Wonderful walks and cosy pubs
Blogs, Things to do, Experiences, Walking
Published September 13, 2019
With open fires, thatched roofs, home brews and award winning food all to be found en route to warm you up, the scenery won’t be the only thing inspiring you to get out walking! We’ve put together some of our top walks conveniently located next to bars and restaurants so you can treat yourself to a well deserved pint or some tasty grub after stretching your legs.
A roaring fire in the Bushmills Inn Hotel
Walk: Crawfordsburn Country Park
Best place to eat/drink: The Old Inn
Located on the southern shores of Belfast Lough, with two excellent beaches, spectacular scenery, a tranquil walk through wooded glens and a long coastal path, Crawfordsburn Country Park provides a relaxing natural retreat.
Just a ten minute walk away, sink into a comfortable chair by the fire or dine in elegance at The Old Inn, Crawfordsburn.
One of Ireland’s oldest hotels, the Old Inn has played host to many notable visitors under its thatched roof from famous author C. S. Lewis to former US President George W Bush.
Walk: Murlough National Nature Reserve
Best place to eat/drink: The Dundrum Inn
A fragile 6000 year old sand dune system owned and managed by the National Trust, Murlough Nature Reserve - Ireland's first nature reserve - is a fantastic two and a half mile long walk with stunning views of the Mourne Mountains and Dundrum Castle.
A short five minute drive away you will find The Maghera Inn where you are sure of a warm welcome.
The Inn takes pride in serving the very best in seasonal, freshly prepared and locally sourced produce, you'll be spoilt for choice and style.
Walk: Slieve Donard via Glen River
Best place to eat/drink: Hugh McCanns
The Slieve Donard via Glen River (approx six mile) walk starts in Donard car park and climbs up through the forest to meet the famous Mourne Wall for the final steep ascent to the top.
A total climb of 850m, the dramatic views of Newcastle and the sea below definitely make it worth the ascent.
After climbing Northern Ireland’s highest peak the good news is you won’t have to go too far to find the perfect spot to rest your legs and enjoy a cold one.
Situated a two minute walk from Donard car park, Hugh McCanns is a fantastic spot to refuel and reminisce about your conquest.
Walk: Castle Ward Estate
Best place to eat/drink: The Cuan
Home to a 21 mile network of multi-use trails through the stunning 820 acre demesne there are no shortage of walks within Castle Ward.
Situated on the shores of Strangford Lough take a stroll along the water's edge or head into the forest and explore the unique 18th century house or exotic sunken garden.
Just two miles away in the picturesque village of Strangford, The Cuan’s excellent food and drink await for walkers where strong emphasis is placed on using fresh ingredients and sourcing local produce.
Walk: Castle Archdale Country Park
Best place to eat/drink: Tullana on the Green
Enjoy a walk around this stunning country park on relatively flat off-road paths. A variety of walks are on offer along the lough shore and the cycle trails are perfect for families.
Try and spot evidence of World War 2 throughout the park in the form of flying-boat docks, ammunitions dumps, and slit trenches.
After your stroll around Castle Archdale, take a short drive to Lisnarick where you will find Tullana on the Green. This lovely little restaurant and deli looks out over the village green and offers home cooked meals using the best in local produce in a quaint setting.
Walk: Portrush to Bushmills
Best place to eat/drink: Bushmills Distillery
This six and a half mile walk (one way) from Portrush to Bushmills via Portballintrae will definitely help you work up an appetite.
Passing beaches, cliffs and castles there is plenty to admire along this coastal route which will take you along the sandy dunes of Whiterocks, a fabulous viewpoint towards Dunluce Castle and alongside the tracks of the Giant’s Causeway to Bushmill’s railway - not to mention the jaw dropping coastal scenery along the way.
Once you’ve reached Bushmills pay a visit to Ireland’s oldest working distillery and take in the sights and smells on a guided tour or simply enjoy the end product at the onsite restaurant and bar.
Alternatively less than a mile away step back to a time steeped in charm at the luxurious Bushmills Inn. Roaring peat fires, nooks and crannies and a gas lit bar provide the perfect setting for a drink or two.
Walk: Lagan Towpath
Best place to eat/drink: Hilden Brewery
A tranquil riverside route, this continuous flat off-road path links the two cities of Belfast and Lisburn. Starting from Stranmillis, just minutes from Belfast City Centre, the walk follows the river and late 18th century canal system through a variety of wetland, riverside meadows and mixed woodland.
