Tuesday, February 7, 2023
HomeTravel Tips18 Epic Stops Alongside the Causeway Coast in Northern Eire

18 Epic Stops Alongside the Causeway Coast in Northern Eire


Some posts on this web site include affiliate hyperlinks, that means in the event you e book or purchase one thing via certainly one of these hyperlinks, I could earn a small fee. Learn the total disclosure coverage right here.


Northern Eire is, for my part, one of many extra underrated elements of Europe. Sure, it shares an island with the Republic of Eire, and each of these nations share issues like citadel ruins, historical historical past, and delightful surroundings. However Northern Eire has one thing additional distinctive: the Causeway Coast.

Eire has some unimaginable shoreline, too, do not get me improper. However the Causeway Coast is one thing actually particular, and I believe is motive sufficient by itself so that you can plan a visit to Northern Eire!

Giant's Causeway
Big’s Causeway
Torr Head drone shot
Torr Head (taken with a drone)

What’s the Causeway Coast?

The Causeway Coast is abruptly a geographic space, a authorities district, and a preferred driving route.

Geographically talking, the Causeway Coast covers many of the northern coast of Northern Eire going through the Atlantic Ocean. The “Causeway Coast and Glens” native authorities district formally contains elements of County Antrim and County Derry. And the Causeway Coastal Route is a driving route skirting the coast of Northern Eire stretching all the way in which from Belfast to Derry.

So I assume you may reply the “what’s the Causeway Coast?” query a number of alternative ways!

Causeway Coastal Route
The Causeway Coastal Route

However for the needs of this submit, we will say that the Causeway Coast encompasses the coastal (and barely inland) areas of Northern Eire between Belfast and Derry. On paper, this can be a distance of lower than 150 miles of coastal driving. In observe, although, the highlights may take you days to see.

How lengthy does it take to see the Causeway Coast?

In case you had been to drive from Belfast to Derry kind of alongside the coast, the drive would take you simply over 4 hours, based on Google Maps.

However in an effort to actually see all of the highlights on this a part of Northern Eire, you are going to want no less than a few days!

You possibly can see the most important highlights of the Causeway Coast with 2 full days. However 3 or 4 days could be even higher, and would permit you the liberty to take your time and discover much more.

Amanda with a balanced rock
Rock formation at Kinbane Fortress

Have to lease a automotive in Northern Eire? I like to make use of Auto Europe to check costs. Seek for a rental automotive right here.

18 issues to see alongside the Causeway Coast

To make this record simpler to prepare, I’ll take you alongside the Causeway Coast in geographical order from east to west, beginning in Belfast and ending in Derry.

A few of these websites are main highlights (like Big’s Causeway and the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge), whereas others simply make for good photograph stops when you’ve got time. All the things from beautiful coastal views to citadel ruins to Recreation of Thrones filming places will function on this record!

Dark Hedges trees
Darkish Hedges (one of many GOT places you may go to)

1. The Gobbins stroll

The Gobbins Cliff Path is situated about half an hour away from Belfast alongside the coast. This adventurous cliff-face stroll takes you throughout bridges and previous caves nearly at sea stage alongside the crashing coast.

The stroll is not essentially a stroll, because it’s 3 miles lengthy out-and-back, and contains the equal of fifty flights of stairs, a few of that are uneven and slim. You can also solely do that stroll as a part of a guided tour that takes 3 hours, so it isn’t a fast cease and requires some pre-planning (you may e book tickets right here).

You probably have the time, although, this can be a actually cool journey!

Price it? So long as you’ve got the three hours to dedicate to the guided hike and are dressed for the climate (the tour runs rain or shine), then sure!

Price: £20 per grownup

2. Glenarm Fortress

If castles and manicured gardens are extra your velocity, you then’ll need to make a cease at Glenarm Fortress. This coastal property is the ancestral (and present) house of the McDonnell household, Earls of Antrim. It is nonetheless used as a non-public house by the Earl and Countess of Antrim, however can also be open for excursions on choose dates.

Together with touring the citadel, guests can all the time discover the 18th century Walled Backyard, go to the Heritage Heart to study concerning the McDonnell household, and see classic vehicles within the Coach Home Museum. You may as well seize lunch, espresso, or ice cream right here.

Price it? Sure, particularly in the event you love fancy estates and gardens.

