If you’re in search of the best things to do in Lisburn in Antrim, you’ve landed in the right place.
Once upon a time, it was the heart of the nation’s linen industry, where mills, spinning factories, and fields of flax dominated the area.
Though times have changed, it’s still a great city to check out and there are countless things to do in Lisburn. Here’s some of our favourites.
Our favourite things to do in Lisburn
As Lisburn is a handy 8 miles (13 km) from Northern Ireland’s capital, it’s one of the best spots for day trips from Belfast.
The first section of this guide is packed with our favourite things to do in Lisburn, from the mighty Hillsborough Castle and it’s glorious gardens to the Ulster Aviation Society.
1. Hillsborough Castle and Gardens
As a working royal residence, Hillsborough Castle is where members of the royal family will stay on visits to Northern Ireland. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a nosey around as well!
Open to the public, the guided tour takes in the iconic throne room, as well as a wealth of drawing rooms, dining rooms, and suites. Outside, the vast gardens take in more than 100-acres, with pristine lawns, orchards, vegetable gardens, and amazing floral displays.
When hunger strikes, the Castle Café is a top choice for a superbly fresh feed.
2. Ulster Aviation Society
You don’t have to be a fan of flight to enjoy an afternoon at the Ulster Aviation Society. This former RAF base set in a historic hangar is now home to more than 30 aircraft, lovingly restored to their former glory.
As you stroll along, you’ll see planes from the second world war, as well as commercial craft and helicopters. It’s more than likely that you’ll also get a chance to see a restoration in progress.
The guided tour offers a fascinating insight into the history of the hangar, as well as the various aircraft within it. This is one of the best things to do in Lisburn with hard to amuse kids!
3. Wallace Park
Conveniently located right next to the train station, Wallace Park is a fantastic place to stroll around on a sunny day. Once a private garden, it was given to the city of Lisburn in 1884 and it has been open to the public ever since.
Not an awful lot has changed in more than one hundred years, and it retains a Victorian garden feel. The footpaths are lined with trees that date back more than a century, while a historic bandstand still provides a great spot for occasional live music.
The duck pond is a hit with kids, while the newly renovated playground has heaps to keep the kids busy.
4. Irish Linen Centre & Lisburn Museum
Linen production might not sound like the most exciting topic in the world, but the Irish Linen Centre does a superb job of bringing this subject to life. With its ‘Flax to Fabric’ exhibition, you’ll learn all about how linen has been produced throughout the ages.
Real-life demonstrations and interactive exhibits showcase the sheer skill of the expert spinner or weaver, while a look into the Spinner’s Cottage gives you an insight into how every member of the family helped with the process.
fterward, check out some of the displays at the Lisburn Museum, which delves into the local history and culture of the town.
More mighty things to do in Lisburn and nearby
While there’s only a handful of things to do in Lisburn, there’s endless things to do nearby, which is why Lisburn is a great base to explore Antrim from.
Below, you’ll find everything from places to visit a short spin from Lisburn to where to go on a mini-day trip from the town.
1. The Glens of Antrim
The 9 glens of County Antrim, locally known as ‘The Glens’, are well worth checking out and from Lisburn, a short drive will take you to the heart of this area of outstanding natural beauty.
The scenery is absolutely stunning with each glen offering something a little different. Steeped in history, neolithic tombs and forts dot the area, lending a touch of mysticism to the land.
Spread across an area of around 20 square miles, it’s easy to visit a few different Glens in an afternoon. Or, if you’re up for a little exercise, there are plenty of walking routes that showcase the best of the glens.
2. Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park (15-minute drive)
Just a short drive into Belfast, Lady Dixon Park superb park for all manner of activities. It sprawls over 128 acres, taking in woodlands, meadows, and a wealth of different gardens.
The Japanese Garden provides a fantastic backdrop to a peaceful walk, complete with fish ponds and water features. Meanwhile, the iconic International Rose Garden has to be seen to be believed.
There are also playgrounds for the kids, as well as a number of walking trails to enjoy. When you need refreshments, head to Stables Coffee Shop.
