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Pocket Guide: Ballycastle Carrick-a-Rede Hotels

Antrim is a bustling market town in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, located just 18 miles to the west of the capital, Belfast, and also firmly in the heart of the Irish countryside. Its location, on the banks of the Six Mile Water River, just next to where it joins the vastness of Lough Neagh, the largest lake in the UK, helps to create an atmosphere of calm and tranquillity.

While thousands of visitors every year are drawn by this sense of semi-rural bliss and a slower pace of life, equal numbers are attracted by the ease with which they can explore both Belfast city centre and the wider reaches of County Antrim. The proximity of two major airports, George Best Belfast City Airport and Belfast International Airport means that Antrim is accessible to all types of visitors from all over the world, and this has led to a thriving accommodation scene.

Accommodation in Antrim

The accommodation on offer in the centre of Antrim itself, and in the areas immediately surrounding it, is varied in a way which reflects the range of people wishing to stay there. Honeymooning couples can find luxury country lodges in romantic secluded spots, stag and hen parties can book into bed and breakfasts close to the roads leading to the bright lights of Belfast and golfers can find a guesthouse or hotel with easy reach of the many golf courses in the area.

Attractions Around Antrim

Although Antrim town centre is well worth exploring in its own right, with historical buildings and a heritage trail which can be enjoyed on foot, one of the main plus points of the location of the town is the fact that it acts as a gateway to the rest of County Antrim. Neighbouring Lough Neagh and Randalstown forest are literally on the doorstep, but a short journey north, toward the Antrim Coast will soon bring you to some of the most spectacular scenery in Ireland.

Carrick-a-Rede

The landscape around Carrick-a-Rede, in the north of County Antrim, is part of the Antrim Coast and Glens Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The rugged beauty of the causeway coastal route draws visitors from all over the world keen to get a glimpse of unspoiled nature in the raw, and Carrick-a-Rede itself offers several features which are well worth making the journey from Antrim to explore.

Attractions Around Carrick-a-Rede

The most famous attraction in Carrick-a-Rede is the eponymous rope bridge, which stretches between the mainland and Rocky Island, some 100 feet above the waters of the Atlantic, tempting visitors to test their nerve and enjoy the views.

Nature lovers are well served by Carrick-a-Rede, which offers the chance to spot seabirds such as guillemots, razorbills, kittiwakes and fulmars in their natural habitat. In the waters around the coast it is possible to see basking sharks, dolphins and porpoises, particularly from the viewpoint of the coastal path which leads from the car park to the rope bridge.

From the coast itself, or the vantage point of the rope bridge, it is possible to see the coast of Scotland in the form of the Mull of Kintyre and Rathlin Island. Those keen on exploring the 400-year history of salmon fishing in the area can enjoy a tour of a restored fisherman’s cottage, and the Larrybane Quarry offers both a scenic walk and the chance to examine rare and beautiful flora such as wild pink thyme.

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