Belfast Castle

Belfast, United Kingdom

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.



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

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4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Justine T (5 months ago)
Ireland is so rich in history, and this is one of the places. This is also a free place to visit. Beautifully fully intact castle. The gardens are absolutely stunning!!
Beatrice Elena (6 months ago)
Beautiful place but didn't get the chance to check the inside as there were some events taking place so I suggest giving a call in advance to check.
Traveler By Choice (6 months ago)
No tickets required. It's an uphill climb. Tiresome for old people. The bus comes till short of 13 mins walk. Great view of the city. The castle doesn't have much to see inside. Mostly rooms are given on rent. Good place to spend family time.
Laura McKenzie Atkins (6 months ago)
The Castle grounds are absolutely beautiful and well kept, the Castle inside is lovely but honestly I'd love to see more of the history. There are a few old photos on the walls and the rooms all have name plaques on them but they have been quite modernised loosing some of the original appeal. It would be exciting and informative to have maybe a tour to give insight into the history of the Castle, who built it, what all the rooms originally looked like and were used for etc. Rather than the quite sparse self tour confined in the basement section. A wee gift shop would be amazing too as there are so many tourists visiting the Castle daily, yet no way to purchase little memories and items to take home to family and friends.
Trehan (6 months ago)
Belfast Castle: We drove to this castle as we’d hired a car. There is a coach you can get from the Europa Bus station, or you can walk too. Its located in a really peculiar area, surrounded by a ‘normal’ housing estate, and then all of a sudden your in paradise! What an absolutely stunning Castle. Just Beautiful. Well maintained on the inside and the grounds are sheer perfection. Its Free to enter the grounds. There are Public toilets and a cafe too. The view from the castle overlooking Belfast is phenomenal. Definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area. We went early in the day on a week day. I imagine it can get very busy on weekends with coaches arriving too. Thank you for the Belfast castle experience. ?
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