Belfast Lough

Belfast Lough

There are over 100 species of birds and other wildlife to be found at Belfast WOW (Window on Wildlife) throughout the year, but don't worry if you're not an ID expert - trained staff and volunteers are on hand to help you identify what you see.

The birds that make their home at Belfast WOW come and go with the tide. The best time to visit is at high tide each day. To find out when high tide is visit the Belfast Harbour Commissioner's website.

As you look out over the reserve towards the famous Cavehill, you might spot our resident konik ponies which graze the reserve to help keep it in the best condition for wintering wildfowl and ground-nesting birds like lapwings.

Belfast WOW has two new hides which offer great views of nature. They are constructed from shipping containers to tie in with their natural surroundings.

The reserve now also boasts a sand martin bank and swift tower. We hope that they will attract these threatened species and provide cosy hideaways for them to nest in when they arrive on these shores in spring, having travelled thousands of miles from Africa.

With lots more indoor space, including a community room and refreshment area, the visitor centre is now full of interactive interpretation for all the family, including information on the rich history of the harbour and the formation of the reserve back in 1998.


Accessible toilets
Accessible parking
Family and Children
The RSPB offer an events programme with lots for young and old to get involved in. In the visitor centre there is a small library to keep little ones entertained, lots of interpretation for them to enjoy, and baby changing facilities should you need them.

Opening Hours

Belfast WOW is open every day except Tuesday, from 10 am-4 pm in the winter and 10 am-5 pm in the summer. Access to Holywood Banks and Whitehouse Lagoon is available all year round, but there is no access to the Harbour Meadows.



As a charity, the RSPB is reliant on donations from members and supporters to help run its sites, so a small entry charge for non-RSPB members has been intorduced at Belfast WOW. You can easily become a member - just ask the team at Belfast WOW. You can then enjoy free access, as well as all the other benefits that RSPB membership brings. If you are already an RSPB member and have lost your card, email us or call 01767 693680 to get a replacement card sent to you. For non-members, the charge is £3 for adults and £1.50 for children and other concessions.


No charge

Getting There

From the main A2 Belfast to bangor Road, take the exit for Holywood Exchange. Follow signage for 'Belfasts Window on Wildlife'.

Walk Trails

Circular, 1 miles

Victoria Park. Oasis for wildlife in Belfast.

Linear, 16 miles

North Down Coastal Path. Relatively flat scenic coastline.

Circular, 1.5 miles

Holywood Town Walk and Cultural Trail. A short historical walk around the town of Holywood.


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+44 (0) 28 9046 1458


RSPB Belfast Lough
Airport Road West

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This site is funded
courtesy of
Big Lottery Fund Ulster Garden Villages
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