Take a hint from the students of Belfast and study in the sun, at Belfast’s Botanical Gardens. The huge plain of grass and trees beside the exotic Palm House are a popular working destination in the summer, if you don’t mind setting up your station on the grass. There’s surrounding benches if you need a seat and if it happens to rain, the McClay Library is next door, only two minutes walk away.
When this library was completed in 2009, it became the most beautiful and sophisticated study location in the city and is worth around £40 million in total. If you aren’t a student of Queen’s University, you can buy an annual pass for this library, which will open up book loans services and computer access. The library has its own sound-proof co-working rooms which are available to book 48 hours in advance, for up to three hours at a time. With an in-house café and cafeteria area, you can spend all day working in this building and enjoy your breaks in the nearby Botanic Gardens.
The McClay Library, 10 College Park Ave, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK + 44 28 9097 6135
While some people may consider these grounds an impractical place to get out your textbooks, Belfast’s City Hall is quite the popular study destination, during the summer. The memorial grounds have plenty of picnic benches and steps to co-work and there’s a giant public TV to enjoy the news. There’s a range of coffee stops surrounding Donegall Square and it’s relatively quiet throughout the day, so shake up the boring library atmosphere in exchange for this study spot.
City Hall, Donegall Square, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK + 44 28 9032 0202
The Ormeau Library has some optimal spaces for a relaxed afternoon of reading or intense day of studying. With designated exhibition spaces, co-work spaces and charging stations, it has everything you need in an accessible area. You’ll also have a distracting view of the Lagan River in beautiful South Belfast. Many students choose this public library over The McClay university library, for the open spaces and proximity to many student resident areas – with the bonus of Ormeau Park to enjoy during a break.
The Lounge is a great place to calm the mind while you study, as the space includes several beanbags and pool tables for your study break. There’s free computers for the public and several coffee shops in the Union building, along with a charging station for your laptop, so you’ll have the space and equipment to work on any group project. Bonus: you aren’t noise restricted in this location, unlike many of the public libraries in the area.
You don’t need to travel the world to taste great coffee: Belfast is a previous host of an international Coffee Festival and offers up some of the best coffee houses in Europe. The Pocket is a great quiet spot for solo study and is located on the opposite side of Queen’s University. The National Grande Café is an upmarket café for those who want fantastic service and food to accompany their work. An all-time-favourite is Established Coffee, which has plenty of laptop-friendly study space in the Cathedral Quarter of the city. There are so many local businesses to choose from, you won’t visit a Starbucks again!
Established Coffee, 54 Hill St, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK + 44 28 9031 9416
The National Grande Café, 62 High St, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK + 44 28 9031 1130
The Pocket, 69 University Rd, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK + 44 7788 878525