Categories: Food & Drink

If you’re searching for delicious food and stunning scenery, these cycle trails are the perfect way to make your way around Northern Ireland. Ready for a culinary adventure? 

Towpath from Belfast to Lisburn, County Antrim – 11 miles linear route 

Belfast Bike outside St George's Market

Get ready to set off into foodie heaven. Starting from Belfast city centre, you can grab a Belfast bike outside St George’s Market, guided by the smells of fresh food on any weekend morning. A must-try here is the famous Belfast bap, or maybe something a little more adventurous from one of the many stalls selling fresh fruit and vegetables, fish, cheese and pastries. 

As you continue up the river for about 2.5 miles, you can get your coffee fix at bike-friendly café 5A Lockview Road in Stranmillis or continue through Lagan Meadows and enjoy a teabreak at the Lock Keeper’s Inn near Shaw’s Bridge. 

From here, it’s about 6 miles of picturesque cycling along the River Lagan to the end of the towpath. Here, you can stop off and enjoy Hilden Brewery and Tap Room Restaurant, where you can be sure to find refreshing craft beer or a delicious meal.  

Accommodation nearby: Radisson Blu Belfast Hotel 

Faughan Valley Cycle Way, County Londonderry 

Experience both the bustling culture of Derry and its beautiful rural surroundings. Starting in the city, this route follows a traffic-free National Cycle Network along the River Foyle. As you continue on quiet country roads, you’ll pass the Shoal observation point before coming back into the city. Here, you can enjoy a pint in Paedar O’Donnell’s Bar, famous for its live traditional music, or try a refreshing craft beer from the Walled City Brewery. This Brewhouse in Ebrington Square also has a restaurant serving delicious beer-braised pulled pork and potato boxty.  

Walled City Brewery

If you’re looking for some fine dining, head to the banks of the River Foyle, where you’ll find Browns Bond Hill. Sample the six-course tasting menu here, renowned for Head Chef Ian Orr’s dedication to fresh seasonal produce sourced locally. 

Accommodation nearby: Shipquay Hotel 

Newcastle & Lough Island Reavy, County Down – 25 miles circular route 

If you’re on the fitter side and looking for a bit more of a challenge, this route is right for you. It’s most certainly worth it though, because you’ll get to enjoy the spectacular Mourne Mountain scenery.  

Cycling in the Mournes

You’ll begin in the pretty seaside town of Newcastle, where you can fuel up in Froth Coffee Co, and enjoy a delicious breakfast, to give you an all-important energy kick for the strenuous climbs ahead! The nearby Cookie Jar also serves some delicious wheaten bread.  

Once you’re on the road you’ll pass by Tollymore Forest Park before cycling the Trassey Road, a main route through the high Mournes. Here, you can enjoy some picturesque views of Slieve Croob and Lough Island Reavy Resevoir. Passing Castlewellan Forest Park, the tough climb will all be worth it as you’ll be able to soak of the beautiful views of the Mourne Mountains, Dundrum Bay and Newcastle. 

When you arrive back in Newcastle, enjoy dinner in the Percy French. While you’re there, be sure to try artisan beer from Mourne Mountains Brewery, produced using fresh water from the Spelga Dam. You’ll definitely have earned it. 

Accommodation nearby: Burrendale Hotel, Country Club and Spa 

Whiterock and Mahee Island, County Down – 27 miles circular route 

Fine views and tasty treats await! Setting out from Comber town centre, (accessible from Belfast via the Comber Greenway if you want to add some more mileage) you can visit Comber Market (first Thursday of every month) selling everything from fadge (another word for potato bread) to fudge. Or, why not enjoy a fresh scone from the Georgian House?  

From here, head to Castle Espie Wetland Centre and onto Mahee Island, making sure to stop off at the stunning Nendrum Monastic site. After this, head to Whiterock, enjoying the beautiful views along the way.  

Stop in to Daft Eddy’s for a cuppa or some fresh fish. As you head back inland, you can enjoy the green fields as you pass the hamlet of Kilmood.  

Finally, a quick detour means you can visit the thatched cottage Old Post Office Tearooms and The Poacher’s Pocket, near Lisbane, before returning to the outward route, and back to Comber.  

Ballycastle Loop, County Antrim – 35 miles circular route 

Cycling along the Causeway Coastal Route

This route connects Ballycastle with the Giant’s Causeway, along the beautiful Causeway Coastal Route.  

Indulge in something hearty at Ursa Minor, independent Artisan Bakehouse in Ballycastle, where they use traditional techniques to hand-mould loaves or enjoy some North Coast Smokehouse fish at Thyme and Co Café. Beginning at the Marine Hotel, travel on the Causeway Coastal Route, passing by Kinbane Castle and continuing on to Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge and Ballintoy.  

Beyond this, you’ll cycle past Whitepark Bay, Portbradden and the ruins of Dunseverick Castle until you reach the Giant’s Causeway. Before returning to Ballycastle, you can take a tour of the famous Old Bushmills Distillery and sample some whiskey.

