Belfast Castle

Lonely Planet review

Built in 1870 for the third Marquess of Donegall, in the Scottish Baronial style made fashionable by Queen Victoria's then recently built Balmoral, the multi-turreted pomp of Belfast Castle commands the southeastern slopes of Cave Hill. It was presented to the City of Belfast in 1934.

Extensive renovation between 1978 and 1988 has left the interior comfortably modern rather than intriguingly antique, and the castle is now a popular venue for wedding receptions. Upstairs is the Cave Hill Visitor Centre with a few displays on the folklore, history, archaeology and natural history of the park. Downstairs is the Cellar Restaurant and a small antiques shop .

Legend has it that the castle's residents will experience good fortune only as long as a white cat lives there, a tale commemorated in the beautiful formal gardens by nine portrayals of cats in mosaic, painting, sculpture and garden furniture – a good game for the kids is getting them to find all nine.