THE 25 BEST THINGS TO DO IN NORTHERN IRELAND!!!!
Northern Ireland is an island of astonishing natural beauty and is full of unique experiences that are waiting and wanting to be explored. To take the pressure off you guys and make your honeymoon as memorable as possible, I have collated a list of 25 of the best honeymoon experiences Northern Ireland has to offer. Whether your preferred experience is one of relaxation or adventure, Northern Ireland has the perfect cuppa tea for all.
The Giant’s Causeway
Revel in the deep myths and legends of the Giant’s Causeway, the archetype of Northern Irish adventure. As Ireland’s only world heritage site and an area of outstanding natural beauty, it manifests a 65-million-year-old lava formed staircase. Exploring at your leisure should take 30-45 minutes but for the full experience, spend time in the visitor center, grab an audio guide and attempt the uphill hike to the top of the cliff for breath-taking scenes. Food? Of course. I would recommend checking out some epic grilled cheese from Mini Maegden during the summer months for some hearty street food, located on Causeway Road.
Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge
A 20-minute clifftop walk leads you to a small bridge that has been constructed over the 60-foot chasm to connect the coastal village of Ballintoy with the small fishing island: Carrick-a-Rede. The island offers an astounding panorama of the coast and beyond and presents the idyllic setting for a romantic picnic. A visit to Larrybane Quarry is also recommended for all you avid Game of Thrones fans.
The Gobbins Path & Blackhead Lighthouse
Visit the rural countryside and experience the quaint seaside town of Whitehead, home to the popular Gobbins cliff path and Blackhead lighthouse walks. Whitehead is a village steeped in history and a popular tourist and holiday destination in its day. Once a bustling destination and now a sleepy retirement town, this village will let you into the secret of idyllic Northern Irish life. The cliff path harbors sandy caves, a tubular bridge, gallery, natural aquarium, and numerous tunnels, all based upon the original structures built in 1902. Greeted by the spritely colorful houses of the seafront, the Lighthouse walk provides a 360 view of the Atlantic Ocean with a newly restored coastal path and a grand lighthouse awaiting you at the finish. Pop into the Lighthouse Bistro along the seafront for some delicious, homegrown grub!
A must for those whose love language is quality time spent over drinks. Bushmills Distillery is the oldest licensed distillery in the world, having brewed its smooth and mellow whiskey for over 400 years. Embark on the finest tasting experience in Ireland with a private guided tour which would, of course, include plenty of opportunities for sampling.
The Dark Hedges
An avenue of warped and contorted beech trees creating a compelling vista. A beautiful natural phenomenon that will send shivers down your spine, especially at dawn or dusk. Get there early to avoid crowds and snap some spectacular photos in Northern Ireland’s most photographed location.
The Causeway Coastal Route
The road trip of all road trips, this picturesque drive allows you to take in the winding coast road and stop at several major tourist attractions, including Carrickfergus Castle, The Cushendun Caves or why not hop on the ferry to Rathlin Island? The roads stretch out onto the open sea on your right and contrast with the stunning basalt cliffs on your left. This designated route will take you from Belfast to Londonderry with all the splendor in between. If you’re feeling adventurous and have a day or two spare, try cycling it! Click HERE to check out 16 must-see places on the Causeway Coastal Route.
The Bushmills Inn
A traditional yet ‘quietly luxurious’ boutique hotel, restaurant, and a supreme spot for an Irish pint. The Bushmills Inn was built in the 17th century and is immersed in charm, with authentic décor and original structures such as the wine cellar and stables. The perfect end to a day of escapades. Settle down with a pint of Guinness in front of an open fire & enjoy the evening together.
Where better to take in the glorious views of the North Coast than from the air? Taking this jump may be one of the bravest, most indelible experiences of your married life and I would urge you to go for it! You can opt for a tandem skydive, where you will be safe in the hands of trained professionals, so no need to panic!
Helicopter Ride – Fly and Dine
Enjoy a 20-mile helicopter ride over the southern shore of Belfast Lough, followed by an exclusive meal in the acclaimed Cloud 9 Restaurant. The perfect way to view Belfast from every angle.
Galgorm Resort and Spa
Galgorm Resort and Spa is a 4-star, luxury spa and thermal village nestled in a spectacular rural landscape. This extravagant complex also houses over 4 different dining experiences, a state-of-the-art golf course and a luxury hotel. This is a fairy tale experience but a popular one, so book well in advance.
The Harbour Bar
Boasting live music ‘8 nights a week’ and located right on the harbour in Portrush, the Harbour Bar offers wood-fired snacks and a gin bar, which makes this one of the best ways to experience traditional Irish culture.
The Grand Opera House
Indulge and be blown away by a breathtaking performance in Northern Ireland’s most iconic theatre. Offering a multitude of programs ranging from dramas, operas, dance, comedies, and musicals, there is no doubt that their claim, ‘Delivering laughter, tears and applause since 1985’ will be lived up to during your experience. This theatre has been no stranger to fame with stars such as Pavarotti and Gracie Fields performing on its stage. The original 1800’s architecture still remains and is currently being restored during 2020.
Belfast City Bike Tours
View the exquisite, historic city and ride into the heart of Belfast with a guided tour of the most prominent places of interest. Experience the history of The Cathedral, the sublime architecture of the Titanic Centre, and delicious food at St. George’s Market. The classic option spans over 15km but an extended option is available called the ‘Hidden Brewery Bike Tour’, encompassing adventure and good food at its finest. This 20km tour spans over entirely flat terrain is taken at a conversational pace and has plenty of refreshment breaks.
