Travel Holly

The Best Things to do in Northern Ireland

The Best Things to do in Northern Ireland


Planning a visit to The Emerald Isle? We’ve rounded up our picks for one of the best issues to do in Northern Ireland that can assist you out. You can squeeze so much right into a Northern Ireland Road Trip exploring all the things from well-known Game of Thrones Filming Locations to visiting unbelievable castles and having fun with the nice outdoor. If Northern Ireland is in your bucket record, maintain studying as a result of we’ve rounded up all one of the best locations to go to and high vacationer points of interest to place in your record.

The Best of Northern Ireland

best things to do in northern ireland map
Get your map of one of the best issues to do in Northern Ireland HERE

Northern Ireland is stuffed with magnificence, pleasant folks, and heaps of historical past. There are so many locations to go to in Northern Ireland, it is going to shock you. The panorama modifications earlier than your eyes as you drive by means of the rolling shoreline and the glens and plateaus which are so inexperienced and go to, you might want to see it to imagine it.

The Causeway Coastal Route

beset things to do in northern ireland

The Causeway Coast spans from Belfast to London Derry with most of Northern Ireland’s most well-known vacationer points of interest. It is taken into account top-of-the-line highway journeys on the planet, and we suggest taking your time to go for hikes, hop on the water for some boat excursions, and to take pleasure in all the superb Northern Irish hospitality. Compare automobile rental costs for Northern Ireland right here.

While there are numerous well-known websites to see, additionally it is a shocking drive that’s value visiting simply to get out of the automobile to absorb the excessive sea cliffs and breathtaking coast.

1. Giant’s Causeway

best things to do in northern ireland
The beautiful Giant’s Causeway

The Giant’s Causeway is without doubt one of the most well-known vacationer points of interest in Northern Ireland. In reality, most likely in most of Europe! Is one thing actually that spectacular and deserving of the standing of proudly owning that high honor? The reply is a powerful sure! This UNESCO World Heritage Site is spectacular.

The basalt columns main out to the ocean had been completely fashioned by a volcanic eruption thousands and thousands of years in the past. As the lava dried it created practically good symmetrical hexagonal pillars within the type of a staircase. The Giants Causeway is without doubt one of the most extraordinary locations to go to on the planet at typically on the high of many a bucket record by avid vacationers, so it’s not to be missed.

The Giant’s Causeway is Free to Visit, however it’s also possible to go contained in the Visitor Centre which has interactive shows. There can be parking on the Visitor Centre.

If you don’t have time to discover each Ireland and Northern Ireland, this Giant’s Causeway tour from Dublin is a day tour that showcases the highlights of standard points of interest in Northern Ireland together with the Giant’s Causeway, Dark Hedges, Dunluce Castle, and a while in Belfast.

Legend of the Giant’s Causeway

northern ireland things to do giant's causeway video
Watch our go to to the Giant’s Causeway right here

The columns are so completely fashioned, that it’s straightforward to imagine the legend that the enormous’s causeway was truly constructed by the Giant Finn McCool. Legend has it that Finn McCool constructed the Giant’s causeway to problem the Scottish Giant Bennandoner who he was always bickering with.

It is a straightforward legend to imagine as a result of the 40,000 plus pillars resemble stone steps main out over the ocean. It’s so completely fashioned and superbly crafted it makes it onerous to not imagine within the legend. We might simply think about a bridge throughout the ocean.

Tip: Stay on the Causeway lodge to discover the stones in peace. All tour buses arrive at mid day, however you may go to the centre from daybreak to nightfall. We explored at each dawn and sundown and every time we shared the Giants Causeway with solely two different folks. Check opinions and charges on TripAdvisor

2. Carrick a Rede Rope Bridge

top things to do in northern ireland carrick a rede rope bridge

Once upon a time, fishermen walked throughout a precarious rope bridge to cross over to the island of Carrick a Rede to fish for salmon. It was a harmful and troublesome bridge to cross, however the salmon was loads. Today there aren’t many salmon within the space, however the Carrick a Rede Rope Bridge has remained probably the most standard locations to go to in Northern Ireland.

The Carrick a Rede Rope Bridge has been rebuilt and is a straightforward and protected cross, however some folks discovered it to nonetheless be fairly a thrill. If you aren’t afraid of heights, it’s not a really thrilling stroll. we didn’t care a lot for the bridge itself, nevertheless it was the views from the island which are well worth the journey.

3. Ballintoy Harbour

what to do in northern ireland ballantoy harbour
Theon Greyjoy was right here.