Once you return to Ballycastle, you can enjoy some well-earned fish and chips from Mortons. Ballycastle Food Market also boasts some delicious artisan food. For a true taste of the area, make sure to visit Broughgammon Farm for a cookery and butchery course, and pick yourself up some souvenirs from their farm shop. 

Accommodation nearby: Strand Cottage 

And that brings us to the end of the road… 

Whatever delicacies you’re into, you can be sure to find something to enjoy in Northern Ireland, combined with stunning scenic cycle routes!  

Know a place that absolutely has to be on this list? Share your favourite foodie cycle spots with us online using #DiscoverNI  

St George's Market
Covered Market/Market Hall
St George's Market

St George’s Market one of Belfast’s oldest attractions and is one of the best markets in the UK and Ireland. It has been voted for numerous local and national awards for its fresh, local produce and great atmosphere.

Hilden Brewery
Brewery
Image is of a beer being pulled on tap at Hilden Brewery

Hilden Brewery is Ireland's Oldest Independent Brewery. We have been running for over 40 years and in the last seven have added a second brew house, a bottling line and a canning line.

Radisson Blu Belfast Hotel
Hotel
Radisson Blue Belfast Hotel

The Radisson Blu Hotel is a four star hotel located in Belfast city centre. We are situated in the Gasworks area of the city, offering you a quiet yet convenient base to explore the city and its many attractions including iconic Titanic Belfast.

Walled City Brewery
Brewery
Walled City Brewery

The Walled City Brewery craft uniquely local, premium quality, fabulously flavoursome food and beer in their multi-award winning brewhouse and restaurant. If you truly want a flavour of the North-West it is a must-visit.

Browns Bonds Hill
Restaurant
Browns Bonds Hill

The flagship restaurant in the group, Browns Bonds Hill was opened by Chef Patron Ian Orr and his business partner in 2009 and is heralded as the catalyst for putting the north west of Northern Ireland on the fine dining foodie map

Shipquay Hotel
Hotel
Shipquay Hotel

Derry’s newest and coolest boutique hotel, located on Derry’s famous Shipquay Street. Overlooking the Old City Walls and Derry’s famous Guildhall, Shipquay Boutique Hotel is a luxurious and intimate boutique hotel.

Froth Bistro
Café
Froth Bistro

Cosy coffee shop serving fab coffee, delicious breakfasts, lunches and tasty treats.

The Cookie Jar
Café
The Cookie Jar

Family bakery, nestled in Newcastle at the foot of the mountains of Mourne. Started in 1965, run by the Herron family and famous for Wheaten Bread, soda bread, cakes and home pastries, sandwiches and soup. With 2 Coffee Lounges in Newcastle.

Tollymore Forest Park
Nature and Wildlife
Tollymore Forest Park

Oak wood from Tollymore Forest Park was used for the interiors of the White Star liners which included the Titanic. A walk along the Shimna River is marked by many curiosities, natural and artificial - rocky outcrops, bridges, grottos and caves.

Castlewellan Forest Park & Peace Maze
Forest Parks
View of Castlewellan Forest Park

Located in a dramatic setting of mountains and sea, this is one of the most outstanding tree and shrub collections in Europe. The beauty, vigour and perfect shape of the trees in the National Arboretum attract tree enthusiasts from around the world.

Percy French
Restaurant
Percy French

For that more informal style of meal or drink why not visit The Percy French restaurant resting at the foot of the Mourne Mountains, in the grounds of the Slieve Donard. At The Percy French you are greeted with a smile and log burning fires.

Burrendale Hotel
Restaurant
Burrendale Hotel

The Vine at the Burrendale has a reputation for serving delicious food with the best of local produce in an intimate environment. Cottage Kitchen is a restaurant for all the family, offering a menu suitable for all in a relaxed environment.

Comber Farmers Market
Delis, Food Markets and Farm Shops
Photo of a busy vegetable stall in the market

There are over 24 regular traders selling artisan food and plants. The range includes breads, cheeses, vegetables, fruit, cakes, tarts, eggs, olives, jams, chutneys, fish, dry cured bacon, sausages, flowers, chocolate, sauces, and oils.

No. 14 at The Georgian House
Restaurant
Exterior of No 14 at The Georgian House

The Award Winning 1790 Georgian building, lovingly restored with antique fireplaces, cornicing wooden floors and many more period details.

WWT Castle Espie Wetland Centre
Nature and Wildlife
Photo of little boy in blue top and brown trousers jumping off wooden steps onto autumn leaves

Ireland's largest collection of ducks, geese and swans. Viewing from hides, waterfowl gardens, woodland walks. Extended gardens and woodlands with a gift shop, home made food, art gallery and coffee shop.

