Castles, Coast and the Game of Thrones – Northern Ireland

Norther Ireland’s north coast is an enchanting mix of ancient castles and dramatic coastline, with a little bit of Hollywood mixed in. The Game of Thrones has really put Northern Ireland on the map as a tourist destination in recent years. It wasn’t long ago that, according to the American government, Belfast (the capital city of Northern Ireland) was one of the four B’s to avoid when travelling, along with Baghdad, Beirut and Bosnia!

But this is all changing and on a trip up to the north coast of Northern Ireland you can see what people were missing. The coastal drive itself is spectacular enough but there are also a number stops which we would recommend to anyone making this trip. On the way up to the coast make a stop at the Dark Hedges (or the King’s Road for GoT fans out there). This beautiful avenue of beach trees is a very special sight, especially on a quiet frosty morning. You can park up at one end and take a lovely stroll down to the far end and back, under a canopy of leaves and branches. Come early though as tour buses and cars can make the afternoons here rather busy. Make further stops at Port Ballintrae, Ballintoy Harbour, Dunluce castle and Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge before your final destination of the Giant’s Causeway. This otherworldly landscape consists of 40,000 hexagonal stones which descend into the ocean from the shore. A UNESCO World Heritage sight, this place is a must for visitors. On the way back into Belfast make a final stop at Carrickfergus castle.

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