Ballymena is a pretty, historic town in Northern Ireland, just a 30-minute drive from Belfast.
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.