There are several bus, coach and train services along with great value travel tickets are available for spectators. Follow @Translink_NI or the hashtag #OpenTravel for the most up to date travel information.
Translink is advising everyone looking to travel with them to plan their travel in advance, leave extra time for journeys and remember there will be limited space onboard services for any bulky items.
Translink has been working hard to ensure that a regular service across its bus and rail networks is in place, in addition to delivering extra services for those travelling to The 148th Open, however, you may find delays are more than likely around this time.
Travelling by Rail to Portrush
Translink operates a regular timetable, usually every hour or less between Belfast and Coleraine. You can find the schedule here, or use their app/website here. The journey from Belfast Central takes around an hour and 20 minutes through the Antrim countryside.
From Coleraine, you may have to change (see timetables) for trains to Portrush. Trains run every hour, and the journey takes around 10 minutes. There are two stations in Portrush. Dhu Varren, which is on the western entrance overlooking West Strand and Portrush Station in the centre of town.
From July 14 – 21, there will be extra trains as well as extra carriages (allowing more people on) on the regular timetabled train services. The majority of the extra trains will be early morning trains from Belfast. For these services along with additional evening services from Portrush and Coleraine, there will be ticket pre-booking available online at Translinks website
Throughout the week, all trains from Belfast will travel directly to Portrush, so no need to change.
The Derry-Londonderry rail line if one of the most scenic train trips in the world. The route weaves along cliffs, through tunnels under temples, past over two runways and along the banks of Loch Foyle.
Many famous train enthusiasts, such as Micheal Palin and Micheal Portillo, have written fantastically about the Derry-Londonderry line.
You can see our trip earlier this year from Coleraine to Derry.
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The trip takes around 35 minutes and is one we recommend.
During The Open, there will be an hourly service with more carriages on the trains stopping at Coleraine, where a bus shuttle will be available to take you to Portrush.
Translink will be running a shuttle bus service will run from Portrush to Coleraine Rail Station, where you will be able to catch a train back to Derry-Londonderry. The bus will connect with the arrival of trains from Derry~Londonderry from Mon 15 – Sun 21 July.
Getting to Portrush by Bus
Translink runs several bus options for getting to Portrush the Causeway Rambler, Ulster Bus and Goldline depending where you are coming from.
From Belfast and Derry-Londonderry
When coming from Belfast, you can use the regular 218 Goldline (Timetable here) coach service from Belfast or 234 Goldline from Derry~Londonderry (timetable here).
Both of these services arrive at Coleraine Rail and Bus station, where you can easily jump on theUlsterbus 140bus service to Portrush.
For the Open, Translink will be operating the Goldline service on a weekday timetable on the Sat & Sun.
We have heard that there will be an additional special day return coaches operating between the Europa Buscentre, in Belfast, to Portrush with pre-booking available online. Please check on the TransLink website for more details.
Local Ulsterbus Services
During the Open week, the local Ulsterbus service between Coleraine, Portrush and Portstewart (140 service) will run every 10 minutes to facilitate passenger flows to/from The Open. This service will also be the service to get the train to Belfast and Derry-Londonderry.
The 402 service will run along the Causeway Coastal route between Ballycastle and Portrush every 30 minutes during the week of the Open Championship, and it will also run earlier in the morning and later in the evening.
If you are travelling to Portrush during Open week by car or motorbike, you will be directed to managed Park & Ride sites by electronic signs, message boards and event specific signs provided by The AA. If you are driving in then we advised to turn off your sat nav and follow the appropriate signage on approach to Coleraine/Portrush.
Getting to Portrush from Belfast
Follow the M2 towards Antrim. Take the A26 to Ballymena and follow the M2/A26 towards Coleraine/Portrush. On approach to Coleraine, follow the yellow (AA) and electronic signs for Public Parking.
Getting to Portrush from Derry-Londonderry
Follow the A2 towards Limavady. Take the A37 then continue on the A29 towards Coleraine/Portrush. On approach to Coleraine, follow signs for Public Parking.
Getting to Portrush from the South (Armagh/Mid Ulster)
Follow the A29 towards Coleraine/Portrush. On approach to Coleraine, follow signs for Public Parking.
Getting to Portrush via the Causeway Coastal Route
This is possibly the best route to take to get to Portrush, clinging to the Atlantic coast from Belfast to Portrush (and onto Derry-Londonderry) the Causeway Coastal Route is adorned with stretches of sandy beaches, picturesque fishing villages, rolling gorse-covered valleys and fuchsia-edged clifftop paths. Taking in the fantastic scenery from the car is incredible, but the other senses could be missing out! The sounds of the crashing waves, the birds soaring up above, the salty taste from the sea on your lips and the wind whistling past your ears – these are all part of this legendary land’s beauty.
The journey takes around 2 and half hours if you do it in one go, but we recommend you make at least half a day and stop off at the many amazing spots along the way, places such as The Gobbins, Carrick-a-rede Rope bridge, The Giants Causeway and much much more. Check out our road trip here.
As you enter, Portrush follow signs for Public Parking.
Getting to Portrush from Dublin & The South
For those coming from Dublin or the South of Ireland, we recommend travelling via Belfast or Derry, and you can find out how to get to Portrush from these above.
Park and Ride Facilities for Portrush
If you are coming to the Open by car (or motorbike), you will be directed to the many Park & Ride sites by the electronic signs and event specific signs.
PLEASE IGNORE YOUR SAT NAV… it’ll only get you lost due to the road closures etc.
There will be no car parking available at Royal Portrush Golf Club or in Portrush over the Championship week; however, there will be pick up and drop off locations close to Portrush.
Charges for the use of the Park and Ride will apply. Park and Ride tickets can be pre-booked on The Open website.
Use of the Park & Ride car parks is not only for those coming to The Open, and anyone who wants to take advantage of these facilities to speed up their journey to and from Portrush during the week of the Championship is encouraged to do so.
These locations will be signposted by black and yellow AA signs on the approach to Coleraine and Portrush from all directions. Further details on Park & Ride operating times and prices are available at www.TheOpen.com/getting-there
Car park tickets may be purchased online in advance or on arrival.
Local Road Access Restrictions around Portrush
To assist with traffic management and reduce congestion near Royal Portrush and the surrounding area, temporary traffic regulations and parking restrictions will be introduced. These will be enforced by traffic attendants and the Police Service of Northern Ireland to minimise disruption to residents and businesses, assist traffic flow and increase safety and security for all road users. It is advisable to allow extra time for journeys during The Open and business owners may wish to consider making their customers aware of the changes.
Under the Road Traffic Regulation (Northern Ireland) Order 1997, access to the following roads will be restricted between the hours of 6.00am and 10.00pm from Sunday 14 July to Monday 22 July 2019 (inclusive):
Bushmills Road/Dunluce Road – between Crocknamack Road and Whiterocks Road
Ballybogey Road – between Ballymacrea Road/Ballymagarry Road and Dunluce Road
Portstewart Road – between Glenvale Crescent and Coleraine Road
No through traffic will be permitted along Bushmills Road and Dunluce Road to or from Portrush town.
Causeway Coast & Glens Borough Council will issue access passes to residents and businesses affected by road access restrictions in June. Access for customers will be maintained. Golflinks Holiday Homes and The Skerries Holiday Park will distribute passes directly to their residents.
Also, parking restrictions (no waiting/no stopping) will be in place on several roads in Portrush. Alternative parking will be provided for residents affected by the parking restrictions who do not have access to off-street parking. A map outlining the temporary restrictions can be found online.
General Car Parking in and around Portrush
The following car parks are available for public use during the dates specified:
On-street parking locations in Portrush Town Centre will be available as usual during the summer
A dedicated car park for business owners and staff will be provided at the Lansdowne Recreation Grounds. Causeway Coast & Glens Borough Council will circulate details of how to apply to permits.
Beach access for pedestrians will not be inhibited or obstructed during the event at any of the beaches.
