During coronavirus (COVID-19), to help with social distancing, we are trialling a one-way system at the Waterworks. It is very important that everyone observes strict social distancing in our parks. A safe distance means staying at least two metres from everyone else in the park.
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.
Green Flag awards
The Waterworks has been awarded a Green Flag every year from 2012 to 2019. This award recognises the best open spaces in the UK.
We have a mobile coffee kiosk at the Waterworks.
To find out about events and activities in Belfast parks, go to Park events.
Park opening hours
|29 July – 11 August 2020||9.30pm (9pm for Botanic Gardens)|
|12 – 25 August 2020||9pm|
|26 August – 1 September 2020||8.30pm|
|2 – 15 September 2020||8pm
|16 – 29 September 2020||7.30pm|
|30 September – 13 October 2020||7pm|
|14 – 20 October 2020||6.30pm|
|21 – 27 October 2020||5.30pm|
|28 October – 10 November 2020||5pm|
|11 November – 31 December 2020||4.30pm|