Please note, with a lockdown in place until 5 March 2021, all of the non-essential retailers, accommodation providers and attractions mentioned in this article will be closed. Restaurants, pubs and cafés will be open for takeaway only. Visit our Ideas page for ways to enjoy Belfast from home!

Listen to an orchestra in your armchair, or lose yourself in an historic art collection from your kitchen table. Belfast’s museums, galleries and events venues have moved much of their content online, so you can explore a huge range of local art and culture from the comfort of your own home. We’ve rounded up some of the top online cultural experiences to bring Belfast’s vibrant arts scene to you.

out for lunch festival

Out to Lunch Festival

Online Festival, until 30 January
Out to Lunch Arts Festival is proud to kick off a more hopeful 2021 with a month-long programme of live streamed events. The amazing line-up includes Kevin McAleer, Joshua Burnside, Dea Matrona, Jordan Adetunji, Duke Special Gramophone Club and many more.

David Olusoga Clifton House Launches Mary Ann McCracken Event 2

David Olusoga: Mary Ann McCracken Foundation Launch

Online Event, 20 January
Join the Belfast Charitable Society on Wednesday 20 January as it launches a new foundation to raise awareness of the life and legacy of one of Belfast’s most important, yet least recognised, abolitionists, philanthropists and social reformers – Mary Ann McCracken. This unmissable event will feature BAFTA award-winning broadcaster and historian Professor David Olusoga as the key note speaker. Professor Olusoga will speak on the ‘Legacies of Slavery’- a subject he has extensively researched, written and broadcasted on for many years.

Castle Ward

National Trust Collections & Podcasts

Did you know the National Trust looks after one of the world’s largest art and heritage collections, and you can view lots of it on their website? Discover unique artefacts from their properties across Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, and read about the fascinating history behind each. Or listen to the National Trust podcasts for stories, discussions and interviews with experts.

NMNI's Online Exhibitions

National Musuems Northern Ireland have a full suite of digitised collections on their website! Browse museum collections online, read curators’ blogs and collections stories  and visit NMNI’s YouTube channel for fascinating interviews and videos about their artefacts.

Imagine Festival 2020

Imagine Festival 2021

Online Festival, 22 to 28 March
Join Imagine Festival in imagining a better future as part of a unique festival devoted to politics, culture and ideas. The festival offers up an eclectic week of talks, workshops, theatre, comedy, music, exhibitions, film and tours on themes such as climate change, the impact of the pandemic, partition and legacy issues, democratic innovation, and the anniversary of the foundation of Northern Ireland.

Ulster Orchestra

Ulster Orchestra: Let’s Play at Home

Enjoy the sounds of the Ulster Orchestra in your living room with a huge collection of #UOLetsPlayatHome videos on their YouTube channel. Watch the orchestra members perform live-streamed recitals, solo pieces and split-screen chamber ensembles from their home to yours.

linen hall front door

Linen Hall Library Online Archive and Events

As Belfast’s oldest library, the Linen Hall Library offers a place to delve into famous Irish and genealogy collections. Go to the Linen Hall Library website for access to digital collections, including Northern Ireland politics collections and a theatre and literary archive. Or join in on their fascinating online events, which include talks and discussions hosted on Zoom. Browse the full line-up on their website.

Belfast Exposed Digital Resources

Belfast Exposed Photography Gallery has launched a must-see range of digital materials. Content includes writings, portfolios and videos to encourage creativity showcase artists’ work. Got kids at home? Their website also has free activities for children and young people.

Seamus Heaney Homeplace

Seamus Heaney Homeplace

The doors at Seamus Heaney Homeplace might be closed but that won’t stop them their ‘homeplace to yours’! A line-up of acclaimed writers and musicians has been announced as part of their virtual programme of performances. Go to their YouTube channel for special guest performances from local talent including renowned author, Glenn Patterson, singer-songwriter Anthony Toner, award-winning poets Maureen Boyle and Stephen Sexton and the short story writer and playwright, Rosemary Jenkinson.

Discover Ulster Scots Centre

Discover Ulster Scots Online

Delve into Ulster Scots heritage on Discover Ulster Scots’ YouTube channel, where you’ll find lots of fascinating content on everything from emigration to traditional Ulster Scots dishes. Learn about the connection between our city and Belfast in Maine, and Londonderry in Ulster and New Hampshire; or discover the 1718 Ulster-Scot migration to America.

Rosalind Lowry ‘Ark’ Installation Belfast Cathedral

Belfast Cathedral Online

You can watch Belfast Cathedral’s services streamed live on their Facebook page. Visit the news section of their website for the latest details about services and downloadable service sheets.

Museum of Orange Heritage

Museum of Orange Heritage

The Orange Heritage Museum’s ‘Heritage at Home’ showcases Orange stories from the museum’s archive. Browse the selection of stories and exhibits on their website.

Maritime Belfast Trust Maritime Mile

Stories from the Maritime Mile

Discover the stories of Belfast’s waterfront from former employees who worked in the area, Q&As with workers and residents and memories from people who visit. Read the fascinating stories on the Maritime Mile website and let them bring the Mile to life, from Sailortown to Titanic Quarter.

North Down Museum

North Down Museum

North Down Museum has fascinating collection of clothing acquired over the years, from civic ceremonial robes to military uniforms and wedding dresses. View the exhibition on the Ards and North Down Culture website.

Irish Linen Centre 5

Irish Linen Centre and Lisburn Museum Online

Discover the fascinating history of Lisburn and the surrounding area with the Irish Linen Centre and Lisburn Museum’s virtual museum. Their online exhibits include old photographs and video interviews with local experts.

Ards Arts Centre

Ards Arts Centre Online Exhibition

Visit the Ards and North Down Culture website to see Fragments of a Memory, an exhibition by Millie Moore. Watch the video to take a virtual tour of the exhibition and hear a short talk from artist about the inspiration behind her work.

Island Arts Centre

Island Arts Centre Online Exhibitions

Lose yourself in a virtual art exhibition on Island Arts Centre’s website. Their online exhibitions include a huge selection art, film and music from artists across Northern Ireland.

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