3. Lisburn Cathedral
The spire of Lisburn Cathedral stretches high above any other building in the city, so finding the cathedral shouldn’t be too tricky! The church dates back to 1622, although various attacks, fires, and disasters left it in ruins.
Every time it was destroyed however, it was built back up again. The building that survives to this day mostly dates back to the 1700s/1800s.
The impressive architecture is sure to catch the eye, and it’s also worth checking out the inside. The cathedral is active, with daily sermons in the morning and evening. This is a handy option for those of you looking for things to do in Lisburn when it’s raining.
4. Colin Glen Forest Park (10-minute drive)
Looking for a little adventure during your stay in Lisburn? If so, Colin Glen Forest Park is the ideal place for you. Offering fun for all ages, this adventure park is full of adrenaline-pumping activities.
Take to the trees with the SKYTrek high-ropes, where you’ll be guided by professional instructors as you navigate the tree-scape. Later, try your hand at archery or laser tag. The Gruffalo Trail is a must for younger kids and there’s also an Alpine coaster that anyone can enjoy.
If you’re still looking for a thrill, the ziplines are sure to get your blood pumping. Besides all that, there are a number of sports facilities on-site, including a gym, football and rugby pitches, a 9-hole golf course, and much more.
5. Hillsborough Forest
Just down the road from Lisburn, you’ll find the quaint village of Hillsborough. The adjacent Hillsborough Forest Park covers almost 200-acres and is a superb place to spend a sunny afternoon.
A number of marked trails wind through the park, taking in lakes, views of the nearby castle, and a wealth of wildlife. In fact, it’s a great place to see less common birdlife, and if you take a seat by the lake, you might catch a glimpse of the various swans and ducks.
A kids’ playground keeps the little ones entertained and there are also several picnic areas. Alternatively, check out Percy’s Coffee for refreshments, or head into the village to one of the many cafes.
6. Divis & Black Mountain (15-minute drive)
If you feel like stretching your legs, a hike up the Black Mountain is a great choice while you’re in Lisburn. Just outside of Belfast, reaching the summit rewards you with amazing views over the city and beyond.
Pretty far beyond actually. It’s said that on a clear day it’s possible to see the Scottish, Welsh, and Cumbrian uplands rising up over the horizon. There are several hiking trails in the area, which is mostly comprised of heathland, bog, and loughs.
An array of wildlife call the region home, including peregrine falcons and red grouse so be sure to keep your eyes peeled. This is one of the best walks in Belfast for a reason.
7. Belfast City (20-minute drive)
If you’re staying in Lisburn, it’s well worth heading into neighbouring Belfast for a few hours or so. There’s a lot to do in the capital of Northern Ireland, a city famed for its lively atmosphere, vibrant local shops, amazing pubs, great food scene, and fascinating culture.
Strolling the city streets allows you to soak up the city vibes while dropping by one of the many pubs will allow you to soak up some of the local brews! It’s also a great place for a bit of shopping and sightseeing, with a number of intriguing museums to check out.
What to do in Lisburn: Where have we missed?
I’ve no doubt that we’ve unintentionally left out some brilliant places to visit in Lisburn from the guide above.
If you have a place that you’d like to recommend, let me know in the comments below and I’ll check it out!
FAQs about the best things to do in Lisburn
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from where to go in Lisburn when it’s raining to what are the best walks.
In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.
What are the best things to do in Lisburn?
It’s hard to go wrong with a visit to Hillsborough Castle and Gardens, Irish Linen Centre & Lisburn Museum, Wallace Park or the Ulster Aviation Society.
What is there to do in Lisburn when it’s raining?
A visit to Hillsborough Castle or the Irish Linen Centre are two good options. However, you could also take the short drive to Belfast where you’ll find plenty of indoor attractions.
Andy was once on a glorious worldwide trip on his equally glorious motorcycle. After 4 years, he’d still only made it as far as Eastern Europe, before falling in love with his surroundings and deciding to settle down a while. Nowadays, he spends his time writing about traveling through the places he once explored, normally while sipping a pint.