Explore the Best of Causeway Coastal Route Driving Roads

Explore the Best of Causeway Coastal Route Driving Roads
Photo by Tom Blackout / Unsplash

Discover one of Northern Ireland's top drives, the Causeway Coastal Route. It spans 185km/115 miles along the Antrim Coast. This journey is packed with breath-taking scenery, ancient sites, and pretty villages.

Starting from Belfast and ending in Derry, it leads you through nine stunning glens. You'll also visit the majestic Giant's Causeway. To make the most of your trip, plan wisely and set off on this memorable Northern Irish adventure.

Key Takeaways

  • The Causeway Coastal Route stretches 185km/115 miles along the Antrim Coast Road.
  • Exploration requires at least two days for a comprehensive experience.
  • Discover varied attractions like beaches, castles, and Game of Thrones filming locations.
  • The Gobbins Cliff Path has been a visitor attraction for over 100 years.
  • The Giant's Causeway features about 40,000 polygonal basalt columns.

Introduction to the Causeway Coastal Route

The Causeway Coastal Route is a magical journey. It starts in lively Belfast and ends in historic Derry. On the way, you see the beautiful northern coast of Northern Ireland. This 185km drive is famous for its amazing driving routes. It also shows off stunning scenic routes and secret tourist attractions.

Travel through the nine Glens of Antrim. Each glen has its own special story and natural beauty. Glenariff has amazing waterfalls, and Cushendun features unique caves. It's best to take two days to explore fully and enjoy the scenic beauty of Antrim Coast road.

This route isn't just about driving; it’s about unique experiences too. Walk the Gobbins Cliff Path where cliffs tower over the sea. Visit the Chaine Memorial Tower, also known as "The Pencil," for stunning sea views. Discover Slemish Mountain, linked to St. Patrick, and Carrickfergus Castle, a castle from 1177.

You’ll find lovely beaches like Cushendall and Cushendun, popular from Game of Thrones. Don't miss the Blackhead Lighthouse Walk. Here, you might see dolphins while exploring sea caves.

When planning your trip, make sure to consider these main highlights:

Attraction Description Admission Fee
Gobbins Cliff Walk Unique clifftop experience along basalt cliffs £15
Giant's Causeway UNESCO World Heritage Site with hexagonal basalt columns £12.50 (£11 online)
Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge Suspended bridge over dramatic cliffs £10 per adult
Carrickfergus Castle Historic Norman castle built in 1177 £6.00

For a longer and more relaxed experience, spend 3 to 5 days on the route. You can visit all the main places and enjoy the scenic drives. This journey promises an unforgettable mix of history, culture, and stunning views.

Key Stops Along the Route

Your coastal road trip starts in Belfast City, the heart of Northern Ireland. In Belfast, feel the city's essence. Visit the Crumlin Road Gaol's past or the stunning Belfast Castle. You can also explore in detail with a bespoke tour tailored to your likes.

Belfast City

Begin your trip in Belfast, a place steeped in culture and history. The Crumlin Road Gaol tells stories from 150 years ago through its tours. And don’t forget Belfast Castle. It sits on Cave Hill, offering great city views. The estate has gardens and trails waiting for you, marking a top start to your journey.

The Gobbins

Don’t forget The Gobbins on the Causeway Coastal Route. This cliff path, from 1901 but reopened in 1991, is a true adventure. You'll walk on suspended bridges, see sea caves, and enjoy the cliffs' views. While it costs £15, the thrill of this natural beauty is priceless.

Attraction Feature Historical Year Admission Fee
The Gobbins Cliff Path 1901, reopened 1991 £15
Belfast Castle Scenic Estate 1870 Free
Crumlin Road Gaol Historic Prison 1845 Varies

These stops give your road trip a strong start, mixing history with amazing views. Don't forget to blend city tours with wild nature in your route plan. Keep exploring both sides as you drive more of the Causeway Coastal Route.

Top Scenic Attractions

The Causeway Coast scenic drive has stunning landscapes and historic sites. It will captivate you during your Northern Ireland adventure. Visit these captivating attractions to enrich your journey.

The Giant’s Causeway

The Giant’s Causeway is a natural wonder. It's famous for its distinct hexagonal basalt columns leading into the sea. This UNESCO World Heritage Site combines natural beauty with ancient stories. Legend says it was built by a giant to fight another giant across the sea. A must-see for anyone appreciating scenery or interested in tales.

Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge

The Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge is another thrilling stop. It stretches 20 meters above the rocky cliffs and Atlantic ocean. Originally used by salmon fishers over 350 years ago, it now offers an exciting walk with amazing coastal views. Ensure you book a time slot because it's very popular on Northern Ireland trips.

