BallymenaUnited Kingdom

4.3/5Top Destination

Escape to quaint Ballymena! Enjoy its spas, oceanfront and forests.

The town has much to offer visitors. There is a beautiful waterfall walkway that is often described as a mini-Switzerland and a twelfth century castle to explore. You can also admire the Georgian architecture, stroll along the banks of the River Braid or visit a local workshop that makes sporting hurls.

St. Patrick is said to have tended cows on the rocky slopes of Slemish Mountain that overlook Ballymena and the site now attracts large numbers of pilgrims, especially every St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th.

Ballymena is ideal for exploring on foot as everything is within easy walking distance. Local craft shops, historic buildings, decorative gardens, landscaped ruins and riverside walks all make Ballymena a delight to visit.

Ballymena is one of the best shopping towns in Northern Ireland with a mix of high street names and independent retailers. Local craft shops sell everything from contemporary gold and silver jewellery to bespoke painted gifts and teddy bears.

Ballymena makes the most of its local farms’ fresh vegetables, fish and meat and these are used to exquisite effect in its restaurants and cafes. If the weather is warm, relaxing in a mulberry garden with a drink or enjoying a meal by the riverside is hard to beat.

Every bend in the river opens out a lovely view of Ballymena, but, for the most photogenic scenes, you should take a short drive out to wander through Glenariff Forest Park, which is home to some spectacular waterfalls.

Another short drive on the A42 will allow you to follow in the footsteps of St. Patrick as you climb the rocky slopes of Slemish Mountain. From here you can enjoy the stunning views across the countryside.

The beautiful countryside around Ballymena is perfect for outdoor pursuits, such as horse riding, cycling, fishing and walking. The town’s two marinas attract yachtsmen from all over the world and golf fans are spoilt for choice by the number of great quality courses nearby. The traditional Gaelic sport of hurling continues to attract large numbers of spectators and Ballymena is a perfect place for you to enjoy this ancient fast-paced sport from.

Ballymena is located in one of the most beautiful areas of Northern Ireland. It perches on the coastal route that leads up to the Giant’s Causeway and inland there are forests, rivers and unspoilt countryside surrounding the town.

Known for

Spas, Small Town and Sea

Popular things to do in Ballymena

Giant's Causeway
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Giant's Causeway

4.5/5(50 reviews)

The Giant’s Causeway is one of Northern Ireland’s most iconic and most photographed beauty spots, instantly recognisable the world over. It is the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in all of Ireland, having earned this rare distinction back in 1986. Yet only through personally experiencing the many moods and overlooked facets of the wild north-east coast’s ancient volcanic bays, cliffs and beaches is it possible to appreciate their true splendour as wonders of the natural world.

Titanic Belfast
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Titanic Belfast

4.5/5(371 reviews)

The world’s biggest Titanic museum experience, Titanic Belfast sits on the very slipway where the ill-fated ocean liner was built between 1909 and 1911.

Queen's University of Belfast
Image for Queen's University of Belfast

Queen's University of Belfast

4/5(115 reviews)

Enjoy the student vibe around Queen's University of Belfast, a top university in Belfast. Discover the acclaimed theatre scene in this walkable area or seek out the local tours.

SSE Arena
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SSE Arena

4.5/5(155 reviews)

Catch an event at SSE Arena (Titanic Quarter) during your trip to Belfast.Discover the top-notch restaurants and acclaimed theatre scene in this walkable area.

Belfast Castle
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Belfast Castle

4/5(58 reviews)

The city of Belfast in Northern Ireland is steeped in history and the impressive Belfast Castle is a significant part of this heritage. Built in the early 19th Century to replace the original Norman fortification that once stood in the centre of the city, Belfast Castle is an opulent structure built in the grandiose Scottish Baronial style.

Belfast City Hall
Image for Belfast City Hall

Belfast City Hall

4.5/5(274 reviews)

Belfast City Hall is an imposing sight – it sits on the edge of the shopping district and looms over the shoppers, dividing them from the business area on the other side of the city centre.

Reviews of Ballymena

4.3

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
6
5 - Excellent 37.5%
4 - Good
8
4 - Good 50%
3 - Okay
2
3 - Okay 12.5%
2 - Disappointing
0
2 - Disappointing 0%
1 - Terrible
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1 - Terrible 0%

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

27 Aug 2019

I'm not talking about Ballymena, the town since I didn't go there. The coast side (Cushshedall, Cushendun, Carnlough, Glenariff, Ballycastle...) is fantastic, plenty of things to do, the drive is a joy, people are very friendly!

4/5 - Good

Verified traveler

22 Aug 2019

Parking in Ballymena town centre is restricted to 30 minutes which is a bit disappointing. 1 hour would be more reasonable.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

7 Aug 2019

Actually the accommodation is near Ballycastle and handy for the Rathlin Island ⛴ .Not in Ballymena as posted .

3/5 - Okay

Verified traveler

7 Aug 2019

We only stayed at the hotel for a wedding

4/5 - Good

Verified traveler

20 May 2019

Bushmills, Portstewart, Giants Causeway, Causeway Hotel, Ballycastle and the Antrim Coastline generally all great to explore/experience.