A Saturday in Queen's Quarter
Weekends in the Queen's Quarter are all about strolling through parks, lazy brunches, browsing bookstores, getting a dose of culture and catching an afternoon movie. Children play on the lawns of Botanic Gardens, students cycle through the neighbourhood's leafy streets, and cafes fill with bleary-eyed locals in need of a stack of pancakes and a strong coffee.
- Start Ulster Museum
- End Queen's Film Theatre
- Length 2km, three to four hours
Kick off with some culture at the Ulster Museum. Locals often spend weekends here, viewing the latest temporary exhibitions or revisiting the many treasures of the permanent collection, which includes loot from the Spanish Armada and an Egyptian mummy. The 5th-floor art discovery room is a welcoming space to pause and sketch.
Take a walk through the Botanic Gardens, winding around colourful flowerbeds and rose gardens as joggers and cyclists zip by. When the sun is out, the central lawn fills with families and students; rest your feet a while and join them. If it's raining, duck inside the park's two greenhouses: the birdcage-domed Palm House and the red-brick Tropical Ravine.
Browsing the shelves of the independent No Alibis Bookstore is a favourite Saturday activity for crime-fiction-loving locals. The knowledgeable staff here can help you pick out the perfect thriller or mystery novel. Take it to read in a nearby cafe and you'll blend in with the regulars.
Time for a break. When it comes to cafes, you're spoilt for choice in Queen's Quarter, but French Village is the pick of the bunch for breakfast (served until 2pm). The locals know it though, so you might need to wait for a table. Fans of the brioche French toast say it's worth it.
Now that you're refuelled and ready for another dose of culture, head to the Queen's Film Theatre for an art-house movie. This independent cinema is popular with residents for its carefully curated program of classic, current and foreign-language films. It's best to book tickets in advance.
- Leafy streets
Bus From Donegall Sq E buses 8A to 8D go down the Malone Rd, stopping outside the Ulster Museum. Routes 7A to 7D go via Botanic Ave to the city centre.