Welcome to the Causeway Coast and Glens
The Causeway Coastal Route is rated as one of the Top Five Road Trips worldwide and when you drive it, you’ll see why.
It’s an ever changing tapestry of scenery and colours, set against a dramatic coastal backdrop that will take your breath away - the perfect place for a leisurely tour.
The journey starts in Belfast, follow the Coast Road to the Larne area, the gateway to the Nine Glens of Antrim; Glenarm (home to Glenarm Castle and Walled Garden, one of Ireland’s oldest walled gardens, dating from the 18th century), Glencloy, Glenariff, Glenballyemon, Glencorp, Glenaan, Glendun, Glenshesk and Glentaisie.
The road hugs the narrow strip of coastline between the sea and high cliffs. Around 60 million years ago, three great lava flows were laid down here, cooling the basaltic plateau of North Antrim. You can still see the different layers in the cliff face. At the end of the last Ice Age, ten thousand years ago, massive glaciers scoured the deep valleys that form the Glens. Time, weather and man have created the beautiful landscape that you see today. Inland, near Ballymena, Slemish Mountain is 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 at the heart of the Glens of Antrim. Set in a classic u-shaped valley, it offers a choice of bracing walks through stunning scenery.
Take a detour to Torr Head, with its views across to the Mull of Kintyre. It’s a reminder that before the road was built in the 1830s, this region was closely connected to Scotland. Many local families have Scottish surnames. This mix of Scots and Irish cultures has meant that North Antrim and the Glens have always been known as “a place apart”.
Rathlin Island, with its striking lighthouses and backdrop, lies just six miles off the coast and is reached by a regular ferry service from Ballycastle. Take time to cross the Carrick-a- Rede Rope Bridge and enjoy a drop of whiskey at the Old Bushmills’ Distillery. Catch the narrow gauge steam train from Bushmills to Northern Ireland’s most famous attraction and recognised World Heritage Site, 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 mostly hexagonal basalt columns.
Be sure to experience the impressive, new world-class Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre.
A round of golf at Royal Portrush is the perfect way to finish the day, before following the Causeway Coastal Route west, towards Londonderry, taking in the beautiful Mussenden Temple and Downhill Demesne at Castlerock.