Get your travel bucket list ready for when local and international travel is permitted. Find out why a road trip around the stunning north coast of Ireland should be at the top of your list!
Belfast is a vibrant and flourishing tourism hotspot with a wealth of lively pubs in the Cathedral Quarter that will have you giving your best Irish jig a go. Beautiful Michelin star restaurants include Ox Belfast and Deanes as well as more budget friendly restaurants like Coppi Restaurant and Kitchen Bar in Victoria Square. Whether you are here to paint the town red and just want somewhere to grab 20 winks, or perhaps enjoy a luxurious weekend away, Belfast has you covered. The plush Grand Central Hotel has top-class service and stunning 360° views of the city from the Observatory bar and makes for a fabulous choice for a luxurious weekend away. The Maldron Hotel chain has also recently expanded into Belfast city centre and there are also plenty of budget-friendly options such as the Travelodge and easyHotel.
If you want to squeeze some fitness into your road trip why not drive 60 minutes towards Co. Down to the stunning Mourne Mountains where the highest peak is Slieve Donard at 853m. Feel on top of the world and take in the stunning surroundings of our country. Don’t forget to stop at Mourne Seafood bar when you’re finished your climb to enjoy a well-deserved Guinness and some tasty oysters.
Next on the list is The Gobbins, a cliff-face path at Islandmagee in County Antrim, only a 37-minute drive from Belfast. It runs across bridges, past caves and through a tunnel, along The Gobbins cliffs. The cliffs are recognised for their rich birdlife, important geology and notable species.
Head up towards the north coast to experience breathtaking views only 80 minutes’ drive from Belfast city, you will leave the city and merge into the beautiful countryside. The first stop for any true Game of Thrones fan will definitely be The Dark Hedges. Don’t worry if you’re not a die-hard though, as it’s still pretty impressive; after two centuries, the avenue of beech trees along the road remain a magnificent sight and have become one of the most photographed natural phenomena in Northern Ireland.
No visit to the Causeway Coast is complete without a visit to Dunluce Castle! First though, on your way to the Castle you will pass through the lovely small village of Bushmills and settled on the banks of the river you'll find the oldest working distillery in Ireland. Be sure to stop in for the tour and a drop of beautifully produced smooth tasting Irish whiskey. The now ruined Dunluce Castle is rested on the stunning cliffs of Portrush. The castle has a dramatic history, which is matched by tales of a banshee and how the castle kitchens fell into the sea one stormy night in 1639.
The magical Giant’s Causeway can be found just a 10-minute drive from here, an UNESCO World Heritage site that has astounded millions of tourists with its mystique and uniqueness. While you’re here, don’t miss the opportunity to walk across the Carrick-a-rede rope bridge which links the mainland to the tiny island of Carrickarede and watch the sea below you as the water crashes against the rocks.
It’s safe to say that a day filled with five tourist hotspots, you will certainly go home with amazing tales to tell your family and friends about your tour around the Causeway Coast!
For more climbing adventures be sure to visit Fermanagh to walk Cuilcagh Mountain, also known as ‘the stairway to heaven’, at 665 metres it is the highest point in both counties Cavan and Fermanagh.
Visit the Marble Arch Caves, where enthusiastic guides will lead you through awe-inspiring passages and further enhance your experience by interpreting the stories of this wonderous show cave.
Many locations across Belfast have been spotted over the seasons of Line of Duty, from Cavehill Road, Saint Anne's Cathedral and Bedford Street, to Belfast Central Library on Royal Avenue. The release of season 6, episode 1 this week had a record-breaking 9.6 million viewers tuning in for the BBC drama. As the 'stay at home' message remains in place, there is no better time to grab your favourite snacks and watch the series. You could even join in on Belfast native Eamonn Holmes' Twitter thread that has fans discussing the other Belfast locations that some people have missed!
The beauty about Northern Ireland is that you can explore the vibrant city of Belfast one day and roam around the Giant’s Causeway and Carrick-a-rede rope bridge the next. Belfast is a gate-way to many tourist gems from city tours to stunning countryside scenery not too far out from the city and makes for a road trip to remember.
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