Road Trip

 Causeway Coastal Route

  • A driving odyssey through Northern Ireland’s most spectacular scenery...

    From cosmopolitan Belfast to the walled city of Londonderry, the Causeway Coastal Route offers 120 miles of coastal treasure trove and emerald countryside to explore. The drive can be carved into a breathtaking five day exploration of Northern Ireland’s rich past and vibrant present.

    Considered one of the world’s motoring musts, this myth steeped route takes in titanic scenery in the shape of the Giant’s Causeway, as well as windswept castles housing ghostly pasts. Cliff top follies and the chance to sup local brews straight from the barrel, all by way of the scenic splendour of the nine glens of Antrim.

  • Belfast

    There’s plenty to see in and around Northern Ireland’s capital which has cast off its troubled past and embraced the trappings of modernity with a vibrant cultural scene, while holding onto its noble history.

    Beginning with the Giant’s Ring at Ballynahatty to the south of the city, a henge predating the Egyptian pyramids, Belfast’s rich heritage extends Grey Castle in the east and Carrickfergus Castle to the north of the city as you head along the A2 towards Larne.

  • Ballymena

    Heading out of the city along the A2, follow signs for the Causeway Coastal Route towards Larne and onwards to the picture postcard villages of Ballygally. Look out for landmarks en route, such as Devil’s Churn, beyond Pan’s Rock, a cave where, legend has it, a piper haunts after he was lost exploring the churning sound that emanates from its depths.

    The village of Glenarm is the next stop along the coastal road, where the relatively modern incarnation of Glenarm Castle is worth a visit and Glenarm Forest offers walks and fishing along its picturesque river. Take detour from the coast before you get to Carnlough, along the A42 towards Ballymena where you can make a pilgrimage to Slemish Mountain, the legendary home of St Patrick, particularly popular on 17th March, St Patrick’s Day.

  • Ballycastle

    From Ballymena, follow the A26 and A44 coast-wards to the seaside town of Ballycastle. With landmarks bearing names straight out of a Tolkien fantasy, the local scenery and views across the bay to the Mull of Kintyre do justice to the Gallic myths that pervade this region. From Fair Head where goats wander freely amid the rugged Grey Man’s Path to the wild beauty of Glentasisie at the foot of Knocklayde Mountain, you can well believe this is the site where mythical princesses were once fought over by Nordic kings and Irish heirs.

    Along the coast, if you feel compelled to test your mettle, take the short trip to the picturesque port of Ballintoy and walk the National Trust-maintained Carrick a Rede rope bridge hanging flimsily above rocks 30 metres below before heading off to the geological highlight of this route, the Giant’s Causeway.

  • The Giant’s Causeway

    The legend of Finn McCool, a local giant whose stone throwing fits are said to have caused the area’s stunning hexagonal masses to form, alongside fanciful landmarks such as the Giant’s Boot and the Wishing Chair. Is almost as good as the science, which suggests violent seismic activity deep in the earth’s crust is actually to blame for the formation of the basalt columns.

    When you’re done contemplating the activity of behemoths past, head to the nearby town of Bushmills to mull over a spirit of another calibre, the local whisky, at which point it’s a good idea to call it a day on the road or leave the driving to someone else. Clear the cobwebs at the dramatic hilltop ruins of nearby Dunluce Castle before wending your way to the golden beaches of Portrush.

  • Limavady

    Heading inland through the university town of Coleraine, take the A37 direct to the market town of Limavady, once a Celtish stronghold and the birthplace of the famous tune Londonderry Air, or ‘Danny Boy’, originally composed to commemorate the death of the last chief of the O’Cahan Clan.

    Nearby Binevenagh Mountain offers a chance to stretch your legs in an area of outstanding natural beauty.

  • Londonderry

    So named when King James I granted the city a Royal Charter, adding the prefix London to the city’s original and still most commonly used name, Derry, the city limits have remained walled and remains the only city in Europe to have completely withstood any sieges.

    With beautiful architecture, cultural attractions and shopping aplenty, Derry provides a historical and modern antidote to the wilds of Causeway and one of the best driving experiences the world over.

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