This quiet village is now well-known for being featured in Game of Thrones when Theon Greyjoy landed within the harbor of his homeland the Iron Islands. However, that is actually well worth the cease regardless in case you are GOT fan, to stroll out to the coast and witness the fearsome waves crashing towards the massive rocks and jagged coast.

The switchbacks and winding roads resulting in Ballintoy Harbour are too tight for tour buses to make the turns, subsequently, you gained’t see many package deal excursions in Ballintoy Harbour and can. have all of it to your self.

It’s additionally top-of-the-line issues to do in Northern Ireland free of charge. Why? as a result of not solely are you able to tour the place the Game of Thrones was filmed, you get to see large waves crashing towards probably the most unbelievable coast. Make certain to lease Game of Thrones earlier than you go to Northern Ireland.

4. Dark Hedges

things to see in northern ireland dark hedges
Dave within the Dark Hedges

The Dark Hedges is a brief cease close to the Giants Causeway, however we must say that they’re considered one of Northern Ireland’s is must-see points of interest. This lane of 90 beech bushes line a rustic highway creating a cover of twisting branches overhead. It is an impressive factor to see. Read extra about them at The Dark Hedges of Northern Ireland – Tips to Visit and What you Need to Know

Built within the 18th century by the Stuart household to impress guests as they approached their dwelling, the Dark Hedges have endured and have turn into one of many staple stops for anybody visiting Northern Ireland. They have been pruned lately so you will note a special view than what you might be used to, however they’re nonetheless value visiting. Make certain to go early within the morning to beat the push of tour buses.

We extremely suggest renting a automobile whereas exploring Northern Ireland to have the liberty to go to its high points of interest off-peak occasions. It is the easiest way to actually recognize its magnificence. The Dark Hedges is without doubt one of the most photographed sights in Northern Ireland, making it one of many high issues to see in Northern Ireland so in case you go throughout mid-day, you’ll be with a crowd of individuals.

5. Dunluce Castle

best places in northern ireland dunluce castle
The Medieval Ruins of Dunluce Castle

Dunluce Castle is one other nice cease in Northern Ireland alongside the Coastal Route. It’s an ominous fort break overhanging on these cliffs and you may simply think about what life would’ve been like there when folks had been residing there. Wandering the fort grounds helps you to think about what life was like in medieval occasions.

Dunluce Castle dates again to the thirteenth century and was constructed by the 2nd Earl of Ulster. It modified fingers all through the centuries and through the mid sixteenth century grew to become the seat of the MacDonnell Clan. Its setting is extraordinary and it’s no shock that the Vikings had been drawn to this space.

6. Marble Arch Caves Global GeoPark

northern ireland unique places to visit geopark
The caves of Marble Arches GeoPark

The Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark, located simply outdoors Enniskillen, County Fermanagh is considered one of Europe’s best present caves. The Marble Arch Caves should not precisely a UNESCO World Heritage Site, however they had been named a UNESCO Global Geopark because of the world significance of their geology and landscapes.

You begin by taking a really quick underground boat experience to a path that takes you thru the slender passageways of the caves. There are rivers, waterfalls and stalactites, and stalagmites. It’s a straightforward stroll so that you don’t have to fret about dressing for the event. However, be ready for a steep climb up 160 steps on the finish of the tour. Visit their web site for excursions and admission particulars.

7. Old Bushmills Distillery

places to visit in northern ireland bushmills
Dave loves his Bushmills.

Ireland is thought for its Irish whiskey and a visit to the nation wouldn’t be full with out visiting a distillery. The tour of the Bushmills Distillery is attention-grabbing, however you aren’t allowed to take any pictures as soon as inside. It was enjoyable to see how the Whisky is ready, however let’s be trustworthy, it was tasting the spirits in the long run that all of us appeared ahead to.

Dave splurged and acquired an costly bottle of 16-year-old Bushmills Single Malt and I can assure that we’ll be reminiscing concerning the expertise once we lastly pop it open and have a style over the vacations.

8. Torr Head Drive

what to do in northern ireland torr head drive

If you are taking a detour off of the Causeway Coastal Route, you’ll uncover a hidden gem often called Torr Head Drive. Located between Cushendun and Ballycastle, this route doesn’t see numerous visitors due to its clinging cliffs and slender roads. So the caravans are inclined to keep away from this route. It gives a transparent view of Scotland. As a matter a reality, it’s the closest level to Scotland at solely 12 miles aside!

While within the space, take a ferry to Rathlin Island to spend a while away from all of it. It is the one inhabited island off shore of Northern Ireland with a inhabitants of solely 150 folks.