Price: Varies

3. Cushendun Caves

Amanda walking into the Cushendun Caves
Cushendun Caves

Additional up the coast are the villages of Cushendall and Cushendun, each quaint little spots with cute cottages and comfy pubs.

My decide for a cease right here is at Cushendun to see the stunning seaside and the Cushendun Caves, a collection of sea-carved caves that had been utilized in Recreation of Thrones (it was right here that Melisandre gave start to her shadow/demon child). The caves are free to go to and do not take terribly lengthy to stroll round.

Price it? Solely when you’ve got time, although it is a fast cease.

Price: Free

4. Torr Head

Driving the Torr Head Scenic Route
Driving the Torr Head Scenic Route

Simply north of Cushendun, you may detour off the principle street onto the Torr Head Scenic Route (the principle street will flip left; it is best to flip proper onto Torr Highway).

This brief, 15-mile drive between Cushendun and Ballyvoy isn’t for the faint of coronary heart (do not let the road down the center of the street idiot you; it is barely wider than a single lane street with frequent cliff-like drop-offs on one facet), however it’s significantly EPIC.

You possibly can (and may) cease at Torr Head itself, a dramatic headland with the stays of an 1800s coast guard/signaling station on prime. You possibly can climb as much as the ruins for excellent views in all instructions. On a transparent day, you may see throughout the water to Scotland!

Torr Head and coastline
Torr Head from the air (by way of our drone)

Price it? Sure!

Price: Free

5. Murlough Bay

In case you thought Torr Head was cool, then wait till you see Murlough Bay!

Murlough Bay
Murlough Bay

Additionally situated off the Torr Head Scenic Route, Murlough Bay is reached by way of a slim gravel street main right down to the coast. You may discover a small parking space subsequent to some livestock pastures, after which you may stroll alongside a gravel path to the bay itself.

This quiet, protected bay is surrounded by steep, forested hills and is normally fairly empty due to its secluded location. Some say it is one of the vital stunning spots alongside the Causeway Coast – and I am unable to actually argue! You possibly can stroll out onto the rocks and even get pleasure from a small sandy seaside at low tide.

The view from Murlough Bay
The view from Murlough Bay

Murlough Bay was utilized in a number of Recreation of Thrones scenes, too, although you will not discover it as crowded as different filming places in Northern Eire.

Price it? Undoubtedly

Price: Free

6. Ballycastle

The beach in Ballycastle
The seaside in Ballycastle

From Murlough Bay, it is a brief drive to the city of Ballycastle, one of many bigger cities on the Causeway Coast (inhabitants of round 5200). Ballycastle has a stunning massive seaside (Ballycastle Strand) with views of Honest Head, a marina and seafront play park, and loads of cafe and restaurant choices.

In case you’re desirous to make a journey to Rathlin Island, the ferry leaves from Ballycastle.

Price it? Sure, it is a actually cute city with some good cafes.

Price: There are a number of free public parking tons on the town, so you can go to without cost.

7. Kinbane Fortress

Kinbane Castle
Kinbane Fortress ruins

After being closed for almost two years for conservation work, Kinbane Fortress is lastly open once more! And I am so pleased, as a result of it is personally my favourite destroy alongside the Causeway Coast.

Set on a craggy limestone headland, not a lot is left as of late of the good citadel constructed by Colla MacDonnell in 1547. The citadel was largely destroyed by the English within the sixteenth century, and as we speak solely elements of a guard tower are nonetheless standing. However these stays are in such an epic spot!

To get to Kinbane Fortress, you do need to stroll down 140 steps (and naturally again up them once more). From the underside of the steps, you may discover a rocky seaside and all elements of the headland that the citadel was perched upon. The views again towards the mainland are particularly unimaginable and properly definitely worth the hike.

Kinbane Castle ruins and a beach
All that is left of Kinbane Fortress
Kinbane Castle views
The view again from half method out on the headland

Price it? Completely; I would not skip this spot if you can also make the trek down the steps!

Price: Free

8. Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge

Not removed from Kinbane Fortress, the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge is likely one of the prime spots to go to alongside the Causeway Coast. The location is precisely what it is billed as: a 60-foot-long rope bridge connecting the mainland to a small island.

People crossing the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge
Folks crossing the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge

The bridge was first constructed about 250 years in the past and was traditionally utilized by fishermen to go over to the tiny island of Carrick-a-Rede to fish for salmon. In the present day, it is totally a vacationer attraction managed and maintained by the Nationwide Belief in Northern Eire.

