Giant's Causeway, Co. Antrim

The Antrim Coast and Glens Walking Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Self-Guided Holidays, Private Group Adventures
Destinations:
United Kingdom
Programmes:
Walking & Trekking
Trip Code:
W07AN
Activity Rating - Leisurely/Moderate
Leisurely / Moderate

You are reasonably fit, enjoy the outdoors and are looking for some exercise. Some previous experience is preferable for activity based trips.

8 Days Land only
Ages: 12+

Trip Overview

This 7 night holiday explores the beautiful Northern Ireland coastline and the most famous Glens in the area. You start by exploring the nature reserves of Slievenorra and Glenariff, with spectacular views and bird watcing a plenty! Through forest paths and along the magnificent coastline, this holiday has it all. Visit the wonderful Rathlin Island renowned for its sea birds and classed as the largest sea bird colony in Europe.

Cross the famous Carrick-a-Rede bridge used as a location in the popular Game of Thrones TV series and walk across the magnificent UNESCO listed Giant's Causeway where there are more than 40,000 hexagonal interlocking, basalt columns, formed over 60 million years ago by volcanic eruptions or maybe, as local legend suggests, built by the giant Fionn as a path to Scotland to challenge his rival there.

Coastal walking galore, impressive forests and waterfalls, a naturalists delight, the impressive Giants Causeway, fantastic castles, beautiful beaches and a whiskey distillery - experience it all here in Northen Ireland.

At a Glance

  • 7 nights hotel-to-hotel accommodation in a mix of 2 and 3 star hotels
  • Breakfasts daily
  • Management by your local Headwater-appointed agent
  • Route directions and maps 
  • Luggage transfers between hotels
  • Walking transfers as required
  • Return ferry ticket to Rathlin Island

Trip Highlights

  • UNESCO world heritage site of Giants Causeway, hexagonal interlocking basalt columns formed by volcanic eruptions millions of years ago
  • Stay in Bushmills, the home of the famous Bushmills whiskey distillery
  • Explore Northern Irelands glens, the nature reserves of Glenariff and Slieveanorra and the forests of Ballycastle and Glenariff
  • Spectacular scenery with castles and beautiful beaches

Is This Trip for You?

Walking Conditions
Classification: Self-Guided
Activity Level: 2 (Leisurely/Moderate)
Average daily distance: 13.5km (8ml) 
No. of days walking: 6
Terrain and route: Forest and coastal paths are used throughout.
Vehicle Support: This is a self-guided trip for those who prefer to walk independently, but with our assistance to take out the stress of the logistics and planning. We arrange your accommodation, provide you with route directions so that you can walk at your own pace, while your bags are transported from one hotel to the next.

It is important that you are happy following route directions, we make these as accurate as possible and they are regularly checked.

As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. There maybe others on the same departure date as you, but you will not be organised together. The routes directions contain a 24-hour emergency assistance telephone number should you need it and in emergencies, the local agent is normally able to dispatch a taxi or pick you up themselves. They may wish to charge for this service.

Group

As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. There may be others on the same departure date as you, but you will not be organised together. The routes directions contain a 24-hour emergency assistance telephone number should you need it and in emergencies, the local agent is normally able to dispatch a taxi or pick you up themselves. They may wish to charge for this service.

Adult min age:
12

Itinerary

W07AN map

Land Only

Start City:
Cushendall
End City:
Portstewart

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Arrival in Cushendall

    Arrival in Cushendall

  • Day 2

    Orra Beg to Glenariff Forest Park

    A transfer to Orra Beg today and you’ll head south to through the Slieveanorra Nature Reserve, which has spectacular views over the glens and plays host to a great variety of birds. From Slieveanorra you carry on over open moorland towards Trostan Mountain and on to the Glenariff Nature Reserve and Forest Park with its visitor centre, nature trails and famous waterfalls. From here you will be collected and returned to your accommodation.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 9 km / 14 miles
  • Day 3

