Belfast Castle is set on the slopes of Cavehill Country Park, providing views over the city of Belfast and Belfast Lough. The original castle, built in the late 12th century by the Normans, was located in the town itself, flanked by the modern day High Street, Castle Place and Donegall Place in what is now Belfast city centre. This was the home of The 1st Baron Chichester (better known as Sir Arthur Chichester), but was burned down in 1708, leaving only street names to mark the site. Rather than rebuild on the original site, the Chichesters decided to build a new residence in the city's suburbs, today's Belfast Castle emerging as a result. The building that stands today was built between 1811 and 1870 by the 3rd Marquess of Donegall. It was designed in the Scottish baronial style by Charles Lanyon and his son, of the architectural firm Lanyon, Lynn and Lanyon. After Lord Donegall's death and the family's financial demise, the 8th Earl of Shaftesbury completed the house.

It was his son, the 9th Earl of Shaftesbury, who presented the castle to the City of Belfast in 1934. In 1978, the Belfast City Council began a major refurbishment over a period of ten years at a cost of over two million pounds. The architect was the Hewitt and Haslam Partnership. The building officially re-opened to the public in 1988.

The castle boasts an antiques shop, a restaurant and visitors centre and it is a popular venue for conferences, private dining and wedding receptions.



Your name


Founded: 1811-1870
Category: Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom

More Information


4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Cindy de Leon (7 months ago)
Belfast castle has breathtaking views. You’re able to walk inside and open many doors to spacious rooms. Come earlier in the day and take advantage of the cave path which will have you walk up a high point of a mountain and allow you to view the city.
Rhiannah Warm (7 months ago)
Walked around the grounds and used the lovely well appointed toilets. Doors to them were very large so don't leave much space to get into the cubicle especially if you have mobility issues. Generally a lovely relaxed environment.
John Phelan (7 months ago)
This is certainly in my top five places to visit in Belfast. The castle itself is beautiful to look at, but it also hosts beautiful gardens and there are lots of loop walks to be taken around its surroundings. You can either take small loops around the adjacent gardens or take a full hike up the mountain behind. There are a number of carparks that we noted, one either side of the castle, but both were reasonably busy on the two occasions we visited so I would recommend visiting reasonably early to find parking easily. Reasonable fitness is needed fir the longer walks, but the immediate gardens are easy to walk however there are a number of steps that must be navigated.
Steve “Sparky” (7 months ago)
Beautiful building with panoramic views over Belfast. Lovely gardens and a nice coffee shop on the lower level. There is a restaurant but it wasn't open when we visited. There is also several walking routes around to adjoining land "cavehill country" park. We didn't attempt them as they were gravel paths and some were quite hilly - we had a wheelchair user with us, ( in an old hospital type wheelchair), the terrain didn't suit - But it looked interesting and went as far as the Belfast Zoo
Ivan Close (2 years ago)
The grounds are beautiful and the view from the castle across Belfast are stunning. There is also a great restaurant which you would find hard to fault the food. Remember to see if you can spot the cats in the gardens!!
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Amphitheatre of the Three Gauls

The Amphitheatre of the Three Gauls was part of the federal sanctuary of the three Gauls dedicated to the cult of Rome and Augustus celebrated by the 60 Gallic tribes when they gathered at Lugdunum (Lyon). The amphitheatre was built at the foot of the La Croix-Rousse hill at what was then the confluence of the Rhône and Saône.

Excavations have revealed a basement of three elliptical walls linked by cross-walls and a channel surrounding the oval central arena. The arena was slightly sloped, with the building"s south part supported by a now-vanished vault. The arena"s dimensions are 67,6m by 42m. This phase of the amphitheatre housed games which accompanied the imperial cult, with its low capacity (1,800 seats) being enough for delegations from the 60 Gallic tribes.

The amphitheatre was expanded at the start of the 2nd century. Two galleries were added around the old amphitheatre, raising its width from 25 metres to 105 metres and its capacity to about 20,000 seats. In so doing it made it a building open to the whole population of Lugdunum and its environs.