1 day itinerary (except Sunday)
Situated in the North East corner of Northern Ireland and home of the stunning Giant’s Causeway and Causeway Coastal Route, County Antrim offers artisan food to tempt the taste buds as well as many tourist attractions.
Start your route from Belfast and take the M2 motorway north towards Carrickfergus. Guided by Causeway Coastal Route tourism signs follow the coast road to the pretty seaside village of Glenarm, one of the nine Glens of Antrim. Looking into the bay, you will see the salmon beds of the Northern Salmon Company. Fresh Glenarm organic salmon will be served in numerous restaurants along the coastal route. Try it with creamy champ and a rich butter sauce.
Leave Glenarm and continue to follow the Causeway Coastal Route, through Carnlough and Cushendall to Ballycastle. Just before the town look out for the sign for Drumnakeel Herb Garden and take a break. A chance to browse their herbs and plants, whilst enjoying some traditional home cooking in their café.
Continue to follow the Causeway Coastal Route to Bushmills and stop off for a wee dram at The Old Bushmills Distillery. Gentle, warming blends, and delectable, aged malt whiskeys from Bushmills are Northern Ireland’s proud living heritage. Licensed since 1608, the distillery uniquely distils, matures and bottles on site with four centuries of accumulated expertise. Gift shop and tours available.
No visit to County Antrim would be complete without stopping at Northern Ireland’s most famous attraction, the Giant’s Causeway. Formed over 60 million years ago, when molten lava cooled suddenly on contact with water, it is an awe inspiring landscape of hexagonal basalt columns.
Nor should you leave County Antrim without some of the Causeway Cheese Company’s matured, chalky, artisan Drumkeel cheese. Cheshire-like and shaped in the iconic hexagonal causeway stones, the cheese is a perfect souvenier of your day in Antrim. You can visit the plant to see cheesemaking in action, between April and September, but just call in advance to make sure production is up-and-running. From Coleraine take the A26 south for Ballymoney and look out for the sign for Loughguile.
A splendid meal at Oregano Restaurant, Ballyclare will finish the day in style.
Staying overnight in the area, you might want to try the quiet elegance of the Dunadry Hotel and Country Club or the luxury Hilton Templepatrick.
If you happen to see a white Morris Minor traveller in the North Coast region, hail it down, it might belong to Virginia Maxwell of Causeway Chutneys and she might have a few pots of her delicious chutneys in the boot. The Causeway Speciality Market, a vibrant organic, specialty and craft market takes place every second Saturday of the month in the centre of Coleraine.