However, car access and parking will not be available at East Strand and West Bay during the following dates:
West Strand Car Park 14th – 22 July (inclusive)
The southern part of East Strand Car Park (30% of the site) 10 June – 4 August
All East Strand Car Park 1 July – 31 July (inclusive)
Whiterocks Area 14 July – 22 July (inclusive)
The above carparks will be subject to vehicular access restrictions to facilitate the operational requirements of The Open. Consequently, vehicle access and parking at these sites will not be available to the general public. Pedestrian access to the beaches will remain available at all times and arrangements will be in place to facilitate those who live and work in the area.
The Causeway Coast and Glens is home to a wealth of beautiful beaches including Benone, Portstewart Strand, Whitepark Bay and Ballycastle, along with hidden gems like Portballintrae and Cushendun and we would encourage people to explore these areas and enjoy our expansive coastline which stretches across the Borough.
The Portrush West Strand, on the Causeway Coast in Northern Ireland, also known as Mill Strand or West Bay, stretches between the black rocks at West Strand Road and the South Pier Portrush Harbour and is a very popular resort beach in Northern Ireland on the north coast. As this magical beach is in very close proximity to all the action in the town centre and amusements nearby, Portrush has a great holiday feel around the year.
Portrush West Strand is Blue Flag certified, meaning the classically arching beach is beautiful, safe, and clean! There is a Lifeguard on duty each day during the season between July 1 and September 30, from 11 am until 7 pm.
West Strand Beach
The West Strand Beach is perfect for diving, surfing, swimming, kite surfing, paddle boarding, and wind surfing, and well as for horse riding, walking, cycling, jogging, paddling, playing, or simply relaxing!
Taking a walk along the ancient sands of this stunning beach from the harbour to the rocks provides many different experiences. Starting the walk at the harbour will allow you to capture some of the famous exciting Portrush atmosphere and feel the ancient sands beneath your feet. At low tide you may be able to see the buried peat deposits buried below the beach, remnants of ancient trees at the northern end.
There are also several restaurants and pubs in the area that are very popular. Cycle or walk along the Promenade or simply get your feet wet in the water and moist sand on the shoreline. The Atlantic Ocean beckons on the one side of West Strand Beach, while on the other you will find, views of cute sea-front houses, paving, and parkland. A raised walkway running along the eastern boundary beach, the Promenade has quite a few sets of steps allowing you to get down to the sand easily.
It is always exciting to walk past Barry’s Amusements, as you can often hear the high pitched squeals of delight coming from inside and you know what fun everyone is having inside. Once you’ve passed Barry’s, you can turn at Eglinton Street to move into the West Strand’s landscaped parkland, under the railway bridge off the Portstewart Road (A2).
West Strand Beach Entrance
West Bay is also accessible by car, and at the bridge side (a black stone railway arch at the eastern boundary), and the west strand car park has enough parking as well as toilets at the adjacent car park. There is also disabled parking, disabled toilets, and disabled access to the promenade and from there to West Strand Beach and West bay.
The parkland has a huge grassy area to run with your dogs or children, although Portrush West Strand has summer dog restrictions. This is an idyllic place for a ‘park and read’ – you can immerse yourself in a great book while enjoying the ocean view.
West Strand Beach on the Causeway Coast in Northern Ireland is very popular due to its beauty and location, especially during the hot summer months, when people move between all the different fun activities they can choose from at Portrush and the beach. This beach tends to be peaceful and relaxed at sunset, but fun-filled and vibrant during the day.
Getting to West Strand Beach
Portrush West Strand Beach is is situated only a short walk from portrush train station, where there are hourly services to Coleraine, where you can get connecting trains to Belfast, Derry and Dublin. There is also a daily bus service that provide easy access to the busy seaside resort and the famous west bay beach
The east strand beach at Whiterocks Portrush along the Causeway Coastal Route is ideally situated adjoining East Strand, and between them, they form a 3 mile golden sandy beach, just outside the small town of Portrush. Whiterocks beach frequently attains the prestigious Blue Flag award, and the long wide beach, sweeping golden sands, giant sand dunes, and crashing ocean waves make this stunning natural location one of nature’s gorgeous playgrounds.
Portrush Coastal zone is also home to many coastal and marine exhibitions.
Portrush White Rocks Beach
The Whiterocks beach is safe and clean, and provides a vibe that is completely different from the two Strands in town. Whiterocks is an idyllic spot for people of all ages, and is well loved by water sports enthusiasts for boating, surfing, swimming, diving, paddle boarding, surf kayakers, horse riding, fishing, and many other types of watersports.
There are Lifeguards on duty at Whiterocks Beach in high season between June 21 and September 7 daily between 11 am and 7 pm, and on the weekends in May and June.
The east strand at Whiterocks Beach is accessed via a narrow access road from the A2. The drive winds down to the ocean, and there are a number of picnic and free car parking spots and a large car park on the way down. Shower and toilet facilities are available at the bottom. Whiterocks can be reached by taking a bus, biking, or walking.
Especially children fall in love with this beach as there are so many things to stir their instinctual love of nature and stimulate their imagination.
Running free and wild down the dunes, climbing on the black rocks at the edge of the ocean, building sand castles, swimming, throwing a Frisbee, just about anything is possible.
Magical experiences that we all treasure so much can easily be created right here at Whiterocks Beach on the Causeway Coast. The huge white limestone cliffs are covered with grass and are the origin of the beach’s name. They are truly majestic and at times run in double tiers. The rocky area continues around the coastline up to Dunluce Castle. Hunt around the sedimentary rocks below for caves that can be explored, or those that are not water sports enthusiasts simply relax and enjoy the views of the headlands that jut out into the Atlantic Ocean.
The Whiterocks Coastal park enjoys a stunning natural location with the majestic limestone cliffs stretching all the way from Curran Strand to Dunluce. These cliffs have formed any fascinating shapes of the years which are well worth exploring, including the wishing arch Elephant Rock. Apart from the elephant rock, there is also the Lion’s Paw and among the many caves and arches Shelagh’s Head the wishing arch can be found.
Panoramic views of the Islands of Scotland, Donegal and the Causeway Coast
The headlands and limestone cliffs at Whiterocks Beach offer spectacular views of the islands of Scotland, Donegal and the Causeway Coast, and have been designated as an Area of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI).
At Magheracross, a custom built area allows sensational views of Whiterocks and Portrush in one direction, and the Dunluce Castle in the other. This is a perfect setting to watch the sunset.
The closest place to get some food is at the Royal Court Hotel, which is located across from the access road to the beach and overlooks the Whiterocks.
They have a restaurant and licensed bar that serves snacks and meals daily.
Getting to White Rocks
White Rocks is only a short drive along the magnificent coastal drive past Royal Portrush Golf Club, home to the Open championship, from Portrush County Antrim. Car parking is a available in the small main car park and Portrush whiterocks car park.
You can also walk along east strand to curran strand to dunluce castle, where you will see the lion’s paw are headlands of distinguishable forms which rise out along the north coast.
East Strand Portrush, bordering the Whiterocks, starting at the Arcadia and merging into Curran Strand heading out to the Causeway headlands, boasts more than two miles of soft golden sands, which are backed by an extensive dune system hosting the Royal Portrush Golf Course. Landscaped gardens, curved walkways, and play and seating areas will allow you to soak up the East Strand’s atmosphere and make this a premier Northern Irelands causeway coast destination. The East Strand Beach received the Seaside Award in 2021.
The Beach Is Popular With Visitors and Locals Alike
Located on the eastern side of the Portrush Peninsula, Curran Strand or Portrush East Strand is a Blue Flag Beach and is one of the most popular along Northern Irelands Causeway coast. This golden sandy beach is perfect for sand and water activities of all types.
Walking (including with dogs except with summer restrictions), swimming, bodyboarding, surfing, horse riding, diving, jogging, fishing, or kayaking can all be done on East Strand. From June 21 until September 7 daily between 11 am and 7 pm a seasonal RNLI Beach Lifeguards Service is offered at the east strand site.
Eight of the beaches in Northern Ireland have been awarded the ‘Blue Flag’ and the three Portrush beaches all qualify. Enjoy the amazing views stretching across the North Atlantic Ocean and including the Skerries, a small group of rocky islets only a few miles offshore and along the causeway coast.
