The Stormont Estate is home to Northern Ireland’s main government buildings. In addition to parkland and woodland, the 407-acre (165-hectare) estate contains the Parliament Buildings, the seat of the Northern Ireland Assembly; Stormont Castle, the seat of the Northern Irish Executive; and Stormont House, home to the Northern Ireland Office.
Visitors can explore the Parliament Buildings on free 45-minute guided tours that visit key rooms in the complex, including the Great Hall, the Senate Chamber, and the Assembly Chamber, and impart information about the history and architecture of the Parliament Buildings. The grounds, meanwhile, can be explored independently—just follow the woodland paths and peruse the historic sculptures and monuments dotted around the estate.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Stormont Estate and Parliament Buildings are a must for political junkies and families.
- A kid-friendly playground, complete with slides and swings, is situated near the Upper Newtownards Road park entrance.
- The estate features picnic areas, a café, toilets, and a dog park.
How to Get There
The Stormont Estate is on the east side of Belfast, about 5 miles (8 kilometers) from the city center. Metro bus lines 20a and 23 run to and from Stormont, while hop-on hop-off bus tours connect Stormont to Belfast city center.
When to Get There
While the estate itself is open to the public seven days a week, tours of the parliament building take place Monday–Friday only. Tours depart hourly between 11am and 2pm during July and August, and twice a day the rest of the year (11am and 2pm). The best time to visit is summer, when the warmer weather makes exploring the grounds more enjoyable.
The Parliament Buildings
Constructed between 1928 and 1932, the classical-style Parliament Buildings are among the largest and most eye-catching structures on the Stormont Estate. The buildings are rife with architectural symbolism, with six stories and six entrance pillars representing the six counties of Northern Ireland, and a 365-foot length representing the 365 days of the year. The architect, Arnold Thornley, was knighted for his work by King George V.