoor exercise area, a community garden and a number of allotment plots.
The park is also a popular spot for walkers and offers several varied routes. It is home to the Peace Tree, Northern Ireland’s Tree of the Year 2015.
14. Knocknagoney Park
Knocknagoney Linear Park includes soccer pitches and a children’s playground, which has recently been updated as part of Belfast City Council’s £649,000 investment to upgrade and redesign 10 playgrounds.
15. Waterworks Park
Vibrant and buzzing with locals, the Waterworks is a popular spot for walkers, families and runners alike thanks to its stunning bird-life (you’ll not miss the eye-catching collection of swans, a sight to behold so close to the city centre!)
Belfast’s former water supply has also become renowned for its popular weekly park run, with the surfaced 1.4 miles an ideal route with spectacular views.