Skydiving, wakeboarding, cliff path walks, an alpine coaster and a Gruffalo trail – there is such a variety of things to do in Belfast with kids and teenagers, check out my top 20 below.
I had the pleasure of visiting Belfast this summer with my family. We enjoyed a wonderful few days exploring the city and its surrounding area. As well as a host of things to do in Belfast with kids, there are also many experiences and attractions close by, making it possible to combine a city break with some great countryside adventures.
I loved walking the Gobbins Cliff Path, and we had such fun riding Ireland’s only alpine coaster. We also tried indoor skydiving, and a Black Cab tour gave us incredible insights into Belfast’s history. We didn’t visit Titanic Belfast on this occasion, but I have visited it previously, and of course had to include it on this list of top things to do in Belfast with kids.
We didn’t manage to do all of the wonderful activities below, but I did spend quite a lot of time researching family activities in Belfast and the surrounding area, and therefore included attractions for children of all ages in this list.
I have highlighted 10 things to do in Belfast city, as well as 10 family attractions located close to Belfast. I hope it inspires you to take a trip to Northern Ireland soon.
1. Titanic Belfast
You simply can’t visit Belfast without visiting one of world’s top visitor attractions. Titanic Belfast tells the story of Titanic from her conception to her maiden voyage, through nine interactive galleries over six floors.
The Titanic Belfast’s iconic building is extremely impressive – it was built to resemble the ships hull, and it is the beating heart of the docklands now. The tour is self-guided, and although requires a lot of reading, you are free to stay as little or as long as you like.
There are plenty of things to keep children amused too. The interactive exhibits and the Shipyard Ride are popular with kids, and your entrance ticket allows you to walk the decks of the last remaining White Star Line vessel – SS Nomadic.
2. W5 Discovery and Science Centre
W5 is located in the Titanic Quarter and is a feast for the senses. Children love its six themed areas, which house over 250 interactive exhibits. There is a specific Discovery area for under 8’s, and children 3-11 can become a space explorer in Spacebase.
The new Virtual Reality Experience features world-class CGI and cutting-edge technology, including VR-4D Cinema Pods and Explorer Units, while the MED-Lab will help children discover the world of biomedical science.
There is an interactive soft play area too, as well as Climbit, a huge multi-storey climbing structure, the first of its kind in the UK and Ireland. W5 is one of the best things to do in Belfast with children, and it an ideal place to visit on a rainy day.
3. CS Lewis Square
The CS Lewis Square is located in the heart of Belfast City. It features seven bronze sculptures from Belfast-born CS Lewis’ novel The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. Discover Aslan, The White Witch, Mr Tumnus, The Beavers, The Robin and The Stone Table, in a beautiful display of public art.
CS Lewis Square is located beside the EastSide Visitor Centre, which offers tourist information on interactive screens and interpretative panels. The Centre also includes Jack Coffee Bar – ‘Jack’ was CS Lewis ‘nick name’ to friends and family.
4. Visit St. Georges Market
St George’s Market is considered one of the best markets in the UK and Ireland, and is also one of Belfast oldest attractions. It is open from Friday to Sunday, and the Victorian building houses a variety of local arts and crafts and food produce.
There are dining areas available, so it might be an idea to pop in for brunch, and catch some live music at the same time. We picked up some souvenirs here and the kids enjoyed browsing the market stalls.
5. Hop on Hop off bus tour
I love to take a hop on hop off bus tour when I am on a city break, it is a great way to get your bearings, and you see things you would never have seen if you ventured alone. I recommend taking a bus tour on your first day, so you can decide which attractions you want to go back to.
If you decide to stay on the bus for the full duration, the tour lasts 1 hour and 10 minutes, but there are 19 stops, so I’m sure you will find plenty of places to visit.
This tour will bring you to the Belfast Peace Wall and the Falls Road Murals, Queens University, St. Georges Market, and of course the Titanic Quarter. The Belfast City Sightseeing tour is the only open top tour in Belfast which is 4-star rated by the Tourism Northern Ireland.
6. The Lost City Adventure Golf
A game of golf my not be one of the first things you think of to do in Belfast with kids, but on a rainy day it can be a great choice. There are two indoor 18-hole jungle themed adventure golf courses at the Lost City Adventure Golf, complete with incredible special effects and interactive obstacles.
