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Belfast to Ballycastle Driving Route

Vancouver, WA USA
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Belfast to Ballycastle Driving Route

Planning on staying in Belfast for 2 nights and then making our way to Portrush for 2 nights and wish to pass through Ballycastle on the way to Giant's Causeway. Looks like there are basically two routes from which to choose: 1) A26/A44 motorway or 2) the coast road (Belfast to Larne to Cushendall A2. Is the A2 a more scenic route and recommended?

If so, what stops are recommend along the way?

Thanks so much in advance for your suggestions.

U.K.
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1. Re: Belfast to Ballycastle Driving Route

The A2, known as the Causeway Coast route, is unquestionably the most scenic. The road hugs the coastline - more or less - and the views ahead and across the sea are spectacular. Pull into a layby to admire the view, park in one or two of the villages - whichever takes your fancy - and wander around to stretch your legs. Don't try to rush, the road is winding and there are few places where one may overtake safely.

North Coast, N...
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2. Re: Belfast to Ballycastle Driving Route

Agree totally with pausilypon.

There is some very useful information on this website:

causewaycoastandglens.com/7-Great-Itinerarie… You probably won't have time to follow an itinerary here as they tend to be multi-day but from these and the website, you will get a good idea of the places you can visit.

First stop along the Causeway Coastal Route is Carrickfergus castle, a well preserved Norman castle. Depending on where else you're covering (e.g. if you've already visited some castles in the south, you may be nearly "castled out") and your timeframe, you can either just do a photostop here or take a tour.

After this, the route is not too exciting until after Larne when you get into Glens of Antrim territory. That is when you will just stop off where you feel like for photos or for coffee (some like Ballygally castle hotel which is directly en route, if you like gardens, then Glenarm walled castle at Glenarm castle has a tearoom, and of course there will be cafes, coffee shops in the towns and villages.

Another thing well worth considering doing is the waterfall walk through the glen at Glenariff Forest park (walk itself takes about an hour and is not demanding).

And for brave drivers - Torr Head scenic drive (a signed detour) is well worth doing!

After Ballycastle, you're in the causeway area and a few little detours here include Ballintoy, Portbradden, to be honest most little coastal villages are worth a very short detour at least!

There are also some lovely beaches in this area if you enjoy walking. Whitepark Bay, White Rocks (Portrush) and the Strand in Portstewart are worth looking at. A nice evening coastal walk is to go along the cliff path/nun's walk which goes from the end of the Crescent at Portstewart (beneath the Convent/O'Hara's castle) along towards the strand.

Vancouver, WA USA
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3. Re: Belfast to Ballycastle Driving Route

This is excellent information and exactly what I was looking for. We can hardly wait to get to Ireland/N. Ireland next week. Am a little bit concerned with the festivities of the motorcycle racing since we're staying in Portrush May 14th and 15th.

Again, thank you!

Belfast
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4. Re: Belfast to Ballycastle Driving Route

Portrush will be very busy but it gets busier towards the end of the week of the racing. Be aware that the roads of the circuit close from 9.30 to 2.30 on 14th for practice. I would also book restaurants for dinner if possible as they will be busier than usual.

No need to be concerned though, just enjoy the atmosphere.

North Coast, N...
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5. Re: Belfast to Ballycastle Driving Route

Agree with Scott - I lived very close to the circuit for much of my life and it really does build up towards the weekend. It should be fine when you are there earlier in the week - just note the road closures - and yes, it will be busier than normal but only the diehards come over for the early part of the week. Aside from those, there is the fair weather local contingent who will come out if the weather is good, but won't bother if weather is not so good. Although for your sake, I hope the weather is good!

Vancouver, WA USA
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6. Re: Belfast to Ballycastle Driving Route

Thank you so much for all the good information and advice.

7. Re: Belfast to Ballycastle Driving Route

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