The 1920s Arcadia building
The East Strand beach entrance can be accessed at Arcadia via the great steps leading from Main Street to a rocky outcrop with a small sandy bay. The historic Arcadia building, built in the 1920s, overlooks the bay.
This landmark, unique to Portrush, has served as a fashionable ballroom that opened in 1953, a popular Victorian seaside cafe, and today thrives as a Gallery, Cafe, and Well Being Centre. Pilates, Yoga, Dance Classes, and Tai Chi for children and adults are offered, while there are also regular musical concerts and art exhibitions.
Old photographs from the 1800s depict this stretch of the East Strand being used as a Ladies Bathing Beach.
Enjoy The Curvy Pedestrian Promenade With Its Undulating Walkways
The Promenade with its undulating walkways can be reached via a leisurely stroll past the play area and pool. The Promenade leads to the East Strand toilets with disabled access, East Strand Car Park, and Watersports Centre. With the easy-to-manage steps from Main Street, the magical new lighting provides a glowing after-dark experience.
The manicured gardens and parks, combined with the ‘To the People of the Sea’ public art, offer an inviting welcome to Portrush East Strand beach and have introduced an abundant, clean, and upmarket feel to this historic area. The car park is located off Causeway Street and is the main beach access, providing more than 600 parking spaces. World-class facilities are also available at the Watersports Centre.
Parkrun On The East Strand Portrush Beach On Saturday Mornings
The PortrushParkrun is one of many in Northern Ireland and is held on the East Strand beach every Saturday at 9.30 am. The run is free and timed, and runs along East Strand beach to the Whiterocks and back. The course starts on the beach at the Watersports Centre. This is the first beach Parkrun globally that is run entirely on sand.
In June every year, the CausewayCoast Triathlon takes place at East Strand Portrush and goes all the way to Bushmills.
Spectacular Golf In A Magical Setting At Royal Portrush
The world-renown Royal Portrush Golf Course is located behind the sand dunes. Not only does this keeps the area behind the beach beautifully ‘green’ and in pristine condition, but it also provides a spectacular game of golf. The ruins of Dunluce Castle overlook the Royal Portrush Dunluce Links Course, home to the open Championship Golf are located behind the sand dunes.
Facilities at East Strand Portrush
East Strand Portrush has a wealth of facilities as you would expect for a coastal resort on the North Coast of Northern Ireland
There is a large car park to cater, there is disabled parking concrete access ramps for access to the sandy beaches and their golden sand. Near the car parking area there are outdoor cold showers disabled toilets and a range of shops.
Food and Drink
There is a range of coffee shops restraints along the eastern extremity of the town centre.
The Strand is only a short walk up the grass bank adjacent to 55 Degrees North Restaurant to West strand and the Portrush Train station, where there are hourly train services to Coleraine, where you can change for trains to Belfast, Derry/Londonderry and Dublin. There is a also daily bus service that stops here.
We recently attended a world host training, where we met several people from different businesses that we did not know existed…I know! So we have decided to give you an A to Z of things to do when you visit Portrush. Now we have not included the main attractions that are associated with the area such as Dunluce Castle, the Giants Causeway, Carrick-a-rede rope bridge and the dark hedges as we have documented these elsewhere.
A – Amusements (Currys aka Barrys)
Barry’s Amusements, open for more than 90 years in Portrush and remains the fun-filled destination at the centre of Portrush for visitors young and the not so young to visit. Whether you’re looking for the thrills of The Big Dipper or a ride on our traditional carousel, then a trip to Barry’s is the place to be. Barrys is open from April to October from 12:30 to 9:30 pm. Find out more
B – Beaches
Northern Ireland has only eight beaches that hold the coveted Blue Flag status, and we are fortunate that three of them are in Portrush, the West and East Strands in town and the Whiterocks on the coast towards Bushmills. Each beach brings its own unique experience.
West Strand starts at the harbour in the town and stretches out towards Portstewart cradled by Barrys and the railway. You can cycle, skate, walk or jog along the (1km) West Strand Prom in the stunning views of Donegal, the beach and of course Portrush. There are a large car park and toilets. This is a perfect beach for all water-related activities, with several surf schools based here, as walks for yourself and your dog!
On the other side of the peninsula (Ramore Head) lies East Strand, starting at The Arcadia, it is a golden sandy beach that stretches for more than 2 miles east and is fantastic for walking (including dogs), admiring the sweeping views of the Skerries…and on a good day Islay or even (on a warm day) taking a dip. The home of the 2019 Open championship, Royal Portrush Championship Golf runs right next to the beach and weaves through its ancient dunes. The course not only provides a breathtaking game of golf but keeps the area behind the beach in pristine condition and beautifully ‘green’….if lucky (and fit) enough you can scale the massive dunes to have spectacular views over the courses and beyond. East strand is also home to the Airwaves International Airshow every year, Beach Volleyball, concerts and the world’s only Parkrun that entirely is run on sand.
The Whiterocks, being slightly further out, offers a somewhat more relaxed vibe from the two ‘in town’ Strands. It is a continuation of the East Strand and is best known for its white limestone chalk cliffs that are between 142 and 65 million years old. The beach is accessed by walking, cycling or driving down the winding road to the shoreline car parks. This is a famous beach for surfing. Views from the cliff tops, beach and the ocean are memorable.
C – Coastal Walks
With such a fantastic coastline, one of the best ways to take it all in is on foot. There are two main coastal walks from Portrush, heading either East or West. Both take in fantastic scenery and have plenty of things to see and do along the way.
Portrush to Portstewart (West)
Starting from the harbour, the walk from Portrush to Portstewart follows the Causeway Coast Way, along the West Strand “Prom”. Often called the Port Path, the trail follows the cliff path beside Ballyreagh golf course (and old castle) and passing several coves (Devil’s Port, Holywell Port and Stoney Port) before reaching Ringnaree Point and the North West 200 Pits. The Port Path then follows Portstewart Old Course into the town. Along the way, there are stunning views over the Atlantic towards Scotland (Islay) and Ireland (Donegal). The Port Path is an excellent way to visit Portstewart for a cuppa, or if you are feeling energetic, you can keep following the coast along to Portstewart Strand another 2km stretch of Blue Flag beach run by the National trust.
Portrush to Bushmills (East)
Leaving from the Harbour, crossing the town to the Arcadia, this walk takes you along the East Strand and Whiterocks beaches, beside Royal Portrush Golf Courses. Coming out at the Royal Court Hotel, the trail follows the Causeway Coastal Route along the road to the magheracross point, with some of the best viewpoints in Portrush. From here you can see west over Portrush towards Donegal and East past Dunluce Castle towards Rathlin Island and the Scottish Coast. Magheracross is also one of the best places to view the northern lights in Ireland. The path then takes you passed Dunluce Castle. Following the road east past Dunluce Castle, Bushmills is around 3 km. From here you can visit Bushmills or even take the path along the Bushmills to Giants Causeway Tramway to the Giants Causeway.
D – Distillery Tour
Old Bushmills is the oldest licensed distillery in the world. Being granted its royal warrant to distil in 1608 by King James I. A time when illegal production had already been going on in Ireland for some time. Even as far back as the 13th century, warriors would take a bit of liquid courage from whiskey distilled in Bushmills before charging into battle. The Bushmills whiskeys are award winners. They’re the only whiskeys in Ireland to be triple-distilled. This rare technique has been passed down through the generations and barely changing over hundreds of years. The resulting liquids are stored in reused sherry or port barrels, imparting some of the wine’s flavour. The tours run year-round and give you a real backstage pass into how Bushmills Whiskey is Distilled. You may also get to meet those who make the famous nectar…and have a wee dram to try what they produce. Find out more
E – Escape Rooms
An Escape Room is an adventure game in which players are locked in a themed room to solve a series of puzzles and escape within a set time limit. Yes, you are locked in a room, however, don’t worry, the Games Master keeps a careful watch on each game, and even the ‘danger’ themed games are still just games, so nothing bad happens to you and your pals. It’s open for anyone aged 9 to 90 and games last for around an hour…unless you are very very good at it. The games are usually mentally taxing with very little physicality. Although some of the puzzles may be beyond the grasp of younger children, they make excellent scavengers. You can book one of the daily slots via their website here.
