Oh my, where is the year going? I cannot believe it’s pretty much November already! I spent half of last month thinking it was still September; but it was a busy month, and November looks to be even busier with lots of events happening. As we’ve been doing for the past several months, we’re sharing a list of some of the top things to do in and around Belfast in November with kids.
November 17 is the Christmas Light Switch On in Belfast at City Hall. It’s a ticketed event, but if you’re fast and lucky, you can get them for free. This is the start to the Christmas season and brings a festive feel to Belfast.
November 3-7 the CS Lewis Festival will be held in East Belfast, the area where the author of The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe lived. With poetry, tours, film screenings, and more, this is the perfect opportunity to visit CS Lewis Square! You can find out all about our full CS Square experience here.
The Linenhall Library is over 225 years old and is Tristan’s favourite place in all of Belfast! It’s his happy place. It’s filled with historic books and beautiful architecture (and a children’s area, though Tristan says that he can see those books anywhere; he likes browsing through the old stacks). This November they have a couple of exhibitions: Freemasonry in Ireland Exhibition and Coast and Hedgerow by Ruth Osborne. The library also has a coffee shop and some gift items for sale ranging from postcards to prints of old Belfast and rare books.
November is usually when the annual Whitehead Victorian Street Fair takes place for only one day each year. Unfortunately, this year’s event won’t be on in full glory, but local shops and clubs still have a wide variety of events planned throughout the town so come on out and support local businesses! And while you’re in town, be sure to stop by the Whitehead Railway Museum which will be running short steam train rides. We toured the museum earlier this year and the kids are keen to return!
Kelly’s Cellars is Belfast’s oldest pub, dating back to 1720 and is my dad’s favourite place for lunch in Belfast. There is only one thing on the menu: Irish stew, and it’s the best you’ll have! Stop by for lunch and rest your feet and quench your thirst in traditional surroundings (and a roaring turf fire in the winter). I’ve been here a couple of times with my children during the day and they’re always treated very well, although I wouldn’t take them later in the day while they’re still young.
Step aboard the HMS Caroline for a self-guided and interactive tour of the last survivor of the Battle of Jutland.
On Friday afternoons at 3:00pm you can take a tour of Clifton House; what was once known as Belfast’s Poor House for about 150 years. The Georgian building is still imposing, and is currently being used as a Care Home, Sheltered Accommodation and a Heritage & Conference Centre.
The Dark Hedges used to be little-known other than by photographers. However, since The Game Of Thrones, its popularity has skyrocketed. It was on my bucket list for almost 14 years before we finally made it there last autumn. It’s now a no-vehicle road to help preserve the integrity of the trees and I’m looking forward to returning without having to worry about traffic and the almost-impossible task of taking a photo without a vehicle in it.
Take a trim out to Mossely Mill and have a look around. There is a pond with ducks and during part of the year you can buy a catch and release fishing licence. The Museum At The Mill tells the history of the mill, which was in use from the 1800s until 1996. There are also art exhibitions here on occasion, so keep an eye out for those, as well as other fun classes for kids and adults.
Go on a tour of Crumlin Gaol (Jail), which housed inmates from 1845-1996, including some notorious murders. Now refurbished, it’s open to the public for daytime tours, as well as the occasional evening paranormal tour, with some special Halloween tours for adults. There’s also just been a book published, Ghosts of Ulster, which is available for purchase there.
There you have it; from Christmas to murders, there’s a lot to do in the Belfast area in November with kids!