We know how stressful being a student is, especially right now, when everything is getting more and more expensive. But don’t worry there’s plenty of cost friendly things you can do to unwind in Belfast, that won’t hurt your bank account!
Around Queen’s University
1. Take a Trip to Ulster Museum
Whether you’re a long-time Belfast resident or a newbie the Ulster Museum is packed full of artifacts that can help you learn more about our history. From dinosaurs, to Game of Thrones, you’re sure to find something here to interest you. Keep an eye out for their ever changing exhibitions and events!
Located in Botanic Gardens, they also have a great café, perfect for studying if you need a change of scenery from the McClay.
2. De-stress in Botanic Gardens
Botanic is a gorgeous place to sit and realign yourself, especially when the weather’s good. But we know that’s not always the case. If it’s raining you can still enjoy Botanic by visiting the Greenhouse and The Tropical Ravine. These two buildings house beautiful and exotic plants to take a look at and they’re brilliant for a cheeky Insta post.
College Park Ave, Botanic Ave, Belfast BT7 1LP
3. Visit the Naughton Gallery at Queen’s
This little known gallery is our favourite hidden gem! This free entry gallery is tucked away on the 1st floor of the Lanyon Building and hosts a rolling program of exhibitions of both local and international talent 6 days a week. So make sure you pop by on your study breaks.
Lanyon Building, Belfast BT7 1NN
4. Wander around St. George’s Market
St George’s Market is one of Belfast’s oldest attractions and a great way to get a feel of Belfast before the high street stores. If you love shopping small, rare finds and handmade items this is the place to go. But you don’t have to spend your money either.
Walking around, seeing what’s on offer and listening to the local music acts is more than enough! St George’s Market is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday and you can get there easily on the bus.
St George’s Market, East Bridge St, Belfast BT1 3NQ
5. Visit the Royal Avenue Arts Centre
If you’ve been in Belfast a while you’ll remember the most beautiful Tesco in Northern Ireland. That Tesco has now been transformed into a beautiful arts centre. You can find everything here, from live music and drag acts to yoga and sound baths. This is a great way to look after your wellbeing and we can’t recommend it enough!
2 Royal Ave, Belfast BT1 1DA
6. Enjoy the Cathedral Quarter Street Art
Belfast itself is a museum of sorts. All across the city you’ll find street art depicting our history, (pop) culture and spirit. We boast over 2000 pieces of street art, which is one of the largest in Europe and as a pretty small city it means you can’t miss it. Cathedral Quarter is definitely our favorite spot for art and you’ll be able to take some amazing pictures. Don’t forget to look down the hidden streets for some of the most vibrant work.
7. Visit The MAC
Another brilliant art museum in Belfast is the MAC. Here you can find some of the most spectacular art exhibitions and live performances. They are nestled in the heart of Cathedral Quarter, so make sure you check it out whilst on your street art hunt. Open Tuesday- Sunday, 9am-5pm.
10 Exchange St West, Belfast, BT1 2NJ
8. Take in the view from the top of Victoria Square
Victoria Square isn’t just for shopping! If you haven’t taken a trip all the way up to the dome, you’re missing out on some of the best views of Belfast. Head up there, see what you can spot and gain a new view on our beautiful city.
1 Victoria Square, Belfast BT1 4QG
9. Learn more about Belfast with the Belfast Free Walking Tour
Like all good cities we have a Free Walking Tour. If you want to get a new perspective of Belfast, or are new to the city and want to find your feet, walking tours are a great way to get started. Learn more about the history, culture and some of the locals favourite places here. But remember whilst it’s free the workers are volunteers and it’s customary to give them a tip for their hard work.
5 Donegall Square N, Belfast BT1 5GB
10. Follow the Glass of Thrones trail
If you haven’t worked it out already we’re really proud of Game of Thrones here and all across the city you’ll find little nods to this big part of our history. But the most beautiful of nods has to be the Glass of Thrones trail. Walk through Belfast until you find the 1st on the waterfront and follow this trail down past the studios where Game of Thrones was filmed and relive some of the highlights of this series.
Donegall Quay, Belfast BT1 3FE
11. Take a stroll in Titanic Quarter
Belfast is the birthplace of the HMS Titanic and it’s now undergoing a huge transformation. Here you’ll find plenty of interesting things, from the Titanic Museum and slipway to the HMS Caroline and the SSE arena. This area is beautiful to walk around, particularly if you walk from the slipway down the tow path and take in the docks. Don’t foget to snap a pic of Samson and Goliath, the iconic H & W cranes.
Titanic, Museum, 1 Olympic Way, Belfast BT3 9EP
12. Enjoy the Stormont Estate Grounds
Stormont is a beautiful spot for a walk. The grounds are really quite something, with beautiful floral displays, woodland and fitness trails. You can bring a bike or take a leisurley stroll. It’s fairly easy to reach too, hop on the G1 Glider outside City Hall and hop off at the Stormont stop. Open 7:30-6:30 Monday to Friday and 9-6:30 at the weekends.
Stormont Ct, Belfast BT4 3LP
13. Visit Narnia in C S Lewis Square
You may know C S Lewis was born and raised in Belfast from visiting the C S Lewis Reading Room on the 1st Floor of the McClay and if you didn’t, go check it out!
Just outside Belfast is the beautiful C S Lewis Square, where you can find stunning statues and small coffee shops. This is a great place to take in the architecture and read a book. Hop off the G1 Glider at Connswater and you’re already there.
278-280 Newtonards Road, Belfast, BT41HU
14. Hike Cave Hill
Belfast lies in the shadow of the beautiful Cave Hill. It’s really important to take time outside to destress, and a hike can be a great way to do that. You can go all the way up and take in the view, follow eco trails, bike around or take in the gardens. Take any Number 1 Bus from Upper Queen Street to Antrim Road and get off at Belle Vue.
Cave Hill, Antrim Road, BT15 5GR
Don’t forget to take care of yourself, destress and have some fun. If you do take on any of our recommendations let us know by taking some pics and tagging us @queensstudentsunion on Insta or TikTok. We’re always looking for recommendations too!