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Top 10 places to visit on Causeway Coast of N Ireland

Due to popular demand and a narrow victory (by one vote on the readers poll) this post is in my opinion the top 10 places we love to visit in the north coast of Northern Ireland – also known as the Causeway Coast.

I have included our favourite beaches, harbours and historic monuments and illustrated them with my own photos.

1. Dunluce Castle

Definitely top of our list of places to go. Great to explore and imagine the lives of those who lived there. The added facts of the kitchens which fell into the sea during a fierce storm adds to the drama. On certain days there are events arranged such as a medieval fair with jousting, archery and costumed historical guides.

2. Giants Causeway

Probably the best know tourist spot in Northern Ireland, and certainly one of the most visited. Often the expanse of the area comes a surprise to visitors, as they walk down to it – it is not just a few shaped stones in a small area – but a whole bay with varying shapes, sizes and pillars of stones. It makes a great place for kids to play, jumping from stone to stone.

3. Portstewart Strand

Owned by the National Trust, and know by our kids as “The Driving Beach” it is possible to drive on this beach. A great place for flying kites, brisk walks and playing in the fine golden sand.

4. Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge

Have you a head for heights? This is the place for you! It is not actually that high, but the waves crashing on the rocks below tend to be a bit off-putting, as well as the “bounce” of the bridge if others are crossing with you. I have only crossed it a few times, and all are memorable. The bridge was originally used by salmon fishermen crossing to their nets on the island, but now it is a popular tourist spot.

5. White Rocks Strand

A glorious beach with a close carpark (so easy to access to your picnic stuff, buckets and spades from the car, and toilets too). This is a super beach for climbing and sliding down the sand dunes, exploring rock pools, or just spending a warm sunny day. As with all beaches here, the water is very cold, and the currents are strong so our family tends to stick to paddling. Some brave souls do surf, wind surf and canoe here, usually in wet-suits. The sand is find and golden, and the ice-cream van in the carpark is a bonus!

6. Ballintoy Harbour

Photos to follow – promise!

A lovely little harbour with great views, and very twisty road down, and a most unusual house. Amazingly popular with families and fishermen.

7. Portstewart Promenade

The perfect place to end a day on the north coast. Great ice-cream parlours and coffee shops. A lovely free play area, a harbour, and some of the best fireworks displays of the summer.

8. Dark Hedges

I only discovered this magical place last year. It is down a small country road, off another small country road, and it has these wonderful atmospheric “hedges”. It is inland a bit from the coast, but definitely worthy of a mention.

9. Mussenden Temple, Downhill

Built by a Bishop as a library with the most stunning views of the coastline. Visible from Portstewart Strand. Again – more photos to follow. Dramatic and windswept with a spectacular setting.

10. Runkerry Strand, Portballintrae

Accessed by a footpath and footbridge over the River Bush – a great beach for a walk whatever the season. It is possible to take a coastal path from here round to the Giant’s Causeway.

If you live in Northern Ireland, which would be your favourite? Have I left out your top spot?

If you have yet to visit (what’s taking you so long!) which one intrigues you the most, and you would most like to visit?

We have had a minor hiccup with both the flooring and the fridge/freezer for our kitchen makeover. I could show you some interim photos of the work in progress, but I will keep you waiting a bit longer!

I hope for you is that among the chocolate and bunnies this Easter you find time to think about the real reason for this holiday – both the sacrifice made, and the cause for celebration.

I plan on taking a blogging break until Easter Tuesday, but in the meantime, leave your comments!!!


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  1. The photos are just so lovely! I would most like to visit Dunluce Castle, since I LOVE history and castles! Giants Causeway too, of course, because I couldn’t pass that up and definitely the Carrick-a-rede rope bridge! That looks like so much fun!! I think I’d have to visit Portstewart too, as it seems there’s a lot of great stuff in and around there. If I’m coming all that way though, I think I’d visit all 10 of your spots! Thanks for sharing – this post got my vote! 😉

  2. Oh, I just love it all! Thanks so much for doing this post! I would want to make sure I got to see all of it if I ever get there. I wish I was there now, matter of fact!
    Still can’t wait to see the kitchen makeover!
    And I do certainly remember the reason we celebrate Easter tomorrow. I hope your Easter is a joyous celebration with your family.

  3. Those are beautiful photos. The bridge makes me nervous just looking because I am definitely afraid of heights!

  4. Wow – those photos are truly gorgeous. The hanging bridge looks fun and scary, and the trees are amazing. What a lovely corner of the world! 🙂

  5. This post got my vote, too!!

    Love to see your surroundings were you live. And I wish I´ll could see this sometimes in real.

    Dark Hedges, Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge, Dunluce Castle I would like to visit first, but the others also…

  6. Wow, such gorgeous photos and I would love to visit someday! That bridge freaks me out though – not a chance I could cross that, LOL. Thanks for sharing all those beautiful pics and information!

  7. Jan Mary Pretzels for breakfast is normal in the south of Germany!!

    And not both sons love helping and cleaning, only the younger one is loving it… the elder one do this only because it´s necessary but without joy

  8. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and commenting on my floral arrangement.

    Your photos are beautiful. I have always wanted to see Ireland!

  9. Well, the Dark Hedges looks so intriguing. I think we may have been at the Portstewart Promenade as I believe that’s where we stayed…at a B&B nearby. Had the most amazing dinner on the boardwalk there. Don’t remember the name of the restaurant, but it had the most unusual decor…like middle-eastern, or Indian.

    Have a blessed Easter!

  10. If we make it to Carrick a Rede this week I have to cross. I haven’t been before and if I don’t cross the hubs will never let me live it down don’t know if I’ll take toots over though). If your list went to 11 I would have to suggest Tayto:) The hubs might argue and say Bushmills

  11. You have a miraculous Blog here! Your whole photos have impressed me very much! To noteworthiest ones I find him the way about the Carrick a speech Rope bridge… and most enchanting one, the street with the fantastic old trees. I will visit you here very much with pleasure again!

  12. OMGOsh, I want to jump on a plane right this very instant and fly over there. IT all looks so beautiful! And Dark Hedges? A photographer’s dream.

    Can I be you when I grow up?

  13. This is Amazing!! If I ever venture out of Minnesota, I am coming to visit you… your tour guide skills are amazing… and your pictures are so beautiful!!

    I have always wnated to visit.. my maiden name is McGinty… I’m about a 1/16 irish, my dad is 1/8th… one day maybe!

    God bless-

  14. I think Dark Hedges would be mine, I have this weird thing for trees. You’ve got some wonderful photos here, I can only hope to get to see some of these things in person some day. Thank you for sharing your beautiful part of the world with us!

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