Categories: Plan Your Trip

Travel writer, actor and explorer, Michael Palin once described the train ride between Derry~Londonderry and Coleraine as “one of the most beautiful rail journeys in the world”. Now who in their right mind is going to argue with a member of Monty Python. Certainly not us, so let’s hop on board and relax and enjoy the stunning views along this short stretch of train track.

Train travel in Northern Ireland is about more than the journey

Whether you start your day in Derry-Londonderry or Coleraine, there’s lots to do at each destination and many things to see along the way. Taking the train means you’ll travel in comfort, avoid the hassle of traffic and parking and get plenty of time to take it all in. History, heritage, stunning scenery as well as plenty of great restaurants, pubs and shops await you on this fun-filled day.

Wander the Walled City of Derry-Londonderry before you board

The walls of Derry~Londonderry

Before boarding the train in Derry-Londonderry, you can meander through the bustling compact streets of the last remaining completely walled city in Ireland and listen to the echoes of almost fifteen centuries of history.

Your train journey follows the River Foyle out of the city and heads into the lush green countryside before arriving at the golden sands of Benone Strand. The railway track runs alongside the sand, so you have spectacular views of one of the most unspoilt beaches in Ireland.

Benone Strand

On the opposite side of the track, you’ll see the maritime cliffs at Downhill and the impressive Binevenagh Mountain. The sand dunes and the cliffs are home to a wide range of wildlife and unique habitats such as a range of birds including peregrine falcon.

Binevenagh Mountain

You’ll soon arrive at the small John Lanyon designed station of Castlerock. This popular seaside village is an ideal stop for a beach picnic or a potter around the village. The construction of the railway to the growth and development of this village. And as you can imagine there was always plenty of excitement around, particularly during ‘The Great Blast’ when 3,600lbs of gunpowder was used to remove rock and build two tunnels. These are still the longest railway tunnels in Ireland, measuring 668 and 307 yards respectively.

Along the banks of the Bann to Coleraine

From Castlerock your train ride continues along the banks of the River Bann before sweeping into Coleraine. The town itself is steeped in history and if you visit the Mountsandel Fort in the woods of the same name, you’ll be standing on top of the island’s most ancient human settlement.

Hop from Coleraine to the Causeway Coast

After you’ve explored the town, you can hop on board a bus to travel on to The Giant’s Causeway or one of the many pretty coastal towns and villages.

The Causeway Coastal Route is one of the most scenic regions in these islands and is home to some of Northern Ireland’s best known attractions including Bushmills Distillery, Dunluce Castle, Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge and of course The Giant’s Causeway.

Dunluce Castle

The Causeway is a World Heritage Site and home to a wealth of local history and legend. Explore the basalt stone columns left by volcanic eruptions and search for distinctive stone formations fancifully named the Camel, Harp and Organ.

Getting there

You can travel between Derry~Londonderry and Coleraine by rail and transfer to The Giant’s Causeway and coastal towns by bus. Rail connections to Coleraine are also available from Belfast.

Return bus services from The Giant’s Causeway to Coleraine will allow you to hop on and off at coastal locations. Bus services 402, 172 and 177 serve The Causeway Coastal Route. Return rail services to Derry~Londonderry and Belfast operate throughout the day.

Getting around

iLink is available for adults and children and is ideal if you travel by both bus and train to your destination on a regular basis. Translink Family & Friends Ticket – offers unlimited day travel on all bus & rail services. Valid Monday – Friday after 9.30am as well as every Saturday and Sunday with no time restrictions for up to 2 adults and 4 children.  Additional children under 16 will be charged at a discounted rate.

Full timetables are available from www.translink.co.uk or by calling (028) 9066 6630

17th Century City Walls
Historic Sites, Houses, Castles & Buildings
17th Century City Walls

Derry~Londonderry is the only remaining completely walled city in Ireland and is one of the finest examples of Walled Cities in Europe. A walk around the walls reveals a city crammed full of history, heritage, interest and a vibrant cultural scene.

Benone Strand
Beach
image of beach with cliffs and sea in the backgound. Welcome has been carved into the sand with 2 visitors hardstanding behind the mesaage.

Benone Beach, multiple recipient of the European Blue Flag and Seaside Award, is a must-see when visiting the area. With seven miles of golden sand and a magnificent back drop of mountain and cliff scenery and stunning views across to Donegal.

Downhill Beach
Beach
Downhill Beach

Downhill is a golden sandy beach stretching from Downhill Cliffs in the east towards Magilligan Point. It's overlooked by one of Northern Ireland's leading landmarks, Mussenden Temple, and benefits from classic views of the Donegal Coast and beyond.

Binevenagh Nature Reserve
Nature and Wildlife
Binevenagh Nature Reserve

Binevenagh is a tranquil area where the sights of Lough Foyle and Donegal can be seen on a clear day. This reserve is part of the northernmost outcropping of the Antrim Plateau as molten lava poured out over the surface 60 million years ago.

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.

Dunluce CastleDunluce Castle

Dunluce Castle is located dramatically close to a headland that plunges straight into the sea, along the North County Antrim coast.

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

Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge is currently closed until Tuesday December 27, 2022. The site car park will be open at weekends for visitors to walk this section of the Causeway Coastal Route, with a £5 charge for car parking, free for National Trust members and local pass holders.

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.