Rathlin Island
Rathlin Island
4.5
About
Between Ballycastle and the Mull of Kintyre in Scotland, Raithlin Island is eight miles long and barely one mile wide.
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Top ways to experience Rathlin Island and nearby attractions

The area
Best nearby
We rank these restaurants and attractions by balancing reviews from our members with how close they are to this location.
Restaurants
2 within 3 miles
See what travellers are saying
  • Aneilaai
    10 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    An afternoon on Rathlin Island
    Rathlin Island is beautiful. A bus with an informative driver will take you directly to the bird sanctuary. The helpful guides at the sanctuary will provide you with binoculars, but my advice would be to bring your own of a higher spec, as the puffins are quite elusive. On the way back the driver will stop at the seal rocks . seals lounge on the cove. and from here it is a short lovely walk back to your boat . If you get the chance take this boat trip, It is very reasonably priced, and well worth it.
    Visited April 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 24 April 2023
  • Explorer62290243773
    14 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great place!
    Great ferry ride to the island. I would advise to book ahead online. Be sure to get the shuttle to see the Puffins. They are so small! Bring binoculars. Fortunately there was an employee who had a tripod set up to get a nice close up view. A cute visitor center and the pub was great! Actually the BEST Guiness I've ever had!
    Visited May 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 11 June 2023
  • AntoinetteVI
    Sassenheim, The Netherlands310 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    One of the most fantastic experiences ever
    One of the most fantastic experiences ever, although I must admit that we had a sunny day. Luck really was on our side traveling from Ballycastle to the Island as we came across a school of very playful Dolphins! They swam and jumped around the boat, a magical experience. We hired bikes and cycled across the hills to the Bird Centre on the west side of the island. A fantastic experience and staff where very helpful explaining everything about the wildlife. We saw Dolphins, a Minky Whale, Fulmars, Guillemots with their chicks, Puffins, Kittiwakes and Razorbills. Luckily the centre has excellent binoculars as neither could be seen without! We cycled back to the east side of the island, admired the views underway. We admired the many seals that rest there, they actually are lazy and noisy! Luck was on our side again as a school of Dolphins was hunting and jumped and splashed in the water right in front of us. A truly magical experience!
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 28 July 2023
  • the gluten free traveller
    March, United Kingdom43 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Worth a visit
    What an amazing place. We had an hour on the island could have done a bit more time but it's amazing anyway! Lovely lunch at the hotel with gluten free options for sandwiches, I had the steak sandwich it was lovely
    Visited August 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 17 August 2023
  • Brad
    Bethel, Vermont1 contribution
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great place to avoid tourist crowds
    A jewel! We rented bikes and explored the lower portions of the island. Head off the main roads to find the hiking trails—they are worth it! There are plenty of ruins and seals for photo opportunities. The puffin bus will take you to the higher elevations. You can bike there but you'd better be in excellent shape! Food options on the island are minimal, so fill your pack before you get on the ferry. There are public toilets available just off the pier.
    Visited August 2023
    Written 9 September 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

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4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles467 reviews
Excellent
317
Very good
95
Average
28
Poor
11
Terrible
16

Julian K
Mayaro, Trinidad3 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2023 • Friends
Hilly Island. Tough walks. Seabird sanctuary. Seals. Lighthouses. History. Good museum. Eagles.Ferry.
Written 14 September 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

tinywalton
Lytham St Anne's, UK15 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2023 • Family
Bigger of the two ferries there and back. A bit choppy but uneventful with fab views of Fairhead and down towards the rope bridge.
Visitors centre is excellent.
Good food at McCuaig’s.
Stunning views
Written 14 September 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Brad
Bethel, VT1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2023
A jewel! We rented bikes and explored the lower portions of the island. Head off the main roads to find the hiking trails—they are worth it! There are plenty of ruins and seals for photo opportunities. The puffin bus will take you to the higher elevations. You can bike there but you'd better be in excellent shape! Food options on the island are minimal, so fill your pack before you get on the ferry. There are public toilets available just off the pier.
Written 9 September 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

the gluten free traveller
March, UK43 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2023 • Family
What an amazing place. We had an hour on the island could have done a bit more time but it's amazing anyway! Lovely lunch at the hotel with gluten free options for sandwiches, I had the steak sandwich it was lovely
Written 17 August 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Janet G
New York City, NY7 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2023 • Couples
I've been to eight Irish islands, and Rathlin is one of the most beautiful, with lots of variety in the scenery and a very good pub a few minutes from the dock Reading all the reviews of the ferry ride before I went to Rathlin, I was uncertain whether to take the bigger, slower one or the smaller, quicker one. We ended up taking the big one TO and the smaller one FROM, and both were pleasant...but then, it was a calm day. There are many complaints on TripAdvisor about the 'puffin bus,' and I was concerned about that. However, we decided to take a walking tour of the island that offered us excellent commentary on all aspects of Rathlin -- birds, history, houses, landscape -- and made everything easy. I highly recommend booking a walking tour, because everything on Rathlin is easy and pleasant when you are with someone who knows the island well. Altogether it was a perfect day.
Written 29 July 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

