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Treasures on your doorstep: Northern Ireland attractions to explore this summer

As many of our attractions reopen, we take a look at what's on offer

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Titanic Belfast Building and SS Nomadic

Titanic Belfast Building and SS Nomadic

Tony Pleavin

Ulster American Folk Park

Ulster American Folk Park

Northern Ireland Tourist Board

Hillborough Garden Festival

Hillborough Garden Festival

Northern Ireland Tourist Board

Titanic Belfast Building and SS Nomadic

Now that many museums, exhibition sites and gardens are once again welcoming visitors following the easing of lockdown restrictions, there is so much rich history and beauty to explore - right on our doorstep.

On Thursday, August 13, the Ulster Folk Museum and the Ulster American Folk Park will both reopen, while the following Thursday it's all aboard at the Ulster Transport Museum where visitors will receive a giant welcome once again as they journey back in time.

The announcement comes shortly after the successful reopening of Titanic Belfast, the Ulster Museum, Navan Centre & Fort and Hillsborough Castle and Gardens.

Tick these cultural experiences off your bucket list as part of your amazing adventures in the coming months, with plenty of world-class museums and heritage spots to explore:

Ulster Folk Museum, Co Down, reopening August 13

Step back in time and experience what life was like in Ulster over 100 years ago. Wander Ulster Folk Museum's rolling countryside and bustling town filled with authentic, period buildings. You'll find an old-time picture house, post office and corner shop on streets inhabited by people in period dress. Try your hand at basket weaving or see a blacksmith hard at work. Take a ride on an old bus into the countryside, where whitewashed farmhouses dot the fields. Meet some of the horses, donkeys and hens that kept the rural world turning. Book tickets online in advance to guarantee your timeslot, with a range of ticket options available. www.nmni.com/home.aspx

Ulster American Folk Park, Co Tyrone, reopening August 13

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Ulster American Folk Park

Ulster American Folk Park

Northern Ireland Tourist Board

Ulster American Folk Park


Immerse yourself in the story of the brave emigrants who made the journey across the Atlantic to America hundreds of years ago. Wander the well-trodden pathways of rural Ulster, complete with a bustling street and welcoming farmhouses. Become part of family life in thatched cottages, learn lessons in the schoolhouse, see traditional crafts brought to life and taste some good old-fashioned fayre. Board a full-scale emigrant ship and experience the cramped quarters where hundreds of people lived during their 12-week Atlantic crossing. Book tickets online in advance to guarantee your timeslot, with a range of ticket options available. www.nmni.com/home.aspx

Ulster Transport Museum, Co Down, reopening August 20

If you're a railway enthusiast, you've a treat in store at the Ulster Transport Museum. There's an impressive collection of steam locomotives, passenger carriages and goods wagons to explore. Be transported back in time and explore one of the most comprehensive transport collections in Europe. You'll find majestic locomotives, horse-drawn carriages, vintage motorbikes, and cars at the museum, along with exhibits of historical materials including photographs of the Titanic. Book tickets online in advance to guarantee your timeslot, with a range of ticket options available. www.nmni.com/home.aspx

Titanic Belfast, reopened August 1

The shimmering star-shaped Titanic Belfast is the biggest and best experience of the most famous ship in the world. Take your time and enjoy the journey over nine interactive galleries featuring special effects, dark rides and full-scale reconstructions. Walk through Victorian Belfast and meet the men who spent four years building the ill-fated ship before visiting the depths of the Atlantic Ocean, her final resting place. Prices include adult £19, children between 5-16 £8.50, children under 5 go free, family ticket £46.50. https://titanicbelfast.com/

Hillsborough Castle and Gardens, Co Down, open since July 30

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Hillborough Garden Festival

Hillborough Garden Festival

Northern Ireland Tourist Board

Hillborough Garden Festival


On a 45-minute tour of the elegant Georgian castle, in the charming village of Hillsborough, you follow in the footsteps of world leaders and meander through plush and lovingly restored State Rooms. There are many layers of stories here, and your guide will share hundreds of years' worth of tales, about celebrations, entertainment, diplomacy and negotiations. You can also enjoy the beautiful craft giftshop and award-winning food from the Yellow Door cafe. You must pre-book your ticket. Castle and garden tickets: Adult £13.70, Child £6.80. www.hrp.org.uk/hillsborough-castle/

Ulster Museum, Belfast, open since July 30

Everywhere you look in Belfast there is history to be seen and The National Museums are a great place to start. The Ulster Museum, a world to captivate the curious, this treasure house of the past and present offers something for art lovers, history buffs, excited children and the simply curious. Dive into the discovery zones of art, history and science as the museum's impressive collections take you across Ireland to all corners of the globe. Admission to the Ulster Museum is free. www.nmni.com/home.aspx

Navan Centre & Fort, Co Armagh, open since July 30

For a place where myth and reality meet, visit the Navan Centre & Fort home of the legendary Emain Macha, an ancient ceremonial monument. Learn the skills of an ancient warrior or enjoy the great tradition of storytelling. Tours are free for the month of August (open Thursday-Sunday 10am-5pm), although pre-booking is essential. Throughout the month, every week their living history team will showcase a new theme on Celtic life with full details available via their social media. www.visitarmagh.com/navan

Titanic Belfast, Hillsborough Castle and Gardens, Navan Centre & Fort along with all National Museums NI premises have received the 'We're Good to Go' industry standard, meaning that visitors can return safely in the knowledge that the museums each adhere to government and public health guidance on Covid-19.

Everyone is also reminded that booking in advance is required and numbers will be limited in order to comply with social distancing protocols.

Stay local while still getting away at discovernorthernireland.com. #DiscoverNI #EmbraceAGiantSpirit

Belfast Telegraph