    Orra Beg to Ballycastle

    After a transfer to Orra Beg you head north for Ballycastle along the Moyle Way. Passing through forest tracks and along the banks of the Glenshesk River through the Breen Oakwood Nature Reserve. Continuing onward by country road with views of the Glenshesk River, Knocklayd Mountain and Coolaveely Wood before following a good forest path through Ballycastle Forest following a good forest path into Ballycastle itself where you stay for the next three nights.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 20 km / 12.5 miles
  • Day 4

    Fair Head Loop

    A return transfer takes you to the start of your walk around the magnificent coastal route of Murlough and Fair Head. The path hugs this ruggedly beautiful coast with dramatic cliff drops. Return to Ballycastle.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 8 km / 5 miles
  • Day 5

    Rathlin Island

    Rathlin is described as a hidden treasure waiting to be discovered and is just six miles across the Sea of Moyle (return ticket included). It’s an L-shaped island, six miles long and nowhere is more than a mile across. The island is a naturalist’s delight and you can choose between three walks varying from 1.5 miles to 4 miles. Visit the RSPB West Light viewpoint to see the puffins, guillemots and razorbills along with kittiwakes and fulmars, which together make up the largest seabird colony in Europe. Overnight at Ballycastle.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 6.5 km / 4 miles
  • Day 6

    Larrybane to the Giants Causeway

    Transfer to Larrybane visitor centre and the famous Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. The bridge first built in 1755 by salmon fishermen spans an 80 foot deep chasm that renders Carrick-a-Rede an island. Continue along the coastal path to Ballintoy, a fantastic little harbour at the foot of the cliffs before reaching the beautiful White Park Bay. Stroll onwards to the village of Portbraddan and the ruins of Dunseverick Castle and on to the Giant’s Causeway. More than 40,000 hexagonal interlocking, basalt columns formed over 60 million years ago by volcanic eruptions or as local legend suggests, built by the giant Fionn as a path to Scotland to challenge his rival there. From here you take the public bus (payable locally) for the last few miles into Bushmills, your destination for the evening and where you can find the famous Bushmills whiskey distillery.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 16 km / 10 miles
  • Day 7

    Portballintrae to Portstewart

    After a transfer, today’s walk begins on the coastal road to Portrush passing the beautiful Magheracross viewpoint and medieval Dunluce Castle, perched precariously high on a promontory overlooking the sea. Onwards to Whiterocks beach with its limestone white cliffs, the coastal path leads you up around Ramore Head before reaching pretty Portrush harbour. Its then just a few miles along the beach and causeway markers before reaching the promenade in Portstewart where you spend your final evening.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 17 km / 10.5 miles
  • Day 8

    Leave Portstweart

    Depart Portstweart after breakfast

    Meals included:
    Breakfast

All ascents, descents and distances listed above have been measured by our local partners or tour leaders. Please note that different GPS measuring devices can give differing results dependent on the barometric pressures at the time. Measurements stated throughout these trips notes are given to help you understand the types of terrain and distances you will encounter.

Accommodation

Hotels

THE VILLAGE B&B, CUSHENDALL
The Village B & B is a Georgian Town house built as a Gentleman’s residence circa 1780. It is located in the centre of the village of Cushendall in the heart of the Glens of Antrim. Most of the buildings are listed and this has given the village much character and history. It is an ideal base for your visit to the Glens and the Causeway coast. Nearby attractions include the Giants Causeway, Bushmills Distillery and the famous Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge.

CORRATAVEY B&B, BALLYCASTLE
Corratavey bed and breakfast is a few minutes walk to Ballycastle seafront and harbour and is situated close to the Giants Causeway Coast & Glens.

COTTESMORE B&B, BUSHMILLS
Cottesmore bed and breakfast is set on the edge of Bushmills Village and in a designated 'Area of outstanding Natural Beauty'. It is the perfect location for exploring the Giants Causeway, Dunluce Castle, Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge and just a 5 minute walk from the world famous 'Old Bushmills Whiskey Distillery'. Rooms are modern and tastefully decorated.