AntoinetteVI
Sassenheim, The Netherlands310 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2023 • Couples
One of the most fantastic experiences ever, although I must admit that we had a sunny day.
Luck really was on our side traveling from Ballycastle to the Island as we came across a school of very playful Dolphins! They swam and jumped around the boat, a magical experience.
We hired bikes and cycled across the hills to the Bird Centre on the west side of the island. A fantastic experience and staff where very helpful explaining everything about the wildlife. We saw Dolphins, a Minky Whale, Fulmars, Guillemots with their chicks, Puffins, Kittiwakes and Razorbills. Luckily the centre has excellent binoculars as neither could be seen without! We cycled back to the east side of the island, admired the views underway. We admired the many seals that rest there, they actually are lazy and noisy! Luck was on our side again as a school of Dolphins was hunting and jumped and splashed in the water right in front of us.
A truly magical experience!
Written 28 July 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Lisa T
Belfast, UK2 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2023 • Family
From I was ar school I had wanted to go to Rathlin Island to see the Puffins.
Went 20th May and underestimated the amount of people wanting to see the Puffins as didn't get on the Puffin bus as was already full by the time we had got off the ferry, toilet stop and back for the bus. However, observed many seals just chilling on the Rocks at Mills Bay approx 3pm.
Had a short walk and amazing food in Manor Hotel.
Returned 10th June, made a run for the Puffin Bus... This time they had 2 buses on. Still a few people didn't get on but we did, success! Had a look round the Rathlin West Light Seabird Centre. Onto the viewing platform seen hundreds of birds nesting and got to see The Puffins with an added bonus of oyster catchers nesting which they hadn't usually seen on the island. Got the bus back to harbour and again went for food in the Manor Hotel. We went to the bar had a pint and a coffee from the cafe. A great days adventure. Every person we came across were incredibly friendly and the locals are very open to talking about their life on the island, fab people.
If ever just wanted to cut off from the rat race and do a bit of recharging, think I would pop back over and stay in the glamping pods or hotel. Tranquility at its best.
Written 12 June 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Explorer62290243773
14 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2023 • Couples
Great ferry ride to the island. I would advise to book ahead online. Be sure to get the shuttle to see the Puffins. They are so small! Bring binoculars. Fortunately there was an employee who had a tripod set up to get a nice close up view. A cute visitor center and the pub was great! Actually the BEST Guiness I've ever had!
Written 11 June 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Dianne W
94 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2023 • Couples
Beautiful 1pm ferry crossing from Ballycastle. On our arrival we checked in at the Manor Hotel for our overnight stay, not realising the puffin bus did their last run around 3pm. Disappointed to discover the bus would not leave until 10.45 the next morning with absolutely no other way of travelling to the Sea Bird Centre earlier in the day. Yes, you can choose to walk the 4.5 scenic miles but that did not suit my partner due to ill health. A beautiful Island, friendly residents, a photographers paradise and a place we will definitely return to. We did not visit the second lighthouse as again, there was no travel infrastructure other than walking . Thankfully, we were there overnight and I returned with the puffin photographs I had hoped to get. Our hotel was just superb and the food was quite delicious. I would recommend a visit to the Breakwater Studio, a beautiful little gift shop with a very informative and pleasant couple serving.
We took an evening walk and discovered seabirds and seals enjoying the peace and quiet after the busy day.
Written 11 June 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Marsbar999
Chesterfield, UK155 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2023 • Couples
We took the ferry from BallyCastle and when we alighted we waited a few minutes for the Puffin bus to take us to the nature reserve. On the way the driver was speaking to us, he was very informative and friendly and also played recorded information about the island to give further background. At the reserve there were RSPB members giving information and all were extremely enthusiastic. They had binoculars to borrow and also telescopes to see all the different birds up close.
I recommend the trip very much! As we were coming back we also saw seals.
Written 18 May 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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RATHLIN ISLAND: All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

Frequently Asked Questions about Rathlin Island