Guided tour highlights
A guided tour of City Hall lasts around one hour. The tour allows you an extraordinary glimpse into areas not usually accessible to the public within the beautiful Baroque Revival building. Ascending the Grand Staircase, an experienced guide will lead you through rooms beginning in the Italian and Greek marble clad Rotunda. They will highlight the John Luke mural and the ‘Whispering gallery’ high up in the central dome.
Lord mayors' portraits
As your guide navigates you through the corridors of City Hall, they will draw your attention to the tradition of hanging a portrait of the former Lord Mayor each year in City Hall. Each painting which is entirely different to its predecessor will come alive as your guide reveals the secrets hidden in their imagery. You can also see one portrait which has become a poignant relic of City Hall’s damage during the Blitz of 1941 hanging unrestored as a quiet memorial to the many citizens who lost their lives.
In the ‘Robing Room’ your guide will explain the significance each item of civic regalia on display including the magnificent jewels of the Lady Mayoress of Belfast, worn since 1897 and which are encrusted with diamonds, rubies, opals, turquoise and emeralds.
For many the highlight of the guided tour of City Hall will be your opportunity to sit where the 60 elected members of Belfast’s City Council meet for their monthly council meeting. You can examine fascinating artefacts including the two royal thrones used by George V and Queen Mary during the state opening of the Parliament of Northern Ireland, held in the room in June 1921.
City Hall rooms
City Hall hosts over 500 events on an annual basis meaning the function rooms are rarely vacant. When possible, your guide will grant you a glimpse behind the scenes of this busy working public building and into these magnificent rooms. Admire their extraordinary plasterwork, hand carved woodwork and hand woven silk and wool carpets as you pass through these spaces in the footsteps of royalty, presidents and figures of Belfast’s illustrious past.
Daily guided tours
Daily public guided tours are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Tours are free. All public tours are in English.
Our guided public tours are available:
- Monday to Friday at 11am, 2pm and 3pm
- Saturday, Sunday and bank holidays at 12 noon, 2pm and 3pm
A group of 10 or more people must contact firstname.lastname@example.org to organise a private tour rather than joining a public tour which has limited places. Visitors must come to City Hall reception 15 minutes before the tour time.
Donations are accepted for the development of the tour service. There are donation boxes at City Hall reception. To make sure there are no disruptions to public tours, we don't allow translations to take place during tours.
Guided tours for commercial tour operators
Private tours are available to commercial tour operators at a charge. Tours for commercial tour operators must be booked at least seven days in advance and outside public tour times. Private groups can provide a translator to assist in the delivery of a tour alongside one of our tour guides. To enquire about a translation tour, email email@example.com
For information about charges, availability and to book, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Guided tours for community or school groups
Private tours are available free to school and community groups. A group must have between 10 and 50 people. A private tour must be booked at least seven days in advance and outside public tour times.
To enquire about availability and to book, email email@example.com
Our guided tours are accessible to visitors with disabilities. If you have specific enquiry about the needs of a visitor or group of guests, contact us. To plan your visit and read City Hall accessibility information, go to Plan your visit.