Attraction Location Highlights Distance from Belfast
Giant’s Causeway Co Antrim Hexagonal basalt columns, UNESCO World Heritage Site 80 miles
Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge Co Antrim Suspension bridge, stunning sea views 60 miles

Game of Thrones Filming Locations

The Causeway Coastal Route is stunning and home to famous Game of Thrones filming locations. This journey takes you through the landscapes of Westeros. You will see places made famous by the series, now tourist attractions.

The Dark Hedges, or King's Road, is a key stop. The tree-lined avenue is a top spot for Game of Thrones photos. Ballintoy Harbour, the Iron Islands on the show, lets you imagine Theon Greyjoy's emotional return.

Location Featured Scene Description
Dark Hedges King's Road A stunning line of beech trees that provided a memorable backdrop for Arya Stark's escape.
Ballintoy Harbour Iron Islands The rugged coastline where Theon Greyjoy returns to the Iron Islands.
Cushendun Caves Melisandre's 'Shadow Baby' This dramatic cave was the setting for one of the series' most supernatural events.
Magheramorne Quarry Castle Black and The Wall Used extensively throughout the series, this location doubled as the Night's Watch fortress.
Downhill Strand Dragonstone Beach A stunning stretch of beach that becomes the backdrop for Dragonstone Island scenes.

The Cushendun Caves were used for Melisandre's eerie scene, adding mystery to the trip. Magheramorne Quarry, representing Castle Black, is a vital spot for many key scenes.

Downhill Strand, known as Dragonstone Beach, is also unforgettable. This beautiful beach is where Dragonstone Island scenes were filmed, making it a top Game of Thrones filming location.

The route is filled with other Game of Thrones spots. You can see Brienne of Tarth's unveiling at Larrybane Quarry and the Dothraki Sea at Binevenagh. Each site lets you explore more of the series' world.

Exploring Historic Castles

Start an exciting adventure along the Causeway Coastal Route. Difficult roads wind through beautiful landscapes. Along the way, you'll find magnificent historic castles. They tell stories of the past. The Antrim Coast Road is 185km long, with rich history. Travel from Belfast City to Derry, taking two days to explore the old sites.

Glenarm Castle

Glenarm Castle is a gem from 1636. It shows Ireland's long history. Its walled gardens are peaceful and beautiful. They take you to another time. Glenarm Castle lets you experience past grandeur.

Carrickfergus Castle

Next is Carrickfergus Castle on the Coastal Route. It's a well-preserved Norman fortress. Families find it fun and interesting. The castle overlooks Belfast Lough, offering amazing views and history lessons. Each stone tells stories of brave soldiers and wars fought.

Best Beaches on the Causeway Coastal Route

The Causeway Coastal Route isn't just all history. You'll find beautiful and calming beaches on your journey. These beaches range from sandy shores surrounded by beautiful caves to quiet spots in small coastal villages. They're perfect for a break during your trip.

Cushendun Beach

Cushendun Beach is a gem in the village of Cushendun. It has a lovely sandy bay and intriguing caves. The waters are calm, making it perfect for relaxation. This beach, considered one of the best, is also near the Cushendun Caves. These caves are well-known for being in Game of Thrones.

Cushendall Beach

Cushendall Beach is just a short drive from Cushendun. This beach offers a calm hideaway in a small coastal town. With its 250 meters of coastline, it's great for a break and enjoying the view. The serene atmosphere makes it ideal for spending time and taking in the stunning scenery.

Highlights of the Antrim Coast Road

Driving along the Antrim Coast Road is more than a journey. It’s a voyage through history and beauty. Covering a part of the Causeway Coastal Route, this 130-mile stretch takes you from Belfast to Londonderry. It shows off Northern Ireland’s prettiest and most interesting spots.

The Antrim Coast Road is famed for its great engineering. It was built from 1832 to 1842. You'll see amazing bridges like the Glendun bridge. This road blends well with the wild coast, offering amazing views all the way.

Visiting the lovely Glenariff Forest Park is a must. It's famous for its beautiful waterfall walks, surrounded by greenery. Next, you’ll spot the Chaine Memorial Tower. It stands proudly by the sea, a reminder of the past.

