In July I headed to Northern Ireland with a friend for a long weekend of sightseeing and visiting family. I've never been to Ireland before and (wrongly!) assumed it would be similar to England. It's a beautiful place to visit and one I'll be heading back to for sure. I usually focus on a city break for a short trip but this time we headed to the north coast in search of beautiful scenery. With all of my blogs about travelling I'm going to pick 4 things that summed up the trip and I think others would enjoy. Here's a list of my top four things to do in Northern Ireland if you want to get away in the countryside for a few days.
1. Head to Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. This bridge between the coast and a small island is a great way of seeing the coastline (I took the photos above from either side of the bridge). The bridge itself is fairly sturdy but in 40mph winds it feels like an achievement to get across!
2. Visit the Giant's Causeway. This is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the most unusual natural sites I've ever visited. The hexagonal blocks were formed by a volcanic eruption in Northern Ireland and Scotland but the local legend is that a giant, called Fionn, challenged a giant in Scotland to a battle. The giants built a path all the way between the two. When the Scottish giant came across to battle, Fionn realised how big he was and pretended to be a baby. When the Scottish giant saw the baby he got scared contemplating the size of the baby's dad and ran all the way back to Scotland, breaking up the path as he went. I loved this story!
3. Swim in the sea at Benone. We headed to Benone beach and decided it was a good idea to go for a swim! It was really cold when we first got in but worth it by the time we'd got used to the temperature. We swam down the beach from Musseden Temple (in the photo below). Musseden Temple is another National Trust site and a great place to get beautiful views of the beach. It also has a lush overgrown park with a huge variety of plants.
4. Visit Port Rush for food and ice cream. Port Rush is a small seaside town not far from Benone - we visited the Mermaid Restaurant and enjoyed seafood by the coast. Port Rush is perfect for stroll along the coast and stopping off for some ice cream and a view of the harbour.
There you have it, my top four picks from along the Northern Irish coast. Northern Ireland is only a short trip from northern England (approx. £80 from Leeds Bradford to Belfast) and I would really recommend it if you fancy getting away from it all for a few days and seeing some beautiful scenery.