Dear Mummy it’s a beautiful sunny day in Belfast and we’ve headed up Cavehill to Belfast Castle.
You can see the castle from the M2 as you whizz through Belfast and it was the first thing I noticed as we headed to Grandmas house on the outskirts of the city.
My princess radar must have been on overdrive as I scanned the hill looking for this grand castle which my mummy had spoken so highly about.
Belfast Castle is set on the slopes of Cavehill Country Park, Belfast, Northern Ireland in a prominent position 400 feet (120 m) above sea level. Its location provides unobstructed views of the city of Belfast and Belfast Lough. On a clear day, like today it’s stunning!
Belfast Castle was built in 1862 to replace an earlier castle in the city centre which was destroyed by fire. All that remains of that 12th Century Norman castle is a few street names like Castle Place and a shopping centre name.
It’s now owned by Belfast City Council and from 1978 to 1988 the council refurbished the castle and opened it up to the public. It’s free to walk around and the car park has ample of space and is free too! However, dogs aren’t allowed in the gardens.
It has a lovely gift shop and quaint little restaurant and cafe downstairs in the old servants quarters. It’s full of period charm. A lot of joggers and dog walkers roam the grounds and there are plenty of trails up the steep hill for walkers.
The views are breathtaking over Belfast and the harbour. You can even see the famous Harland and Wolff yellow cranes in the dockyard!
The gardens are immaculate and the previous owner had a love of cats. The castle sits in its own formally landscaped gardens, including the Cat Garden. Tradition has it that good fortune will come to those who visit the castle, as long as the castle has a resident white cat. The Cat Garden celebrates that will no fewer than nine depictions of the cat in paving, sculpture and garden furniture. We had fun spotting all the hidden cats with the shrubs, sculptures and even on the tilled floors! However, we didn’t see the White Cat!!
Belfast Castle is renowned for its lavish weddings in Northern Ireland and we can see why – the views and the location is stunning. Inside it is full of winding spiral staircases and hidden cellar doors.
There is ornate wooden carvings on the staircases and fireplaces. The hanging pictures are fascinating and show a mixture of Irish landscapes and old wedding photographs from people that have been married there.
We’d definitely recommend a trip to Belfast Castle! It only took us 45 minutes to walk round and is just around the corner from Belfast Zoo, so we managed to do both attractions in one day!
I had fun pretending I was a princess and waltzing around in the ballroom, the sunlight glinting through the large windows casting a spectrum of light on the floors.