White Park Bay
Set aside some time for relaxation and walk barefoot over the golden sands of White Park Bay where you may even encounter some meandering cows! In Northern Ireland, we like to say we are ‘starvin’ when we are hungry so if you feel your tummy begin to rumble, take a trip to Bothy for a hipster lunch and a coffee from their very own roastery. Check out their website for details:
Taste and Tour
An award-winning food and drink tour which will get your taste buds tingling and evoke new, uniquely Irish sensations. Taste and tour offer the best of the best, from gin jaunts to a five-stop brunch, a city cocktail circuit, a Belfast food tour, and a whiskey walk; there is good grub promised for all. Said to lead guests to ‘Belfast’s brightest and best flavors’, you and your partner are guaranteed to experience real, local soul food at its prime.
Belfast Cookery School
Bond over bold flavors and vibrant spices in a 3-4-hour class that will challenge your taste buds and allows you guys to grow your culinary skills. You will be greeted with a classic Northern Irish cup of tea and given a complimentary glass of wine during the class, setting the perfect atmosphere for a romantic culinary experience. Some upcoming classes include Caribbean Cuisine, Korean BBQ and Mexican Streetfood, as well as hundreds of other options on their website.
The Belfast Dance Show
Get your dancing shoes on and feel the rhythm for yourself in an interactive Irish music, song and dance show. Skip between the forgotten hidden gems in the backstreets of Belfast and join in with ‘sean nos’ and ‘ceili’ dancing while the world-class professionals provide the melody to your adventure.
The Mourne Mountains
Traverse the heights of County Down with a hike into the highest and most dramatic mountain range in Northern Ireland. With over 40 different walks in and around these mountains and with varying difficulty, this terrain provides ample opportunity for a breathtaking venture, whatever your level of experience. I would recommend the Bloody Bridge River Walk for a scenic but enjoyable jaunt that provides the opportunity for a dip in the chilly, freshwater pools of the Mournes. However, for you hard core adventure seekers, take on the Mourne Wall challenge, not for the feint hearted and only recommended for confident hillwalkers. An excellent walkers guide is provided below.
The Marble Arch Caves
Known as a ‘miracle of nature’, this magical destination in County Fermanagh is full of ancient secrets and natural beauty. The age-old limestone is carved into beautiful cave formations above, with a cascading subterranean river forming the base on wet days and a serene, tranquil river on a drier day. Cruise along this river paradise, under the roof of the spectacular caverns by boat and bask in this ethereal experience.
The ‘Secret Beach’ at Ballintoy Harbour
Looking for somewhere not plagued by tourists? This is the perfect tranquil beach spot, idyllic at dawn or dusk for a romantic stroll. As it’s only known by locals there isn’t much signposting so if you park your car at the harbour and walk back up the road about 200 yards as you reach the crest of the hill you’ll see the view above. Take the path down and you’ve reached your destination. If you are not sure, ask a few locals and I am sure they’d be happy to help! Ballintoy harbour in itself is in fact an attractive spot, gaining notoriety in season 2 of Game of Thrones so check that out on your way. This is a real hidden gem and perfect for getting away from the bustling streets of Belfast.
The Cursed Goblet
Conjure up your own cocktails in this Harry Potter-themed experience. Concoct 3 alcoholic beverages under the instruction of your professor and delight in this immersive experience. According to reviews, you don’t have to be an avid Potter fan to enjoy this, it is an event, an experience rather than just your usual drinks. So, if you’re looking to spice up a dull night drinking then this is your place.
Royal County Down Golf Club
Nestled within the holiday town of Newcastle, this golf course provides epic scenery as well as a first-class green. This course follows tradition and includes many blind shots that golfers will either love or hate. Said to have one of the ‘best links layouts on the planet,’ this golf course is the King of all golf courses in Northern Ireland and beyond. Book on the website which details what days visitors are welcome:
Game of Thrones Sites
Northern Ireland; the dwelling place of the most celebrated series of the decade and renowned as the ‘Home of Thrones.’ A very useful ‘Game of Thrones Driving Tour Map’ has been constructed by Visit Belfast and I would suggest you follow that, so you don’t miss out on any attractions. Traverse through County Down and witness the spellbinding wonder of North Winterfell in Tollymore Forest Park and Castle Ward, trek into the beauty of County Antrim and be spooked by the phantom of the Dark Hedges; the King’s Road which led Ned Stark to his death and Arya Stark away from King’s landing. Journey from county to county and embark on a voyage that will bring the series to life.
Mussenden Temple & Downhill Demesne
An expansive surrounding landscape imprinted with the historical architecture of Mussenden Temple, this sight perches on a 120ft cliff with the azure seas of Benone grumbling beneath. The architecture dating back to 1785 will leave you speechless as the lofty temple blurs the lines between the landscape and sky. The demesne bears home to the 18th century mansion of the eccentric Earl Bishop, which now lies in ruin but yet still manages to add to the historic atmosphere.
This piece of illustriously designed architecture has been built with maritime metaphors, mimicking the boughs of the infamous ship and imitating the very water crystals that sunk it. Boasting 9 interactive galleries, with a multitude of special effects and innovative interactive features, it is truly a titanic experience. The shipyard ride adds an extra special touch as you fly through the bowels of the ship and hear stories from the shipyard workers. Allow yourself to be transformed and moved by the story and the catastrophe all at once as you stare out at the infamous Harland and Wolfe docks, probably in the exact spot a worker stood long ago.
Have an amazing honeymoon in Northern Ireland!
If you’re eloping in Ireland & spending your honeymoon exploring I hope these suggestions will be valuable and will help you to have the best honeymoon experience ever! These are just a few of my personal favourites and I hope they can be yours too!
If you’re considering eloping in Ireland I’d love to help you have the most incredible elopement experience. As a Northern Ireland elopement photographer & guide, I’m here to help you have an amazing time & get awesome photos in the process! You can get in touch HERE.
Below are some resources to help you plan your dream elopement.