F – Food Tours
The ever-changing tapestry of scenery and colours, set against a dramatic coastal backdrop makes Portrush and the Causeway Coast the perfect place to take in a food tour.
Bushmills Food Tour
Run by Caroline at Irish Feast, takes you on a stroll through the village of Bushmills, where you stop at six unique venues to taste traditional food and drinks of the region, including whiskey (you are just a few meters from the famous Old Bushmills Distillery after all). Caroline introduces you to the people who make and bake using local, seasonal produce; she’ll tell you about the Taste Causeway growers and producers and will also point out the history, culture and art throughout the village. Book a Food Tour
Causeway Coast Foodie Tours
Each experience hosted by Wendy Gallagher offers guided tours showcasing the best local produce and hidden gems that Portrush and the Causeway Coastal Route has to offer. The tours include ‘A Taste of Portrush’, ‘Coast and Country’ & ‘Catch and Sea’ where you actually go out from Portrush Harbour on a fishing boat (Causeway Lass) and get to catch your very own breakfast; this is then cooked up for you by a local chef and served alongside a selection of delicious local produce delivering the freshest breakfast you have ever had! Book a Food Tour
This is something different than your usual tour for tourists, with a helicopter tour you can take in the beauty of The Causeway Coastal route and even further afield in Northern Ireland, from a whole new perspective. Enjoy the iconic sights such as the Giant’s Causeway, Dunluce Castle and Portrush from a unique viewpoint in the comfort of a helicopter. Fly Vertical, offer tours that guarantee a unique perspective on the North of Ireland’s most beloved landmarks. Fly vertical offer tours around Portrush and the Causeway Coast, Derry City and even a game of throne helicopter tour. Find out more
I – Indoor Play
We all know that now and then the weather takes against our best-laid plans, and as a parent, we know that indoor soft play is the perfect way to let the offspring blow off some steam. Portrush is fortunate that we have four indoor or soft play places within 15 minutes drive.
Wacky Workshop, based in Treasure Island arcade opposite the Dunluce Street car park in Portrush, is the towns only indoor adventure playground for children aged 9 and under with lots of fun and entertainment through safe play. The play frame is a custom-designed three levels interactive zone incorporating soft play, simulated noise activities, a double lane wave slide and much, much more. Wacky Workshop is open daily throughout the year from 10 and has the bonus of having a small cafe attached that you can enjoy such peace while the kids let off some steam.
Cheeky Chimps in Coleraine is open daily and an excellent place for your little monkeys to run riot. Your children will have a great time on the three-storeys multi-level and layer indoor soft play for children aged up to 12 (or 150cm in height). For the little ones, there’s a specially equipped toddlers area, enabling your little one to play safely and securely. While the kids are letting off some steam and enjoy a fun-filled adventure, the adults can relax and de-stress in the café area. Comfy sofas, good coffee, scrummy chocolate things, delicious treats, and the latest magazines – you can unwind while the kids play.
Alley Kats in Coleraine jet Centre is one of the largest Indoor Soft Play Centres in Northern Ireland! This huge indoor soft play provides hours of active fun for children up to 12 years old. They have a dedicated baby and tots area, with a mini ball pit, animal soundboard, rockers, mirrors and building blocks for under four years. There is a two-storey frame for Toddlers to climb, crawl and slide on, including a log ramp, slide, two ball pools, a boggle ball, a ball shower and a car wash. For those kids aged five years to 12 years, there’s a massive, three-storey frame that includes climbing wall, three slides, balls pits, piano walk, rope bridge, look-out tower, sky gliders and cargo nets. Mums, dads, grandparents and childminders aren’t forgotten either – we have a lovely selection of fresh, bean to cup coffee and tea, scones & traybakes, savoury snacks, cold drinks and ice cream. So you can sit back and relax, chat with friends while the children have a blast….and get rid of some energy.
Treasure Island (Ballymoney)
Treasure Island, in Ballymoney, is a complex of pirate-y goodness that’s perfect for all poor weather conditions. This significant multi-level indoor soft play area that has all the classics your darlings expect with other fun themed activities such as a ball pool and ball cannon, a twin wavy slide and a spiral slide. There is also has a separate area for tiny tots with amusing little features of their own. More fun than you can shake a cutlass at. A great play experience for kids aged up to 12 years old.
J – Jet Centre
The Jet Centre is possibly the place to visit, with kids, on the days that you cant get outside and enjoy what Portrush has to offer. The centre has so much to do. You can watch the latest movies at the ten screen cinema, go ten pin bowling, play mini-golf or entertain the kids in the Alley Katz soft play and party centre. The jet centre even has an arcade and Asian-fusion restaurant, Yoko. It also right next to the riverside retail park, so if you are lucky, you could get a spot of shopping done while the other half enjoys a day out with the little ones. Find out more
K – Kayaking
Portrush and The Causeway Coast centrally located for Sea kayaking, Surfing and Open Canoeing, with The Foyle canoe Trail, Lower Bann Canoe Trail and North Coast Sea Kayaking Trail on our doorstep. Portrush East, West strands and White Rocks Host National Surfing Events and provide the playground for our surfers. Slightly further afield there is the opportunity to kayak around, over and under some of the most iconic landmarks along the Causeway Coast, such as The Giants Causeway, Carrick-a-rede and Ballintoy Harbour. There is even Game of Thrones tours by Kayak. Causeway Kayaking Tours Portrush Yacht Club
L – Live Music
Portrush is home to some of the best musicians and music venues in Northern Ireland, if not the whole of Ireland. Pretty much every night of the week you’ll find something that you are looking for, from traditional “session” to something more modern. Here are some of the venues to find out more The Atlantic Bar Kiwis Brew Bar The Springhill Bar The Harbour Bar
M – Magheracross (Northern Lights/Viewpoint)
The Magheracross viewpoint lies about a mile along the Causeway Coastal Route from Portrush heading towards Bushmills; the purpose-built view has some of the best views in Northern Ireland, with Dunluce Castle in one direction and Portrush and the Whiterocks in the other. I have stopped at this viewpoint several times and never see the same scene twice. However, two things are always constant, namely the strong wind (which is to be expected when standing at this altitude on the rugged Atlantic coast), and the mighty waves pounding those impressive rock structures into existence. Magheracross is also one of the best places to see the northern lights in Ireland, with minimal light pollution and the view across the Atlantic northwards. Check out some of these sites to see some fantastic images.
N – North Antrim Coast Road
The North Antrim Coast Road, or as its more commonly (modernly) know as The Causeway Coastal Route, is a waymarked driving route stretching from the mouth of the Lagan in Belfast, where it joins the Mourne Scenic Route from the South to the mouth of the Foyle in Derry, where it meets the Wild Atlantic Way (stretching from Muff in Donegal to Cork). The route takes in some of the most breathtaking scenery, such as Torr Head with views over Rathin and towards Scotland, and attractions such as the Giant Causeway and Carrick-a-rede rope bridge. The route was rated one of the best road trips in the world by Lonely Planet, the Independent and many others. There are also several loops to drive taking in the famous Nine Glens of Antrim.
O – Ocean Warriors (Surfing)
Ok, so we struggled a little to both fits in Surfing and find something in the begins with the letter O……then we bumped into Rosie from Ocean Warriors…who are in Portstewart…but someone has to be lol. Whether you’re a complete beginner or a well-travelled wave-rider, one of Portrushs beaches will be just right for you. Portrush is well known in Ireland for its Surf; however, its reputation is spreading. There are several surf schools and shops that are open all year round. Here are some of them. Ocean Warriors Portrush Surf School Alive Surf School Troggs Surf School Long Line Surf School Woodies Surf Shop
P – Play Parks
When the sun shines, and often when it doesn’t, the Causeway Coast is one of the best places to be with the Kids. To help keep them happy, there are several play parks around to help them burn off some of that energy. Here are some of our favourites
The Arcadia Beach Park is nestled just behind the iconic Arcadia on the east strand. The park is a mixture of paddling pools, sand and climbing frames for toddlers and young children.
