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Entertainment and Activities

Below are some entertainment and leisure suggestions available throughout Northern Ireland.


Fitness Outlets

There are a range of gyms in and around the Belfast Trust area.  There are leisure center's ran by local councils, with many offering gyms, tennis courts and swimming pools. More. To avail of these services, you pay a monthly membership fee, with the cost depending on which services you wish to use. There are also privately ran gyms, many of which have long opening hours, handy for your busy schedule! Below is a list of just a few of the gyms in the Belfast area.

Better Gyms, Belfast

There are a host of ‘Better Gyms’ across the city, all of which are ran by the Council. You can purchase ‘All inclusive’ membership, which is a great idea if you will be regularly moving to different hospitals across the Belfast Trust as part of your training. Membership starts at £24.95 and ranges to £38.50 per month, which allows you to visit any of the Better Gym centres and use all their facilities. More information and how to join can be found at the following link:

Pure Gyms, Belfast

‘Pure Gyms’ are also dotted across the city however these are ran by a private firm. The membership starts at £19.99 per month and they are open 24 hours a day so you can visit at a time that suits you. Day passes are also available if you would like to try it out before you invest in a month membership. For more information visit :

Tourism Outlets

Titanic Belfast

Located less than one mile from the city centre, Titanic Belfast is a monument dedicated to Belfast’s maritime heritage  on the site of the former Harland and Wolff shipyard, where the RMS Titanic was built. At Titanic Belfast you can step on board HMS Caroline, one of the last World War one floating battleships in the world. Afterwards you can stand at the bottom of the enormous Thompson Dry Dock- the place where the Titanic last sat on dry land. To finish up your day you can enjoy lunch or dinner at the Titanic Hotel Belfast. Constructed in the 1880’s, the building was once home to Victorian Drawing Offices, where a range of ships were designed.

For more information visit:


Cavehill is an iconic landmark of Belfast rising to 370m to reveal stunning scenery of Belfast. On a clear day you can even see all the way to Scotland! Cavehill has ancient forts, paths, a limestone quarry and the remains of a beetling mill. Bring your walking boots as the hike to the top is 4.5 miles but the view is worth it. To take this trail park at Belfast Castle and follow the signs. Alternatively if you don’t want to walk so far you can park at the Upper Hightown Road carpark, its about 2 miles from here to the summit. Parking is free at both these locations and there is no charge for the hike. More information can be found at:

Stormont Estate

Stormont Estate is an estate east of Belfast. It is home to Northern Ireland’s main Parliament Building, which is surrounded by woods and parkland. The gardens are open to the public and entry is free. It has beautiful gardens, a variety of walks, fitness and adventure trials and a children’s playground. The estates opening hours change throughout the year however they generally follow daylight hours. The playground closes 30 minutes before the park.

PS- Stormont Estate is located just 15 minutes walk from the Ulster Hospital, making it a must visit if you’re working in not only the Belfast Trust but also the South Eastern Trust!

Shopping in Belfast

Belfast offers shoppers the ultimate retail experience, from luxury brands to high street fashion, we cater to all needs. The below section focuses on some of the main destinations in the Belfast area for some retail therapy.

Victoria Square

Victoria Square is a large shopping centre located in Belfast city centre. It’s the home of designer and luxury brands, featuring brands such as House of Fraser, Apple, Mango, Hollister and Tommy Hilfiger. Food outlets include Nandos, Starbucks, Wagamama and McDonalds. Topped by an iconic dome, Victoria Square is a must see during your time in Belfast.


Located on Royal Avenue in Belfast City Centre, Castlecourt offers the ultimate shopping experience. With over 80 shops and 15 food places to choose from.


Forestside is located south of Belfast, in close proximity to the University area of Belfast. Along with a range of fashion and health and beauty stores, Forestide is also home to Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencer’s. Forestide is open 7 days a week and parking is free.

Kennedy Centre

The Kennedy Centre is located to the west of the city, just off the M1 Motorway. It is home to 45 stores, ranging from fashion and beauty to entertainment and dining. The Kennedy Centre is open 7 days a week and parking is free.

