Published: 26th July 2023
Discover a treasure trove of family fun at Belfast Maritime Festival
Belfast’s rich maritime history and spirit of innovation will take centre stage with a host of free family activities on Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 September.
The Belfast Maritime Festival will take place along the city’s Maritime Mile, with activities stretching across Queen’s Quay to HMS Caroline in the Titanic Quarter.
Visitors can enjoy nautical-themed fun from 11am each day, including live music and pop-up performances, street entertainers and the colourful Belfast Bazaar, featuring the very best local produce and crafts.
The first ever ‘Science Street’ on Titanic Slipways will host an array of fun interactive activities, demonstrations and live shows exploring topics such as navigation, marine biology, climate change and biodiversity. Whether you’re a seasoned science enthusiast or a curious learner, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
The youngest crew members will love the hands-on activities delivered by Wee Critters and Mini Explorers over at the Kids’ Zone at Queen’s Quay, while a flotilla of vessels and ships will dock at Queen’s Quay and Belfast Harbour Marina, where visitors can hop on board to meet the crew and experience life at sea.
The visiting ships will include Granuaile (Irish Lights), Leader, Brian Boru and La Malouine.
A diverse music programme, featuring over 40 leading musicians from across NI, will take place in outdoor venues across the Maritime Mile, celebrating homegrown talents and marking Belfast’s status as a UNESCO City of Music.
Featuring Americana, trad, jazz, opera, bluegrass, classical, indie and folk artists, highlights will include the Maritime Festival Showcase on Saturday 9 September, with four leading singer-songwriters and NI Music Prize winners, premieres especially commissioned for the festival, new collaborations and a 30-piece brass band. Then, on Sunday 10 September, come and experience the power of 25 opera voices performing much-loved classic works together, presented by the award-winning Northern Ireland Opera.
Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Ryan Murphy, said: “I’m really excited by what’s on offer at this year’s Belfast Maritime Festival – always a very popular event with local families, as well as visitors travelling into Belfast to enjoy what’s on offer.
“The diverse line-up of free events and activities really brings our maritime and industrial heritage to life, while the sight of ships docking along the spectacular Maritime Mile is always something to be enjoyed.
“The addition of ‘Science Street’ offers visitors the chance to celebrate Belfast’s spirit of innovation and will inspire future generations to explore more, while there’s so many opportunities to enjoy the very best of our local talent, through live music and street theatre performances, great food and handcrafted products at the Belfast Bazaar.
“I’d encourage everyone to put Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 September in their diaries and get on board for a weekend of fun!”
The Belfast Maritime Festival has been organised by Belfast City Council and is supported by Tourism NI, delivered in partnership with Maritime Belfast Trust, Belfast Harbour, Odyssey Trust, the Department for Communities and Titanic Quarter Ltd.
Aine Kearney, Director of Events at Tourism NI, said: “Tourism NI is delighted to support the return of the Belfast Maritime Festival, a much-needed post-pandemic boost to the wider tourism and hospitality industry with a projected economic benefit of circa £1.5 million.
“The event is a great opportunity to showcase this key Titanic and Maritime Belfast heritage destination and its wealth of visitor experiences. This immersive event will further awaken the giant spirit in our visitors, igniting their sense of discovery and demonstrating the warm welcome Northern Ireland offers to all.”
Visitors attending the Belfast Maritime Festival are encouraged to walk, cycle or take public transport to reach the event activities.
Walk or cycle along the quaysides all the way to HMS Caroline. Cycle parking is available outside Titanic Belfast and there are also Belfast Bike docks at the SSE Arena and SS Nomadic.
You can also hop on the Glider from Belfast city centre directly to the Titanic Quarter or travel by train to Titanic Quarter Halt.
For more event information, visit belfastcity.gov.uk/maritime