Northern Ireland is a must do road trip with stunning scenary, sandy beaches, lush green forests and world class attractions and rated by Tripadvisor as one of the best in the world.
Day 1 Belfast – Carrickfergus – The Gobbins Causeway
If travelling from the UK you can take the ferry from Cairnryan in Scotland to Larne with P&O ferries which takes just less than 2 hours. It’s a 30 minute drive into Belfast. To find a list of campsites in Northern Ireland click here
Belfast is of course the capital city so we recommend you start here and head to the Cathedral Quarter‘s cobbled streets and enjoy some wonderful food and drinks at St George’s Market. Belfast has reinvented itself in recent years to be a thriving party town with a great energy and vibe about it so it’s a great place to start your roadtrip.
Leave Belfast then head 20 minutes North…
along the coast to Carrickfergus, famous for its Anglo-Norman castle, one of the finest preserved Norman structures in Ireland. Carrickfergus is an excellent starting point for any visitor exploring the beautiful Causeway Coast and Glens. Also well worth a visit is Carrickfergus Museum. Carrickfergus is the most archaeologically explored town in Northern Ireland and the finds on display at Carrickfergus Museum provide a wonderful glimpse into life in the town from the medieval period to more recent times.
Then head 15 minutes North to the Gobbins cliff path, a dramatic walk carved into the cliff more than 100 years ago. This 2 mile walk along the cliffs of Islandmagee is a remarkable trek on the edge of the Irish sea.
Day 2 – Glenarm Castle and Gardens—The Glens of Antrim—Cushenden
Start at Glenarm Estate and Walled Gardens. From here, head off to the Glens of Antrim. Do make sure you check out Glenariff Forest Park on your route. Glenariff, the Queen of the Glens, is one of the nine Antrim Glens in Northern Ireland.
Glenariff Forest Park is open to the public and caters for many outdoor activities including walking, horse riding and touring. It has picnic and barbeque areas as well as a tea house. The rocky gorges of the river support a wide range of mosses, liverworts and ferns. Due to the richness and diversity of these plants, part of the Glenariff Glen has been designated as a National Nature Reserve. The timber walkway (boardwalk) that winds through the glen and alongside the river gorge was first built about 100 years ago and has been carefully reconstructed to walk along
Day 3 Torr Head—Carrick-a-Rede—Ballintoy—Whitepark Bay
Rugged coast, spectacular views over the Mull of Kintyre, crashing waves and historical intrigue are reasons why you should make this detour, on the Causeway Coastal Route. This headland was important in the 1800s for recording the passage of transatlantic ships, relaying the information back to Lloyds of London. It was often the last hope for Scottish clans beckoning aid from allies in Argyllshire.
The walls and ruins of Altagore cashel date back to the sixth century. Long before the early Christian church and Irish clans came here, the headland was already remarkable. Torr Head is also an excellent example of metamorphosed limestone and indicative of volcanic rock sequences in Ireland and Scotland.
Then head to the tiny island of Carrick-a-Rede island. Cross a 100ft rope bridge, with beautiful views! Ballintoy is recognizable as the fictional capital of Pyke in Game of Thones and a visitors’ favourite for their beautiful church buildings and harbour. Head to Ballintoy, Whitepark Bay is famous for its sandy beach and rocky coastline, views of the Causeway coast and Ireland’s smallest church, St Gobban’s.
Day 4 Giant’s Causeway—Bushmills—Dunluce Castle
Day 4 will see the longest drive on the entire Causeway route, at just under four hours. However, you’ll also arrive at Unesco-listed heritage site the Giant’s Causeway, arguably the most famous spectable in the country
Then drive on to the incredible Dunluce Castle, another Game of Thrones settlement, appearing as the Greyjoy kingdom in the Iron Islands. It’s now one of Northern Ireland’s most photographed ruins! See this incredible video of the castle here
Day 5 Downhill Demense—Roe Valley Country Park—Derry
It’s Day 5, and first on the list is the Downhill Strand and Demense, which hosts the beautiful Mussenden Temple on the cliffs. Downhill Demesne delves into a life and landscape steeped in history and nature. There’s much to explore as you enter this enchanting estate. Wander around the 18th-century demesne and discover dovecotes and gardens as you stumble upon a spectacular temple. There is a lovely cliff top walk to take click here
From here you’ll travel inland to Roe Valley Country Park, with more wildlife than you can count and more forest than you can hike. The park is on the outer region of Limavady, on the west coast.
The last stop on your trip is Derry/Londonderry. Derry~Londonderry is the only completely walled city in Ireland and one of the finest in Europe, and the best way to enjoy these stony ramparts is to go slow. Take a walking tour and hear the fascinating stories about brutal 17th century sieges, starving citizens and fearsome roaring cannons. Then finish off by crossing the Peace Bridge to Ebrington Square and the Walled City Brewery, where you can raise a glass to this unique city.
Northern Ireland is well worth a visit and this roadtrip provides a great glimpse of the beauty the country offers in a camper or motorhome.