The time between Christmas + New Year is a funny one. Nobody knows what day it is, the couch becomes your best friend along with Christmas chocolates + you’re wondering how you’re going to fit into that New Year’s dress. Productive? I think not. WELL NOT FOR ME! I was lucky enough to be taken on a Northern Ireland North Coast road trip by my favourite person + now I’m going to not only tell you about my adventure but help you plan yours too!
So many breathtaking views of the ocean, coastal walks + lots of lovely food awaits you on the east coast of Northern Ireland. Don’t forget the Irish pubs…never forget the pubs.
I was pretty blown away by how beautiful it was because to be quite honest, I wasn’t expecting it! I’d never looked into visiting the area but now I’m so so so glad that I did.
Oh + if you’re a Game of Thrones fan (I’m really not), you’re in for a treat. The show has boosted the tourism even more + you can explore loads of areas where it was filmed. Pretty cool I guess – for some.
Whatever the weather, I think the following places are absolutely beautiful to visit. Just make sure to wrap up warm + check whether all of the attractions are open! Some are weather effected.
Northern Ireland is pretty rural to say the least so getting around can be an interesting one! Seeing as my boyfriend is from Derry we were able to just use a family car and drive.
If you’re flying into Belfast/Derry/anywhere in the country, it’s definitely easiest to book a rental car from your landing city. Make sure you book your car ahead of the trip as you’re likely to get better deals online! If you’re visiting during peak season, this avoids any disappointment on the day too.
Bus tours are also an option + I saw a fair few of them on the road over the 2 days despite it being winter.
PLAN YOUR ROUTE:
Make sure to have a vague idea of where you’re going before hand so you don’t miss any of the sights! Obviously road trips allow you to stop and start whenever you like but a small idea is always useful. Being spontaneous + being knowledgeable of the area = best road trip combo!
Again if you’re going in peak season, make sure to look ahead for accommodation! As with any road trip, you don’t need to book ALL your nights stays however having a few lined up makes you reassured you’ll only possibly be spending a FEW nights homeless…oops.
I stayed at the Bushmills Inn in Bushmills – would totally recommend. The restaurant does absolutely delicious food + AMAZING cocktails, however it’s a bit spenny so maybe not ideal for travelling on a budget! If you’re treating yourself or somebody else, go here! The rooms give such a vintage feel, along with comfort + a truly Irish experience.
After leaving Derry, we headed to our first location – Mussenden Temple! Oh what a beauty….
Park up, grab your camera + go check out the view. We only did a very short walk around here + the views were breath taking. You can see a few beaches for miles whilst standing in fields of green. Make sure to say hellooooo to the local habitants…
Next we drove a short distance to Port Stewart Strand where you park up on the beach. I got some D R E A M Y shots here! The sun was placed perfectly.
Take your shoes off + go for a paddle, or simply take a stroll along the beach, but make sure you spend some time here – it’s absolutely stunning!
I recommend climbing up the sand dunes + getting to some heights to get a cracking view of the beach and beyond. Time it right with the sun + you’re in for a treat. TAKE A SELFIE.
Sadly we didn’t get to try out the restaurant everybody raves about – Harry’s shack. Make sure if you wanna grab a bite to eat there, you head before 3pm or after 5pm as it shuts between then! Maybe book too as it seemed super busy but the food is meant to be sensational!
From here, we took to the coastal causeway for a pretty epic scenic drive. The views are beautiful, with plenty of stopping points along the side of the road for whenever it takes your fancy. JUST DRIVE + TAKE IT ALL IN.
I was hank marvin starvin by this point. Following this route, you can end up in Port Rush where there’s a selection of restaurants to choose from.
Mega weird…you can’t reserve a table at any of them. The queues’ were a bit crazy if I’m honest. People begin queueing 20 minutes before the place opens so if you’re wanting to eat there, get in early! I wasn’t interested in doing that cause I’m an impatient princess so we headed further along to our accommodation.
As I have already mentioned, we stayed and ate at the Bushmills inn! Absolutely fabulous + super close to the Giant’s Causeway for day 2.
Time for the Giant’s Causeway…a world renowned spot!
Firstly, they rip you off for parking here. Don’t bother trying to park in the hotel because they have stewards who will stop you + tell you to go to the designated car park which costs £9 FOR EACH PERSON.
I guess though it’s a World Heritage site which needs protecting SO I’ll be nice.
This is a fabulous spot, with different difficulty walks to adventure on! Take the red path which goes along the cliffs for some serious sights. We did it + although the steps at the end were closed off to head down to the Giant’s Causeway, it’s worth it for the views + the walk there + back is pretty short.
Then you head off on a short walk down to the Giant’s causeway. There is a bus available for £1 however, unless you are unable to walk for a health reason…there is no need to be that lazy!
And VOILAAAA! Climb up + down the steps + get exploring.
Game of Thrones fans, head to Ballintoy Harbour to see a filming spot! It’s also very lovely so definitely worth a visit!
Our last stop off was the Carrick a rede bridge! Last entry for this is 2:45pm in winter so bare this in mind when planning your route! It costs £6 to cross the bridge, which takes you along yet another coastal path boasting magnificent views!
+ THEN BACK TO DERRY WE HEADED TO RELAX RELAX RELAX!