One of the most exceptional buildings in the Belfast City is Queen's University. The University has its roots in the Belfast Academical Institution, which was founded in 1810. The present university was first chartered as "Queen's College, Belfast" in 1845, when it was associated with the simultaneously founded Queens College, Cork and Queens College, Galway as part of the Queens University of Ireland - founded to encourage higher education for Catholics and Presbyterians, as a counterpart to Trinity College, Dublin, then an Anglican institution. Queen's College, Belfast opened in 1849. Its main building, the Lanyon Building, was designed by the English architect, Sir Charles Lanyon.
In addition to the main campus not far from the centre of Belfast, the university has two associated university colleges, these being St. Mary’s and Stranmills both also located in Belfast. Although offering a range of degree courses, these colleges primarily provide training for those wishing to enter the teaching profession. The university has formal agreements with other colleges in Northern Ireland and operates several outreach schemes to rural areas.
While the university refers to its main site as a campus, the university's buildings are in fact spread over a number of public streets in South Belfast, centred round University Road, University Square and Stranmills Road, with other departments located further afield.
In 2006, the university announced a £259 million investment programme focusing on facilities, recruitment and research.
Queens University main building is open to the public and there are guided tours in the summer months.