Diversity Park (Portstewart)
Diversity is a park based on the grounds of Flowerfield centre, Portstewart, opposite Tescos. The park has a focus on children with a disability and those with sensory needs; however, all children can enjoy the park. It has a range of climbing metal climbing frames, swings and other activities that are suitable for children 3 to 8 years.
Crescent Park (Portstewart)
The Crescent Park in Portstewart, is, unsurprisingly, situated on the Crescent in Portstewart underneath the Imposing Dominican College. The park has several climbing frames, swings and activities for kids age 3 to 8 (ish). The Park is also home to a large paddling pool and interactive water jets.
McGaw Park (Ballymoney)
McGaw Park, in Ballymoney, is a large park with a range of activities for kids. It has a large grassed area for football, frisbee and more. There is a children’s play park with climbing frames, slides and swings. For older “kids” there is also an outdoor gym and enclosed multi-use games area with goals and basketball nets.
R – Running
Portrush parkrun is a free 5k timed run that takes place every Saturday morning at 09.30 on East Strand beach.
When it started in September 2012, it was the first parkrun in the world to be run entirely on sand.
All you need to do is register online ( for free ) on their website, print off your barcode and bring it with you.
Born to Run tours was set up by Jonny Graham, an avid runner. They offer a range of guided tours around the Causeway Coast and further afield. You can choose what run, which can be suited to your level, and what you want to see. The routes take in areas such as The Giants Causeway, Dunluce Castle (obviously) Portrush and even Game of Thrones locations. Find Out More
S – Sea Tours
With Portrush being surrounded on three sides by the sea, it only fits that we highlight some of the fantastic tours that are available on the high seas.
Causeway Lass Fishing
Causeway Fishing has been operating for over 20 years, offering a range of outings for you and your friends. As the name suggests, they provide deep-sea fishing for fish such as Mackerel and more. They also offer more bespoke tours along with Wendy from Causeway Foodie tours such as Catch and Sea, where you meet up before sunrise head out and catch your breakfast, which is then cooked for you or by you in one of the Portrush’s fabulous restaurants. Find out More
Portrush Sea Tours
Portrush Sea Tours offer sightseeing experiences by RIB, from an hour-long boat trip around the coast to Dunluce Castle or the Giants Causeway to full-day charters to the Scottish Islands of Islay or Jura. The Causeway Coast of Ireland is an area of outstanding natural beauty, and you will never forget the experience of viewing this from the sea. You will also have the opportunity to see the local wildlife: birds, seals, porpoise and if you’re fortunate dolphins and whales. Suitable for birthdays, anniversaries, special occasions etc Find Out More
Aquaholics, already mentioned above for their diving offers, they also do sea tours. Departing from Portstewart, Portrush and Ballycastle, experience the Causeway Coast of Northern Ireland, Rathlin Ireland, Donegal, or the Scottish Islands of Islay and Jura. It is being surrounded by areas of outstanding natural beauty and what better way to see them than from the sea with experienced local skippers. Find Out More
T – Torr Head
The spectacular views over rugged coastline towards the Mull of Kintyre, crashing waves and historical intrigue are reasons why you should add this little known destination to your trip to Portrush, or as part of the Causeway Coastal Route. Torr Head was famous in the 1800s for recording the passage of transatlantic ships, relaying the information back to Lloyds of London. Near Torr’s head, you’ll find the ruins and walls of Altagore Cashel (Castle) that date back to the sixth century. Long before the early Christian church and Irish clans came here, the headland was already remarkable. Torr Head is also an excellent example of metamorphosed limestone and indicative of volcanic rock sequences in Ireland and Scotland.
U – Under Water Adventure
The Causeway Coast of Ireland offers some fabulous diving opportunities, the area is known for spectacular drop-offs, wrecks and reefs both deep and shallow. From Portrush, you can board one of the dive boats such as Aqualholics and Portrush Yacht Club to dive to warships from world war 2 (HMS Drake) and U-Boats from world war one (U1003) as well as to places like the famous Blue Pool to see Octopi, Lobster and Conga eels. During the summer, there are regular dives or boats can be chartered individually. Aquaholics Portrush Yacht Club
Cliff Diving – Coasteering
Coasteering is raw adrenaline; cliff jumping, bouldering, climbing, belly-flopping, rough treatment by waves, clambering and using our rugged coastline as an adventure playground. However, coasteering is much more than that. For many, the opportunity to uniquely experience our beautiful shallow coastal caves, hidden coves and little islands around our breathtakingly, rugged coastline is the highlight of their coasteering adventure. Naturally, our trained local guides ensure you get the very most out of your time, safely. Causeway Coasteering runs coasteering sessions for all events, such as stag and hen parties, birthdays and corporate days along the stunning Causeway Coastline. Find Out More
V – Visitor Centre
Ok, so we struggled a bit for a couple of these. However, we highly recommend that you drop in at one of the Visitor Centres either in Portrush (Under the Town across from Barrys Amusements) or in one of the other towns along your trip. They are all run by the council, and most of the staff have been with them for more years than they will admit. They are very knowledgable about the are and what’s on, they can also help you to book some of the activities we have mentioned so far. Find Out More
W – Waterworld
It is well hidden and possibly not what you are expecting from a seaside town; however, Portrush has its very own indoor pool and water park for kids you and old(er). For fun and entertainment, enjoy a family visit to Waterworld, nestled at the harbour in between the Ramore and the Yacht Club. The indoor water attraction has a range of features which includes a water playground, six slides, two 80m waterslides and water cannons. Waterworld also has a Ten Pin Bowling facility that offers six lanes of all action bowling for young and old to experience. Waterworld also has a fun Beach themed photo area, located at the front of the building Waterworld is run by the council and is open at certain times of the summer; please check with the council website for more details. Find out More
X – Xplore outdoors
Xplore Outdoors is one of Northern Ireland’s leading outdoor activity providers. Their team are highly experienced and demonstrate a genuine passion for what they do and are an Adventuremark accredited provider. Xplore specialises in youth projects and residentials on the North Coast, and possess a diverse and extensive portfolio and spend much of their time at the East Strand Watersports centre in Portrush which offers private changing and showering facilities for their groups. Xplore offers a wide range of multi activities such as coasteering, bodyboarding, kayaking and rock climbing/abseiling to name a few.
More recently Xplore is delighted to offer guided sea kayaking to all level of abilities which enables clients to view our beautiful coastline from a different perspective.
If you ever dreamed of sailing the high seas under only the power of the wind, then Portrush is the place. Causeway Coast sailing has a six-berth 30-foot Yacht Elessr, fully equipped with a generous cockpit there’s plenty of room onboard along with facilities such as a bathroom and cooker/grill/oven and running water. Causeway Coast Sailing offers some of the most enjoyable trips around the Causeway Coast, from a few hours taking in the spectacular sunsets to a weekend sailing in the northern channel and Rathlin Island. You can opt to make art on the trip as much or as little as you want so if you’re going to learn the ropes of sailing and gaining an understanding of the wind and tides while taking in the scenery. Causeway Coast Sailing
Z – Coastal Zone
Portrush Coastal Zone (formerly Portrush Countryside Centre) is run by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs as their main coastal and marine centre. Discovery pools and tanks along with displays and activities give visitors the chance to learn more about the Causeway Coast, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), the area is rich in natural and historical interest.
The Coastal Zone was once a luxurious Bath House providing hot salt-water baths to visitors to the Causeway Coast. The Centre now offers a range of information and exhibitions on the marine and coastal environment. The Coastal Zone has a viewing platform at the rear which affords excellent views towards Skerries and Causeways Marine Special Area of Conservation (SAC).
This SAC in Portrush was the UK’s first marine protected area for harbour porpoise, and these beautiful creatures can often be spotted from our viewing platform.
The Centre is also situated immediately adjacent to the Portrush National Nature Reserve (NNR) designated for its geology and fossils. Visitors to the Centre can explore the geodiversity of the north coast through storyboards and a Virtual Reality suite installed in partnership with the Causeway Coast and Glens Heritage Trust as part of the European-funded Drifting Apart project.
