County Antrim

Northern Ireland
Dunluce Castle which includes heritage elements and a ruin as well as a small group of people

County Antrim is located in the north-east of Northern Ireland and is rich in history and stunning natural beauty. Characterised by isolated, rugged landscapes, unspoilt coastlines and bustling cities, County Antrim is a fantastic place to visit for all ages.

Nature and History in County AntrimThe marine drive north from Laren, past the famous Giant's Causeway to the seaside resort of Portrush, follows 60 miles of Northern Ireland’s most beautiful coastline.

Along the marine drive, you’ll pass several coastal villages, each with their own distinctive character.

Cushendall, just below the north-east tip, is a quirky, colourful town with several interesting monuments. The red curfew tower in the middle of the town was built in 1809 as “a place of confinement for idlers and rioters” and remains, well preserved, as a point of interest for visitors.

Here you can also see Oisin’s Grace - a megalithic court cairn on a hillside near the Glenann River. It is believed to be the burial place of Oisin, the Celtic warrior poet.

Further along the coastal road, the serene green crescent of Murlough Bay comes into view. Climb further towards the eerie tableland of Fair Head in the north-eastern corner of County Antrim, a haven for intrepid rock climbers, and enjoy a bird’s eye view of Rathlin Island.

Further up the coast, Ballycastleoffers Blue Flag beaches and dramatic coastal views. Here you can climb the 1,695 feet to the summit of Knocklayde, a heather-covered mountain, which provides extensive views over Ballycastle, Rathlin Island, Fair Head and Scotland.

Just six miles off the coast, Rathlin Island offers a fantastic place for walkers to enjoy rugged landscape and tranquil beauty. You can get the ferry across the “Sea of Moyle” from the mainland. There are several bed and breakfasts and restaurants on the tiny island, as well as an RSPB Seabird Centre and walking tours available.

Significant Towns in County AntrimBelfast, the capital of Northern Ireland, is the largest city in the country. With its buzzing energy and countless excellent bars and restaurants, it is a local must-see and an enjoyable place to spend several days during your trip to County Antrim.

Belfast is a centre for arts and culture. There are several theatres, including the Grand Opera House, Ulster Hall and The MAC, which offer a wide range of performances from theatre companies all over the world. The Ulster Orchestra, Northern Ireland’s only full-time symphony orchestra, is based in Belfast and there are many traditional Irish bands playing throughout the city.

Ranging from Edwardian buildings, such as the City Hall, to modern high rises, the landscape of Belfast is vast and varied. The county town of Antrimstands 18 miles northwest of Belfast. Situated in the north-east of Northern Ireland on the banks of the Six Mile Water, Antrimis a picturesque town with a range of important historical buildings.

Antrim Castle is of particular note. All that remains is the Barbican Gate, the old gateway to the castle, which stands proud on the banks of the river. About a mile from the town is one of the most perfect of the round towers of Ireland, which stands, at 93 feet high, in the grounds of the Steeple near the prehistoric “Witches’ Stone”.

Enjoy County AntrimExplore the rugged, unspoilt coasts and beautiful mountain ranges of County Antrim. Enjoy the buzzing nightlife of Northern Ireland’s capital or relax on one of the county’s award-winning beaches. A place of colour, contrast and character, County Antrim is one of Northern Ireland’s most beautiful treasures.

Popular cities in County Antrim

Belfast City Hall showing château or palace, a garden and heritage elements
Belfast
Known for Friendly people, Poolside bars and Tours
Northern Ireland's capital is as rich in culture as it is in sweeping scenery and rolling greenery. Belfast is a city steeped in history that is a must visit for historians and adventurers alike.

Reasons to visit

  • Waterfront Hall
  • Belfast City Hall
  • Grand Opera House
Giant\'s Causeway showing general coastal views, heritage elements and rugged coastline
Bushmills
Known for Poolside bars, Historical and Castle
For the quintessential Northern Irish experience, the small village of Bushmills in County Antrim won’t disappoint.

Reasons to visit

  • Giant's Causeway
  • Dunluce Castle
  • Old Bushmills Distillery
Torr Head showing farmland, tranquil scenes and landscape views
Ballycastle
Known for Friendly people, Sea and Ferries and boats
Ballycastle is a town in Northern Ireland, located in County Antrim, near to the northernmost tip of the country. Its proximity to the coast, and the fact that it is located on an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty near the Antrim Coast and Glens, has led to it being an extremely popular destination for tourists.

Reasons to visit

  • Torr Head
Carrickfergus
Carrickfergus
Known for Friendly people, Historical and Poolside bars
One of the oldest towns in Northern Ireland, Carrickfergus is only 11 miles from Belfast, the city it predates and rivals in terms of a warm Irish welcome.
Antrim which includes rocky coastline and tranquil scenes
Ballymena
Known for Small town, Spas and Sea
Ballymena is a pretty, historic town in Northern Ireland, just a 30-minute drive from Belfast.
Lisburn
Lisburn
Known for Friendly people, Spas and Golf
The original birthplace of Ireland’s linen industry, Lisburn offers stunning scenery, historic architecture and a modern, bustling city centre. The city and surrounding areas provide a unique insight into Irish culture and history, and the romance of the rolling hills of