Nicknamed the cultural ‘Athens’ of Ireland, Belfast is the capital city of Northern Ireland and the 12th largest city in the UK with a population of 345,000. It’s located on the east coast of Northern Ireland where the river Lagan meets the Irish sea. There are regular car ferries to and from Liverpool, and the world famous Titanic cruise ship was constructed in the Harland and Wolff shipbuilding yards before its fateful voyage to the depths of the Atlantic Ocean.
Belfast was founded in the 17th century, but there was also a settlement dating back to the bronze age. Interestingly there is a Neolithic henge called ‘Giant’s Ring’ dating back to roughly 2700 BC, which makes it even older than the pyramids. It’s located in Shaw’s Bridge, just to the south of the city and is definitely worth visiting. There’s a theory that it was used as a Neolithic religious site and burial ground.
Historically fascinating, Belfast played a huge part in the industrial revolution and the shipbuilding yards were a vital part of the British Empire’s industrial strength. Belfast was the world’s largest producer of linen at the beginning of the 19th century, with other big industries including rope production and tobacco processing. Belfast experienced massive unrest in the British led partition of Ireland in 1920 and the troubles in the 1990s, but these days everything has calmed down and no one should worry about visiting this wonderful city. Today you can visit The People’s Museum of the Troubles and the Peace in Belfast to understand the full picture.
Belfast has two major airports and 3 universities, with a huge diversity of cultures spread throughout the city. If you’re after a great night out you are guaranteed to find whatever it is you’re looking for, whether it’s a traditional Irish bar for a proper pint of Guinness accompanied with some Irish folk music, or something totally modern and cutting edge. There are some really vibrant live music venues in Belfast such as the John Hewitt Bar for some wicked live jazz, or The Tipsy Bird & Brewers Yard for original touring bands. There’s always something to keep you entertained in this bustling city, every night of the week.
The Titanic Belfast is a truly original looking museum from the outside as well as in, comprehensively covering the Titanic’s first and final journey. The museum isn’t all doom and gloom though, and gives a fantastic insight into how it would have been to be on the ship with interactive displays and recreated spaces. There’s a lot of really great information laid out in a genuinely interesting way, including how the wreck was discovered. It’s a guaranteed fun day out for all age groups.
If you’re into beautiful parks and open spaces, Belfast has an impressive 40 public parks in the city, as well as a magnificent botanical garden on the left bank of the river Lagan in the south of the city.
Belfast castle is another huge tourist magnet with 100s of thousands visiting each year. With an estimated 1.5million tourists visiting annually, Belfast can be pretty stressful to park in. We’ve scoured far and wide and found every free residential street parking location in the city centre, as well as all other paid and short term commercial parking options. Get out there and explore whilst saving yourself all the bother of looking for parking spots.
Free Parking in Belfast
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Free, unrestricted streetside parking
The following addresses all have free street parking options, giving you unlimited time to park in Belfast and potentially saving you a lot of money. We’ve found the streets closest to the centre and we’ve written some more interesting information about things to see in different areas of Belfast, giving you the walking distances to Belfast City Hall. Stretch your legs and soak up some vibes on your way to your destination; walking is the perfect antidote to a long drive!
You don’t need to worry about breaking any rules by using the following addresses, but make sure you follow all of the common sense parking rules. Don’t park too close to other vehicles, or on any road bends and never block someone’s driveway. Another thing to consider is the residents, especially at night. No one wants to hear music or load engines revving. Look out for any signs the locals may have left about parking, or any new restrictions the council may have recently enforced, just in case. Last but not least, use your instinct – if a street feels unsafe, or you are worried about valuables in your car, you might want to consider paid parking options with CCTV cameras and barriers in place.
If you’ll be entering Belfast from the northern Ballymena or Antrim directions along the M2, it would be a crime to miss the Giant’s Causeway coastal path. There are also loads of organised tours available from the city centre if you don’t fancy it on the way down. You can take a little detour from your walking route to see the impressive St Anne’s Cathedral on your way to the centre. You can check it out from Buoy Park and then take a look around The Mac – a fantastic modern arts space with loads of performances and even comedy nights.
- Plunkett Court BT13 1AZ – 0.9 miles
- Arnon Street BT13 1BD – 0.9 miles
Will you drive in from Bangor along the A2? That route will take you straight past IKEA and the George Best Belfast Airport. We highly recommend checking out Victoria Park, with its incredible nature, lakes, duck ponds, pedestrian bridges and great kids play parks. There’s some great parking spots right next to the river, so you may as well take a stroll past the left embankment before heading into the centre.
