Wrap up and head out for a walk in the stunning parklands, hills and estates in Belfast and across Northern Ireland. From forest parks full of wildlife to seaside strolls and stately homes’ gardens, discover the beauty of our landscapes in the winter while burning off some festive calories!

Botanic Gardens in the Snow

Botanic Gardens

Botanic Gardens was established in 1828 by the Belfast Botanic and Horticultural Society, in response to public interest in horticulture and botany. The site contained exotic tree species and impressive plant collections from the southern hemisphere, many of which can still be seen in the park today. It’s home to the Palm House, the Ulster Museum and The Tropical Ravine which is receiving a 3.8 million restoration, expected to be completed by early 2017, which will house many tropical and native plants in the unique, listed building nestled in the heart of Botanic Gardens.

Cave Hill

Cave Hill Country Park

Visitors to Cave Hill Country Park can enjoy panoramic views across Belfast from vantage points on the hillside. Park features include Cave Hill Adventurous Playground, archaeological sites, Cave Hill Visitor Centre, an ecotrail, gardens, orienteering routes, refreshments in Belfast Castle, scenic views and waymarked walking trails suitable for casual walkers or serious ramblers.

Stormont Estate

Stormont Estate

Stormont Estate is a woodland park open to the public and has beautiful gardens, walking and fitness trails and a children’s play park. There are three woodland interactive trails within the public area that seek to connect visitors, including families and young people, with the rich biodiversity of the Stormont woodlands, highlighting what the Estate has to offer and to give a brief insight into the history of the Estate.

Malone House

Malone House and Barnett Demesne

Malone House and the surrounding Barnett Demesne offers walking, jogging or picnics, free exhibition in the Higgin Gallery and several pieces of public art in the manicured gardens. Surrounded by acres of majestic parkland, and within easy reach of nearby Shaw’s Bridge and the Lagan towpath, you can enjoy a wide range of activities, including canoeing and kayaking. Park features include an arboretum, ecotrail, orienteering routes and children’s playground (near Shaw’s Bridge). Refreshments are available in the Barnett Restaurant in nearby Malone House.

Colin Glen Halloween Gruffalo

Gruffalo Trail at Colin Glen Forest Park

Wrap up warm and explore Colin Glen Forest Park with the littles ones this winter. This park is home to the amazing eight foot tall Gruffalo, complete with knobbly knees, turned out toes and a poisonous wart on the end of his nose and his very famous friends. From entering through the Gruffalo Archway, through the forest park to a beautiful Gruffalo themed seating area next to the cascading Colin river, your children will be completely amazed at meeting their favourite Gruffalo characters, whilst getting out in the fresh winter air.

Hillsborough Castle in Winter

Hillsborough Castle and Gardens

Hillsborough Castle and Gardens is the perfect place to enjoy a crisp winters walk. The castle is the official residence of HM The King and the Royal Family an association which began in the 1920’s. Her late Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II as a princess in the 1940s developed a strong affection for the Castle, a sentiment which continues with King Charles III. Hillsborough Castle and Gardens continues to be a focal point for Royal events in Northern Ireland. The Castle is set in 100 acres of breath-taking gardens and offers significant contrasts of woodland, waterways, gardens with trimmed lawns and meadows as well as specimen trees and rare plants.

Family Walking at Lagan Valley Regional Park

Lagan Valley Regional Park

Lagan Valley Regional Park is a mosaic of countryside, urban parks, heritage sites, nature reserves and riverside trails. The Lagan Towpath offers miles of walking, be prepared to be taken away by the beautiful scenery this winter. A great place to get out and stretch your legs and enjoy the tranquil surroundings. Begin your journey from the many access points to the River Lagan and the towpath at Stranmillis, Loughview Road, Shaws Bridge and many more.

Ormeau Park

Ormeau Park

Ormeau Park is the oldest municipal park in Belfast, Northern Ireland, having been officially opened to the public in 1871. It is owned and run by Belfast City Council and is one of the largest and busiest parks in the city and contains a variety of horticulture, woodland, wildlife and sporting facilities.

Jordanstown Lough Shore Park Family Walking

Jordanstown Loughshore Park

On the edge of Belfast Lough, Jordanstown Loughshore Park is the first stop along the stunning Causeway Coastal Route. There is nothing better than going for a walk coast on a crisp winter’s morning. Enjoy the wildlife and scenery around Belfast Lough as you take a luxury stroll before kicking back and recharging in the onsite café.

Montalto Estate 2

Montalto Estate

Montalto Estate aims to reconnect visitors with nature through access to a range of captivating gardens and beautiful walks and trails. The visitor experience includes: public access to the estate’s beautiful gardens along with unique and surprising garden features; historic walks and trails; and an exciting play area where children can explore, learn and wonder at their natural surroundings.

Lady Dixon

Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park

Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park in south Belfast is one of the city’s most popular parks. 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, children’s playground and orienteering and eco trails.

Rowallane Dec 2017 1

Rowallane Garden

Enjoy beautiful gardens filled with unique plants from around the world. Take a stroll through the Rock Garden Wood and admire a variety of trees and shrubs, and visit the Walled Garden where you’ll find spectacular displays of herbaceous plants. Rowallane Garden is ideal for leisurely walks, afternoon tea in the cafe or just simply relaxing on a seat in the walled garden.

Redburn Country Park

Redburn Country Park

Redburn Country Park is set on an escarpment above Belfast Lough, featuring 7km of pathways and running trails. The woods are home to birds such as tits and finches. In the open glades, rabbits are plentiful and, if lucky, you may catch a glimpse of the park’s shyest resident, the red squirrel.

Bangor Castle

Bangor Castle

This impressive building was built for the Hon Robert Edward Ward and his family in 1852. The building is situated in the grounds of Castle Park alongside the North Down Museum and is just a short walk from Bangor Castle Walled Garden. Tours of the building are available by appointment only. The grounds are always accessible to visitors.

Victoria Park

Victoria Park

Victoria Park is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. One of the park’s biggest attractions is its lake, which was originally used for boating. Today, it is home to a range of water birds such as swans, geese, ducks, herons and migrant waders.


The Argory

The Argory’s garden, woodland and riverside walks boast wonderful sweeping views making a stunning winter walk. Don’t miss the scenic walks and fascinating courtyard displays. Pack your binoculars and take a stroll down to the River Blackwater and you might be rewarded with the sight of a kingfisher. You can also visit the second-hand bookshop, adventure playground and Lady Ada’s award-winning tea-room which provide retreats for children and adults alike.

Castle Ward Winterfell Game of Thrones Filming Location

Castle Ward

Inside the beautiful 820 acre walled demesne you will find an exotic sunken garden and paths that wind their way through woodland and suddenly open onto the quiet shores of the Lough. Walk or cycle along the Lough Side Walk through sheltered woodlands and spot rabbits, ducks and swans. Take the Shore Trail and you may even see some seals. There are six trails to choose from for walkers, cyclists and riders.

maritime tour

Maritime Mile

Fancy a change of scenery from parks and gardens? Walk, run or cycle the Maritime Mile – a route steeped in history with fresh sea air, flexible distances, loads of space and amazing views. Stretching from Sailortown to the Titanic Pump House, the waterfront pathway encompasses the City Quays area and Titanic Quarter, with focal points such as the Big Fish, SS Nomadic and Titanic Belfast along the way. Visit maritime-mile.com for ideas on how to extend your walk or cycle to popular nearby routes.

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