Fitness Outlets

Better Gyms, Bangor & Lisburn

There are a host of ‘Better Gyms’ in the South Eastern Trust area. The membership starts at £19.99 per month and they are open 24 hours a day so you can visit at a time that suits you. Day passes are also available if you would like to try it out before you invest in a month membership. As well as Bangor, you can also find a Pure Gym in Lisburn which is only a 10 minute walk from the Lagan Valley Hospital. For more information visit : .

Leisure Services in South Eastern Trust Area

There are a number of Council ran gyms in the area in close proximity to the Ulster Hospital, Ards Hospital and Bangor Community Hospital. All are open 7 days a week with Ards Leisure Centre offering not only a gym but swimming and a spa. Membership prices start from £31 per month however you can also pay for one-time visits for the gym, the spa and the swimming pool. For more information visit:

Tourism Outlets

Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park

Located in South Belfast, not far from Lisburn, Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park is home to the City of Belfast International Rose Garden. Covering more than 128 acres, the park has rolling meadows, woodland and gardens. There are various plants and wildlife and the park offers an ideal base for exploring nearby Lagan Valley Regional Park. The park has been awarded a Green Flag every year from 2021 to 2020. This award recognises the best open spaces in the UK. If you’re based in the South Eastern Trust, Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park is definitely a must see! Parking at the park is free and it is open 7  days a week, opening at 7.30am. Closing times varies as the daylight shortens. For more information visit:

Helens Bay

If you’re working in the South Eastern Trust  and fancy a trip to the sea side, Helens Bay has you covered! It is located within Crawfordsburn Country Park just outside Bangor. The beach is gently shelving and has excellent water quality making it ideal for swimming. The country park offers an excellent backdrop to the beach, with wooded headlands and quality walks. There’s a café, toilets, visitor centre and picnic sites. For more information visit:

Shopping Outlets

  • Ards Shopping Centre
  • Bloomfield Shopping Centre

Fitness Outlets

Seven Towers Leisure Centre

Located in Ballymena, Seven Towers Leisure centre is ran by Mid and East Antrim Council offers a range of fitness classes, independent gym use and a swimming pool for members of the public. Membership is offered on a monthly basis however you can also pay for one time use. More information can be found at the following link:

Coleraine Leisure Centre

Coleraine Leisure Centre is similarly run by Causeway Coast and Glens Council and is located in Coleraine, in close proximity to Causeway Hospital. The leisure centre offers a fitness studio with an extensive range of equipment. The leisure centre is open 7 days a week with membership options to suit all. For more information follow the link:

Toursim Outlets

Giants Causeway

Arguably one of Northern Ireland most iconic landmarks, The Giants Causeway is an absolute must see! Located outside of Coleraine, it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Legend has it that the causeway was created by Finn McColl, an Irish giant who picked a fight with Scottish bug man Benandonner. One day, after enduring insults from Benandooner Finn built a path to use a stepping stones to reach Scotland and the result was the basalt columns.

Formed 50 to 60 million years ago, during the Paleogene Period the Giant’s Causeway resulted from successive flows of lava inching toward the coast and cooling when they contacted the sea. Layers of basalt formed columns, and the pressure between these columns sculpted them into polygonal shapes that vary from 15 to 20 inches in diameter and measure up to 82 feet in height. They are arrayed along cliffs averaging some 330 feet) in elevation.

The causeway is open 7 days a week and can be accessed by the visitor centre which provides a café, toilets and a shop. An adult ticket costs £13 and a family ticket costs £6.50 with parking included in the price. The entrance fee goes to the National Trust, Europe’s largest conservation charity. For more information about the Giants Causeway, please visit:

Glenariff Forest Park

Glenariff, the Queen of the Glens, is one of the nine Antrim Glens in Northern Ireland. Located just outside Ballymena, the forest park covers 1000 hectares of planted woodland, lakes, a waterfall and conservation areas. Walking trails range from 0.6km to 9km in length, making it the perfect day out for all ages. The park is open 7 days a week 24 hours a day however the car park gates are locked at night. Facilities include picnic and barbecue areas as well as a tea house. Certain activities such as horse riding can also be booked at the forest.