You do need to hike from the doorway space/car parking zone to get to the bridge (it is about 1 kilometer or .6 miles every method), and the bridge itself is suspended nearly 100 ft above the Atlantic Ocean. When you cross the bridge you may stroll across the small island, however the principle attraction actually is crossing the bridge itself.

Observe that in the event you solely need to see the bridge however not stroll throughout it, you are able to do the coastal stroll without cost! The price solely applies to crossing the bridge.

Crossing the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge
Crossing the bridge again to the mainland

This spot will get very busy through the summer season months and on weekends, so it’s endorsed that you just e book your ticket prematurely, or go early or later within the day. Even then, count on a slight wait. (The photograph above was taken pretty early within the morning on a September day, and you may see the road of individuals ready their flip to cross the bridge.)

Price it? Regardless of how well-liked it’s, sure, I undoubtedly assume it is value it!

Price: £13 for adults (and keep in mind, that is solely to cross the bridge; you should use the car parking zone and do the coastal hike without cost)

Professional tip: You can’t see the rope bridge from the car parking zone. If you do not have time to do the hike, you *can* get a glimpse of it (particularly when you’ve got zoom in your digicam/telephone) from the Portaneevy Automobile Park & Viewpoint not distant, although I might advocate the hike if you are able to do it!

9. Ballintoy Harbour

Not removed from the rope bridge, you can also make a fast cease at Ballintoy Harbour, a small fishing harbor that was made well-known by Recreation of Thrones (it was utilized in a number of scenes set within the Greyjoy Kingdom of Pyke within the Iron Islands).

Price it? For a fast photograph cease in the event you’re a Recreation of Thrones fan; if not, you can most likely skip it.

Price: Free

10. Darkish Hedges

Dark Hedges
Darkish Hedges

Okay, so the Darkish Hedges aren’t ON the Causeway Coast, however the web site is a brief 15-minute drive from Ballintoy Harbour, so I am together with it anyway.

The Darkish Hedges is a lane lined with huge, twisted beech bushes. The bushes had been initially planted within the 1700s by the Stuart household to line the avenue main as much as their manor, Gracehill Home. Within the mid-2010s, although, the Darkish Hedges had been made well-known due to Recreation of Thrones and Instagram, and the location turned a vacationer must-see.

(I might say this web site is extra of an Instagram darling than a Recreation of Thrones one, although, because the bushes solely appeared in a single scene in a single episode of the present.)

Dark Hedges
Darkish Hedges wanting moody

Regardless, it is now a preferred cease in Northern Eire. The a part of Bregagh Highway the bushes are planted on has been closed to vehicular visitors in an effort to shield the bushes, so now you should park in rather a lot entrance of the Hedges Resort and stroll by way of a wooded path to see the location.

(And please abide by these new guidelines; parking close to the bushes is actually killing them, and no one desires your automotive ruining their pictures.)

Price it? Some individuals are underwhelmed, particularly in the event that they go to on a busy day. However I do assume the bushes are cool, and it is a pretty fast cease.

Price: Free

Amanda and Elliot at Dark Hedges
Elliot and I on the Darkish Hedges

11. White Park Bay Seaside

Despite the fact that you might not affiliate the UK and Eire with seashores, there are loads alongside the coast! White Park Bay is a good looking arc of golden sand alongside the Causeway Coast that stretches between two headlands. The seaside is managed by the Nationwide Belief, and is a surprising spot to go to.

Getting right down to the seaside does require a little bit of a stroll via some sand dunes, however you too can get a glimpse of the entire seaside from the parking space.

Price it? Undoubtedly value stopping to see, even in the event you do not need to stroll right down to the seaside.

Price: Free

12. Dunseverick Fortress

Dunseverick Castle
Dunseverick Fortress

One other citadel destroy you may cease at is what’s left of Dunseverick Fortress. There’s been a fort or citadel on this craggy promontory since no less than the fifth century, and it is stated to have been attacked by Vikings and visited no less than as soon as by Saint Patrick. Dunseverick Fortress was finally destroyed within the 1600s, and as we speak solely the shadow of a gate tower stays.

From the citadel parking space, it is attainable to stroll down into to boggy valley and climb as much as the citadel web site. (Simply watch out, as the bottom is spongy and the hills are steep!) You possibly can see the tower up shut, in addition to historical low earthworks surrounding the location.

