6 Belvoir Forest Park
Paths meander from the riverside right into the forest at Belvoir. Beneath an enchanting mix of native oak trees, cedars and redwoods, only the sounds of kingfishers, jays and red squirrels disturb the peace – cosmopolitan Belfast feels a million miles away.
But as well as tranquillity, it’s laden with history. The house and gardens date back to the 1740s – the Duke of Wellington’s mother stayed here as a girl – and the first glasshouse in Belfast was built here in 1757. The house fell into ruin in the 1960s, but there’s a medieval graveyard, the 13th century Belvoir motte, built to support the Norman invasion, and an 18th century icehouse that will make any history buffs eager to explore more.