7. Black Cab Tour
The Black Cab tour is one of the best things to do in Belfast, hands down. It is something I think everyone should experience, and although many might feel it is not suitable for children of all ages, I couldn’t leave it off this list.
You will be brought to Belfast’s Peace Wall, and to see most recognisable murals in both the loyalist and nationalist communities. Alex ( age 10), wrote our names on the Peace Wall, which I thought was a great introduction for her into our history.
I believe experiences like this epitomise the importance of travelling with children. With the greatest respect to our teachers and historians, the best teacher in the world, or the best written history book, could not give your child the same experience or understanding of what happened in Northern Ireland.
It is also important to point out that the overall message here is positive – the Peace Wall is a symbol of hope. Despite what you may think, tourists are encouraged to visit the Peace Walls in Belfast, to read the messages of hope and to see the areas that were at the heart of The Troubles.
Bill Clinton and the Dalai Lama signed their names here, and many people visit every day. The best way to see these walls and to get invaluable insights and understanding about Belfast’s history, is to book a Black Cab Tour. Our guide Billy Scott shared some of his personal experiences living through this difficult time, and I would highly recommend taking his tour.
We also visited Crumlin Road Gaol, and while I thought it is definitely one of the best things to do in Belfast, it is a sobering experience. The tour is interactive and you are able to get into some of the cells, but some children might find the hanging cell at the end a bit disturbing.
It was fascinating to see how prisoners were brought underground to the Gaol once convicted, without ever stepping outside the courthouse. There is also an outdoor area with military vehicles which children will find interesting, but overall I would recommend it for adults and teenagers, rather than younger children.
8. We Are Vertigo
We Are Vertigo is located in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter and is home to Ireland’s only indoor Skydiving centre, as well as an Inflatable Park and a Ninja Master Course! We tried the skydiving and loved it. It is not the cheapest thing to do in Belfast with kids, but if you are looking for a unique experience that will probably be the kids highlight of the trip, then look no further!
The instructors are in the tunnel with you the whole time (it only lasts 2-3 minutes), and made us feel completely at ease. It is even suitable for younger children ( age 4+), although I think it is one of the top things to do in Belfast with teenagers. Allow plenty of time here as waiting times can be long to get into the tunnel.
The Ninja Course is suitable from children 6 and above, and also looks like great fun. Children can challenge their agility with adrenaline fuelled activities including ziplines, jungle bars, rolling logs and lots more.
9. Aunt Sandra’s Candy Factory
Aunt Sandra’s is so much more than a sweet shop. As well as having an abundance of traditional sweets, handmade chocolates and honeycomb, children can see how they are made in the factory, and take part in workshops and shows. Candy Shows run on Saturday and Sunday at midday and last 1 hour 20 mins.
10. Dine in Villa Italia
Belfast has so many great restaurants, and while Tedfords Kitchen was one of my personal favourites, Villa Italia is considered one of the best restaurants in Belfast for families. Located close to Queens University, this family run Pizzeria has was established in 1988, and is housed inside a Georgian listed building.
As well as delicious food, the interiors and Italian waiters may make you feel like you have been transported to Italy! Check out the reviews on TripAdvisor if you still need convincing.
Things to do near Belfast with kids and teenagers.
11. Colin Glen Forest Park
Colin Glen Forest Park has to be one of the best family attractions in Northern Ireland. Not only is there a delightful Gruffalo Trail, with sculptures from the famous books scattered through the forest, but it is also home to Ireland’s only alpine coaster – the Black Bull Run, as well as a thrilling zip line.
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We loved riding the zip line and alpine coaster this summer, and would highly recommend families to take the 20 minute drive from Belfast city to experience them. Colin Glen is also home to a SKYTrek high-ropes course, archery, laser tag, golf course and indoor sports dome.
12. The Gobbins Cliff Path Walk
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The Gobbins Cliff Path Walk is without a doubt one of the best things to do in Northern Ireland. We walked it this summer and it is stunning! Carved from rock, this unique cliff walk is only accessible by guided tour. You will cross bridges and climb steps, but probably spend most of your time captivated by the scenery.
Although only 3.2 km it takes approximately two hours, as you need to walk in single file. You also stop many times as the guide explains its history, and allows plenty of opportunities for photos.
