Best Free Things to do in Northern Ireland

Updated On: September 19, 2023

Free Things to do in Northern Ireland (Belfast Castle and Grounds Attraction)

Northern Ireland has quickly become one of the top tourist destinations, shows like Game of Thrones being filmed around locations in Northern Ireland has helped to bring more visitors to the country than ever before. There is a wealth of history and great attractions like the award-winning Titanic Museum and the marvellous Giants Causeway located in this growing tourist hotspot.

But there are also many amazing free things to do in Northern Ireland that not everyone may know about. These free Northern Irish attractions are well worth checking out when you are visiting the country. From museums, coastal routes, historical building and more, you’ll find lots of great free things to do here.

Keep reading to find out what free attractions you need to visit.

Ulster Museum

This is one of the best museums in Northern Ireland and the fact that it’s free makes it an unmissable attraction to visit. The Ulster Museum is part of the ‘National Museums Northern Ireland’ collection. This also includes the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum, Ulster American Folk Park, the W5 Science Centre and Armagh County Museum.

But the Ulster Museum located in Botanic Gardens, Belfast, is one of our favourite attractions in the city. Whether you are five or fifty-five, the museum will have something to interest you. A place to engage, explore and have fun as you learn about Northern Ireland, through its incredible past and present. With a variety of galleries, exhibitions and interactive elements.

The Ulster Museum brings to life history, art and science in Northern Ireland.

Opening Times:

  • Tuesday: 10:00am – 17:00pm
  • Wednesday:10:00am – 17:00pm
  • Thursday: 10:00am – 17:00pm
  • Friday: 10:00am – 17:00pm
  • Saturday: 10:00am – 17:00pm
  • Sunday: 10:00am – 17:00pm

CS Lewis Square

One of the best free things to do in Northern Ireland is to visit the amazing C.S Lewis Square also located in Belfast. If you’re a fan of the famous Irish writer then you’ll want to wander around the square and see some of the characters he created in our favourite books come to life, in this lovely dedication to the world-renown writer C.S Lewis.

You’ll feel like you are stepping into the world of Narnia, one of Lewis’ most adored books by children and adults alike. At the square, there are seven amazing sculptures created by the Irish Artist Maurice Harron. The sculptures include The Lion, The White White, Maugrim and more popular characters from ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’.

It’s definitely a great free attraction, that children will love the most, and maybe even inspire them to write.

Cave Hill and Belfast Castle

If you want to explore some incredible views across the city of Belfast and further afield then we recommend a visit to Cave Hill and the beautiful Belfast Castle surroundings. Again this is a totally free thing to do in Northern Ireland.

Belfast Castle But there are also many amazing free things to do in Northern Ireland that not everyone may know about. These free Northern Irish attractions are well worth checking out when you are visiting the country. From museums, coastal routes, historical building and more, you'll find lots of great free things to do here.
Belfast Castle

Although you might not feel like going on a hike when visiting Northern Ireland, the spectacular scenery you’ll get to see as you reach the top of Cave Hill makes it all worth it. Perfect for those who have a love for photography, as you are sure to capture some amazing shots here. Also, the estate at Belfast castle is very beautiful and you can even take a look inside the castle for free.

Cave Hill’s unique and distinctive Napoleon’s Nose, is said to have influenced Jonathan Swift on his popular book ‘Gulliver’s Travels’. So if you’re looking for a place to inspire you in Northern Ireland, this might just be the place to visit.

Opening Times Cave Hill Visitor Centre:

  • Monday: 9:00am – 18:00pm
  • Tuesday: 9:00am – 22:00pm
  • Wednesday: 9:00am – 22:00pm
  • Thursday:9:00am – 22:00pm
  • Friday:9:00am – 22:00pm
  • Saturday: 9:00am – 22:00pm
  • Sunday:9:00am – 17:30pm

Causeway Coastal Route

Not so much a free attraction but an unforgettable Northern Ireland road trip you can’t miss out on. The Causeway Coastal route has even been claimed as one of the world’s most incredible driving experiences.

Along the Causeway coastal route, you’ll get to see some of the most amazing landscapes and scenery that Northern Ireland has to offer. Driving along the route, you’ll be mesmerised by the ever-changing scenery and beautiful colours of green fields and blue ocean views. The causeway coastal route begins in Belfast and takes you as far as Derry, the views cost nothing to take in and appreciate.

Portstewart Strand

Take a trip to the lovely seaside town of Portstewart and enjoy the free beach at your convenience with miles of golden sand backed by the stunning North Coast. This is one of the best free things to do in Northern Ireland when the sunshine appears, perfect to enjoy a picnic, try some surfing or simply just walk along the beach and take in the great views on offer.

Portstewart Strand is also recognised as an area of natural beauty and scientific research, where you could spot some amazing birds and wildlife.

McCafferty’s Art

For antique collectors, this will be an excellent chance to bring some fantastic treasures. Each and every nook of McCafferty’s Art will leave you in awe as you explore the store’s unique collection of artwork. Come here first thing in the morning to increase your chances of wandering about the town and purchasing anything you want or even taking photos of this fascinating spot.

If you’re looking to decorate your house with some creative painting, there’s no need to go any further. McCaffery’s Art features an incredible assortment of real artworks, unique and absolutely mind-blowing. In addition, there are several handmade objects as well as a number of ancient musician instruments on display. This place will never let you down.

Antrim Castle Gardens

Another one of the best free attractions in Northern Ireland is the beautiful Antrim Castle Gardens. There is so much on offer here from the unique and colourful gardens, as well the captivating scenery and the history of the castle.  At Antrim Castle Gardens, you can explore a fascinating history that dates back to over 400 years ago.

The amazing 17th-century gardens on display here are truly spectacular, filled with heritage and culture. It’s one of the best-known gems in Northern Ireland. You don’t want to pass by this attraction, especially when it’s free.

Opening Times:

  • Monday: 9:30am – 21:30pm
  • Tuesday: 9:30am – 21:30pm
  • Wednesday: 9:30am – 21:30pm
  • Thursday:9:30am – 21:30pm
  • Friday:9:30am – 21:30pm
  • Saturday: 10:00am – 17:00pm
  • Sunday: 14:00pm- 17:00pm

Belfast City Hall

Last but certainly not least on our list of the best free attractions in Northern Ireland, enjoy the free tour guides at Belfast City Hall. This is one of the most iconic and famous buildings in Northern Ireland, where visitors can uncover an important history of Belfast right here.

Not only does it have an incredible history for you to learn about but the architecture and design both outside and inside are remarkable. There are also many unique memorial and monuments around the City Hall for people to check out such as the Titanic Memorial Garden.

This attraction is very popular during the summer months, many of the locals and tourist enjoy chilling out on it greenery.

Opening Times:

  • Monday: 8:30am – 17:00pm
  • Tuesday: 8:30am – 17:00pm
  • Wednesday: 8:30am – 17:00pm
  • Thursday:8:30am – 17:00pm
  • Friday:8:30am – 17:00pm
  • Saturday: 10:00am – 17:00pm
  • Sunday: 10:00am- 17:00pm

Hope the guide to free attractions in Northern Ireland helps you to plan memorable moments on your next visit here. Have you visited any of the attractions we’ve mentioned? Or would you recommend any other free attractions in Northern Ireland? Please share with us in the comments below!

Don’t forget to check some other blogs you might enjoy:

The Best Tourist Attractions in Northern Ireland| Best Northern Ireland Tours| Amazing Parks in Ireland| Best Open Farms Northern Ireland|

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