Highlight Description Interesting Fact
Glenariff Forest Park Waterfall walks in a serene forest setting A hidden gem on the Antrim Coast
Chaine Memorial Tower A sentry-like structure watching over the sea Iconic landmark of the coastal route
Ballypatrick Forest Park Six-mile loop drive featuring a megalithic burial chamber Offers a tangible connection to ancient times
Loughareema The “vanishing lake” that dries out in warm weather Home to the legend of a ghostly carriage since 1898

Don’t miss the Torr Head scenic route at Ballyvoy. It takes you to an old lookout used for ship-watching. Here, you get an amazing view of land and sea. Whether you love history or just enjoy beautiful nature, the Antrim Coast Road has so much to offer.

Causeway Coastal Route Driving Roads

Set off on the Causeway Coastal Route driving roads. It's one of Northern Ireland's top driving routes, spanning 185km/115 miles. You'll travel from Belfast City to Derry, weaving through the Antrim Coasts. For the full experience, take at least two days. This allows time to enjoy the beautiful landscapes and historical sites.

Start in lively Belfast and quickly swap the cityscape for stunning coastal vistas. A stone's throw away is Carrickfergus Castle, a noble fortress built in 1177. It was the work of John de Courcy. Don't miss the Whitehead Coastal Pass with its 5km path towards the Blackhead Lighthouse.

Love mixing history with nature? Visit the Gobbins Cliff Path for a 100-year-old adventure. It takes you across bridges and along dramatic cliffs. Keep going to see the Chaine Memorial Tower, a 27-meter granite tower guiding Antrim's shores.

The Antrim Coast Road has many treasures. Near Larne, the Black Arch is a unique tunnel through a rock. Nature lovers will adore Carnfunnock Country Park's woodlands and gardens over 191 hectares. A short drive away is Slemish Mountain, where Saint Patrick once herded sheep.

In your travels, be sure to explore Glenarm Castle, constructed in 1636 by the Earl of Antrim. It's open for tours through its grand halls and gardens. Nearby, visit the peaceful Cranny Falls to add to your memories.

Attraction Distance from Previous Highlight Time Allotted
Whitehead Coastal Pass 15km from Belfast Blackhead Lighthouse Trail 1-2 hours
The Gobbins Cliff Path 10km from Whitehead Suspended bridges and sea caves 2-3 hours
Chaine Memorial Tower 5km from Larne Irish Granite beacon 30 minutes
Glenarm Castle 15km from Larne Guided tours 1-2 hours
Glenariff Forest Park 10km from Glenarm Waterfall walks 2-3 hours

Carry on along the route and you'll find Cushendall Beach, a lovely 250-metre coast. It offers a great spot for enjoying the sea. Not far from here are the Cushendun Caves. Every part of the Causeway Coastal Route driving roads is full of wonder. You're on a journey through some of the world's most beautiful driving routes.

Travel Tips for the Causeway Coastal Route

Setting off on a coastal road trip along the Causeway Coastal Route is an unmatched adventure. To make sure you enjoy the journey, remember these key travel tips.

Best Time to Visit

Plan your trip from late spring to early autumn for the best experience. The scenery will be at its finest, lively and green. Plus, the weather will be great for exploring the Antrim Coastal Route, which is 185km/115 miles long.

Where to Stay

There are many places to choose from while travelling the Causeway Coastal Route. You can stay at charming bed and breakfasts or historic inns for a real feel of the area. The Bushmills Inn, close to the Giant's Causeway, offers a mix of tradition and modern comfort. For those looking for luxury or something unique, you'll find plenty of choices to make your stay perfect.

Marker Category Examples
Orange Beaches Cushendall Beach
Dark Purple Castles Glenarm Castle, Carrickfergus Castle
Yellow Main Attractions The Giant's Causeway, Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge
Green Game of Thrones Filming Locations Cushendun Caves
Light Purple Unique Attractions The Gobbins Cliff Path

Following these travel tips will ensure your journey on the Causeway Coastal Route is amazing. You'll deeply experience the stunning beauty and rich history of this iconic route.


Your journey along the Causeway Coastal Route has come to an end, leaving you with unforgettable memories. This Northern Ireland road trip is a 200-kilometre showcase between Belfast and Derry. It features breathtaking landscapes and rich history.

The Giant's Causeway is a highlight, with its 40,000 hexagonal columns. Crossing the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge is a thrilling memory. Thinking back, views from Dunluce Castle and the beauty of Ballintoy Harbour stand out.

Historic places like Old Bushmills Distillery and Dunseverick Castle add depth. The route also includes icons like the Dark Hedges and scenic spots like the Glens of Antrim. These places are as beautiful as in Glenariff Forest Park.

Whether you visited during warm summer days or another season, the trip was full of cultural and natural wonders. This journey was a deep dive into ancient landscapes mixed with vibrant local life. It's a place you'll want to visit again for its timeless beauty.