9. Castle Ward

fun things to do in Northern Ireland Castle Ward
Dave and Deb do Game of Thrones

The immensely standard HBO collection, Game of Thrones was filmed in Northern Ireland. Its fundamental studio and manufacturing workplace was in Belfast and there are numerous places all through the nation that you just’ll acknowledge from the present. These are a number of highlights of the place to expertise Game of Thrones in Ireland.

unique things to do in northern ireland game of thrones
Dave testing out his expertise

You can’t go to Northern Ireland with out seeing a minimum of one Game of Thrones web site on the whole grounds of Castle Ward helps you to immerse in an interactive expertise. We discovered ourselves appearing out John Snow educating Bran archery in Winterfell. There are 11 filming places in complete on the grounds of Castle Ward the place you may see many scenes from the collection.

Visiting Castle Ward helps you to re-enact moments from the Game of Thrones. Clearsky Adventures ran the placement when the Game of Thrones was filmed there and so they have many tales to inform of what occurred through the months that the HBO Production was based mostly right here.

10. Speedboat to Europe’s Highest Tides

northern ireland adventures speed boat high tides
Speedboat in Northern Ireland

We took an incredible speedboat experience out to the harbor of Strangford Lough to see the neighboring villages and the thrilling whirlpools created by the best tides in Europe mixing with the seas. The tides listed here are the best and quickest tides in Europe and the water is shifting at a quick pace. So quick, the truth is, they’re harnessing the tidal water for hydroelectric energy.

It was loopy to take the boat over the tidal swimming pools. You might see your self approaching the scary-looking foamy swimming pools and our driver cranked the steering wheel twirling us round and round. What a thrill! You can guide your speedboat adventures by means of Clearsky Adventures

Belfast and Area

best tourist attractions in norther ireland black taxi tour

Belfast is the capital metropolis of Northern Ireland and the town has gone by means of many modifications. It is value spending a few fo days exploring Belfast. There are loads of issues to do in Belfast, however you should definitely spend a while within the pub for an actual style of Irish tradition. One of our favourite locations to go to is The Historic Crown Bar, Belfast’s most well-known saloon!

11. Black Taxi Tour of Belfast

historic tours in northern ireland black taxi tour
Watch the total video of our black taxi tour of Belfast right here

The Black Cab political excursions are a wonderful strategy to be taught concerning the historical past of Northern Ireland. Get in a taxi pushed by an area driver who survived the troubles as he tells you concerning the Catholic and Protestant battle. It takes you thru the 2 neighborhoods the place you’ll see the painted murals depicting pivotal moments in historical past at Shankhill highway and the Clonard Martyrs Memorial Gardens at Falls Road that pays respect to the IRA volunteers who fought and misplaced their lives.

This tour is a should when visiting Northern Ireland. Take this bucket record tour with an knowledgeable information as you be taught the story of “The Troubles” and occasions in Northern Ireland’s tumultuous historical past. You’ll uncover the Belfast murals and undergo the previous battle areas of The Falls and Shankill Road.

12. Titanic Belfast Museum

things to see in northern ireland titanic belfast museum
Titanic Belfast Museum

When making a listing of issues to do in Northern Ireland, don’t rule out visiting a museum. We’re not enormous followers of museums, however the Titanic Belfast Museum is one thing particular. It’s an enchanting show of artifacts from the ship with letters, clothes and even rooms re-created.

There are multimedia shows, digital actuality rooms and even stay cameras from the workforce that found the Titanic exhibiting the underwater salvaging and analysis they’re doing at the moment. The Titanic Belfast Museum has actually turn into one of many high issues to see in Belfast. Visit their web site for the most recent reveals.

13. Segway Tour of Belfast

fun tourist attractions in northern ireland segway tour of belfast
Titanic Studios Segway Tour of Belfast

A Segway tour is a wonderful strategy to discover the Titanic Waterfront and different Belfast Attractions. Touring round on the electrical automobile is a ton of enjoyable for another strategy to be taught concerning the shipbuilding historical past of Belfast. You even experience by means of a lifesize define of the Titanic herself!

Plus you’ll get to see Titanic Studios (the studio the place Game of Thrones was filmed) and the Titanic Belfast Museum.

14. Crumlin Road Gaol

northern ireland tours

A self-guided tour of the Crumlin Road Gaol (Jail) takes you thru the one remaining Victorian-era jail. Located in Belfast, The Crumlin Road Jail closed its doorways in 1996. There is an underground tunnel that connects the jail to the courthouse throughout the road.

