Belfast is the capital city of Northern Ireland, standing on the banks of the River Lagan. The city is known for its links to the Titanic ocean liner, footballer George Best, prestigious Queen's University and the immensely popular television series Game of Thrones, which was mostly filmed at Paint Hall studios, one of the largest film studios in Europe. Furthermore, several big names from entertainment were born in Northern Ireland, including Jamie Dornan from Fifty Shades of Grey, James Nesbitt from The Hobbit, and Liam Neeson from the Taken film franchise.
If you're searching for filming locations in Belfast, you're truly spoiled for choice. The city is home to major film studios, idyllic parks, green spaces and magnificent architecture. Our short guide to finding filming locations in Belfast will help you plan a successful filming shoot in the city.
Filming Options in Belfast
Suppose you've decided to film your next production in beautiful Belfast. In that case, you'll need some assistance from various highly qualified companies, including but not limited to acting agencies, recording studios and makeup artists. We've found a few companies from each category that might suit your needs.
- Acting Agencies
If you're looking to hire actors, Belfast is home to several reputable acting agencies to help you secure the right people to star in your film production.
- Studio Space
Hiring a studio place for filming or photography purposes has never been easier. Belfast is home to several highly-rated studio spaces available for hire, containing helpful equipment and plenty of space for your cast and crew to prepare for the shoot.
- Makeup Artists
Hiring a reputable and experienced makeup artist will ensure that your cast looks the part. Thankfully, Belfast is home to several highly qualified makeup artists with plenty of experience working on popular television, film, music and theatre productions.
Filming Companies in Belfast
- Premier Artists
Established in 2012, Premier Artists is a leading acting agency based in Belfast. The dynamic agency provides top-class actors for projects in film, TV, theatre and other productions. Actors represented by the agency have gone on to work on prestigious productions, including Line of Duty, The Fall, Ripper Street and Game of Thrones.
- Unit 1G1
Located on Crumlin Road in Belfast, Unit 1G1 is a creative workspace containing large windows, a white-walled studio space that can be used for filming or photo shoots, a changing room and a makeup desk. In the past, the space has been used by prestigious organisations such as the BBC, Channel 4 and Tatler and can be hired on both weekdays and weekends.
- Connie McGrath Makeup Artist
Connie McGrath is a multi-award-winning makeup artist based in Northern Ireland. Since she graduated from university, Connie has worked on various film, television, music, and theatrical productions, including Dracula Untold (2013) and Lost City of Z (2015). Connie has built up a wealth of experience in the industry and continues to work as Lead Makeup Artist on film and theatre sets today.
Pros and Cons of Filming in Belfast
- Green Spaces
Belfast is one of the top cities in the United Kingdom for its green spaces. Popular green areas include the Botanic Gardens, Stormont Estate, Lagan Valley Regional Park and Cave Hill. So if you're looking to film scenes outdoors, you're spoiled for choice in Belfast.
- Proximity to the Coast
Several lovely beaches are easily accessible from Belfast. Crowd favourites include Helen's Bay, Crawfordsburn Beach and Ballywater Beach, all of which are within 20 miles of the city.
Belfast has a long and fascinating history. If you're interested in the history of Northern Ireland, a visit to the city's many museums is in order. Popular museums in Belfast include Ulster Museum, Titanic Belfast, SS Nomadic and W5.
Like much of the United Kingdom, Belfast experiences a fair amount of rain due to its oceanic climate. Winters in the city are typically cold and rainy, and summers are mild, but they are usually rainy. So regardless of the season, come prepared for rain if you're visiting!
- Isolated from Other Cities
Due to its location, Belfast is somewhat isolated from other large towns or cities. The country's closest major city is Dublin, Ireland, around 87 miles south. So if you're looking for a well-connected city, Belfast might not be for you. However, the city offers plenty of activities and amenities, meaning that unless you're seeking rolling hills and countryside, you won't need to leave.
Famous Locations in Belfast
- Titanic Belfast
The Titanic, which sadly sank into the Atlantic Ocean in 1912, was designed, built and launched in Belfast by shipbuilding company Harland and Wolff. Titanic Belfast tells the story of the voyage that saw approximately 1,500 people tragically lose their lives. Located in the Titanic Quarter of Belfast, the attraction explores the vessel's history. Titanic Belfast has also been visited by James Cameron, the director of the 1997 film Titanic starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.
- Belfast Castle
Located in Cave Hill Country Park, Belfast Castle offers incredible views of the city. The first Belfast Castle structure was built in the late 12th century but has since fallen into ruin. In the 17th-century, a second castle was built. Unfortunately, this structure was last to a devastating fire only 100 years later. In the mid-19th century, another castle was built by the Donegall family on the same spot. Then, in the 20th-century, the building was given to the city of Belfast. After extensive renovation, the spectacular castle is now a popular venue for weddings, events and business meetings.
- Cave Hill Country Park
For many years, Cave Hill Country Park has been synonymous with Belfast. The park offers spectacular panoramic views of the city, an adventure playground, fascinating archaeological sites, a visitor centre, an eco-trail, gardens and refreshments. The impressive landmark is named over the five caves located on the cliffs. Cave Hill's most famous feature, Napoleon's Nose, is thought to be the inspiration for Jonathan Swift's popular novel Gulliver's Travels.