- McAuley Street BT7 2BW – 0.6 miles
- Stewart Street BT7 2DS – 0.6 miles
If you’re planning on driving up from Lisburn in the south you might want to consider stopping off at the botanical gardens. From there you can also take a lovely walk along the Stranmillis embankment before you continue to the following free residential street parking addresses. You’ll walk right past the Game of Thrones Tours departures point, so if you’re a fan of the legendary series (that was predominantly filmed in Northern Ireland), this could be your moment to see those locations in real life!
- Pakenham Street BT7 1AB – 0.5 miles
- Westminister Street BT7 1LA – 0.9 miles
- Oak Way BT7 1JE – 0.6 miles
For those of you planning on driving in from Antrim in the west, or after picking up a friend from Belfast International Airport, we’ve found more great free residential parking spots for you. If you have kids that need to burn some energy off after a long drive, Dunville Park might be the perfect solution before you walk into the centre.
- Cairns Street BT12 4NH – 1.0 mile
- Lisfaddan Drive BT12 4SH – 0.7 miles
- Lisfaddan Place BT12 4SJ – 0.7 miles
- Barrack Street BT12 4FZ – 0.6 miles
- Hamill Street BT12 4AA – 0.6 miles
Free Car Parks
The following car parks are all free, free, free!
- Andersonstown Road BT11 9BU
- Dundela Crescent BT1 3BJ
- Glenburn Rd Car Park BT17 9AQ
- Grampian Avenue BT4 3AB
- Northumberland Street BT13 2JR
- Parkgate Avenue BT4 1JA
- Ravenscroft Car Parking BT5 5BA
- Sandown Road Free Car Park BT5 6GT
- Slievegallion Drive BT11 8JN
- Stranmills Road BT9 5DT
- Wandsworth Road BT4 3PB
- Westminster Avenue (North) BT4 1QQ
- Westminster Avenue (East) BT4 1NS
- Westminster Avenue (West) BT4 1NS
- Whitla Street BT15 1JP
Free after 6pm/Sunday Car Parks
A lot of these car parks can also be found in the above list. The most economical options are the council-run NCP car parks, and they’re free after 6pm and on Sundays, but make sure you either buy a ticket in the morning or leave before 8am to avoid penalties.
- Ashdale Street BT5 5AX
- Charlotte Street Car Park BT7 1TS
- Corporation Street Car Park BT15 1BH (Leave by 7pm!)
- Cromac Street Car Park BT2 8JN
- Dunbar Street Parking BT1 2LH
- Exchange Street Car Park BT1 2LU
- Kent Street Car Park BT1 2JA
- Little Donegall Street Car Park BT1 2JD
- Station Street Car Park BT3 9DA
- Marlborough Avenue Carpark BT9 7GQ
- Lancaster Street Car Park BT15 1AS
Free after 9pm/Sunday Car Parks
The following car parks are all free on Sundays or after 9pm, but make sure you either buy a ticket in the morning or leave before 8am on weekdays and Saturdays to avoid the traffic wardens.
- Hope Street North BT12 5EE
- Little Victoria Street Car Park BT2 7JQ
- Smithfield Car Park BT1 1JQ
Park and Ride Services
- Northside Park & Ride BT15 1GD – north of Belfast
- Great Georges Street Park & Ride BT15 1GD – north of Belfast
- Black’s Road Park & Ride BT10 0NA – southwest of Belfast
- Cairnshill Park & Ride BT8 7SH – south of Belfast
- Dundonald Park and Ride BT16 1TT – east of Belfast
- Eastside Park & Ride BT5 4TB – east of Belfast
Cheapest Paid Car Parks
We’ve compiled a list of the very cheapest parking options in Belfast for you. Don’t forget to check the times and make sure you pay and display your tickets.
- Lancaster Street Car Park BT15 1AS – £0.80 for 2 hours
- Cromac Street Car Park BT2 8JN – £1.20 for 2 hours
- Station Street Car Park BT3 9DA – £1.20 for 2 hours
- Little Donegall Street Car Park BT1 2JD – £0.80 for 2 hours
- Charlotte Street Car Park BT7 1TS – £1.40 for 2 hours
- Northside Park & Ride BT15 1GD – £1.20 for 2 hours
- Eastside Park & Ride BT5 4TB – £1.20 for 2 hours