Looking for a family holiday with a difference? Why not try the coast of Antrim Ireland? With spectacular views, fantastic visitor attractions and plenty for kids and family to do, it’s a great holiday destination. Katherine shares her experience:
We travelled to the Antrim Coast a couple of years ago, family of Mum, Dad & daughter aged 3 and a half. We drove up heading towards Ballymena and started our Antrim Coast Journey at the lovely town of Carnlough. You can of course head to Belfast/Larne depending on where you are travelling from.
Carnlough is a small town, with a very picturesque harbour, on the shores of Carnlough Bay backed by the Antrim Mountains. There is a lovely walk up to Hurry Head which is the flat, raised area above Carnlough harbour where the quarry railway once ended, and where, around one hundred years ago, limestone was loaded on to boats headed for Scotland. The Hurry itself was the gravity based railway that ran down from the Gortin Quarry, a mile or so up the hill.
We set off then on the A2 – the Causeway Coastal Route – which is an incredibly scenic drive & is actually said to be one of the world’s great road routes!
Ballycastle was a lovely town we stopped at (& returned to another day). The Tall Ships were there when we stopped so there was a great buzz about the place. A perfect spot for a bag of chips too! We meant to get to Rathlin Island from here too, but that was saved for next time.
The Causeway Coastal Route passes through the town, a few miles out at Ballyvoy you have a choice of two roads. The main Causeway Coasatal Route over the mountain plateau or the Torr Scenic Route which passes the laneways to dramatic Fairhead and stunning Murlough Bay.
Here you’ll find one of the most spectacular walks in Northern Ireland from Murlough to Fairhead. The road follows the coast past Torr Head, Altgore Cashel and O’Neills Cairn to the village of Cushendun. Honestly it was simply stunning! & a bit nerve wrecking when we met a big bus!
White Park Bay
We eventually made our way to White Park Bay & stayed in the Whitepark Bay Hostel, where we got a private room. It is located in a beautiful place overlooking White Park Bay, a National Trust Beach to which they have a private road to get down to it.
Hostelling is a great choice with children. We get to have the breakfast we have at home, then make sandwiches & a picnic to bring with us, plus then you don’t feel so bad eating out at dinner every night! Plus is a great value option too.
Places to See in Antrim
And from there we explored! And got all our obligatory Northern Ireland Images! From stepping out onto the infamous rope bridge at Carrick-a-Rede for a death-defying (and wobbling!) experience to the Giant’s Causeway.
- At the time The National Trust was undertaking a major project to restore the headland and create a new Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre.
- The Bushmills Distillery is a fascinating visit to make too.
- Dunluce Castle is a now-ruined medieval castle, but an amazing place to explore – we thoroughly enjoyed wandering all around it and climbing too!
- Another lovely town was Castlerock (between Coleraine & Derry) where we went to Hill Farm Riding Centre and had a great time with our horse mad little girl.
On our way home, we came via Derry. A great city with so much to do, you should even take a night or two & stay here as well.
For older children too there is a wealth of activities along the Antrim Coast from water sports to activity places. They really shouldn’t be bored.
Have you visited Antrim with kids? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.