We’re lucky to live in a city with so many green spaces, so as autumn starts to blow beautiful copper leaves off the trees, and our parks are littered with acorns, conkers and ‘helicopters’ from the sycamores, I thought I’d give you my guide to the best parks in East Belfast, and some of their main attractions. Believe me, I’ve spent a LOT of time in all of these over the past few years…
Belmont Park – The playpark is great for all ages and is enclosed, making it very safe. The park’s won numerous Green Flag awards and has lovely walks, including one through a wooded area. Park at the Circular Rd entrance if you want to be close to the playpark and the toilets.
Mo Mowlam Park at Stormont – This is great for slightly older kids as there’s so much for them to play on, including an obstacle course, a zip-line, and loads of slides. The toddler area has swings, slides, roundabout, tunnel, and a climbing frame. There are picnic tables, toilets, and a coffee kiosk. If you’ve children of different ages, it can be difficult to keep an eye on both of them as the play areas are so spread out, but you can really spend a good few hours here.
Cherryvale Park, Ravenhill Road – A new wooden framed playpark with 3 different areas for toddlers to pre-teens. Fenced in, and with plenty of picnic tables and benches, plus a carpark. There’s also a welcome recent addition in the shape of the Hatch coffee van.
Orangefield Park – I have to mention this as it’s my local! The playpark has definitely seen better days, but my kids still love it, and the rest of the park is beautiful. Great walks, an outdoor gym, tennis and basketball courts, bowling green, a velodrome, and huge playing fields. Recent additions of fairy doors in the trees have added a bit of extra magic, and the Greenway plans promise an extension to the Knock dual carriageway, and new play areas. If only the vandals would leave the book box and the fairy doors alone, it would be nigh on perfect!
Victoria Park – take some bread to feed the ducks and other assorted seabirds that flock to the lake in the middle of this park. Flat paths surround the lake, and the new playpark is great. Visit in the spring to see the bluebell meadows, but at this time of year it’s great for foraging blackberries.
Honorary mentions to Ormeau Park, Lady Dixon, and Holywood’s Seapark, which didn’t make this list due to geography!