Summer is here! Most kids are done school until the fall, and families are looking for things to do together that doesn’t cost them an arm and a leg. In this edition of Things To Do In Belfast, I’m bringing you 10 family-friendly (mostly) free special events and ongoing attractions. Whether you’re here for a day or for a lifetime, you’ll find something fun to do in and around Belfast in July with kids!
July 2 is the monthly Storytime Sunday at the MAC in Belfast. For £2 each, your family can enjoy listening to stories told by professional storytellers. If you haven’t experienced a Northern Irish storyteller – you’ve been missing out!
July 2, 9, 16, 23, & 30 are Lazy Sundays at The Argory. Bring the whole family down and be entertained while enjoying the barbeque that is included in the entry fee.
July 17-23 this year is Rose Week at Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park in south Belfast. I haven’t yet made it here for Rose Week itself, but I have been for other events. After you’ve viewed the roses, take a big walk around the grounds and if you take a picnic lunch, you’ll have many beautiful areas to choose from. There is also a playground and Japanese garden within the park and there will be additional entertainment during Rose Week to enjoy.
Andrew Jackson and US Rangers Centre is just a mile from Carrickfergus Castle and has reopened after a refurbishment last month. Entry is free, and you can see a thatched roof cottage that is just across from where US President, Andrew Jackson’s parents resided before they left across the Atlantic and Jackson was born. From a working turf fire, volunteers in period costume, and occasional events during the year (we’ve previously attended 4th of July parties). And if you’re interested in the US military, there is also a museum dedicated to the US Rangers.
Bridges Urban Sports Park is great if your children are into skateboarding, in-line skating, Parkour and BMXing. It’s open from 7:30am until 10:00pm and is free to access. Read the rules and other information here, or see what’s shakin’ on Facebook.
Jul 22 is the Big Wild Sleepout at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum. Have roasted marshmallows, go bat detecting, and learn bushcraft and about wildlife in the area. This looks to promise a memorable experience!
CS Lewis Square is in East Belfast and is, of course, named after the famous author of Chronicles of Narnia, who was born in Belfast. Check out the 7 bronze statues as well as learn more about other famous people of the area at the East Side Visitor Centre. And while you’re there, stop in at the new Tiny Life headquarters and show them your support (read this post on their newest online resource).
If you like hiking and beautiful views, Cave Hill is waiting for you. Looming over Belfast and Belfast Lough, the hill is surrounded by history and lore, and has inspired many a story, such as Gulliver’s Travels. Belfast Castle Visitor’s Centre and Belfast Zoo are also located on Cave Hill. The Belfast Hills Partnership has information about the various walks.
Just last week we took the kids down to Shaw’s Bridge, and then to the Giant’s Ring in South Belfast. The kids are learning about the Wonders of the World, and this is the closest thing to Stonehenge as we can get in the area. We walked around the ring, and spotted some beautiful butterflies.
And don’t forget to check in with the libraries! Libraries NI are running their annual Reading Challenge, and each library will have their own calendar of events over the summer for all ages. I just attended a learn to draw class here, and the kids always look forward to Storytime and Craft sessions.