Well, that’s our A to Z of things to do and see in Portrush, have we missed anything, should there be more in? Let us know on social media or below.
We are often asked for recommendations of where to eat in and around Portrush. However, with such an amazing selection of amazing places to eat it can be very difficult. So to help you all we have come up with the below list of places to eat in and around Portrush.
It’s not by any means a definitive list, as there are many many more to chose from.
A – The Adelphi Bistro
Award-winning cuisine from the 4-star Adelphi Hotel, Portrush. Made with seasonally available fresh local produce, this bistro provides gourmet-style food in a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere. Menu options for coeliacs are a speciality, with lunchtime, evening and special menus specially designed for those who are unable to eat gluten.
The bistro is very allergy/food intolerance aware, with clearly marked menus. It also offers a children’s menu.
Set on the Edge of the harbour in the old Lifeboat station, Babushka Kitchen Café is focused on honest and accessible food using the best of local ingredients. There is a focus on brunch with seasonal lunch specials, the South Pier setting-overlooking West Strand is an idyllic venue to enjoy a delicious bite with a variety of speciality coffees that reflect quality, seasonality and sustainable relationships
Part of the Portrush Atlantic Hotel, this restaurant serves an international menu in elegant surroundings. It was the finalist of the Northern Ireland Food Awards Hotel Restaurant of the Year 2018 and hopes to continue its winning form in 2019. A particular speciality is the North Coast Burgers. The Counties, now called the Port Kitchen Bar,’ Head Chef Nigel Steele won the Unilever Food Solutions Country Range Group, Best Burger competition with CRG & Hellmann’s in 2019 so knows a thing or two about making the best-tasting burgers around.
The Deerstalker Bistro offers quality fare using locally sourced, fresh ingredients. The menu offers excellent choice and value for money, with a fantastic range of burgers, lasagne and spicy chicken wings. For those seeking something a little special, the duck and steak always garner rave reviews.
For those with a craving for pizza, you can order from the Pizza Library next door. All the pizzas are prepared with the freshest ingredients, using genuine Neapolitan dough and cooked in an authentic Italian wood-fired oven. Kids (and adults) love to watch the Pizza chef at work as he prepares and cooks the pizza’s live in the restaurant.
This bistro offers vegetarian options and a children’s menu.
Locally sourced, down to earth food, crafted with love – this café aims to create the best-tasting dishes from scratch alongside local producers. The menu includes breakfast and brunch until 3pm, lunch options (including some fantastic burgers, soups, salads and light bites) and Keenan’s fresh cod with mushy peas, homemade tartare and fries.
The café is Vegetarian-friendly and offers vegan and gluten-free options.
A modern, family-run restaurant with stunning views of the beach, serving gourmet burgers, pasta and a great kids’ menu. The restaurant offers a special 2-course lunch menu and a grill menu daily from 5pm.
This restaurant caters for vegetarians and vegans, offers gluten-free options and has a kids’ menu.
From Guinness and oysters to Mourne lamb Irish stew, enjoy a range of Irish-themed tapas and pre-dinner nibbles with ingredients sourced from the finest artisan producers. The Gas Bar is a traditional Irish pub offering peat fires, live music and great craic.
Also, at the home of the world’s oldest distillery, it goes without saying that they have an extensive offering of the finest whiskey as well as craft beers and locally distilled gin. They also offer an intriguing range of signature cocktails alongside popular classics.
Enjoy wood-fired grilled meats, chicken, fish and famous steaks from JD Hart and Sons butchers. This restaurant offers a wide selection of bistro dishes in a pleasant, rustic setting. The woodburning grill lends all the dishes a special something and doesn’t forget to leave room for a famous Ramore dessert.
This restaurant has limited vegetarian options. Children are welcome but will not be served after 8-pm.
Enjoyed by visitors and locals alike, the Inn on the Coast Bar Bistro offers an evening menu of great Irish food. Choose from a selection of delicious meat, chicken, vegetarian and seafood dishes, including a delightful sounding steak and Guinness pie.
The bistro caters for vegetarians and offers gluten-free options.
Joey’s Bar is run by the family of the late Joey Dunlop, motorcycle road racing champion extraordinaire. A must for bikers, come and view Joey’s extensive collection of memorabilia and enjoy great Guinness and craic, sharing stories and memories of the great man with fellow aficionados and family.
Kiwis Brew Bar is a craft beer pub serving a wide range of burgers, chicken wings and sides. All their meat is provided by Etherson’s, World Butchers Challenge winners. If you are in town on a Wednesday, don’t miss their Psycho Wings on Wing Wednesdays – delicious hot wings served with the tongue-tingling, fiery Carolina Reaper pepper sauce!
Leona’s is the perfect place to enjoy a traditional Irish afternoon tea while visiting the Causeway Coast. Traditional traybakes, fresh tea and coffee, all feature on the menu, but it is Leona’s signature scones that really get people talking. The scones combine traditional family recipes with a novel approach. Choose from a selection of five – yes, five – homemade scones baked fresh every morning.
The tea room also offers an all-day breakfast and light bites of toasties, soup. Panini and bowls of Irish stew.
At Magheraboy House Hotel, sit back, relax and enjoy excellent quality dining and great craic at Dawson’s Bistro. It offers an exquisite menu, combining classic dishes with modern twists. The menu features mouth-watering Puck-puck Chicken Wings to start, local beef from Dunluce Farms cooked on the chargrill, award-winning sausages and mash, and so much more. They also have an excellent selection of local craft beers, house wines and gins and whiskeys to keep the drinks connoisseur happy.
The bistro has vegetarian options and a children’s menu.
Neptune & Prawn offers an informal dining experience, serving many Asian and seafood inspired dishes which are perfect for sharing. Share some salt and chilli Neptune & Prawns, treat yourself to crispy aromatic duck pancakes or bang bang chicken. Open 7 nights a week, the bar also serves terrific cocktails. It’s a great way to spend an evening in Portrush.
This restaurant offers some vegetarian options. It is not suitable for children.
Enjoy the taste of Spain with a Northern Irish twist. The Ocho Tapas Bistro serves fresh local seafood and freshly prepared dishes using locally sourced produce in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Try their Tasting Menu or Early Bird Menu – and, if you get the tapas bug, why not consider enrolling in one of their cookery classes.
The bistro caters for vegetarians and vegans, offers gluten-free options and has a children’s menu.
Carvery is a speciality at the Royal Court Hotel Restaurant and grill bar. Available every day during the summer, only the finest local produce is used, and diners come from miles around to enjoy it. The restaurant is fully licensed and has an extensive collection of fine wines and beverages. All food is cooked to order, and snacks are available all day, supplementing the lengthy lunch and evening menus.
The evening menu has dishes suitable for vegetarians and has gluten-free options.
Situated just one mile from the UNESCO world heritage Giant’s Causeway, the Smuggler’s Inn offers a fully licensed restaurant, a bistro and bar. The restaurant, which can cater for large parties and weddings, provides a wide range of classic dishes, burgers, steaks and pasta at lunchtime and a more extensive evening menu.
The Inn caters for vegetarians, can adapt some dishes for diners requiring a gluten-free option and has a kids’ menu.
Offering popular international dishes, plus spectacular sea views, Tides Restaurant is a great place to unwind and enjoy lunch or dinner. This restaurant currently offers three courses for the price of your main, and if you can’t manage all three, then you can choose a small glass of wine, a bottle of selected beer or a soft drink instead. Diners are raving about their fabulous food, which includes chicken dishes, burgers and steak, so be sure to book ahead to avoid disappointment. There is also a range of classic cocktails to enjoy.
This restaurant caters for vegetarians and offers a children’s menu….and thee best Sweetie filled
The Indus Valley Restaurant serves a selection of favourite regional Indian dishes in sumptuous surroundings. Holders of an award of excellence by the AAA Guide of Excellence, the staff strive to make their welcome as outstanding as their food, which is prepared to the very highest standard, using only the freshest ingredients. Enjoy a gentle bhuna or challenge your taste buds with a fiery vindaloo, accompanied by the side of saag aloo or Tarka daal. There is an extensive choice on offer.