Contrary to what you might think, it is suitable for most fitness levels, and my children loved it. There is a small tunnel at one point, but speaking from someone who doesn’t cope well in small spaces, I didn’t find it scary at all. There is a steep hill walk back up to the collection point, but a buggy is provided if you are unable to walk it.
I highly recommend a visit to the Gobbins Cliff Path, it is a unique attraction that I’m sure all the family will love. It is located just 30 minutes drive from Belfast along the Causeway Coast.
There is no age limit for children, but children must be over 4ft. Walking boots are required but can be supplied free of charge if you don’t have the correct footwear with you.
13. Prison Island Belfast
Prison Island Belfast is a unique attraction with 25 different prison-themed challenge cells. It is ideal for families with children aged 9+ as you you need to use physical, tactical and skill to beat the other teams. Children aged 6-9 years can also play with an adult.
The cells are not escape rooms – you can leave at any time, and each challenge lasts about five minutes. The objective is to score as many points as possible over two hours and try to beat the other teams.
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14. Andersonstown Waterpark
Andersonstown Indoor Aqua Park is a children’s paradise, with three high speed water slides, a surf simulator and children’s adventure aqua play area. Ireland’s first vertical drop slide, where the floor disappears below your feet, is located here too.
Don’t worry, if you are not fond of adrenaline rides, there is also a 25 metre swimming pool that boasts an average water temperature of 29.5C. This is one of best things to do in Belfast with kids, especially if you happen to be there on a rainy day.
15. Visit the Causeway Coast
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Did you know that the Causeway Coastal Route stretches all the way from Belfast, along the Antrim coast into Derry? Children will love exploring Dunluce Castle, which was the inspiration for CS Lewis tale of Narnia, as well the myths and mystery surrounding the Giants Causeway.
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The Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge is thrilling and something that most children (age 5+), will enjoy. We crossed the bridge when Alex and Luke were 6 and 9 years old, and I think we were more nervous than they were. This is currently closed, but will hopefully be opening again soon.
While the Giants Causeway, Dunluce Castle and the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge get most of the headlines, the scenic drive from Larne, through Cushenden to Torr Head, should not be missed. If you have time, a few nights along the coast as well as a few nights in Belfast is the prefect combination. Check out my blog post on our trip to the Causeway Coast here:
16. Lets go Hydro
Lets go Hydro is a thrilling resort that combines land and water-based activities over 55 acres. Its inflatable waterpark is a big hit with children, and thrill seekers can try their hand at wakeboarding too.
You can also stay at Lets go Hydro. There is a host of accommodation options including tents, glamping pods, viking huts and even house boats. Located just 15 minutes drive from Belfast city, this is one of the most popular places to stay in Belfast with kids during the summer months.
17. Belfast Zoo
Belfast Zoo is home to more than 120 species, and is one of the oldest visitor attractions in Northern Ireland. As well as elephants, lions, giraffes and sea lions, children will love the Malayan tapirs and sun bears, Visayan warty pigs and giant anteater.
18. Ulster Museum
If you happen to be in Belfast on a cold or rainy day, a trip to the Ulster Museum will not disappoint. Children will love the dinosaurs and Egyptian mummy, and the Museum is also home to a huge collection of art and science. Something else worth noting is that the museum is Free to enter.
19. Streamvale Open Farm
Streamvale Open Farm is located about 20 minutes drive from Belfast, and is a wonderful choice if you have young children who fancy a break from the city.
It is home to traditional farm animals, but also offers ‘Cuddle Time’, where your children can pet rabbits, chicks and puppies. There are demonstrations including bottle-feeding lambs and there is also a play area and Café.
20. Cave Hill Park
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Belfast’s Cave Hill Park offers something for all the family. Belfast Castle is located here, as well as a visitor centre, adventure playground and archaeological sites.
Depending on the age of your children, the walk from Belfast Castle to the summit (approximately two hours) offers one of the best views of Belfast City and the Mourne Mountains – on a clear day you may also see Scotland.
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I hope that this post on things to do in Belfast with kids and teenagers will help you plan a family trip to Belfast soon. I visited as part of a press trip with Discover Northern Ireland, but all views as always, are my own.