Top of the Stops

Even we were amazed by the diversity and popularity of our top visitor attractions. So what are Northern Ireland's leading crowd-pullers in 2003?

Top ten:
1. Giant's Causeway - By far our biggest attraction, these huge octagonal stone columns were created by a lovestruck giant! Or would you rather believe volcanic activity?

2. Oxford Island Nature Reserve - Everything you ever wanted to know about Lough Neagh, including its eels!

3. Ulster Museum - Art, history, nature, science, industry and the Botanic Gardens on its doorstep. (Did we mention free admission?)

4. Belfast Zoo - favourite critters and outstanding views over Belfast Lough

5. W5 - pure genius, transforming the who, what, where, why and which of science into phenomenal fun.

6. Portstewart Strand - miles of safe, golden sands, plus seafront amenities.

7. Ulster Folk and Transport Museum - two great museums in one. Indoors, Ireland's largest collection of trains, vintage buses and cars. Outdoors, country life a century ago with restored farm and village buildings.

8. Exploris Aquarium and Seal Sanctuary - touch tanks and amazing displays teeming with Strangford Lough sealife. Get to grips with a sea urchin or a starfish.

9. Ulster American Folk Park - rural life before and after emigration to America, including the experience aboard ship and ancestral homes.

10. Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge - Over 100,000 braved this swinging bridge suspended high above the crashing Atlantic breakers. Dare you cross this year?

And the rest of our top twenty:
Belleek Pottery - see how it’s made.
St. Patrick's Centre - life and times of Ireland's patron saint.
Derry Walls - Ireland's only completely walled city
Old Bushmill's Distillery - the oldest operating whisky distillery on this island, since 1607.
Mount Stewart House and Gardens - breathtakingly beautiful in June and throughout the summer.
Dunluce Centre - 3 adventure playgrounds in one
Tannaghmore gardens - play areas, animals to pet and gardens.
Waterworld - wet and wild slides and chutes, all indoors
Castle Espie Wildfowl and Wetlands Centre - major bird habitat, home to exotic species
Malone House - country manor in the midst of Belfast.

This is your year to discover why these attractions are chart toppers! P.S. Many are free!

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