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History Tours

Due to the ongoing Covid-19 Pandemic, the Trustees of Belfast Charitable Society have taken the decision to cancel all upcoming tours.

All those with reservations have been contacted and the Board will continue to review the situation moving forward.

The history of Belfast begins at Clifton House. Established as Belfast’s Poor House in 1774 by the famous Joy and McCracken families, thousands of people, young and old, local citizens and passing sailors, all sought sanctuary within its walls.  Set up by the philanthropic merchants of the town, the Belfast Charitable Society and its home in Clifton House, has survived rebellions and revolutions, while looking after the welfare of the people of the city. Today, over 260 years later, the Belfast Charitable Society continues to tackle disadvantage, by using proceeds from tour admissions to support those in greatest need.

Online Talks and Tours
Coming Soon

Due to the continued disruption caused by Covid-19, tours and talks will soon be offered online.


Groups tours – Currently closed due to Covid-19

Groups can book a guided tour of Clifton House by phoning 028 9099 7022 to arrange a time and date in advance or by emailing Group rates for tours of 15 or more are available.

Check out our  Facebook page or  Twitter feed for further details.

Unfortunately our tours are temporarily not accessible for wheelchair users or those with mobility issues.  We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.


“On behalf of the Carryduff Historical Society I would like to thank you once again for giving us such an excellent and informative tour on Monday night. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed it and we all came away with a completely new outlook on such an iconic building and cemetery.” Gordon Hunt, Chairman, Carryduff Historical Society

“On behalf of First Lisburn Presbyterian Women, I would like to very warmly thank you and all the staff for the tour we had on Wednesday last. You especially inspired the ladies with your wonderful knowledge of the history of Clifton House. In just over three years in the chair of the group,  I have never had so many phones calls, text messages  and letters how much  the ladies enjoyed the day,  so very many thanks to you.” Maureen Staniland, First Lisburn Presbyterian Women’s Group

“Excellent, very informative guide.  Thoroughly enjoyed our visit.” Linda Swindle, Lisnaskea Historical Society

“Great Tour – Thank you!” Adrian Powter, Cambridge

“My sister and I had the pleasure of taking the tour of Clifton House and graveyard on Friday 25th August.  Please pass on our thanks to the guide – Aaron.  Wonderful and educational.  Filled with enthusiasm and knowledge.  Has inspired me to discover more  – and I consider myself quite a “history buff”!!  Thank you once more.”  Shirley McMillan, Visitor to Clifton House & Clifton Street Cemetery.

“What a wonderful day we had at Clifton House and I speak on behalf of all who were fortunate to attend. All arrangements worked out admirably. Please pass on our thanks to the Catering team for the part that they played. Also to Aaron. What a gem you have in him as you would have witnessed. I can see another tour to Clifton House in the New Year.”

Ken Canavan U3A Causeway Coast

“Went on this tour and very glad we did. Great presentation with insights about social care, philanthropy, health, politics and religion, architecture and lots of stories. Important part of Belfast’s history. Thanks for keeping it alive. For visitors and locals alike.”

Peter Corry, Leeds

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