Five Stunning Green Spaces in Belfast
Need some headspace when the assignments are piling up? Grab some fresh air in one of these incredible outdoor places – most within walking distance of campus, says Environmental Management undergraduate, Farah Hamdan
1. Botanic Gardens
This space is quite popular with students, as it is only a 3-minute walk from the main campus. Paths wind their way around the gardens and make for a nice, easy walk between trees and flowerbeds. The Botanic Gardens are also home to a Palm House and Tropical Ravine, where you can easily spend an afternoon flitting between exotic plants.
Fun Fact: For tree fanatics, the Friends of Belfast Botanic Gardens charity group have published a Tree Trail that goes past some of the more noteworthy tree species found in the gardens. (A map of the trail can be found here).
2. Clement Wilson Park
A serene parkland further along the River Lagan, Clement Wilson Park is ideal for cyclists, as it is part of the National Cycle Network, but it’s also great for anyone who’s looking for some time away from the city. Early in the 1900s, this land was taken up by a canned fruit factory, some of which was grown in fields on the estate. After seeing how much the factory workers enjoyed the fields, the estate owner, Mr. R Clement Wilson, decided to turn it into a garden.
Today, that garden is open to the public and is taken care of by Belfast City Council.
How to get there: The park is only 10 minutes by bus from Queen’s main campus, via any of the Metro Service 8 buses.
3. Lagan Towpath
The path follows the River Lagan from Lisburn all the way to Belfast. The nearest spot to get onto the towpath from Queen’s is about 10 minutes away, at the Stranmillis Embankment. As you go further down the path, you’ll find yourself walking along meadows and small forests.
This riverside walk is a great way to spend a quiet day, and it offers a wonderful change of scenery from the busy city.
Fun Fact: the River Lagan and the surrounding valley are very biodiverse areas, and are home to mammals, such as otters and foxes, as well as many species of birds, fish, and amphibians. If you’re there at the right time, you might just be able to spot some of them!
4. Belvoir Forest Park
Across the river from the Lagan Towpath, on the southern bank, is Belvoir Forest Park. This forest is connected to the Towpath by a pedestrian bridge, but the contrast between the two is astounding! This is a great place if you’re keen on seeing some wildlife, as red squirrels, kingfishers, and even long-eared owls have been frequently spotted here.
5. Ormeau Park
Another historic site, Ormeau is the oldest park in Northern Ireland, and it’s probably one of the busiest. The park is very popular with walkers and joggers, but it is also home to a wide range of sports facilities, like soccer pitches, basketball, tennis, and netball courts. The park has been recognized as one of the best open spaces in the UK for six years now.
How to get there: The park is about 5 minutes by bus from Botanic Avenue, via Metro Service 7 buses. You can get off at the main entrance to the park.
BSc Honours Environmental Management | 2nd Year | Lebanon
“As an Environmental Management student, I am passionate about nature, green spaces and all things eco-friendly. As I drove into Belfast on my very first day in the city, I looked out the cab window and the first thing I saw was mountains. Since then, it’s been breath-taking natural beauty at every turn. In my blog, you can read all about the hidden spaces and perfect spaces I’ve found on my outdoor adventures.”