The Wine Bar is renowned for its fantastic tasting fresh food, lively atmosphere, and a menu to suit all tastes. Enjoy Arizona Spiced Chicken or Monkfish & Tiger Prawns from the main menu, a sumptuous steak or a Wellington with a twist, a pizza or pasta, or, if you fancy something a little different, why not pick a dish to share from the Bar’s classic lunchtime menu. There are so many options.
The Galley Kitchen café at Portrush Yacht Club offers a fantastic all-day breakfast and a selection of light lunchtime bites. Whether you’re sailing oceans or just watching from afar, the Galley Kitchen is a great place to refuel.
This café offers daily specials, including Slimmer’s Fry, a special breakfast designed for Slimming World members.
Zinc Restaurant is a hidden gem. It offers a combination of French, Irish and seafood cuisines, pizzas, pasta, mains, sides and the most delicious-looking desserts. Service is second to none, and the food is of great value. Reviewers are raving about this vegetarian-friendly restaurant so book a table and come and see what all the fuss is about.
This restaurant caters for vegetarians, offers gluten-free options and has a kids’ menu.
A visit to Ireland is a must for any fan of HBO’s Game Of Thrones show. I have to admit that although I didn’t get into the show until series 3 when my wife finally convinced me to binge on it while on maternity /paternity leave, I am now obsessed. So much so that I have dragged my wife and kids around most of Game of Thrones film sites in Ireland and just recently to the Game of Thrones Exhibition in Belfast!
From our travels around The North, we’ve pulled together this Ultimate Guide to the Game of Thrones filming locations in Ireland, to help you to plan your own GOT trip to Portrush or elsewhere on the Island of Ireland.
Game of Thrones Tour
This self-guided Game of Thrones tour begins in Portrush, or if your travelling from Dublin or Belfast to Portrush then flip it around, ends in Enniskillen and covers every conceivable Game of Thrones Ireland site in Northern Ireland (That we know of)
Our Game of Thrones tour will stop at all your favourite Game of Thrones filming sites and takes at least three days to complete properly, however, we recommend taking four to five so that you can also take in some of the other fantastic areas that Northern Ireland has to offer.
We recommend the below itinerary…but it’s entirely up to you.
Day 1 – Causeway Coastal Route (Dothraki Grasslands to Bravos)
Day 2 – Causeway Coastal Route (Winterfell to The Red Wedding)
Day 3 – Belfast (GOT Tapestry, Exhibition and Stained Glass Windows)
Day 4 – County Down (Winterfell to Riverrun)
Day 5 – Fermanagh and the Lakelands (The Riverlands)
The Journey of The Doors
We have also included the Journey of Doors Tour along the way, so you can stop and enjoy some local cuisine and beverages as well as get your Journey of Doors Passport stamped….and possibly a picture.
The Game of Thrones – Tour of Doors is the stunning transformation of storm damage caused to some of the ancient Beech trees at The Dark Hedges (The Kings Road) in 2016. The wood from the trees was salvaged and given to some of Ireland’s most accomplished craftsmen and women, who transformed them into 10 uniquely designed and intricately crafted doors. Using iconic symbols and key scenes from the show, the doors work together to tell the tale of season 6. The craftsmanship on these doors is breathtaking.
They are hung in 10 places across Northern Ireland. You can pick up your Tour of Doors, Game of Thrones Passports at all these locations and a stamp in your passport will be rewarded for every door you get to see.
Where is it filmed?
In Ireland, there are over 40 locations where Game of Thrones was filmed, most you can visit and see first hand, others are sadly private and therefore off limits to tourists (although many offer private tours…worth a call), but you can see them from a distance, and possibly get a quick picture.
We have included over 50 places to visit in this tour including visits to the Ulster Museum, for the Tapestry, the Game of Thrones Exhibition, to see some of the amazing props and the six Stained glass windows from season 8.
While you are welcome to use (and add to if we have missed anything) this guide to Game of Thrones in Northern Ireland, you can also download a Game of Thrones Map on an app from the Northern Ireland tourism board. Discover Northern Ireland says this about the app:
Bridging the gap between fantasy and reality, the interactive map allows users to flip between the mythical worlds of Westeros and Essos and the Northern Ireland filming locations. Over 25 scenes from Seasons 1-7 are featured on the app, with detailed information on each scene and where it was filmed, as well as official stills from the show. The 10 Doors of Thrones can also be found on the app. Fans can also experience the beauty of Northern Ireland from their own home as each location features a 360-degree panoramic photograph.
Game of Thrones Locations Northern Ireland
Ok, so let us get started!
Depending on the time of year that you are visiting Portrush, the first part of the itinerary may change. As due to the large number visiting the Dark Hedges and the fantastic sunrises that illuminate the trees especially in Spring and Autumn mean it may be best to get up early and had there first when generally its only photographers and lone travellers visiting.
1. Downhill Strand (Burning of the Old Gods)
Downhill Strand is a 7 mile (11km) stretch of clean white sands, overlooked by Mussenden Temple, and Downhill Demesne. The board below can be found at the entrance to the beach at the bottom of the hill.
Downhill beach is the setting for Stannis Baratheon’s rejection of the Seven Gods Old Gods of Westeros in Season 2 Episode 1, where, now under the increasing influence of Melisandre, they burn their old effigies as an offering to the Lord of Light. Stannis is the proclaimed as the Lord of Lights champion by Melisandre and leads Dragonstone into the War of the Five Kings.
From Downhill, Binevenagh is a short drive will take around 5 minutes to stop number two.
2. Binevenagh (Dothraki Grasslands)
Binevenagh is a mountain in County L’Derry about It is the westernmost point of the Antrim Plateau, which includes most of the first day’s tour. The steep cliffs and plateau expand over six miles across the Magilligan peninsula. This Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) & Area of Special Scientific Interest towers over Downhill Beach and Mussenden Temple.
The best way to find out is to google Swann’s Bridge Glamping or Ballycarton House both excellent places to stay. There is a small picnic area between them, this is where you will find the above sign.
The Seacoast Road, below Binevenagh, appeared in season five as the Dothraki Grasslands, North of Mereen, Essos, where in Episode 10 (Mothers Mercy) after being rescued by her dragon, Drogon while fleeing from the Sons of the Harpy in the fighting pits of Meereen, she is spotted and surrounded by a Dothraki horde.
3. Owens Bar (Journey of Doors #5)
If you follow the Seacoast Road West (the cliffs on your left), you will find yourself in the small town of Limavady. Here you will find the first of our stops on the Journey of Doors Tour, Owns Bar, you can check out Door 5, which features the Night King and his followers, white walkers flank him on both sides commanding an army of undead White walkers at his back. Below rests the Stark Sigil entwined in branch and root, preparing for the impending attack. Make sure you get a pint of Guinness and your passport stamped.
You could also make stops this day five and stop on your way back from Enniskillen, visiting the historic walled City of Derry, then along the Bishops Road to Stop 1, 2 and 3 along with Mussenden Temple, Downhill Demense and Heslett House.
4. Portstewart Strand (Dorne)
Portstewart, only 2 miles along the road from Portrush, has one of Northern Ireland’s best beaches. Stretching for 2 miles is a Blue Flag Beach maintained by the National Trust, with views over to Inishowen headland (Donegal), Mussenden Temple and on bright days to the Scottish island of Islay.
It has been a family holiday destination since Victorian times, with seaside Promenade (know locally as “The Prom”) and a great place to stop at the famous Morelli’s Ice cream or even Harrys Shack, which sits next to Portstewart Strand.
The undulating dunes and sands of Portstewart Strand, featured in Season 5 Episode 4, this is where Jaime Lannister and Bronn come ashore on Dorne, fighting and killing Dornish soldiers as they seek to return Myrella, Jaime’s “niece” back to King’s Landing.
Ellaria and the sisters also plot to start a war with the Lannisters here.
