Today marks the arrival of a new, free attraction for Belfast City – the Golden Mile Walking Trail. The concept has been developed by Linen Quarter Business Improvement District (LQ BID) to draw more footfall in to the city, and support attractions and businesses as a result.
The walking trail stretches from City Hall to Ulster Museum beside Botanic Gardens, with 20 different attractions along the way. A colourful leaflet and map, available from Visit Belfast, will guide participants through the Linen Quarter, and along the Golden Mile – famously the centre of the City’s nightlife in the 80’s – before culminating at Botanic Gardens in the neighbouring Queens Quarter. The trail points out some of the city’s characterful and historic architecture, hero attractions and vibrant hospitality hotspots. A complementary social media campaign will highlight key events and activities taking place throughout the summer.
Sights and attractions include art galleries, museums and entertainment venues such the Naughton and Carey Galleries, Grand Opera House, Empire Music Hall and Queen’s Film Theatre. Outdoor sculpture is celebrated through the likes of Flying Figures, Eco and the Thomas Thompson Fountain while the architectural highlights encompass both the magnificent Lanyon Building and the modern brutalism of Ulster Museum. Over 70 cafés, bars, restaurants and hotels are detailed on the Golden Mile map, making it easy to pitstop for a coffee, cocktail or delicious local cuisine.
It is anticipated that the activity will appeal to a wide range of people including families looking for free fun this summer, couples looking for a culturally-rich and unique date night, along with tourists who will want to explore these historic districts. The attraction reflects the city’s new emphasis on sustainability and authentic local experiences. As well as encouraging zero carbon travel, the trail connects three sets of public gardens and green lawns at City Hall, Crescent Park, and Botanic.
Chief Executive of National Museums NI and Chair of Visit Belfast, Kathryn Thomson, said: “The Golden Mile Walking Trail is a great addition to our city’s activity programme, as we continue to promote Belfast as a tourist destination. With many people choosing to stay at home this summer, providing affordable and enjoyable experiences for locals is an important part of supporting the city’s recovery.
“Having a presence on the Trail provides an opportunity for Ulster Museum to connect with more visitors. Our museums are for everyone and a key part of our role is to create positive experiences that support mental and physical wellbeing. We are excited to be an anchor destination on this innovative new concept.”
LQ BID has ambitions to further develop the Golden Mile Walking Trail. The organisation’s role in the city is to ensure that the Linen Quarter – home to many of Belfast’s best-known organisations, hotels, bars and restaurants – remains a vibrant, inviting place to do business and for people to enjoy socially. Supporting businesses to recover from the pandemic is crucial, according to Chris McCracken, Managing Director of LQ BID.
Chris said: “We’ve developed the Golden Mile Walking Trail to encourage more footfall across the Linen Quarter and Queens Quarter, and help people appreciate the architecture, culture, history, social experiences.
“One of our objectives is to support arts and culture, entertainment and hospitality. We want to celebrate our vibrant local offering and are proud that the leaflet, map and social media campaign will help promote almost 100 different venues throughout the Linen Quarter and Queen’s Quarter.
“This summer we’ll also be introducing significant transformations to shared public spaces across the Linen Quarter in partnership with Belfast City Council, Department for Infrastructure and Department for Communities. Initiatives include a vibrant hospitality hub at Brunswick Street and Blackstaff Square, two new parklets at Linenhall Street, additional outdoor space at Bedford Street, as well as new planting and overhead lighting. Our aim is to re-imagine the Linen Quarter as the most social and sustainable district in Northern Ireland, and a great place to work, stay, visit or invest.”
The Golden Mile Walking Trail can be enjoyed at any time beginning at City Hall with handheld maps available from Visit Belfast’s offices on Donegall Square.
For more information, visit linenquarter.org