15. Carrickfergus Castle

what to see in northern ireland carrickfergus castle

The Carrickfergus Castle is situated in County Antrim simply outdoors of Belfast. The medieval fort is without doubt one of the best-preserved in Ireland and is a must-visit when in Belfast. Chances are you’ll cease at Carrickfergus Castle as practically each tour from Belfast makes its first cease on the fort.

Surrounded on three sides by the ocean sitting on a excessive outcrop Carrickfergus Castle remained a strategic location to defend Ireland for hundreds of years. It was accomplished in 1242 and noticed 800 years of navy operations. It’s a stunning stroll across the Twelfth-century fort to see the stone partitions and historical harbor.

16. Londonderry Murals

places to visit in northern ireland londonderry murals

Take a strolling tour by means of Derry with Derry Bogside excursions for info and first hand accounts of the Blood Sunday battle. See the murals devoted to those that had been killed as you retrace the footsteps of the day of the march that noticed many civilians killed.

17. Walls of Londonderry

things to do in northern ireland london derry walls

The Londonderry partitions date again to the seventeenth century and is without doubt one of the greatest preserved walled cities in Europe. A stroll alongside the excessive and large partitions and take a strolling tour to be taught concerning the sieges and conflicts of its previous. You can guide each excursions with Bogside History Tours

18. Mussenden Temple and Downhill Demesne

northern ireland places to visit mussenden temple

When I learn concerning the Mussenden Temple I used to be actually curious since you stroll by means of remnants of an historical settlement. Downhill House was as soon as a grand Italian-inspired villa constructed by the Earl Bishop of Derry. It was devastated by hearth within the 1800s however there are nonetheless remnants of its grandeur.

Once you move by means of the Bishops Gate, observe a pather the place you come to the tip of a cliff the place a really small stone temple stands greater than 250 toes above the ocean! The Bishop of Derry constructed the Mussenden Temple in 1785 as a summer season library. I can think about how peaceable it was to learn books because the summer season air swooped by means of the land.

Downhill Demense doesn’t take an excessive amount of time to see nevertheless it’s an unbelievable scene to {photograph}. Other factors of curiosity on the location embrace Lady Erne’s Seat, Downhill House, The Lion’s Gate, the Black Glen and the Mausoleum.

Note: To park at Downhill Demesne and Mussenden Temple, you need to pay by cellphone, so be sure you have a knowledge plan.

19. Portrush

northern ireland towns to visit portrush

Portrush is a seashore group on the County Londonderry border, that is called the capital of the Causeway Coast! It’s an important place to make a base. From right here you may simply go to Whiterocks Beach situated on the Causeway Coastal Route to absorb the gorgeous sandy seashore flanked by limestone cliffs.

Known for its browsing and watersports, there’s a boardwalk that may take you down from the car parking zone.

20. Portrush Sea Tours at Portrush Harbour

things to do in northern ireland Portrush Harbour tour

Take a tour with Causeway SeaTour at Portrush Harbour to find the beautiful shoreline from the ocean. This tour goes out to a cluster of rocky islands often called the Skerries . YOu’ll see so much throughout this tour akin to Dunluce Castle. Portbalintrae, Runkerry home, Giant’s Causeway, Ballintoy, and Carrick-a-rede Rope bridge.

This can be a good way to go to Rathlin Island to do some mountain climbing. Check out their web site for bookings.

21. Ride a Horse on the Beach

unique ideas for Northern Ireland things to do horseback riding

One of our favourite issues to do in Northern Ireland and Ireland is to go horseback using. Horse tradition is a large a part of Irish historical past and taking a experience is an incredible strategy to discover the countryside. We beloved the experience that took us by means of the Irish countryside after which ended with a gallop alongside the seashore. I can’t keep in mind who we rode with, however Tourism Northern Ireland has an important record of stables right here.

23. Glens of Antrim

must see places in Northern Ireland Glens of Antrim

Located in County Antrim, the Glens of Antrim are Northern Ireland’s most lovely places. Consisting of 9 valleys (glens), the Glens of Antrim is situated in Country Antrim. They are a unprecedented panorama of inexperienced farmland and rolling hills. The Glens aren’t merely one place to go to they span all the way in which from Larne to Ballycastle so when you discover lots of the points of interest in Northern Ireland, you’ll be proper in the course of the Glens of Antrim.

The Nine Glens of Antrim span an space of fifty sq. km and encompass:

Glenarm (valley of the military), Glenariff (valley of the ploughmen), Glencloy (valley of the dykes), Glenaan (valley of the fords), Glencorp (valley of the lifeless or our bodies), Glendun (the brown valley), Glenballyemon, Glentaisie (namesake of Princess Taisie of Rathlin Island), Glenshesk (valley of the sedge)

There are lovely lookouts that you would be able to drive to and there are many mountain climbing trails. If you will have time, getting out into the Irish countryside is a should!

