Northern Ireland

County Antrim, Northern Ireland

Last updated 25th July 2022

Why go?

The coastline of County Antrim, at the point where the Irish Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean, deserves to be far more popular than it is.

For those who come here (many of whom make their way up from the Republic of Ireland), it is something of a closely guarded secret, a place of jaw-dropping beauty in which you can walk below basalt cliffs and over caramel-coloured beaches without confronting any coach parties or camera-toting tourists.

The beauty spots come thick and fast – the endless sands at Portstewart and Portrush, the vertiginous Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, the eerie ruins of Dunluce Castle. But the VIP vista is the Giant’s Causeway: the result of a volcanic eruption 60 million years ago, this glorious platform of hexagonal basalt columns really has to be seen to be believed.


Though young children will love the region’s seaside resorts and family-friendly entertainment venues such as Waterworld in Portrush, the Antrim coast is more suited to older kids, so you can enjoy long walks along meadow-topped cliffs that plummet down to the wave-battered shoreline.

You must also stop to enjoy a pint of Guinness (it really is so much better in Ireland) and a traditional music session in one of the many welcoming pubs along the coast.

Heading inland, the Glens of Antrim – nine verdant valleys, each with their own individual character – are equally enticing. Here, the landscape starts to take on an almost primeval feel; waterfalls cascade down moss-blanketed rocks and ancient stone circles sit alongside jungle-thick woodland.

The area is steeped in legend and – as any fantasy fan will be delighted to hear – it is where many scenes of the popular HBO series Game of Thrones were filmed.

The lowdown

How to get there: easyJet flies from London to Belfast International; from £44 return.

Travel time: A flight from London to Belfast International takes 50 minutes, and driving to the Antrim coast takes an extra 45 minutes.

Where to stay: The homely Carnside Guest House B&B (028 2073 1337) makes up for in views what it lacks in glamour. Its 11 cosy rooms look out on to glorious coastal scenery but prices remain reasonable.

Adults stay here from £55 per night. Babies and toddlers stay for free,  under 12 years stay for £12.50 per night and ages 12-18 years for £18 per night. All room prices include breakfast.