On Saturday me and hubby with basset hound in tow made the short drive to Belfast Castle. It was such a beautiful morning and after a long week at work we felt like we needed some fresh air and a change of scenery.
Belfast Castle, designed in the Scottish baronial style, sits on the slopes of Cavehill to the north of Belfast city and commands beautiful views over Belfast Lough and towards the city itself. Originally owned by the Shaftesbury family, it was donated by them to the City of Belfast in 1934 and has since become a popular venue for weddings and afternoon teas. It is much loved though by locals as a great place to go for a stroll, walk the dog or if you are feeling energetic, follow one of the more challenging trails up Cavehill itself. It was early in the morning but the place was already filling up with joggers, tourists and dog walkers. We were just happy to enjoy the views, admire the architecture and the colourful displays of tulips and daffodils in the garden. Boris our basset hound had plenty of admirers too !
The castle is built in sandstone and reminds me of Edinburgh where I lived as a student. As I often say to myself, it is easy to forget what is on your doorstep but with the sun high in the sky, the stone had a golden hue and the beauty of the place really stood out. Such a perfect location for a castle !
There are cat motifs dotted around the castle grounds. I have since learned that this is due to a local legend that says all will be well with the residents of the castle as long as there is a white cat in situ !
For anyone planning to visit, entrance is completely free and there are plenty of places to park. Dogs are welcome but must kept on a leash and if you are in need of refreshment, you can walk down the steps to the cellar for coffee and a bite to eat. There is a children’s adventure playground and a great little gift shop too. I suspect I will be back quite soon myself for a spot of afternoon tea !
If you ever in the city , it is well worth a visit if you want to stretch your legs, get some fresh air and see Belfast from a different perspective.
You can find out more at the Visit Belfast website