The white “House on the Hill” is the home of the Northern Ireland Assembly and a triumphant symbol of this once divided U.K. country.
Take a guided tour of the Stormont Parliament Buildings, an important site to the people of Northern Island. Then, walk through the gardens or have a picnic on the Irish-green lawns of the wider Stormont Estate, a huge public park.
Officially opened in 1932, the Stormont Parliament Buildings were built as the home of the newly formed Government of Northern Ireland, an autonomous entity within the United Kingdom. The Northern Island Assembly has resided here since 1998, marking the end of a period called “Na Trioblóidí” (The Troubles).
These days Stormont is a favorite destination for those with an interest in history and politics, but the grounds of the Stormont Estate are a public park for everyone to enjoy. Walk past the double rows of red twig limes on either side of the Prince of Wales Avenue to get to the Parliament Buildings. The avenue is sometimes called the “Royal Mile.”
When the Assembly is in session you can join a free guided tour and learn about the history of Northern Ireland. It is a turbulent story and this is one of the best places in Belfast to learn the facts. Twice a week, you can watch live debates between the Members of the Legislative Assembly.
Head outside and admire the bronze and stone statues to your right, or the picturesque Stormont Castle to your left. Spend some time exploring the flower beds, lawns and woodland and have a family picnic.
Before you leave, enjoy the fitness trail or let the children roam free in the children’s adventure park.
The Stormont Parliament Buildings are about 5 miles (8 kilometers) east of the city center and can be reached by bus and car. You disembark or park outside the estate and walk the rest.
Stormont Estate is open daily, with longer hours in summer, and is free of charge. You pay to enter the actual Parliament Buildings, which you can do on weekdays only. Tours run when the Assembly meets and as a result tours are not available on public holidays. The park has restrooms.