The Dark Hedges

The Dark Hedges is an avenue of Beech trees along Bregagh Road in Country Antrim. Made famous by the popular TV series ‘Game of Thrones’ The Dark Hedges have become a must see in recent years. Most people walk down the road to take photos. If you are driving, there is a free car park at The Hedges Hotel and the hedges are around a two minute walk from here. Legend has it that a ghost called the Grey Lady regularly visits the hedges. She is claimed to be the daughter of a nearby wealthy landowners from the 1700’s!

Shopping Outlets

Shopping in the Northern Trust Area

  • Fairhill Shopping Centre
  • The Junction

Fitness Outlets

Pure Gym, Derry/Londonderry

If you’re based at Altnagelvin Area Hospital this  is a great option and is only a ten minute drive away. As well as a  free weights and cardio area, Pure Gym Derry/Londonderry offers a range of classes including boxfit, zumba, body pump, yoga and pilates. Membership starts from £19.99 a month, for more information visit:

Fermanagh Lakeland Forum

Fermanagh Lakeland Forum is a ten minute drive from South West Acute Hospital in the Western Health and Social Care Trust. It is ran by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council. Facilities include a swimming pool, a steam room, a fitness and exercise studio and a children’s soft play area. For more information including prices please visit:

Tourism Outlets

Derry/Londonderry City Walls

Located in Derry/Londonderry, this is the only remaining completely walled city in Ireland and one of the finest examples of Walled Cities in Europe. The walls were built in the 17th century by the Irish Society as defences for settlers from England Scotland.

The walls are approximately 1.5km in circumference and form a walkway around the inner city which still preserves its Renaissance Style street plan to this date. For more information on visiting click on the following link:

Marble Arch Caves, Fermanagh

Located a short journey from the town of Fermanagh, the Marble Arch Caves offers a great day out for all the family. The landscape surrounding the caves was formed over 340 million years ago. At 11.5 km in length, the Marble Arch Caves forms the longest known cave system in Northern Ireland. The facility offers guided cave tours and includes a short boat tour of inside the caves. Tickets can be purchased online ahead of your visit. For more details and prices please use the following link:

Fitness Outlets

Newry Leisure Centre

Newry Leisure Centre is ran by Newry, Mourne and Down District Council offers a gym, fitness classes, tennis courts, a sports hall and a pool. There is lots of flexibility in payment options allowing members to avail of daily, pay as you go, as well as monthly direct debit packages and three, six or twelve month pay up from options. It is also only a ten minute walk from Daisy Hill Hospital, making it a great option if you are posted here! For more details follow the link:

South Lakes Leisure Centre

Five minutes by car or thirty minutes on foot, South Lakes Leisure Centre is a great option if you are posted at Craigavon Area Hospital. Alongside the regular leisure centre facilities South Lakes Leisure Centre also has an outdoors water sports facility. Here you can go paddle-boarding, canoeing, kayaking, sailing and wind surfing amongst other activities. They also offer courses in many of these if you are new to the sports. For more information please follow the link:

Tourism Outlets

The Mourne Mountains

Located in Newcastle, County Down, The Mourne Mountains are the largest mountain range in Northern Ireland. The area was voted the ‘Best Walking Destination’ in Northern Ireland in WalkNI’s inaugural awards. The Mournes are divided into 2 very distinctive areas – the Eastern or ‘High’ Mournes and the Western or ‘Low’ Mournes. Any newcomer to the Mournes will be simply amazed at the variety of landscapes that can be encountered within such a confined geographical area. They are also home to the  highest mountain in Northern Ireland- Slieve Donard which stands at 853 metres tall. The Mournes offer a great day out however If you plan on going walking in the Mournes it is important you plan your route beforehand and wear appropriate clothing as conditions can be harsh, particular in winter. There are a range of carparks you can use depending on where you plan hiking. For more information please visit:

Murlough Bay

If you fancy a trip to the beach, Murlough Bay is a must visit. Located around 30 miles outside of Belfast Murlough Bay stretches for four miles from the Mournes to St John’s Point Lighthouse in Dundrum Bay. The beach is hugely popular for swimming, sunbathing and other forms of recreation. More information about how to get there and parking can be found at the following link:

Shopping Outlets

  • The Boulevard, Banbridge
  • Buttercrane Shopping Centre