From Dunseverick, the Causeway Cliff Path can take you to Big’s Causeway in a single path, or Dunseverick Harbour within the different.

Amanda at Dunseverick Castle
Cool view of Dunseverick Fortress

Price it? The citadel destroy itself is much less spectacular than others you may see, however the pure surroundings right here is superb! The hike could also be boggy and moist, although, so you should definitely put on correct sneakers in the event you do it.

Price: Free

13. Big’s Causeway

Most likely essentially the most well-known web site alongside the Causeway Coast is Big’s Causeway itself.

Basalt columns at Giant's Causeway

This UNESCO World Heritage Website is made up of 40,000+ interlocking hexagonal basalt columns that had been shaped throughout an historical volcanic lava movement – or by the Irish large Fionn Mac Cumhaill (Finn McCool), who is claimed to have constructed the Causeway in an effort to attain Scotland to problem the enormous Benandonner. You possibly can imagine whichever origin story you favor. 😉

Big’s Causeway is likely one of the hottest vacationer points of interest in Northern Eire. There is a customer middle the place you may study concerning the Causeway, and so they additionally provide audio guides and guided excursions.

The stones are a slight distance away, so know that this is not a fast photograph cease! From the customer middle, it is about half a mile to the most important focus of basalt columns. There are two totally different strolling trails you should use to succeed in them; one alongside the underside of the cliff (the Blue Path), and one cliff-top stroll (the Pink Path).

Amanda at Giant's Causeway
Me profiting from this a part of the rocks being empty!
You’re free to climb on the rock at Big’s Causeway

I like to recommend taking the Blue Path downhill from the customer middle, spending as a lot time as you need exploring the stones (they’re formed completely to behave as pure steps; simply watch out if it is moist!), after which connecting to the cliff-top Pink Path by way of the Shepherd’s Steps.

Sure, the uphill climb is steep, but it surely’s brief, after which it is principally flat or downhill in your method again to the customer middle (and the views from the clifftop are superior!).

Giant's Causeway views from the clifftop
View from the cliff-top Pink Path

There’s additionally a shuttle bus that runs between the customer middle and the stones by way of the Blue Path that you should use for a number of kilos additional. That is value it for anybody with mobility points (or in the event you simply do not need to stroll a half-mile uphill on the way in which again to the customer middle).

Price it? Sure, for certain! It is the preferred web site in Northern Eire for a motive.

Price: Technically it is free to go to the stones, however parking and going contained in the customer middle prices £13. Reserving forward is advisable.

Professional tip: Since that is such a preferred web site, it may well get very crowded. And making an attempt to discover the stones once they’re coated in individuals might be irritating. To keep away from the worst of the crowds, get there as near opening time as attainable to beat the tour buses, or go within the night round or after dinnertime.

Giant's Causeway views from the clifftop
One other view from the cliff prime at Big’s Causeway

14. Outdated Bushmills Distillery

A non-natural spot value visiting alongside the coast is the Outdated Bushmills Distillery within the village of Bushmills. The village is near Big’s Causeway, and Outdated Bushmills is the oldest licensed distillery in Eire, with a license to make whiskey relationship again to 1608.

You possibly can take a tour of the distillery to study all about Irish whiskey and the way Bushmills makes its triple-distilled “water of life.” All the things they make is distilled, aged, and bottled proper right here.

Price it? In case you’ve not visited a distillery earlier than, or are a fan of Bushmills, then undoubtedly! (Even in the event you do not drink whiskey, visiting a distillery to study concerning the historical past and craft might be fascinating.)

Price: Distillery excursions price £15 and final 1 hour.

15. Dunluce Fortress

Dunluce Castle
Dunluce Fortress

How about yet one more citadel destroy for you? Dunluce Fortress is the most important destroy you may go to alongside the Causeway Coast. There’s been a fortification of some form on this rocky outcrop for greater than 1000 years, however the present citadel ruins are principally from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, when Dunluce was the seat of Clan McQuillan, after which Clan MacDonnell.

You possibly can tour the citadel ruins and see some historic displays inside. Simply beware that it is stated to be haunted by a banshee!

Dunluce Castle
Dunluce Fortress ruins from the air

Price it? I actually assume this citadel is extra spectacular from the surface (and from a distance, so you may see the steep cliffs it is constructed on prime of), however in the event you get pleasure from historical past you may most likely assume touring it’s value it.

