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Clandeblog 10 must-visit museums in Northern Ireland

Discover Northern Ireland’s rich cultural heritage showcased in its museums and exhibitions. From the poignant history of the Titanic to the fascinating exhibits at the Ulster Museum, there’s something for every interest.

1. Titanic Museum, Belfast

Museums Northern Ireland, Titanic Belfast Museum
Titanic Museum, Courtesy of Chris Hill Photography

Standing tall as a tribute to Belfast's maritime heritage, the Titanic Museum in Belfast offers an immersive experience into the tragic yet fascinating story of the RMS Titanic. Visitors can explore interactive exhibitions, step aboard the SS Nomadic, and walk along the shipyard where the Titanic was constructed. This world-leading visitor attraction in Northern Ireland is a must if you're visiting the city!

Special Offer: Enjoy our Titanic Retreat package featuring an overnight stay, a three-course dinner, breakfast, and two tickets to Titanic Belfast, all from £260. The Titanic Museum is just a 20-minute drive from Clandeboye Lodge.

2. Ulster Museum, Belfast

Museums Northern Ireland, Ulster Museum
Ulster Museum, Courtesy of National Museums NI

From ancient artefacts to contemporary art, the Ulster Museum is Northern Ireland's treasure house of the past and present. Its diverse collections encompass collections of art, natural science and history offering insights into Northern Ireland's rich heritage. Plus, there's always new and exciting events and exhibitions taking place. With free entry, it makes for the perfect rainy day activity in Belfast for all ages!

3. North Down Museum, Bangor

Museums Northern Ireland, North Down Museum
North Down Museum, Courtesy of ANDBC

At the North Down Museum, visitors can explore the history of the Bangor area. Highlights include the Bronze Age Ballycroghan Swords, the Bangor Bell from the historic Bangor Abbey, and the Raven Maps - the only complete collection of Plantation era maps in Ireland. After your visit, enjoy a leisurely walk in the nearby Bangor Walled Gardens.

4. Ulster Folk Museum, Holywood

Museums Northern Ireland, Ulster Folk Museum
Ulster Folk Museum, courtesy of National Museums NI

Transporting visitors back in time, the Ulster Folk Museum offers a glimpse into rural life in Northern Ireland during the early 20th century. Experience rural Northern Irish life with authentic cottages, traditional crafts, and costumed interpreters who bring history to life. It's a perfect family outing and only 10 minutes’ drive from Clandeboye Lodge!

5. Ulster Transport Museum, Holywood

Museums Northern Ireland, Transport Museum
Ulster Transport Museum, courtesy of National Museums NI

Celebrating Northern Ireland's rich transportation heritage, the Ulster Transport Museum showcases an impressive collection of vintage vehicles, from steam trains to iconic automobiles. The museum now permanently hosts the first half of the 'Our Place in Space' sculpture trail, allowing families to embark on a journey from the Sun to Mars. Why not enjoy a bite to eat at the Coq & Bull brasserie before or after your visit?

6. Crumlin Road Gaol, Belfast

Museums Northern Ireland, Crumlin Road Gaol
Crumlin Road Gaol, Courtesy of Tourism Northern Ireland

Crumlin Road Gaol is one of Belfast’s most popular tourist attractions. Uncover stories of incarceration, rebellion, and redemption on a guided tour and learn the history of Northern Ireland through its criminal justice system.

7. Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh

Museums Northern Ireland, Ulster American Folk Park
Ulster American Folk Park, courtesy of National Museums NI

The Ulster American Folk Park is where the story of emigration to North America comes to life. Set amidst rolling countryside, this outdoor museum in Omagh recreates the emigrant experience. Learn about lives left behind, the hardships endured on the journey and the pioneering spirit of building new lives in a new land.

8. The Saint Patrick Centre, Downpatrick

Museums Northern Ireland, The Saint Patrick Centre
The Saint Patrick Centre

This unique exhibition is the only one in the world dedicated to St. Patrick! Recently refurbished in 2024, visitors can listen to the words of Patrick himself as read by film star Ciaran Hinds, and discover his incredible life story.

9. The Tower Museum, Derry/Londonderry

Museums Northern Ireland, Tower Museum
Derry Girls exhibition, courtesy of The Tower Museum

Another must visit Northern Ireland museum is located within the historic city walls of Derry. The Tower Museum features two main exhibitions - 'The Story of Derry' provides a detailed look at the city's complex history, while 'An Armada Shipwreck - La Trinidad Valencera' explores the fascinating story of this Spanish Armada ship's wreck. It also hosts the Derry Girls Experience, an interactive exhibit celebrating the beloved TV show with original props and displays.

10. HMS Caroline, Belfast

Museums Northern Ireland, HMS Caroline
HMS Caroline, Tourism Ireland photographed by Chris Hill

Having been a part of Belfast's history for almost 100 years, HMS Caroline is now an iconic fixture of the Titanic Quarter. Restored to its former glory, this floating museum offers a fascinating glimpse into life aboard a World War I warship.

Where to stay in Northern Ireland

Clandeboye Lodge Hotel

Stay at Clandeboye Lodge, perfectly positioned in Bangor, just 20 minutes drive from Belfast. Our stylish bedrooms, surrounded by beautiful woodlands and next to plenty of scenic walks, make for an ideal base to explore the museums in Northern Ireland. You can also enjoy the finest local and seasonal Northern Irish cuisine at our on-site Coq & Bull brasserie. Why not check out our special offers?

Travellers Choice 2023 Good Hotel 202324 1 Green Tourism 9.3 Superb - Booking.com Georgina Campbell Award 2023