Dunluce is seemingly precariously perched on a cliff-top overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and the Sea of Moyle. In the show, it the home of the Kings of the Iron Islands Pyke. The castle above os only barely recognisable as CGI is used to position Pyke castle over various stacks of rock.
This Stunning tree-lined avenue of ancient Beech trees was planted by the Stuart family of Gracehill House in the eighteenth century and was used for filming Season 2 Episode 1 for the Kingsroad in, when Arya Stark, dressed as a boy, escaped King’s Landing in the back of a cart.
Cars have recently been banned from the road itself, as it was found that the traffic was damaging the trees roots and the tour buses have been causing significant problems with transport.
We recommend that you park at Gracehill House, from there its 5 minutes’ walk down their path to the Kings Road.
Gracehill House, at the western end of the Dark Hedges is where another (Journey of Doors Number 7) famous door carved from the storm-felled trees just a few meters away.
Built around 1775, James Stuart named the house for his wife, Grace, the avenue of intertwining beech trees, that is the Dark Hedges, was once part of the entrance to the GraceHill estate.
The House has a state-of-the-art Visitor Centre, which is well worth a visit. You can then wander down to search for intriguing polygonal stones with unique formations such as the Granny, Wishing Chair, Camel and Organ.
Signs of the recently deceased Three-Eyed Raven cover door number 7, foreshadowing the events of the past that are about to bear down on the present. You might also spot a beech tree leaf hidden within a crown, this is a reference to the Dark Hedges Trees of the Kings Road, located just a few meters away from where the door is not situated.
8. The Fullerton Arms, Ballintoy (Journey of Doors)
Before we head to our next stop, Ballintoy Harbour, why not take a break in The Fullerton Arms , in Ballintoy Village. The Fullerton Arms is also our next stop on the Journey of Doors tour (Door number 6).
Door 6 champions House Targaryen, specifically Drogon – Daenerys’ most aggressive and fearsome dragon. The Dothraki stallions in his grasp, signify their allegiance and willingness to finally follow their Queen across the Narrow Sea.
Ballintoy Harbour is a small fishing harbour located on the Causeway Coastal Route in County Antrim. The harbour itself is just under a mile from the main village, at the end of a narrow, steep road down Knocksaughey hill.
Ballintoy Harbour features in two episodes of Game of Thrones. The first in Season 2 Episode 2, as part of the Iron Islands. This is Lordsport Harbour, Pyke where Theon Greyjoy is baptised into the religion of the Drowned God, which reaffirms his loyalty to his family the Greyjoys.
Ballintoy was also used in Season 4 Episode 2 as a location where over the burning of the Bannermen that is presided over by Melisandre, and is referred to locally as the ‘raised beach’.
Larrybane is an old Limestone Quarry, that is now mainly used as an overflow car park for nearby Carrick-a-Rede, run by the National Trust. It is worth a Visit not only to the Quarry but to the Rope Bridge. A word of warning though due to its popularity, you now need to book ahead to get on the bridge. You can book here.
Larrybane is the dramatic setting for Renly Baratheon’s camp in the Stormlands. It is also where Renly named Brienne of Tarth as his Kingsguard in Season 2 Episode 3 (What Is Dead May Never Die) after she defeated Margery (is she GOTs most married woman?) brother, Sir Loras.
Catelyn Stark arrives here, on behalf of Robb Stark, to gather support and soldiers from King Renly for their quest to avenge Ned Starks death.
The Larrybane headland is sheltered by Sheep Island and the shallow reef, leads down to Northern Ireland’s great and exhilarating rope bridge challenge, the Carrick-a-Rede Bridge. We would highly recommend it.
Fairhead, near Ballycastle on the Causeway Coastal Route, rises 600 feet above sea level and is believed to be the largest expanse of climbable rock in the UK and Ireland.
In Season 7 Ep 3 (The Queen’s Justice) was filmed here with the cliffs as a backdrop. It is this episode where Jon Snow finally meets Daenerys Targeryon and her dragons – this area is where much of the Dragonstone scenes were also filmed. You can find a good guide to the area here on NIExplorer.com
Murlough Bay sits on the Causeway Coastal Route between Fairhead and Torr Head. Murlough Bay was also used as the location for several episodes.
The first was where Theon and his sister Yara road the horse back to Greyjoy in Season 2 Episode 2 (The Nights Land), then as Renly’s camp in Season 2 Episode 4 (Garden of Bones)
Also in season 2, It is then the scene which Davos Seaworth was shipwrecked after the Battle of Blackwater Bay in Season 2 Episode 9 (Blackwater)
Finally, it was transformed into Slavers Bay, where Tyrion Lannister and Ser Jorah Mormont are captured by slavers in Series 5 Episode 6 (Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken). The Bay is only accessible by foot along a very steep path.
Murlough is best known for its outstanding beauty and far-reaching views across the sea to Rathlin Island and the Mull of Kintyre in Scotland.
Mary McBride’s is a small bar in the heart of the picturesque former fishing village of Cushendun, indeed according to the sign in the bar, it was once one of the most miniature bars in Ireland.
Mary’s is full of history, character and has several interesting stories about the late Mary McBride, who was the landlady in years gone by.
The bar serves traditional meals all year round, we recommend the Steak and Guinness pie served with cham, it was delicious. Being a fishing village, they also have a wide range of local seafood on offer. Make sure you even leave plenty of room for their amazing homemade desserts cheesecakes, apple pie and lemon meringue.
Door number 8 chronicles Arya Stark’s journey in the free city of Braavos. In the centre rests the faceless man coin that originally brought her to the city. Below this sits Needle, in reference to the final deadly confrontation that leads Arya to decide to return to Winterfell.
The Cushendun Caves, although not very well signposted when we last visited, aren’t that difficult to find. Entering Cushendun make your way to the harbour, here you will find a statue of Johann the Goat. You may also be lucky enough to see the “new” town goat if you do be sure and feed him some apples or carrots…available from the local shops.
From here follow the road over the bridge and turn left. There is a car park towards the end of the way. However, depending on the time of day/year, more than likely it will be full of large buses and a horde of other tourists viewing the caves.
The caves feature in Season 2 Episode 4 (Garden of Bones) where Davos Seaworth, on the orders of Lord Stannis, takes the sorceress Melisandre ashore to give birth to the murdering shadow.
Glenariff is widely known as ‘Queen of the Glens’, it’s considered the most stunning of the nine Glens of Antrim: a deep valley surrounded by stunning walking trails and waterfalls.
Glenarriff can be seen in Season 5 Episode 1 (The Wars to Come) as the practice ground at Runestone in the Vale of Arryn, Littlefinger and Sansa Stark observed Robin Arryn’s attempt at duelling.
The Game of Thrones marker board on the Causeway Coastal route just after Carnlough, that indicates the Vale of Arryn. Don’t miss the opportunity to take a drive through Glenarriff if you have the time it is a stunningly beautiful drive full of waterfalls, deep dark forests and lots of Irish legends.
Just a few miles down the Causeway Coastal Route from Glenariff and you arrive in Carnlough. Another picturesque former fishing village. The village is famous for the Londonderry Arms, that was once owned by Sir Winston Churchill. They also serve some execellent seafood, including the Irish smoked salmon we had.
Carnlough harbour features in is also, in Season 6 Episode 7 (the Broken Man) as location for Bravos where Arya acn be seen climbing from the waters after being stabbed by the waif.
This is our last stop on day 1 of our road trip to see all of the Game of Thrones filming locations in Northern Ireland.
We would highly recommend staying at this gorgeous hotel and make it a first overnight stop on your Game of Thrones Tour. By the way, they do a lovely Game of Thrones-themed afternoon tea, which makes a perfect break from touring.
We’ve also stopped here as Ballygally Castle also holds door number 9 on our Game of Thrones Journey of the Doors tour.
Door number 9 echoes the Battle of the Bastards, symbols of both House Stark and House Bolton cover the door. Swords and shields litter the door like a bloody battlefield. The battle-scarred face of the stark dire wolf dominating over the flayed man below suggests a House Stark Victory, but at a substantial cost.
So have a great evening and we will see you in the morning for more Game of Thrones Film Locations on day 2
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