Perhaps the most celebrated stretch of Antrim Coast Road is known as the Antrim Coastal Drive, which winds along a 25-mile (40-kilometer) route and provides scenic views from Belfast to Derry. Discover landmarks including the Mourne Mountains, Glens of Antrim, and Giant’s Causeway on one of the UK’s most picturesque routes, and explore the towns, harbors, and beaches along the way for insight into local life.
Designed by William Bard in the 1800s, the route was intended to improve access for trade; today it continues to provide easy transfer between the region’s popular landmarks. Many tours offering round-trip itineraries from Dublin or Belfast will visit this scenic stretch and its key sites. Combine with a visit to the legendary Giant’s Causeway, or opt for a tour that focuses on the many Game of Thrones filming locations along the way.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The road itself isn’t suited to walking excursions, though there are plenty of opportunities to park and explore each individual landmark on foot.
- Most of the attractions are outdoors and unsheltered, so don’t forget an umbrella and raincoat.
- This is a must do for outdoors enthusiasts, photographers, and first-time sightseers in Northern Ireland.
How to Get There
The route, a section of the A2 between Belfast and Derry, passes through a number of towns. Visitors can opt to rent a car, hire a driver, or relax while taking in the scenic views on a group tour.
When to Get There
The route has its charms all year. In summer, the flora and fauna put on a dazzling show; in fall and winter, the crashing waves and darkening skies bring a photogenic moodiness to the dramatic coastline.
Discover Rathlin Island
Wildlife lovers with more time in the region may enjoy a visit to Rathlin Island, just off the coast. In summer, the island is home to a wide array of birds, including puffins, kittiwakes, and guillemots, all easily spotted in a nature reserve. Park up in Church Bay, then take a ferry over, keeping an eye out for native dolphins and seals.