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Things to do in Belfast – On a Budget

You don't need to break the bank to have a good day out in Belfast! In fact, the city is packed with great places to visit and enjoy when you're on a budget.

As students at QUB, we have the amazing opportunity to be in a capital city that has so much to offer. As a fellow student, I understand that money can be a bit tight, and so I’ve come up with a list of exciting things you can do in Belfast – ON A BUDGET. From food to activities, you don’t need to break the bank in order to properly experience the City of Belfast.

Food + Drink:

If you’re a foodie like me, finding a good quality café/restaurant for a reasonably cheap price is always great. One thing that I love about Belfast is the large number of small cafés/bistros/restaurants that you find not too far from campus. Here are just a few of my favourites:


Although not new to Northern Ireland, the dessert restaurant has only just recently opened a store in Belfast – right by Queen’s on Stranmillis Road. I’m all for sweet treats, and if you are too this is definitely a place to check out! Famous for their ‘nuggy pot’, Nugelato also sells cookie ice cream sandwiches, crepes and waffles. Starting from around £3, you can easily indulge your sweet tooth without ‘over-spending’.


So you’ve most likely passed HappyDOG already, seeing as it is right next to the university campus at the bottom of Stranmillis road (near Maggie Mays). You get the chance to customise your own hotdog from the ‘base’ i.e. what type of meat/veggie, to the different toppings, to the sides. They have recently won some awards, which is not surprising as I can personally testify to their excellent customer service and delicious food. With their £4.95 meal deal, eating out at HappyDOG wont dent your budget too much. 

House Belfast

I’m sure that you’ve already seen the restaurant’s famous ‘blossom tree’ wall on Instagram, and I have to say it does look as good in-person as it does online. With its luxurious décor and talented bar staff, House is an ideal location for drinks – don’t hesitate to ask the guys behind the bar to make you your own drink



With the summer holidays finally here, you now have loads of time in your daily schedule to do something other than going in the library and revising. There is no harm in simply chilling in your room, however, it’s nice to go out, get some fresh air and explore – whether by yourself or with friends. Here are a few of my top favourite attractions/activities:

(just to point out that all these recommendations are available all year round, not just in the summertime)

Botanic Gardens

I know that you’ve probably passed Botanic gardens several times on your way to and from the main campus, the library or on your way into town. However, with the summer weather, Botanic Gardens offers the chance for you to have a picnic with friends, play a game of football with a group of friends, buy some ice cream and have the chance to visit the tropical Palm House. 

Free Events in Belfast

On a student budget, free activities are always a shout. Visit Belfast is a great way to check out if any events are going on for free in Belfast, this could be anything from a city tour to an exhibition to a karaoke night. I’m a big lover of exhibitions and ‘industry talks’ and have been able to visit a few across the city including at the Ulster Museum. Don’t forget to check if the event requires booking, because although free, some events may have limited space.

Movie/Cinema trip

Going to the cinema might seem like an expensive treat, but savvy students know where to get the deals. Queen’s Film Theatre has some excellent student prices, and anyone who gets the GB scholarship can benefit from free tickets too! Movie House on Dublin road gives an excellent deal to students on Tuesdays allowing you to see any movie for £5 – definitely a bargain!

So that’s my list done! I can say that all of my recommendations on food, drink and activities/attractions are ones that I have personally tried out for myself. I’m sure that with a quick search into Google Maps, you can probably tell that most of the things on my list are near the vicinity of the QUB campus (i.e. the Lanyon Building) – rather than around City Centre.

Olaoluwayode Bilewu

Business Economics | 3rd year | GB

Hey, my name is Olaoluwayode Bilewu and I’m a 20-year-old student here at Queen’s University Belfast. I am in my third year of study, and can truly say that Northern Ireland has started to grow on me. I have had the amazing opportunity to get involved in so many things at Queen’s, this year I am the Vice President of the QUB African and Caribbean Society as well as a dedicated member of the Enactus Society. My interests include photography, find new (and cheap) restaurants/cafés and of course Instagram. I look forward to pursuing a career in digital marketing and PR. 

Photo: Olaoluwayode Bilewu
Olaoluwayode Bilewu
Student Blogger, Business Economics