Belfast lies on the east coast of Northern Ireland, close to the Irish Sea on the floodplain of the river Lagan. It is served by two airports, Belfast International and George Best Belfast City Airport, and over 7 million people per year visit, drawn by an eclectic mix of attractions.
The centre of Belfast is a beguiling mix of the old and the new, of historical buildings and architecture recalling the city as a hub of the British Empire, alongside a youthful buzz and cultural scene inspired by the presence of thousands of students. It also offers an enjoyable contrast between a boisterous nightlife fuelled by an array of pubs, clubs and bars and the rugged tranquillity of the surrounding countryside.
Accommodation in Belfast
The centre of Belfast is packed with hotels, guesthouses, bed and breakfasts and hostels, offering every imaginable type of accommodation. Whether your priority is simply to have a comfortable room to return to at the end of a day spent exploring the city, or whether you’d prefer a spa hotel which combines pampering with luxury accommodation, you’ll be able to find somewhere to stay that meets your needs and your budget.
Green Spaces in Belfast
Although it is a 21st century capital city, Belfast still offers many opportunities to enjoy nature and the chance to soak up some fresh air and tranquillity. The hills and mountains beyond the city beckon, but there are stunning green spaces to be found within the boundaries of Belfast, one of which is the world-famous International Rose Garden.
Finding the International Rose Garden
The International Rose Garden is part of Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park, 128 acres of rolling meadows, fields, woods and formal gardens located six miles south of the city centre. It can be reached on the B103 Upper Malone Road, by taking the M1 out of the city centre and exiting at junction 3.
The History of the Rose Garden
The first roses at the garden were planted in 1964 and immediately began to attract attention and accolades. Over the years it was expanded and landscaped, with historical and heritage sections being added. In 2000, the garden received international recognition when it was given an Award of Merit at the prestigious World Federation of Rose Societies' Convention in Houston, Texas.
The Rose Garden Today
Today, there are over 30,000 roses in the gardens, divided into four distinct sections. The Historical Garden traces the development of the garden rose over the years, the Heritage Garden showcases roses bred in Northern Ireland by the the Dickson and McGredy families, the Trial Garden presents new varieties of rose to be judged by a panel of experts and the Display Gardens showcase large beds of the best of Trial roses from years gone by.
Visiting the Rose Garden
The gardens are open daily throughout the year and admission is free. The blooming season runs from April to August, and every year Belfast Rose Week takes place late in July. This features treasure hunts, competitions and expert talks, and attracts visitors from around the world.