When the sun is shining we have to act quickly in Belfast – before it goes away again.
With a promised heatwave just around the corner, we’ve come up with our top places to enjoy the sunshine and soak up the atmosphere (note: drinking is obligatory).
Hit the Beer Gardens
62-68 High St
Featuring four floors, including one of Belfast’s most popular beer gardens, you should definitely make time this weekend to sip cocktails on the rooftop of The National. Just look at those views on a sunny day…
2. The Perch
5th Floor – The Gate – 42 Franklin St
Famed for its delicious cocktails (check out the Lagarita as featured in our 8 Seriously Good Summer Cocktails); and amazing rooftop space decorated in vibrant colours and fresh flowers; The Perch should be high on your to-do list when the sun’s shining.
3 Hill St
Our go-to Cathedral Quarter destination, The Dirty Onion’s massive beer garden is always positively brimming on a sunny day!
Go to an actual garden
4. Botanic Gardens
Take a walk through Belfast’s greatest hidden sanctuary, or you can simply relish the atmosphere of the green on a busy summers day when swarms of people come down just to chill on the grass. Beware flying frisbees, mischievous toddlers and hyper dogs. And try your best to time your stay with the ice-cream van…
North Belfast’s very own little slice of heaven is one of Belfast’s true hidden gems. A gorgeous spot whether you’re out for a picnic with the family; admiring the swans (when they’re actually here, obviously); or simply walking the dog, Make sure to look out for the weekly parkrun.
6. Lady Dixon Park
Upper Malone Rd
Complete with a massive playground for the kids (and adults if you’re so inclined; enchanted gardens; and a big house to lust over, this is the perfect park for anyone who likes to explore.
Hit the beach
7. Ballygally Beach
45 minutes from Belfast
Just a short drive outside Belfast, this is the perfect day-trip. Offering stunning views over the Antrim coastline, as well as nearby ice-cream shops and the magnificent Ballygally Castle.
8. Portstewart Strand
1 hour 15 minutes from Belfast
Slightly farther afield, Portstewart Strand holds the prestigious Blue Flag award and is perfect for picnics as well as fun outdoor activities such as surfing, swimming and horse riding.
Go for a walk
Lagan Towpath offers the perfect get away, offering plenty of fresh air, spectacular views, and of course – the famous Lock Keeper’s Inn. Stop in for some refreshments – you won’t regret it.
For generations, Cave Hill has been synonymous with Belfast, with its imposing outline visible throughout the city. The landmark, named for the five caves located on the side of the cliffs, contains a wealth of natural, archaeological and historical features, including Belfast Castle.
Its most famous feature, known locally as Napoleon’s Nose, is believed to have been the inspiration for Jonathan Swift’s novel, Gulliver’s Travels.
Visitors to Cave Hill Country Park can enjoy panoramic views across Belfast from vantage points on the hillside.
Grab an ice-cream
11. Cafe Mauds
555 Lisburn Rd
Serving dozens of amazing ice-cream flavours on offer at Cafe Mauds (which you can get on the range of gorgeous cones available or in a single tub; with waffles; crepes or a whole family-sized tub to take away) check out the amazing sundaes you can get too…
Our favourite flavour is the melt-in-your-mouth Pooh Bear – now available in chocolate form – which truly is a game-changer.
601 Lisburn Rd
Situated just across the road from the Lisburn Road’s famous Cranmore Park, we love to enjoy our delicious Barnams cones al fresco; complete with strawberry sauce and marshmallows.
13. Maggie Mays
Botanic & Malone Rd
The perfect accompaniment to the sun, where do we begin when attempting to describe the huge range of milkshakes on offer from Maggie Mays?!
For £2.45 you can get Maggies Shakes in a range of flavours from your standard Strawberry to Chocolate to Caramel – you can even try bolder flavours like Cinnamon and Marmalade.
Alternatively, Special Shakes ranging from Snickers; Rasperry Ruffle; Nutella; Creme Egg; Jammie Dodger and Chocolate Fudge Brownie – are just some of the more intricate mouth-watering options available.
14. The Pocket
69 University Rd
Make the most of Belfast’s booming cafe culture with a visit to one of the newest, and arguably greatest, additions at The Pocket. Featuring ever-changing delicious Specials; the epic Pocket Picnic (pictured); combined with the mouth-watering coffee and spectacular views – this is sure to become one of Belfast’s most highly regarded authentic cafes.
Check out what happened when we went to see it in the flesh last week, here.
Dine out al fresco
Follow the crowds
16. City Hall
If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.