Price: £6 per grownup, which you’ll pay once you go to

16. Magheracross Viewpoint

I am satisfied that most individuals skip this spot as a result of it is marked as “Magheracross Automobile Park & Viewpoint” on Google Maps – and what’s thrilling about a parking lot?

This automotive park, nonetheless, provides up a few of the most epic views of the Causeway Coast!

Causeway Coast from the Magheracross Viewpoint viewing platform
The view from the viewing platform

Strolling paths result in viewing platforms with views in direction of Dunluce Fortress and a group of white limestone rock formations and arches.

There’s ample parking, in addition to picnic tables and benches if you wish to carry a snack or meal with you.

This spot was very quiet after we visited within the late afternoon, so we despatched the drone up – and obtained a few of the finest footage of our entire journey!

Magheracross Viewpoint from above
Magheracross Viewpoint from above
Rock formations on the Causeway Coast
The Wishing Arch

Price it? Sure, sure, sure! Nice photograph ops right here.

Price: Free

17. Portrush

Elliot and I drove into the city of Portrush as a result of I used to be searching for the white rock formations you may see from Magheracross Viewpoint (however Google Maps wasn’t fairly certain the place they had been). This ended up being a contented accident, as a result of the city of Portrush is lovable!

Portrush is likely one of the largest cities on the Causeway Coast, with a inhabitants of about 7000 individuals. The city is constructed on a small peninsula, and has plenty of cafes, eating places, and pubs to select from. You may additionally discover the legendary Royal Portrush Golf Membership proper on the coast. The golf membership is house to the well-known Dunluce Hyperlinks, stated to be one of the vital difficult golf programs on the planet.

Price it? Undoubtedly value stopping for a meal, a cup of espresso, or a pint.

Price: Will depend on what you do!

18. Mussenden Temple

The final spot on this record is inside Downhill Demesne, an 18th century property in County Londonderry that is now managed by the Nationwide Belief. The previous mansion on the property is generally destroyed, however the actual “star” right here is the Mussenden Temple, a spherical constructing perched proper on a cliff edge that was initially constructed because the property’s library.

The spherical, column-covered construction was modeled after the Temple of Vesta in Rome, and is likely one of the most-photographed buildings in Northern Eire.

On the property there are additionally strolling trails, gardens, a espresso store, and some extra buildings/buildings to see.

Price it? You probably have time for a cease, sure. The grounds are a pleasant place for a stroll.

Price: £5 parking price


Need extra Northern Eire? You may also like these posts:


The place to remain on the Causeway Coast

Conservatory at Galgorm spa hotel
Galgorm spa resort

Like I discussed above, seeing every thing alongside the coast of Northern Eire goes to take you no less than a few days. So staying alongside the coast is right!

You possibly can both select a central location as a base, or cut up your time between spots within the east and west. There are a whole lot of small lodge and B&B choices alongside the Causeway Coast to select from, however listed here are a number of options to get you began:

  • Ballygally FortressPositioned within the east not removed from Belfast, this can be a enjoyable possibility in the event you’ve all the time needed to sleep in a citadel! It was inbuilt 1625, and is situated proper on the ocean.
  • Glass Island B&BIn search of an upscale B&B vibe? Then you may’t beat Glass Island in Ballycastle. With a handy location and a very good cooked breakfast every morning, this may make a fantastic base for exploring.
  • Whitepark HomeOne other incredible mattress and breakfast possibility is the character-filled Whitepark Home in Ballintoy. It is each cozy and splendid; good for a coastal getaway.
  • Bayview ResortThis Portballintrae lodge is an award-winning lodge near Big’s Causeway. It has an on-site restaurant and rooms with sea views.
  • The Bushmills Inn ResortDiscovered within the coronary heart of Bushmills, this 4-star boutique lodge dates all the way in which again to the 1600s! This cozy spot additionally has fireplaces, an on-site restaurant (which serves afternoon tea), and a standard gas-lit bar.
  • GalgormAnd although this spa resort isn’t on the coast, it is nonetheless a fantastic base for the Causeway Coast. Together with lodge rooms, cottages, and shepherd’s huts to remain in, visitor additionally get full entry to the resort’s thermal village.

Causeway Coast excursions

Do not need to lease a automotive and drive your self? You clearly can have much less freedom and adaptability to go to each spot on this record in the event you e book a tour, however it’s attainable to see a whole lot of the highlights on day journeys like these:


Who’s able to plan a visit to see the Causeway Coast?

RELATED ARTICLES

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments