The historic Linen Quarter is rapidly becoming one of the most vibrant, must visit areas of the city, with 40 cafés, bars and restaurants, a dozen hotels, and three major music venues.
Key attractions include the Crown Bar, Grand Opera House, Ulster Hall, and St Malachy’s Church. Take a walk to enjoy the ambience and stop for some top-quality coffee and cuisine.
- Grand Opera House, Great Victoria Street
- Crown Bar, Great Victoria Street
- Grand Central Observatory (highest bar in Ireland). Bedford Street
- Flax Field, Bedford Street
- Ulster Hall, Bedford Street
- Thomas Thompson Fountain, Bedford Street
- Ormeau Baths, Ormeau Avenue
- Limelight, Ormeau Avenue
- St Malachy’s Church, Alfred Street
Home of Hospitality
With over 40 cafes, bars and restaurants in the district you will not be stuck for choice. The 12 local hotels are also open for coffee, drinks, and food. For detailed listings go to the Linen Quarter website at www.linenquarter.org or pick up a copy of Linen Live at the Visit Belfast Welcome Centre.
Walk the Golden Mile
The relaxing walk between City Hall Gardens and Botanic Park encompasses two historic districts, both of which combine stunning Victorian architecture with contemporary culture. The Linen Quarter is characterised by beautiful red brick buildings, once used as Linen Warehouses, but now converted into high end offices, bars and restaurants. Queen’s Quarter, based around the University, is noted for its arts venues, hospitality and attractive park. These distinctive districts have a fascinating story and there are many voices in which to tell it: from Opera House to Accidental Theatre; Empire Music to Crescent Arts; or simply a cosy drink with friends in the Crown Liquor Saloon.
Why not walk the Golden Mile and create your own experience? Download the map >>
City of Music
The Linen Quarter has a deep-rooted musical heritage. Catch a show at the Grand Opera House or Ulster Hall, or a live band at the Limelight and many bars across the district. Special mention to Fibber McGee’s, who host Irish music seven days a week.
Most of the hotels also have vibrant entertainment programmes that are open to guests and non-residents alike.
Linen Quarter Walking Tour – 1 hour
Start at St Malachy’s Church on Alfred Street. This Tudor revival building has a beautiful fan vaulted ceiling, modelled on Henry VII’s chapel in Westminster Abbey.
Walk down to Ormeau Avenue and stroll past the Ormeau Baths, now one of Belfast’s most successful tech hubs. You can still look in to admire the Victorian tiling and original baths in the foyer. Opposite the Baths is another linen warehouse which now hosts the Limelight, a vibrant live music venue and nightclub which showcases an eclectic mix of national and homegrown talent. Then admire the iconic view down Linenhall Street towards City Hall.
At the end of Ormeau Avenue, opposite the Grade 2 listed BBC building, you will find the Thomas Thompson memorial fountain, a striking example of high Victorian gothic architecture that commemorates one of Belfast’s most famous doctors and founder of the 19th century Belfast Hospital.
Walk down Bedford Street to the Ulster Hall, home to many famous events including political debates and musical history. A story board in the foyer tells you more. Inside the hall you will find the Carey Gallery, a free art gallery highlighting the early history of Belfast. The famous Mulholland organ is also worth a look (if the hall is not in use).
Take a stroll across the road to Bedford Square to admire the colourful Flax Field, a micro site for urban linen production. The adjacent building (Invest NI) is also a key film location for Line of Duty, while the Ewart’s building (under renovation until 2021) was the headquarters of the largest linen company in Ireland.