Nendrum Monastic Site
Historic Sites, Houses, Castles & Buildings
Photograph of Nendrum Monastic site at sunset. Vibrant colours of purples and pinks loom over the ruins

Nendrum is thought to have been set up by St Machaoi in the 5th Century and also has links to St Patrick in later sources. The monastery consists of 3 round dry stone walled enclosures, one within the other.

Daft Eddy's Bar & Restaurant
Restaurant
Dining area

Renowned for its fresh food and wonderful hospitality, Daft Eddy's offers fresh seafood and a host of other local produce.

The Old Post Office Tea Rooms - Pantry - Gift Shop
Café
Exterior of the Old Post Office

Opened in 2004 The Old Post Office Tea Rooms are situated on the picturesque shores of Strangford Lough in the village of Lisbane, County Down, between Comber and Downpatrick. This grade B listed thatched building dates back to the 1840s.

The Poacher’s Pocket
Pub / Nightclub
Front exterior photo of restaurant

Originally established in the 1800’s as an old coaching inn, The Poacher’s Pocket is situated in the heart of picturesque County Down.

Giant's Causeway
The National Trust
The basalt stones at the giants causeway stretch into the sea

Follow in the footsteps of giants at Northern Ireland's iconic UNESCO World Heritage Site. The basalt columns of the Causeway landscape were left by volcanic eruptions 60 million years ago. All visitors are encouraged to book Visitor Experience tickets online in advance of arrival onsite.

Ursa Minor Bakehouse
Café
Ursa Minor Bakehouse

Ursa Minor aims to stand amongst the best bakers on the island. Using high quality ingredients, sourced locally and only when in season, to create unique bakes that stand out in flavour and appearance.

Marine Hotel Ballycastle
Hotel
Marine Hotel Ballycastle

Ideally located between the Glens of Antrim and the Causeway Coast, the Marine Hotel lies only 2 minutes from the beach and 2 minutes from the ferry terminal to Rathlin Island. The hotel has all conveniences including free WiFi throughout.

Kinbane Castle
Historic Sites, Houses, Castles & Buildings
Kinbane Castle

Kinbane Castle is situated in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, on a long, narrow limestone headland projecting into the sea, approximately five km. from Ballycastle on the road to Ballintoy.

Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge
The National Trust
Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge

Pre-booking essential for Rope Bridge crossing.

Ballintoy Harbour
Causeway Coastal Route
Ballintoy Harbour

Ballintoy Harbour can be discovered in the picturesque village of Ballintoy. Known as a ‘raised beach’, it is located alongside the B15 coast road, 17 miles north-east of Coleraine and five miles west of Ballycastle.

Whitepark Bay, North Antrim Coast
Nature and Wildlife
Whitepark Bay, North Antrim Coast

The spectacular beach forms a white arc between two headlands on the North Antrim coast. In this secluded location, even on a busy day there is a refuge for quiet relaxation.

Dunseverick Castle
Historic Sites, Houses, Castles & Buildings
Dunseverick Castle

Dunseverick Castle is situated in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, near the small village of Dunseverick and the Giant's Causeway.

Giant's Causeway
The National Trust
The basalt stones at the giants causeway stretch into the sea

Follow in the footsteps of giants at Northern Ireland's iconic UNESCO World Heritage Site. The basalt columns of the Causeway landscape were left by volcanic eruptions 60 million years ago. All visitors are encouraged to book Visitor Experience tickets online in advance of arrival onsite.

Old Bushmills Distillery
Distillery
Old Bushmills Distillery

In 1608, in Bushmills, a legend was born. In that year, King James I granted a very particular licence to this small village, just a few miles inland from Ireland’s rugged north coast. The licence gave Bushmills the right to distil whiskey. Today, Bushmills is home to the oldest licenced whiskey distillery in the world.

Morton's Fishmongers
Delis, Food Markets and Farm Shops
Morton's Fishmongers

Morton's offer fresh fish and shellfish caught in local waters. Produce includes lobster, crab, scallops, salmon, cod, haddock, plaice, whiting, sole, prawns and smoked fish. Other species are available upon advanced request.

Naturally North Coast & Glens Artisan Market
Markets
Naturally North Coast & Glens Artisan Market

The Naturally North Coast and Glens Artisan Market is a fantastic showcase of local food, culture, heritage and traditions, a perfect destination for anyone searching for an authentic experience.

Broughgammon Farm
Cookery School
Broughgammon Farm

Broughgammon is an award winning, forward thinking family farm, artisan butchery, shop and cafe. Practicing Regenerative Farming, specialising in Cabrito (kid-goat meat), Free Range Rose Veal and Seasonal Wild Game and homegrown veg.

Strand Cottage
Self-Catering
Strand Cottage

Strand Cottage is a modern well furnished 3 bedroomed semi-detached dwelling in a quiet cul-de-sac, beside river and one minute from shops, beach, golf, marina and ferries to Rathlin, Sanda, Islay and 14 miles to Giant's Causeway.