24. Glenarriff Forest Park

attractions in NI glennariff park

Known for its waterfall walks, Glenarriff Forest is situated in Glenarrif, one of many 9 Glens of Antrim. It is called the Queen of the Glens and is an excellent place to spend a while outdoor. This conservation space spans 1000 hectares with strolling trails, horseback using and viewpoints. It can be an important place to spy wildlife. There is a boardwalk that has been reconstructed by means of the river gorge and the glen. When you might be completed cease in on the teahouse.

25. Hiking within the Mourne Mountains

The Mourne Mountains are dwelling to Northern Ireland’s highest peak, Slieve Donard. The Mourne Mountains are additionally the premier place in Northern Ireland for mountaineering. You can even experience the Mourne Mountain Cycling Route in case you are able to sort out an epic climb. We noticed numerous cyclists on the roads of Northern Ireland throughout our highway journey.

For extra info on outside actions on the Mourne Mountains, go to the Northern Ireland Tourism Website right here.

26. Ulster American Folk Park

And lastly, Ireland has turn into standard for North Americans to retrace their roots and heritage to see the place their ancestors have come from. Ulster American Folk Park and Folk Museum is devoted to the Irish who made the journey throughout the Atlantic looking for a brand new life. We traced our heritage to Ireland and it was top-of-the-line journey experiences we’ve ever accomplished. For extra info and tickets go to their web site right here.

27. Watermill Lodge

This article is named The Best Things to do in Northern Ireland and we really feel it wouldn’t be full with out mentioning one of the best meal we had within the nation. The Watermill Lodge in Lough Erne was fingers down one of the best meal we’ve had in each Ireland and Northern Ireland. We actually felt the Northern Irish hospitality on this cozy restaurant.

The Watermill Lodge is a Michelin-rated restaurant and we are able to perceive why. The meals was beautiful and the ambiance was quiet and romantic. I do know you’ll discover this unusual, nevertheless it’s a French high-quality eating restaurant with an unbelievable menu designed by Chef Pascal Brissaud.

We had a scrumptious meal with a wine pairing advisable by our well-informed server. Everything he recommended went superbly with our set menu £25. Even the wines had been fairly priced. Book your keep on the Watermill Lodge right here.

Getting Around Northern Ireland

Renting a automobile is an ideal strategy to discover all there may be to see and do in Northern Ireland.

You can even guide a tour of Northern Ireland with Vagabond Tours who we used on considered one of our journeys and had a hoot! Get Your Guide, additionally gives excursions of Northern Ireland with straightforward cancellation and last-minute bookings.

Where to Stay in Northern Ireland

Keeping heat in Ireland

Slieve Donard Resort and Spa is considered one of Northern Ireland’s most luxurious resorts. It is situated on the seashore on one facet and Royal County Down Golf Links on the opposite. It’s an important place to begin exploring the Northeastern Coast.

Ballygally Castle Hotel is situated on Causeway Coastal Route, Ballygally Castle, a seventeenth Century Castle overlooking Ballygally Bay. Ballygally Castle Hotel is a good base for exploring the Causeway Coast.

Causeway Hotel – We beloved staying right here as a result of it was so near Giant’s Causeway. We might stroll down at dawn and at sundown avoiding all of the tour buses and crowds.

Watermill Lodge – Besides consuming at Watermill Lodge, we additionally stayed in a single day. Located on Lough Erne, it’s a great and opulent nation retreat.

An Old Rectory Guesthouse was initially a Church of Ireland rectory. It was inbuilt 1896 to deal with the rector of St John’s, Malone. The Victorian-era property is located in South Belfast, near all transport hyperlinks and onsite parking.

Fast Facts About Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland is small a small land, with a inhabitants of just one.8 million folks and an space of solely 14,130 km². (Canada is 9.9 million sq. km). But it packs an enormous punch!

Northern Ireland is a part of the United Kingdom and is separate from the Republic of Ireland.

On May 3, 1921, Ireland was break up in two after the Irish War of Independence, the place all however six counties gained independence from Britain.

The six counties of NI have been part of the UK ever since. And it’s a fascinating place to go to as Northern Ireland has its personal distinct identification from each Britain and Ireland.

And there you will have it, that’s our options for one of the best issues to do Northern Ireland by Dave and Deb. Do you will have a favourite web site to see within the nation?

Get More Northern Ireland Travel recommendation

For Ireland you could take pleasure in these articles

For extra info on visiting Northern Ireland take a look at Ireland Tourism Canada.



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