Where has the year gone?
It’s nearly the end of May meaning that we’re almost at the halfway point of 2018. If you haven’t started to plan your summer holiday yet, why not head up the road to check out the beautiful landscape of Northern Ireland? Sure, budget weekend breaks to Spain are all well and good but the beauty of this island is that you can hop in your car (or on the train) at 5pm on a Friday and be somewhere completely different in less than three hours.
White stretches of sandy beaches, ancient temples overlooking the ocean or Hogwarts-style railway bridges – you’ll find them all in Northern Ireland.
Make 2018 the year that you discover just how special the north truly is. Start ticking these off your bucket list…
1. Surfing at Benone beach
Longline surf school is open all year round and also offers stand-up paddleboarding and an outdoor coffee workshop.
2. The Sperrins
A glorious mountain range stretching across Tyrone and Derry that spans 40 miles, the Sperrins mountain range is the largest in Ireland. Expect hills covered in heather and quiet valleys.
3. Rathlin Island
An absolute hidden gem off the coast of Antrim, it’s home to hundreds of seals and thousands of nesting seabirds. Pack a picnic!
4. Fishing at Portrush
The Catch and Sea experience will see you sail at sunrise from Portrush to catch your own breakfast. Cook your catch alongside a range of local ingredients in Babushka Café to top off an extraordinary experience.
5. Mount Stewart House & Gardens
Located on the shores of Stangford Lough in County Down, Mount Stewart is a 19th-century house that’s featured in Hollywood films and has amazing gardens.
A charming town in County Down, Newtownards is well worth a visit for a weekend of good food and fresh walks. The view from Scrabo Tower is something to behold.
7. Lough Erne by water taxi
Relax as you are chauffeur driven around Fermanagh’s stunning lakelands and tuck into a delicious hamper made up of local produce along the way.
8. Mourne Mountains
The Mourne Mountains are the highest and most dramatic mountain range in Northern Ireland and will leave you breathless with their vivid colours and challenging hikes.
9. Belfast Traditional Music Trail
Professional musicians are your guides through cobbled alleyways, past famous landmarks and on to bars in some of the city’s oldest buildings to learn about the instruments, language, customs and history of traditional music along the way.
10. Tollymore Forest Park
This huge forest covers 630 hectares and sits right at the foot of the Mourne Mountains, meaning not only do you get a view of the trees, every time there’s a break in the leafy canopy you can glimpse the mystical mountains where C.S Lewis took his Narnia inspo from.
11. Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge
Sway with the wind in Antrim on this famous rope bridge that spans 20 metres and is a fear-inducing 30 metres above the ragged rocks below.
12. Belfast Street Art
Belfast is now being mentioned in the same artistic breath as Berlin and Bethlehem, also famous for their walls, as a place where street art has thrived and where artists from around the world come to paint and get inspiration.
13. Moonlight kayak in Derry
Activities with eco-adventure company Far and Wild include a moonlight kayaking trip paddling under the Peace Bridge down to the River Roe and under Binevenagh.
A beautiful small village in County Down, Northern Ireland, Rostrevor lies at the foot of Slieve Martin on the coast of Carlingford Lough. Postcard perfect.
15. Titanic Belfast
Step back in time to this award-winning museum that gives a fascinating insight into the history of the RMS Titanic. Explore the ocean bed where the shipwreck lies on an interactive glass floor and see what first class cabins were really like.
16. GOT Air Tours
Look down on filming locations used by HBO in the award-winning series Game of Thrones, plus the Giants Causeway, Dunluce Castle and Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge.
17. Seamus Heaney’s Home
Journey through the life and literature of the Northern Ireland legend with a tour in the heart of the place which inspired him.
Between Portstewart and the mouth of the River Bann lies the golden sands and domineering sand dunes of Portstewart Strand that’s a year round mecca for holiday makers.
19. Giant’s Causeway
Haven’t seen this? C’mon. For centuries people have marvelled at this vast basalt wonder that was created by a volcanic eruption 60 million years ago.
20. Finn Lough Forest Domes
Located in the middle of an enchanting forest, Finn Lough provides everything needed to enjoy a beautiful night sky.
A pretty harbour town with a stone fortress and a bucket-and-spade worthy beach. Stroll along the promenade or get the ferry across to Rathlin Island.
22. Dark Hedges
One of the most photographed natural phenomena in Northern Ireland, the iconic trees have been used as a filming location in HBO’s epic series Game of Thrones, representing the King’s Road.
23. Dunluce Castle
The dramatic history of Dunluce is matched by tales of a banshee and how the castle kitchens fell into the sea one stormy night in 1639. Explore the ‘Mermaid’s Cave’ on the beach below.
24. Mussenden Temple
Located in beautiful surroundings of Downhill Demesne near Castlerock in County Londonderry, it perches dramatically on a 120 ft cliff top, high above the Atlantic Ocean. Fun fact: you can actually get married here.
So… Where will your next adventure be?