Romantic Trips and Cosy Stop-Overs
Just the two of you, a stretch of road, some stunning scenery and the promise of a cosy stop-over at the end.
Northern Ireland is full of scenic road trips and we're so compact who knows where the road might lead you. If you are thinking of getting down on one knee to pop the question this year and fancy a spot of sight-seeing all that’s left to do is decide on the location. Here are some of the top trips to get you started:-
Causeway Coastal Route (CCR)
Voted 5th in the world's top scenic views (Jacobs Creek, 2006) and when you drive it, you'll see why.
- The journey starts in Belfast. Stop off at Newtownabbey's Loughshore Park with spectacular views over Belfast Lough
- Visit Carrickfergus where poet Louis MacNeice spent part of his childhood. It has a striking 800 year old castle. Then follow the coast road to Larne the gateway to the Nine Glens of Antrim
- The Nine Glens of Antrim: Glenarm - home to the 18th century Glenarm Castle and Walled Garden), Glencoy, Glenariff, Glenballyemon, Glencorp, Glenaan, Glendun, Glenshesk and Glentaisie
- The Old Bushmills' Distillery, Giant's Causeway (World Heritage Site), Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge - be sure to take the Rope Bridge Challenge!
Stop offs along the way:
- Slemish near Ballymena, it's all that's left of an ancient volcano (Saint Patrick is said to have spent six years there as a slave herding sheep).
- Glenariff Forest Park is well worth a stop off. A rambler's paradise with woody glades, small lakes and tumbling waterfalls.
Detour: take a leisurely drive to Carnlough, where fishing boats rest in the harbour. Call in for refreshments at the Londonderry Arms Hotel, an 1848 coaching inn once owned by Winston Churchill. Torr Head and Rathlin Island are two very striking detours. Torr Head offers views across to the Mull of Kintyre. Rathlin with its striking lighthouse and backdrop lies just six miles of the coast from Ballycastle and is reached by a regular ferry service.
The Sperrins Driving Route
Four scenic driving routes which take in most of the areas key attractions across North, South, East and Central Sperrins.
Breathtaking views, dark and dramatic landscapes, rolling countryside and small settlement towns, make the North Sperrins Scenic Route a must see, must-do experience!
Details: This circular trail winds its way for 50 miles (80kms) through the beautiful, wild and rugged Sperrin Mountains, including the rural towns of Dungiven, Draperstown, Tobermore, Maghera and Garvagh and is an area steeped in myths, legends and historic sites.
Some Detours/ Must Sees: Take time out to view and explore the scenic stop off points and the local plantation towns and villages. Dungiven and Banagher Glen are well worth a visit.
Enjoy the breathtaking scenery and flavour the culture and heritage of this beautiful Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Details: This 63 mile long route winds its way through stunning and changing landscapes and over the magnificent summit of Slieve Gullion
Some Detours/Must Sees: Springhill House, Moneymore Model Village, Slieve Gullion, Beaghmore Stone Circles, Wellbrook Beetling Mill, Drum Manor Forest Park.
Explore the region’s cultural and built heritage as you travel along the Southern Scenic Route. Sample the history of settlement from the first human presence and their ancient customs and monuments, acquire an understanding of the vast exodus to North America by emigrants from Ireland and learn about some of those people who have shaped the future of their new adopted country.
Some Detours/Must-Sees: Omagh, Gortin Glen Forest Park, Ulster American Folk Park, The Derg Valley.
This driving route of 90 miles takes you through dramatic river corridors, wooded glens and spectacular hillscapes and valleys. When exploring the Central Sperrins remember not to hurry and savour a route which has taken time to evolve.
Some Detours/Must-Sees: 'The Tinnies' Sculptures, Sion Mills, An Creagan Centre.
For more information on the Sperrins Driving Routes: http://www.sperrinstourism.com/scenicroutes/
Cruising Fermanagh Lakelands
Fermanagh's Lakelands offer an enchanted landscape. What better way to see Fermanagh than to hire a cruiser and explore at your own pace.
Must-See Attractions: Florence Court, Castle Coole, Crom, Janus Figures and Boa Island, Marble Arch Caves and Global Geopark, Enniskillen Castle Museums, Castle Archdale, Belleek Pottery, Devenish Island Monastic Site.
Strangford Lough and Counties Armagh & Down
Counties Armagh and Down offer a mix of tranquil, rural landscapes and pretty seaside villages. Tour along the Ards Peninsula and take in all there is to offer. Seafood is a specialty in the region, so what better time to sample some delicious oysters.
Must-Sees: Castle Ward, Mount Stewart, Mourne Mountains and Silent Valley.
Whether you are looking to enjoy a picnic for two, a romantic weekend away or if you want to find the perfect location for your romantic proposal, Northern Ireland is full of wonderful places to make this Valentine’s Day a memorable one.
Declare your love on one of Northern Ireland’s spectacular beaches and get creative by writing that all important question in the sand.
Benone Strand in Co. Londonderry has seven miles of golden sand and a magnificent backdrop of cliff scenery. Also close-by is Portstewart Strand, at the mouth of the River Bann, which boasts domineering sand dunes and a hidden estuary.
Travelling along the stunning Antrim coastal road a number of beaches will capture your imagination and sweep your loved one off their feet including Whitepark Bay in Ballintoy, Portrush’s Whiterocks Beach or Portrush’s East Strand Beach. Co. Down also has a selection of beautiful beaches such as Murlough Bay in Dundrum with its spectacular location at the edge of Dundrum Bay and the Mourne Mountains and the award winning Tyrella Beach in Downpatrick with its wide, flat sandy beach backed by mature dunes.