Skip to main content

Waterworks

The Waterworks has a community garden, where local volunteers grow their own fruit and vegetables. The park has two children's playgrounds. The Waterworks is also a popular spot for walkers and offers several varied routes. The park has a multi-sports facility. We have installed public access defibrillators for park users.

History of the Waterworks

The Belfast Waterworks were established in the early 1840s by the Water Commissioner. The site supplied water to the city's factories and residents for 20 years before demand began to outstrip supply.

In 1897 a public meeting was held to decide the future of the Waterworks and a suggestion was made that the site should be used for water-based activities.

The site's owners, the Water Board, were initially hesitant, as their operation licence only extended to providing the city with water and they did not want to sell their land to the Belfast Corporation. Following an Act of Parliament in 1889, the Water Board were allowed to use the Waterworks for leisure, provided they spent no more than £500 a year on the site.

Tom Boyce, a boating contractor who operated the Ormeau ferry across the River Lagan, was commissioned by the Water Board to provide 12 rowing boats for the site. Public bathing and diving were allowed. Swimming galas and speedboat racing began in 1929. Model yacht sailing was allowed in 1933.

Belfast Corporation bought the Waterworks in 1956. They decided to partially fill in both of the site's reservoirs for safety.

Since then, the upper pond has been stocked with trout for the local angling club and two manmade islands have been added to encourage waterfowl to breed.

Other attractions at the Waterworks

The Waterworks is an oasis for wildfowl. You can find greylag geese and mute swans, as well as mallards, tufted ducks, coots, pochards, goldeneyes, cormorants and great-crested grebes in the park. You can also find redwings and fieldfares feeding on the grass. Visitors can enjoy the ponds and scenic views.

Getting to the Waterworks

Enter the park at Antrim Road or Cavehill Road. If you are travelling by bus, take Metro no.1A-H from Belfast city centre, or plan your journey with Translink (link opens in new window).

Green Flag awards

The Waterworks has been awarded a Green Flag every year from 2012 to 2022. This award recognises the best open spaces in the UK.

Park events

To find out what events and activities are on in our parks, go to Park events.

Parkrun

The Waterworks hosts a 5km parkrun every Saturday at 9.30am and a 2km junior parkrun every Sunday at 9.30am.

Park opening times

Our parks open at 7.30am every day. Closing times change as daylight lengthens or shortens.

Date Closing time 
2024
7 April to 13 April  8pm
14 April to 27 April 8.30pm
28 April to 11 May 9pm
12 May to 25 May 9.30pm
26 May to 20 July 10pm
21 July to 3 August 9.30pm
4 August to 24 August 9pm
25 August to 31 August 8.30pm
1 September to 14 September 8pm
15 September to 28 September 7pm
29 September to 19 October 6.30pm
20 October to 26 October 6pm
27 October to 9 November 5.30pm
10 to 23 November 5pm
24 November to 31 December 4.30pm

Map of Waterworks

Skip the Google Map

Parks

Waterworks, Antrim Road, Belfast BT14 6NG

Read aloud icon Read aloud