CUL-ERG HOUSE B&B, PORTSTEWART
Cul-Erg House is a delightful guest house and is a two minute stroll to the clear blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Ideally situated close to a host of visitor attractions, including the world famous golf courses, in Portstewart, Portrush and Castlerock. This area of outstanding beauty. The renowned Giants Causeway, Dunluce Castle, Bushmills Distillery and the Carrick-a-Rede Rope bridge to name but a few, all beckon to be explored and enjoyed.

Where a single supplement is available, paying for a single will only guarantee a room for single use. It does not necessarily mean a twin or double room will be provided for sole occupancy.

Please note that a member of the group may be allocated a single room by default if the make-up of the group means there isn’t anyone for them to share with. Paying the supplement in advance is the only way to guarantee a single room.

Single supplements cannot be refunded retrospectively.

Single supplement from £322.00

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

All breakfasts included.

Irish food is not exactly famous, but what you will find is extremely good ingredients used to create basic and classic dishes, both Irish beef and Irish lamb, are certainly well known all over Ireland and further afield. You will see rack of lamb, lamb stew and shepherd’s pie, in most places. The county’s other basket is the Atlantic Ocean, and its rivers and loughs. Sea bream and Sea Bass are popular.Trout and Salmon can be served in many different ways, and there is an abundance of shell fish, local chowders are excellent and look out for crab gratin.

Wine is readily available but of course one of the symbols of Ireland is Guinness, and we can say from experience that it tastes better in Ireland, but if have a thirst after a long walk, beware the Guinness is not poured quickly, many might say there is a certain amount of time you need to leave after filling the glass halfway up the harp. However it should be left until you see a vivid distinction between the dark body and the creamy white head. Only then can the rest of the glass be filled. Learning from the
locals, you should order your second pint before you have finished your first!
Craft beer is making a name for itself in Ireland and there are some excellent local ones. Ireland in general is renowned for its whiskey and in Northern Ireland you can sample the world famous Bushmills whiskey.  A visit to the distillery in Co. Antrim is not to be missed.

Transportation

Your luggage will be transported between hotels so you only need to carry your daily essentials. Your bags will be waiting at your next hotel when you arrive.

Weather & Seasonality

Weather Information

Northern Ireland's climate is temperate. Most of its weather comes from the southwest in a series of low-pressure systems bringing the rain and clouds that often lend character to the landscape. It often experiences high winds particularly in the north and on the east coast where severe westerly gales are common.

Northern Ireland experiences a realtively dry spring which leads to a wet summer and a wetter winter. Daily conditions are highly changeable but there are no extremes of heat and cold.

The mild conditions in Northern Ireland have made it a beautiful, green country in all seasons. 

Joining Instructions

This holiday does not include any flights or rail.

Alternative transfers
It may be possible to arrange transfers from Penzance station at an additional charge if required.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Location start:
Cushendall
Location end:
Portstewart

What to Take

Essential Equipment

Walking boots

Water bottle

Daypack

Sun hat, sun cream and sunglasses

Warm jumper

Waterproofs

Optional Equipment

Walking poles

Antrim coast

Practical Information

Visa

United Kingdom

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

Vaccination

United Kingdom

No vaccinations are obligatory.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

As we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

Local Time

United Kingdom's Timezone:
Europe/London GMT (GMT +00:00)

Electricity

United Kingdom's Electricity:

220-240V. 50Hz. You will need a 3 pinned type G plug.

Money

ATM Availability

There are ATM's in most of the main towns along the route, but not all. Most businesses in the area will take payments in cash or by card.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

All breakfasts are included, so you will need spending money for any picnics, lunches, evening meals and drinks. There is a good choice of cafes, pubs and restaurants on the routes as well as in the overnight towns and villages. Prices range from approximately £5-10 for lunch and you could pay between £15-30 for dinner, depending on where you decide to eat.

Antrim coast 2

Responsible Tourism

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

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In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

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Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 14 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.

On all trips

In booking this trip you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

 

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

TRAVEL AWARE – STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

How to Book

1. Check availability

Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.

2. Secure your place

You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.

3. Complete your booking and payment

When you're ready to book, go to our website for online bookings, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque. Book with confidence: Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582 issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA ‐ The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.

TRIP NOTE VALIDITY

These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.