The skyline of Derry~Londonderry
Delve under the skin of the culturally rich County Londonderry to find hidden gems in abundance.
Stop at a vintage tea room
A quaint little tea room in a quaint little village is the perfect stop-off for an atmospheric lunch. The Green Cat Bakery in Eglington has a lovely vintage feel, with china cups and teapots, olde-worlde cake stands and polka dot tablecloths. Scones and cakes are baked on the premises every day, but make sure to try the luxury cupcakes.
Picnic with a Celtic sea god
Loop off the Causeway Coastal Route to climb Binevenagh Mountain and you will reach Gortmore Viewing Point, overlooking spectacular views of Benone Beach, Magilligan Strand, Limavady and Donegal. You’ll also meet the striking sculpture of Manannán Mac Lir, a Celtic sea god wrapped up in the mythology of the area.
Fly a hovercraft
Wing it on down to Foylehov Activity Centre and try flying over water and grass at the only place you can do it is Northern Ireland. Experience the thrill of gliding on a cushion of air at a purpose-built track with abundant water hazards and tricky hairpins bends. If you’ve any energy left, there’s football golf and more.
Gather up some Broighter Gold
Broighter Gold rapeseed oil is a County Londonderry Great Taste Award winner and foodie sensation. Drop in to Broglasco Farm, where it is produced, and experience an économusée workshop where the oilseed rape is transformed into golden liquid. Wander through the exhibition area, sample some, and take a bottle home to give your cooking the chef’s touch.
Eat, sleep and glamp at the heated, secure, cosy and eco-friendly glamping pods at Carrowmena Activity Centre, set in an area of outstanding natural beauty in the beautiful Roe Valley. Learn some camp craft, hit the zip line or find your way through the maize maze. You’ll go home with a smile on your face.
Open a Door of Thrones
For a good chat and a warm welcome, drop in to Frank Owen’s in Limavady to hear all about the ‘Door of Thrones’ and the history of how it ended up in the pub. Have a pint of the black stuff, get your photo taken with the door and relax with craic of the friendly locals.
Make a house call
If you are up the Downhill Demesne and Mussenden Temple way, you must also check out Hezlett House. This picturesque thatched cottage is one of the oldest properties in Northern Ireland, dating back to 1690. Now owned and curated by the National Trust, its story is revealed through the mid-Victorian style furniture and the generations of the Hezlett family.
Drive 27 fairways
The Mussenden links at Castlerock Golf Club is sometimes overshadowed by its more famous neighbours, Royal Portrush (Voted Number 7 in the World's 100 Greatest Golf Courses, Golf Digest, 2017) and Portstewart. Yet this one remains a top 100 course and if 18 holes is not enough there is always the nine-hole Bann course. You can easily play the Bann before lunch in the clubhouse, then hit Mussenden.
Feel prehistory Ireland
Mountsandel Fort nestled in a forest running alongside the River Bann, is the site of the earliest known human settlement in Ireland. It dates to 5,000 years before the Pyramids. A pleasant woodland walk here can take your imagination back to prehistory and gives lovely views across Coleraine.
Get a poke at Morelli's
On the promenade at Portstewart you’ll find all kinds of monkey business, knickerbocker glory and nuts galore – all thanks to the legendary Morelli’s ice cream parlour. This Italian family has been making multi-award-winning ice-cream in Northern Ireland since 1911, and you simply cannot pass on their flavours, sauces, toppings and sprinkles.
Walk the Nun’s Walk
For a scenic stroll along the Atlantic Ocean shoreline, follow the Nuns’ Walk to the heavenly golden sands of Portstewart Strand. (parking available, National Trust charges apply). It’s named after the sisters who took their daily walks here from the white, castle-like Dominican convent school perched on the hill. It’s part of the longer Port Path between Portstewart and Portrush, which you can tackle if you are feeling energetic.