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Northern Ireland Holidays

Ireland’s spellbinding north

Combining some of Europe’s wildest and most awe-inspiring nature, lively cities with exciting food scenes and historic attractions, Northern Ireland holidays are something very special indeed. You could easily dedicate an entire trip to any one of Northern Ireland’s six counties, but the best way to enjoy the area is to travel around, exploring as much as you can.

Head to the Mourne Mountains in County Down, the Sperrins in Tyrone and Derry, the north Antrim coast for the world-famous Giant’s Causeway, or venture southwest to Fermanagh to see the limestone Marble Arch Caves. Whichever direction you head in, the natural scenery is astonishing. If it’s city life you’re after, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to holidays in Northern Ireland.

Making the most of Northern Ireland’s fertile land, capital city Belfast has an eclectic food scene and a range of brilliant bars, cafés and restaurants, not to mention a buzzing atmosphere thanks to its large student population. Second city Derry – also called Londonderry – is equally lively, its city walls providing spectacular panoramic views, while smaller Armagh is noted for its historic architecture. On holidays to Northern Ireland you can expect rugged scenery, excellent nights out, fantastic food and drink and, most importantly, masses of unforgettable memories.

All resorts in Northern Ireland

Three tips for a top trip

Rent a car

Renting your own car will enable you to plot out a route, travel at your own pace and take popular road trips like the Causeway Coastal Route.

Brush up on the arts

From Seamus Heaney to Van Morrison, Northern Ireland’s contribution to the arts is extensive. Before you arrive, check out the work of some of its famous artists.

See the six counties

Northern Ireland’s six counties each has a unique character. Try to explore more than one, from the Marble Arch caves in Fermanagh to the rugged coast of Antrim.

Best attractions to see in Northern Ireland

Dunluce Castle

Antrim’s Dunluce Castle is both a clifftop ruin and a majestic spectacle worth seeking out. It’s a short drive from the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, another interesting landmark.

Belfast City Hall

Belfast City Hall is a beautiful Renaissance-style building with stained-glass windows and fascinating architecture. Join one of the free public tours that run every day.

The Giant’s Causeway

This unique area of 40,000 hexagonal basalt columns is a Unesco World Heritage Site. Legend holds that Irish giant Finn MacCool built the Causeway as a bridge to Scotland.

Your Northern Ireland questions, answered

Extraordinary. The eclectic food scene sees masses of fresh local produce – from Glenarm beef to Armagh cider – served up in acclaimed restaurants all over Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland has wonderful landscapes. From The Sperrins running through Tyrone and Derry to The Mournes in Down and the Antrim coast, nature lovers are in for a treat.
Summer generally sees the best of the weather in Northern Ireland. This is the ideal time to go if you’re visiting the beaches or outdoor attractions. However, with some of the best opportunities for wildlife spotting and scenery happening from autumn to spring, you shouldn’t overlook other times of the year. And if you’re heading for the museums, galleries and bars, then you’ll find interesting exhibitions and lively nights out all year round.
The currency of Northern Ireland is the pound sterling, as in England, Scotland and Wales. The notes differ in design to those nations, but can be used in all four.
There are some really good beaches as you head east out of Belfast towards Bangor. In 20 minutes, you could be at Helen’s Bay beach, in the peaceful surroundings of Crawfordsburn Country Park. Nearby is the popular Ballyholme beach with more than a kilometre of sand to enjoy, as well as a promenade, bathing area and yacht club. Alternatively, you could head north along the coastal route from Belfast to the award-winning beach at Ballygally.
Northern Ireland has a good mix of city culture, traditional country life and outstanding scenery. City’s such as Belfast have plenty of museums, galleries, restaurants and bars, while the countryside is teeming with natural landmarks, castles and beaches. Attractions will keep both families and couples amused without needing to venture far. And, for active breaks, there are plenty of walking and cycling routes to get out and about.
Basing yourself in the capital city, Belfast will give you access to some of the country’s best culture and entertainment. You could easily spend a week exploring the museums and, with a good quantity of art festivals, it’s never short of things to do. With good transport links, it’s easy to get out for day trips too. In a little over an hour, you can head across the country to Bushmills and the Giant’s Causeway.
There’s so much to keep families entertained in Northern Ireland, whether it’s the museums and visitor attractions in Belfast or out to the coast with beaches, castles and landmarks to see. The capital’s Titanic Quarter is perfect for kids to explore with attractions such as SS Nomadic, HMS Caroline and the Wee Tram ride. And if adults are looking for some entertainment, live music and bars are close by.
If you’re planning a city break or even a week-long holiday, you’ll find Belfast packed with attractions and activities that will keep you entertained without needing a car. The city centre is so compact, you may not even need to make use of the excellent public transport system. If you fancy taking a trip out along the coast or to discover more of Northern Ireland’s scenery, you may like to hire a car. For alternative exploring, trains do run from Belfast to attractive towns on the Causeway coast, such as Castlerock and Portrush.