Jaw-dropping natural beauty, imposing castles and pretty villages are all within easy distance of Belfast – perfect for day trips away from the city. Here, Culture Trip recommends six of the best day trips, all under two hours’ drive and easily accessible by public transport. Grab your backpack and get exploring.
This big blue smudge on the map of Northern Ireland is the biggest lake in the UK, which supplies 40 percent of all the water in the nation. It’s also surrounded by magnificent countryside and plenty of history, and is only a 30-minute drive from the city. Highlights include the picturesque stately home and surrounding woodlands at Drum Manor Forest Park, and Coney Island Park, 1 km offshore in the lough itself. For water sports, head to Craigavon or enjoy a more relaxed ride by hiring a boat from the marina at Ballyronan.
Easily accessible by car or public transport from Belfast is the pretty market village of Omagh in County Tyrone. Work up an appetite by renting a bike and cycling around the spectacular natural beauty in the area, particularly the Gortin Lakes and Sperrin Mountains. Then return to the village in the afternoon to enjoy its renowned colourful cafes and independent shops.
These mystical and dramatic mountains in County Down are some of the highest peaks in the country and are well worth a day trip from Belfast. Some of the views are truly staggering, particularly of the Silent Valley and the Ben Crom reservoirs. It’s no wonder they are said to have inspired Belfast-born CS Lewis in his descriptions of Narnia. Don’t miss the Mourne Wall, which snakes its way across 15 mountains and has become a famous image of the Irish countryside.