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See the birthplace of Titanic from the water to really understand the whole story. This unique tour lets you experience first hand the sights and sounds of the bustling 19th-century port. Belfast Harbor has always been a romantic and mysterious place, oozing with tales from far-flung places and boasting a rich, dynamic history. Expert commentary, illustrated by photographs of the bygone shipyard, helps to illuminate the excitement and grandeur of those halcyon days when Belfast was truly the toast of the shipbuilding industry. The tour also takes in the historic Harland and Wolff shipyard and all the other landmark Titanic sites dotted throughout the harbor. The tour departs from the Number two jetty in front of the Royal Mail building beyond the sculpture of the “big fish”. The duration of the tour is 70 minutes. Call ahead to know more.
The Palm House inside the Botanic Gardens is a curvilinear cast-iron glasshouse which houses some of the exotic tropical plants of the Botanic Gardens. The shelter was founded in the year 1839 and was designed by Charles Lanyon, thus, making it the earliest example of its unique architecture style. The cool wing of the shelter showcases the flowers of Schizanthus, seasonal Chrysanthemums and Flame Nettles, whereas, the tropical wing is marked by a dome and houses taller exotic plants such as the Globe Spear Lily and jungle of Bromeliads and Frangipani.
Spread over acres of green land between Belfast Zoo and Belfast Castle is the park known as the Cave Hill Country Park. A haven of green and calm, from here you can climb up to the moor land areas that run along the top of the mountain, where bog cotton will be blooming if you're lucky and where the look-out point, McArt's Fort, offers stunning views of the city. There are trails throughout the park below that take you through deep forest, lovely in the rain as well as in sunshine.
An attractive rolling parkland, Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park's crowning glory is its International Rose Garden. It's a treat for the senses with the scents and riotous colors of over 300,000 blooms. Come for the famous rose trials held here during Rose Week every summer. Set out in a series of circular gardens, each garden has a different theme and is decorated with striped tents. The park also provides an ideal starting point for exploring the Lagan Valley Regional Park. Though the park opens at 7.30a, the closing time varies seasonally, please visit the website for complete schedule.
There are several very rewarding coastal walks in and around Bangor, and one of the most impressive of these is that leading away from Pickie Fun Park in the direction of Crawfordsburn. Upon exiting the fun park, you step almost immediately into the Marine Gardens, which showcase a panoramic view of Bangor Bay, Carrickfergus, and the far away Antrim Hills. The route to Wilson's point, along the rocky water's edge, is very popular with picnickers, and crowds of friends and families are always to be found around the Bangor Bandstand. Boat lovers, meanwhile, will be able to watch the Seacat, HSS, and various ferries and pleasure boats cruising up and down the bay throughout the year.