Causeway Coastal Route | Northern Ireland

The Causeway Coast is rated as one of the Top Five Road Trips in the world. When you drive it, you will know why. Starting in Belfast then following the coast road through the nine Glens of Antrim, winding between picturesque villages as well as unforgettable scenic locations.

Larne is known as the Gateway to the Glens. Once you set off the coast road from Larne you can enjoy a vast array of scenery from one beautiful sea hugging road until you reach Portrush and beyond.

Carnfunnock Country Park

An excellent day out for all the family, the park is packed full of exciting and unusual attractions, in a spectacular setting overlooking the Antrim Coast. Highlights include an outdoor adventure playground, family fun zone, nine-hole golf course, walled garden, walking trails, geocaching, a hedge maze in the shape of Northern Ireland, caravan and camping site and and a modern visitor centre/café.

The Gobbins Cliff Path

Excite all the senses on this exhilarating cliff-face path, which was first enjoyed in the early 1900s. Located on the scenic Islandmagee peninsula, the attraction has been reborn and reimagined for the 21st century giving unparalleled access to the rugged Antrim Coast. The dramatic and challenging path includes spectacular tubular and suspension bridges, caves, steps and tunnels. There is also a fascinating Visitor Centre and cliff-top path.

Slemish Hike

With its unmistakable profile rising above the surrounding plain, this extinct volcano has always captivated visitors. Slemish is famous as the location where, according to legend, Saint Patrick tended sheep for six years after being captured and taken to Ireland. From a car park with interpretation, there is a looped walk ascending to the summit – a popular pilgrimage walk on Saint Patrick’s Day each year.

Carrickfergus Castle

Discover one of our most imposing monuments and one of Ireland’s best preserved medieval structures in this early stop off if you’re starting the route from Belfast. It was begun in 1177 by Anglo-Norman conqueror John DeCourcy and played an important military role up until 1928. You can visit throughout the year for fun family days out and to learn about the castle’s colourful history.

Glenarm Castle and Walled Garden

Visit the ancestral home of the McDonnells, Earls of Antrim, with its glorious Walled Garden packed full of natural and manmade features. Enjoy a treat in the charming tea-room, located in the 19th century Mushroom House. The castle itself is open on selected dates, where you can see superb examples of Irish furniture plus family portraits. Open Easter until end of September.

The Dark Hedges | Ballymoney

This iconic archway of intertwining beech trees has become one of our most photographed natural phenomena. It was planted by the Stuart family in the eighteenth century to impress visitors approaching the entrance to their Georgian mansion. Today the site is perhaps best known as a filming location in HBO’s Game of Thrones®; it doubled as The King’s Road in Season Two of the epic series.

Rathlin Island | North Coast Antrim

Take a day trip or stay over to experience the rugged beauty and tranquillity of Northern Ireland’s only inhabited offshore island, reached by ferry from Ballycastle. Follow one of the island’s scenic walking trails or hire a bicycle to explore the quiet roads. Learn about island life at the Boathouse Visitor Centre, watch the seal colonies, visit the island’s three lighthouses or the popular RSPB Seabird Centre situated at the distinctive West Lighthouse.

Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge | Causeway Coast

Take the exhilarating rope bridge challenge across to tiny Carrick-a-Rede island (a Site of Special Scientific Interest) and enjoy a truly cliff-top experience. Set amid unrivalled scenery on the North Antrim Coast, the 30-metre deep and 20-metre wide chasm is traversed by a rope bridge that was traditionally erected by Salmon fishermen. It’s a bit more sturdy these days but there’s still only one way off the island – back across the swinging bridge!

Photo Courtesy of Rob Durston ( www.durstonphoto.com )

Ballintoy Harbour | Game of Thrones Set | Iron Islands

This small, picturesque fishing harbour is a short detour from Ballintoy village. Follow the narrow winding road downhill past the white-washed Ballintoy Parish Church one of Ireland’s most photographed churches. The harbour’s stunning natural setting led to it being used as a filming location in the fantasy TV series Game of Thrones®, as exterior Pyke shots and as the Iron Islands.

Giants Causeway | Causeway Coastal Route

Not to be missed on any itinerary is this geological wonder which gives the route its name. The Giant’s Causeway sits at the centre of an Area of Outstanding Beauty and is Northern Ireland’s only World Heritage Site, famously steeped in myth and legend. Begin your visit at the state-of-the-art Visitor Centre then stroll down to the intriguing polygonal stones to search out distinctive formations such as the Camel, Wishing Chair, Granny and Organ.

Old Bushmills Distillery

Take a guided tour through the heart of Ireland’s oldest working distillery, its original grant signed by King James I in 1608. The finest Irish whiskeys have been produced here for over 400 years, using the same traditional methods and the water from the distillery’s own stream. Take in the sights and smells, enjoy tutored tastings and relax with a whiskey (or soft drink) in the 1608 Bar at the end of your tour, before browsing the excellent gift shop.

Belfast Castle

It contains both parkland and mature mixed woodland and offers superb views of the city from a variety of vantage points. The estate is home to many different species of wildlife, including long-eared owls, sparrowhawks and Belfast’s rarest plant, the town hall clock.

Ulster Museum

Come face to face with dinosaurs, meet an Egyptian mummy and see modern masterpieces at the Ulster Museum, Belfast. A world to captivate the curious, this treasure house of the past and present offers something for art lovers, history buffs, excited children and the simply curious. Dive into the discovery zones of art, history and science as the museum’s impressive collections take you across Ireland to all corners of the globe.

Titanic Experience

Titanic Belfast is a ‘must see’ on any trip to Belfast and has become the most popular tourist attraction in Northern Ireland and one of the top attractions in Ireland. Housed in an iconic, six-floor building, Titanic Belfast is located in the heart of Belfast, right beside the historic site of this world-famous ship’s construction.

The Titanic experience takes you through nine galleries, telling the story of RMS Titanic, from her conception in Belfast in the early 1900s, through her construction and launch, to her famous maiden voyage and tragic end. The galleries are innovative and interactive with many features including diving to the depth of the ocean to explore where RMS Titanic now rests. The Titanic story is told at Titanic Belfast in a fresh and insightful way.

Crumlin Road Gaol

On the 31st March 1996 Crumlin Road Gaol slammed shut its doors for what many thought would be the final time, but, on the 19th November 2012 the chains fell off and HMP Belfast was reborn as a major visitor attraction and conference centre. Today you can take a guided tour of the prison and hear about the history of the site from when women and children were held within its walls through to the political segregation of republican and loyalist prisoners and learn about why the decision was taken to close the prison.