Portstewart Strand, County Londonderry
Northern Ireland is home to some of the most spectacular beaches in Europe. The naturally stunning formations of the coastline provide long stretches of golden sand and impressive sand dunes.
With seven miles of sandy shoreline from Downhill to where it meets Magilligan Point, Benone Beach forms part of one of Ireland’s longest beaches. This Blue Flag beach is a firm favourite throughout the year for families, activity enthusiasts and those looking for a leisurely stroll. On a clear day visitors can take in the great views of Binevenagh Mountain whilst exploring the sand dunes.
Murlough National Nature Reserve
Murlough National Nature Reserve is a fragile 6,000 year old sand dune system owned by the National Trust and is an excellent area for walking and birdwatching due to its spectacular location at the edge of Dundrum Bay and the Mourne Mountains. With its shingle beach and four mile Blue Flag strand, there are nature trails to explore, activities for kids, and wildlife to discover.
West Strand, Portrush
West Strand Beach is flanked on either side by the busy harbour port of Portrush and a pedestrian and cycle promenade which follows the coastline. With shops, amusements and restaurants nearby, this Blue Flag beach resort is a family favourite throughout the holidays.
Ballintoy Harbour Beach
Game of Thrones® fans will recognise Ballintoy Harbour as the filming location for Pyke and the Iron Islands.
Known as the ‘raised beach’, it sits near Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge and the picturesque village of Ballintoy, with its charming array of small shops, churches and restaurants.
A Blue Flag beach, Castlerock is a 1km (0.7 mile) long stretch of beach between the sea cliffs of Downhill to the west and the Lower River Bann estuary known as the Barmouth to the east. The beach and dunes are designated as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and an Area of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI).
Located along the Causeway Coastal Route and backing onto Ballycastle Golf Club, Ballycastle beach is five minutes from the town centre of Ballycastle where you will find no shortage of things to do. Approximately 1.2 kilometres in length, the beach is predominately sand with some shingle and has a promenade at the western end.
Downhill Beach is situated within the Bineveagh area of outstanding natural beauty and is set against a backdrop of cascading waterfalls, towering sand dunes and the stunning Mussenden Temple. Downhill - part of an 11km stretch of sand and surf – offers a wealth of activities including water sports, scenic walks and family-friendly facilities, making this Blue Flag beach an ideal place to explore.
Stunning limestone cliffs and recognisable headlands such as the Wishing Arch, Elephant Rock and the Lion’s Paw have made Portrush Whiterocks Beach a must see destination for local and international visitors. With its amazing waves, this Blue Flag beach is a regular hotspot for surfers and bodyboarders riding the surf.
Maintained by the National Trust, Portstewart Strand is an area of stunning natural beauty and of scientific interest. It holds the prestigious Blue Flag award and is perfect for family fun holidays and picnics. It is also a favourite for visitors wishing to take part in activities such as surfing, swimming and horse riding. (parking available, National Trust charges apply).
Rathlin Island is the most northerly inhabited island off the Irish coast and is one of Northern Ireland’s Special Areas of Conservation due to its large bird colony. From its sandy shoreline, visitors are rewarded with breathtaking views of the Causeway Coast and can enjoy many of the walks the Island has to offer. With accommodation available on the Island, April to July is a great time to visit as it’s puffin season: so don’t miss the opportunity to see them along with lots of other sea birds.
The award-winning Tyrella beach and dune conservation area is a small, enclosed complex within Dundrum Bay, Downpatrick, County Down. It is a wide, flat, sandy beach two kilometres long and backed by 25 hectares of mature dunes. Awarded the prestigious Seaside Award annually since 1997, it has also maintained the Blue Flag award since 2011.
Popular with family and water sport enthusiasts alike, Cranfield beach can be found in an idyllic location at the mouth of Carlingford Lough. With the majestic Mourne Mountains offering a dramatic backdrop, it is a picture perfect beach and was awarded Blue Flag status again in 2016.