Your map reading skills don’t have to be great - just follow the water! Once in Lisburn, simply hop on the train back to Belfast.
After walking the 11 miles from Belfast you will be greeted with the welcome sight of Hilden Brewery. A family run microbrewery, take a tour or enjoy one of their many home brewed ales over a relaxed lunch or dinner in the Tap Room restaurant.
Walk: North Antrim Cliff Path to Dunseverick Castle
Best Place to eat/drink: Causeway Hotel
This spectacular cliff walk follows a key section of the longer Causeway Coast Way & Ulster Way. Nearly five miles in length, the walk starts from the famous UNESCO World Heritage Site – the Giant’s Causeway.
Along the way you will be greeted with some of the finest cliff scenery in Europe, with attractively named headlands and bays such as: Port na Spaniagh, The King & His Nobles, Bengore Head, Portnabrock and culminating in the largest bay of Port Moon.
Before you start your walk pay a visit to the Causeway Hotel on the doorstep of the famous landmark. Built in 1836, the Taste of Ulster 2014 award winning hotel has a bar lounge ideal for a drink or light bite, for more substantial local fayre visit the hotel restaurant with stunning views across the bay to the Atlantic Ocean.
Walk: Sperrin Mountains
Best place to eat/drink: bring a picnic and enjoy the views!
With the Sperrins extending over two counties, there is simply so many stunning places to enjoy a cosy drink or tasty meal after your mountain walk.
The Sperrin Mountains, stretching along the border of counties Tyrone and Londonderry, can best be described as wild, untouched and beautiful. Spanning 40 miles, the Sperrins mountain range is the largest in Ireland and walkers can expect undulating hills covered in heather, quiet valleys, boggy uplands and a land teeming with wildlife.
Walk: Oxford Island Nature Reserve or Craigavon Lakes
Best place to eat/drink: Clenaghans
Enjoy a pleasant woodland walk over 4 miles of walking trails at Oxford Island Nature Reserve. Do a spot of birdwatching from one of the birdwatching hides. Explore woodland, ponds, or wildflower meadows which provide the perfect backdrop for a stroll around the reserve.
There is also an extensive network of walking and cycling paths set within the parkland around Craigavon Lakes. The route around the two lakes is 3 miles and there are well-marked surfaced trails.
Once you have enjoyed the great outdoors, a short 15 minute drive away from the Nature Reserve or 20 minute drive from the lakes, stop for refreshments at the award-winning Clenaghans Restaurant in Aghalee. With cosy interiors, roaring fires and candlelit dinners, its perfect for enjoying a cold one after your walk.
Walk: Beech Hill Trails
Best place to eat/drink: Beech Hill Country House Hotel
Just two miles from the bustling city of Derry-Londonderry you’ll find Beech Hill Country House Hotel where three miles of circular trails twist their way through the mixed woodland and landscaped gardens near the River Faughan.
A hub of history, Beech Hill was used as a World War II camp by the US Marines who carved their names on a tree in the woods which can still be seen today.
The trails start and finish at the front of the hotel where you can enjoy a meal in the Ardmore restaurant where the menu uses only the finest and freshest of ingredients mostly from nearby farms and local fishermen with vegetables and herbs grown in the hotel’s own walled garden.
Walk: Lurgan Park
Best place to eat/drink: Courthouse
Lurgan Park is the second largest public park in Ireland. The beautifully landscaped parklands surround a 59-acre hand-dug lake with well-maintained paths just perfect for walking and running around.
Luckily within walking distance to the Park you will find the Courthouse Bar in Lurgan. Enjoy a drink in the courtroom, the gallery, the library or al fresco in the beer garden at this former magistrate’s court.
Walk: Cuilcagh Boardwalk, Legnabrocky Trail
Best place to eat/drink: The Moorings
If you’re a veteran hillwalker then an attempt at the trek up Cuilcagh Boardwalk is a must. Accept the challenge on this exhilarating experience across bogland. The views from the top will make the trip worthwhile.
Reward yourself after your trek up the boardwalk by enjoying refreshments in The Moorings, Bellanaleck a 20 minute drive away.
Walk: Peatlands Park
Best place to eat/drink: The Head o the Road
Enjoy one of five walks through the Park, over lakeland, parkland or grassland. Explore on foot along paths and woodens walkways – there are over 10 miles of paths to choose from.
A hearty welcome awaits you at The Head o the Road just over 5 minutes’ drive from the park. Enjoy a relaxing drink or refuel on their delicious home-cooked meals.
Posted by Sarah
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