If you’re unsure of where to start I’ve got a fantastic sample itinerary that you can follow along yourself! There are plenty of ways to check out this stunning area so make sure you read on to get some fantastic inspiration.
After this week you no doubt have a better insight into the undiscovered gems that lie just a few miles away. I’d say the one thing that you’re wondering now is what is the best way to experience Mid & East Antrim? Luckily I’ve got more than a few ways to experience this wonderful landscape. There are plenty of options to get into the spirit but these are just a few of the ways in which you can see all that you want to in one amazing trip! Each day of this week has focused on a particular topic so all you have to do now is find the things that you want to see and you can enjoy it in the best way possible!
As you have seen from my articles on the causeway coastal route, there is a hell of a lot of beauty along the Ancient County Antrim coastline. All along these route legends come to life and it is the setting of some of the beautiful scenery in the world. You don’t have to take my word for it in 2018 it was voted the Best in Travel by Lonely Planet. The following guide will provide you with a blueprint to check out this undiscovered gem of an area. However, there are plenty of ways to check it out so make sure you read up over on shapedbyseaandstone.com!
For a tour around this majestic route, I would recommend starting off in Carrickfergus. You can kick things off with breakfast in this historic town. This town has been the site of some historic battles and is absolutely soaked in history. While you are there you should definitely check out Carrickfergus Castle (pictured below). This historic castle has been around for hundreds of years and stands as a testament to the historic importance of the town. You can also get a great view of Belfast Lough from Carrickfergus Castle, which is my personal favourite! My tip here would be to also check out the Carrickfergus Museum and Civic Centre to get a full background on this gorgeous town.
Whitehead, Islandmagee & Blackhead Lighthouse
From there you can proceed to Whitehead, Islandmagee and Blackhead lighthouse. Whitehead is an idyllic seaside resort that has been around since the Victorian period. Each of the buildings is in a Victorian style which adds to the overall charm of this picturesque village. I’d recommend checking out the fascinating Whitehead Railway Museum. It has a couple of really well-preserved trains that would have been the backbone of the economy in the area. I’ve mentioned it already in my article on the heritage of the area and it’s well worth a visit!Once you’ve had a spin around this amazing village you can start to loop around the Islandmagee peninsula. The scenery here is absolutely stunning and the way to get the best view is to pay a visit to the Blackhead Lighthouse. It gives you a view over Belfast Lough and if you were around on April 2nd 1912 you would have seen the RMS Titanic set off on its maiden voyage!
Next up is probably my favourite part of the coastline, The Gobbins! As I have explained before it is a coastal walk like no other. You can take your chance to get up close and personal with this stunning coastline. Along with this historic landmark, you will find all kinds of fascinating wildlife along with the coves where smugglers used to store their loot!
To get the full experience of the Gobbins you would need to set aside 3 hours. Take it from me, you certainly won’t want to rush around this area!
After this, you can retire for a bite to eat at the wonderful Billy Andy’s. Just fifteen minutes from the Gobbins, Billy Andy’s is one of the last licensed spirit grocers left in the country. Apart from that it also serves up some seriously good grub! After you fill up you can catch the Gleno Waterfall to finish out your first day in the area.
Gleno is a serious undiscovered gem and has a very quiet forested area. In this area, you can find a stunning waterfall thats just perfect for a selfie or two! You may have had a long day at this stage so this is something that you can either check out early in the morning or just before you decide to chill out.
To finish the day off you can stay at the luxurious Ballygally Hotel. As I have mentioned in my article on the hospitality of the area, this hotel is known for three things: its history, its hospitality and its legendary ghost! It makes the perfect place to spend the night before you begin your second day in this wonderful area.
The Second Day
After spending the night in this luxurious hotel you can wake up refreshed for the second leg of your journey. Once you’re ready to go on the next part of the journey I’d recommend checking out the Larne area. There are a whole host of amazing beaches here where you can grab some serious peace and quiet. Take in the sea views and if you’re feeling adventurous you can even try out a little surfing or paddleboarding.
Next on your list should be Larne Waterfront and the Antrim Coast road. This area is where you can really get an idea for the historic past of the area. It’s the perfect place to take a bracing walk along the coastline. Here you can see fossils that have been preserved from the dawn of the Jurassic period. This area will really have you feeling in touch with the beauty of nature and it’s a great antidote to the stresses of modern life.
Glenarm & Carnlough
From there you can make your way to the villages of Glenarm and Carnlough. These villages are located around the Glens of Antrim. For all you Game of Thrones® fans out there this area is perfect for reliving some of your favourite moments from the iconic TV show! Around Glenarm is a great place to stretch your legs and take in some local landmarks like the spectacular Glenarm Castle.
In Glenarm Castle, you can grab a bite to eat in the excellent tea rooms. Here you can sample some locally-sourced beef or some sumptuous smoked salmon! This castle has been home to some historic families over the years and played an important role in the history of the area.
Moving along the road you can make your way to the quaint fishing village of Carnlough. The harbour in Carnlough has been made famous as the setting for a scene in Game of Thrones® involving Arya Stark. You can stop by the Londonderry Arms where the actress has signed the chair where she used to hang out!
Mid & East Antrim – Make Magic Your Way!
So there you have one way to experience the best of what Mid & East Antrim has to offer. However, that is in fact only one way so bear in mind you can make it your own trip based on what you would like to see. For the past week, I’ve produced a couple of fantastic articles around the different things that you can do in this unique area. Make sure you check them out just below. My main source of inspiration for this fantastic week has been shapedbyseaandstone.com. On this website, you can find all of the details you would ever need to plan your next trip to this wonderful area.