Lighthouse perched on the cliff edge on Rathlin island.
From the mythical nine glens to geological wonders, castles and surf towns, County Antrim is bursting with exceptional experiences.
If you only have a few days, here’s what you must see and do.
1. Marvel at the Giant’s Causeway
Catch the beautiful narrow-gauge heritage train on the Giant's Causeway & Bushmills Railway route and arrive in style at the site of the iconic hexagonal stones. Take in the amazing visitor centre and experience the power of the mighty Finn McCool. Clues of his existence - including the Giant’s Boot and Wishing Chair – can be spotted throughout an exploration of the causeway, which is accessible by foot.
2. Walk Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge
Once you dare to walk the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, remember there’s only one way back to collect your National Trust certificate. Yes, you’ll have to do it again! But it’s so worth it. You will be hard pushed to find nicer scenery than that on the tiny island, an old salmon fishery that you cross the bridge to.
3. Sail away to Rathlin Island
Escape to another world via Rathlin Island. Catch the ferry from Ballycastle across the Sea of Moyle. Take a tour of the upside down lighthouse built into a cliff face, and enjoy rustic walks which take you back to nature and one of the largest seabird colonies in the UK. You might even spot some seals.
4. Watch the sunset at Dunluce Castle
When the sun’s rays are low over Dunluce Castle, your iconic holiday snap of the Antrim coastline is literally, on the horizon. This evocative castle lost its kitchen when it fell into the sea one stormy night. The stories of its history, together with those of the nearby abandoned village of Dunluce (which are still being uncovered by archaeologists), are well worth exploring.
5. Taste the finest Irish whiskey
The smells are lovely and serenade the senses as you take a tour through the still active Old Bushmills Distillery on the banks of the River Bush. It's an interesting experience and gets you fired up for the fabulous tasting experience at the end. Follow this with lunch, a browse through the lovely gift shop for souvenirs, and the purchase of a nice single malt with a personalised label.
6. Drive the iconic Causeway Coastal Route
You need a day or two (or ideally a long weekend!) to really delve deep into the iconic Causeway Coastal Route by car. It takes you through unrivalled scenery and links ancient castles, amazing geological formations, golden beaches and picturesque seaside towns and villages. Alternatively, opt to cycle the route and really engage with the experience as you are rewarded with the amazing sights and the challenges too, including the dreaded steep ascent of Torr Head.
7. Get on the Game of Thrones trail
As the world of Game of Thrones is never far away, some ‘set jetting’ should be on your County Antrim itinerary. Re-live scenes and stand in the spots where the blockbuster TV series was filmed. Be sure to visit the mysterious Dark Hedges, the foreboding Cushendun Caves and picturesque Ballintoy Harbour. For gossip and behind-the-scenes tales, talk to the locals or book a tour.
8. Surf Atlantic Waves at White Rocks
The quintessential County Antrim watersport experience is to surf the waves on a ride towards the beautiful white chalk cliffs of Whiterocks Beach. Powerful waves are around much of the year at this exposed beach break, within walking distance of the busy holiday resort and surfing hotspot of Portrush.
9. Explore Carrickfergus Castle
You can’t run out of adventure and stories at the impressive Carrickfergus Castle – there’s 800 years of history to absorb in what is one of the most important and best documented medieval castles in the whole of Ireland. It’s well worth seeing the keep, the banqueting hall, medieval life exhibits and the collection of cannons that once formed part of the defences.
10. Get lost in the Glens of Antrim
Escaping to the Glens of Antrim brings nine opportunities to get lost amid unspoilt, picture-perfect landscapes. Steeped in legend and lauded song, the glens’ wild beauty, myth and magic offers something unique to those willing to explore them.