Eager for a giant adventure, The Wandering Wilsons took the small step from their home in Omagh to the exhilarating Causeway Coast. Here’s what Sarah, Darrell and Efi got up to.

Day One

We absolutely love taking short breaks as a family! A wee adventure for the three of us in our favourite place in Northern Ireland – the Causeway Coastal Route – is just what we all needed.

To say Efi was excited to get going is an understatement! The second I told her our plans, she ran to grab her coat and shoes and wanted to make sure daddy had all our stuff packed in the car.

The journey up the road was a breeze and Efi enjoyed the scenery and playing 'I spy' along the way. It took less than 90 minutes to get from our home in Omagh to our first stop of the weekend – the breathtaking Downhill Demesne – so she hardly had time to ask, “are we there yet?”

With the sun shining, we parked at Lion’s Gate and enjoyed a lovely walk, through Downhill Demesne’s walled garden and along the cliff-top path, to the stunning Mussenden Temple. Perched right on the cliff edge with panoramic views of the North Atlantic Coast, Mussenden Temple really is worth a trip with the fam.

Mussenden Temple overlooking Downhill Beach

Efi loved exploring the walled garden and leading us along the path to Mussenden Temple. She couldn’t get enough of the amazing views of Downhill Beach and the sea as she peaked over the wall on the cliff edge – it’s a great spot for some truly fantastic photos.

It can be quite windy at Mussenden Temple and my top tip for warming up on your way back is to stop at Al’s Coffee Bar and grab a cuppa – the coffee here is amazing and it’s somewhere we always make sure to go to when we are in this part of the world.

We travelled on to Portstewart Strand and stopped for lunch at Harry’s Shack – this is one of our favourite spots for food on the Causeway Coast. The food is always first class, Efi loved her Margherita pizza and ice-cream for dessert while Darrell enjoyed a smoked salmon and haddock fishcake and my Shack Fish and Chips was just amazing.

With lunch over, and Efi eager to continue exploring, we drove further along the Causeway Coastal Route, heading past Portrush and out to Magheracross View Point.

The views from the car on this drive are awe-inspiring – it’s a journey we could make everyday – but to get out of the car at Magheracross and take in the rugged coastline from the viewing platform is truly something special. It’s a great spot for photos and the ice-cream on offer from the Cream of the Coast was delicious too!

We also took the opportunity to explore the nearby Dunluce Castle – it’s an iconic spot and Efi loved walking through the ruins and letting her imagination run wild.

We then made our way to our hotel - Marine Hotel Ballycastle - and checked in. This is the perfect place for a family getaway – the rooms were lovely and with the hotel right on the seafront, the views were stunning. We could even see Scotland!

The hotel serves Costa Coffee, there is a playpark just across the road and it’s just a couple of minutes from the Rathlin Ferry – what more could you ask for?

For dinner, we ate in Marconi’s bar and bistro and the food here is just gorgeous! They’ve just reopened after a refurb and everything looks so spacious and inviting. I had the crispy chilli chicken which was just delicious and Darrell loved his daube of Irish beef. It was the perfect end to a perfect day.

Day two

After a great night’s sleep, we were up early and ready for adventure. It turns out breakfast starts at 8am and of course, we were first down!

The breakfast was perfect for Efi – there were lots of options to choose from with lots of freshly baked breads, fresh fruit and yoghurt. Darrell ordered a cooked breakfast and we had the option to order some freshly made porridge as well.

Well-fed and ready for the day ahead, we checked out of our hotel and made our way to Ballintoy Harbour. This is a lovely little spot that always looks like something you’d find on a postcard. I love the picturesque sight of the church at the top of the hill and the art deco Bendhu House as you drive down the narrow twisty lane to the harbour’s car park.

This cute little spot is just perfect when the sun is shining and the café is adorable too. My top tip when visiting is to park in the car park, walk up the hill you have just driven down and take the first path to the left to discover the SECRET beach! It’s a nice, secluded spot with golden sand, lots of shells to find and a small enclave perfect for paddling in.

After Ballintoy, we made our way to the Giant’s Causeway. This is a must see on any trip to the Causeway Coast - it’s a breathtaking site for people of all ages.

Efi loved the visitor centre with all its interactive exhibitions and tales of Finn McCool. The self-guided audio tour was really helpful and taught us lots of stuff we didn’t know, even though we’ve been here many times before.

We got some really lovely photos on the Wishing Chair and at the honeycomb like columns themselves, Efi loved climbing up the hill and looking out over the Giant’s Causeway from the top – all while holding her dad’s hand for safety of course!

By the time we made our way back to the car, our thoughts were turning to our lunch – so we took a short drive in the direction of Bushmills Inn’s Sunday carvery.

You simply must try this carvery – you won’t regret it! You can pick three meats from a choice of  turkey, ham, beef or pork loin and it’s all served with stuffing, crackling, Yorkshire pudding, pork sausage, cauliflower, cabbage, carrots, mash and roast potatoes.

Everything was cooked exactly how we like it and the kids’ portion was perfect for Efi who cleaned her plate! The butterscotch sundae and sticky toffee pudding are not to be missed either!

After our dinner it was time to head home. We really had the BEST weekend away that was filled with so many unforgettable moments.

Planning the whole trip was made so easy thanks to Discover NI’s website where you can find a huge list of family activities and attractions to help you explore our wee Northern Ireland and discover your next giant adventure.

Dunluce Castle
Historic Site
Dunluce Castle

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

Harry's Shack
Harry's Shack

A shack, located on arguably one of the most beautiful beaches in Northern Ireland - Portstewart Strand - which serves fresh local fish, meats, vegetables and more. What's not to love!

The Bushmills Inn
The Bushmills Inn

The Bushmills Inn is a luxury Hotel with an AA Rosette restaurant in the heart of Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coast. One of Ireland’s most well known luxurious hotels, The Bushmills Inn boasts open turf fires, gas lights and hidden nooks & crannies.

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.

Marconi's Bar & Bistro at the Marine Hotel
Marconi's Bar & Bistro at the Marine Hotel

The Marine Hotel occupies an unrivalled seafront position in the heart of the Causeway Coast & Glens. It offers an ideal place to relax and unwind; enjoying some of the best Irish hospitality the north coast has to offer.

Mussenden Temple and Downhill Demesne
The National Trust
Mussenden Temple and Downhill Demesne

Mussenden Temple is located in the beautiful surroundings of Downhill Demesne near Castlerock in County Londonderry. Awe inspiring views, colourful gardens and woodland walks.