Things to Do in Ballycastle and the Causeway Coast

Looking for local’s advice on things to do in and around Ballycastle? Here at Lagom we always want to encourage our guests to immerse themselves, experience and engage with the local culture and all that the Causeway Coast and Glens has to offer.

Ballycastle is on the doorstep of some of Northern Ireland’s biggest attractions for adventure seekers, Game of Thrones buffs and those looking to shower their head in the natural beauty of the coastline.

Here are some of the must sees on the Irish North Coast you need to include in your next visit, and if you’ve not booked your accommodation yet, we’re set to open later this year, join our mailing list to be the first to know when we open our booking system.


Torr Head 

This rugged headland sits on the northeastern edge of the North Coast of  NI and makes a great spot for some coastal hiking. There are also some remains of an ancient fort, Altagore Cashel. If you want to make a day out of visiting Torr head, we recommend bike riding the coastal path down to Cushendun. It offers dramatic scenery and views across to Scotland.


Giant’s Causeway 

Probably the most famous spot on the Causeway Coastal Route, the Giants Causeway is a dramatic formation of approximately 40,000 basalt near-perfectly hexagonally shaped columns stretching up from sea to up to 82ft (25m) above the shore.

Formed around 50-60 million years ago (the Tertiary period) due to volcanic activity in the area, the Giant’s causeway was once a bed of lava that cooled quickly forming these hexagonal columns. The formation itself isn’t actually that rare and can be seen in other volcanic hotspots around the globe, like Cape Raoul in Australia. Nevertheless, it still makes for an interesting sight to behold and a must-do on any Northern Irish road trip. There are  plenty of Instagramable opportunities, some great hikes, and an extraordinary tale of battles between Scottish and Irish giants.

We recommend spending a good couple of hours at the Giant’s causeway to experience it all. There are four walking trails; blue, red, green and yellow that allow you to fully immerse yourself in the area.



The rope bridge at Carrick-a-Rede combines an element of both history and adventure and attracts 250,000 tourists every year. It was first installed back in 1755 by salmon fisherman as an access point to the mainland from the tiny Carrick island; you’ll even see the old fisherman’s house when you go to the island but has long since been abandoned. The area used to be rich with salmon in schools in the hundreds. Sadly they’re now few and far between.

Sitting at 100ft above the waters you can access it by foot or take a 2-hour kayak tour under the bridge and around the island with Causeway Coast Kayaking Tours. If you’re lucky, you might spot a pod of dolphins.


Ballintoy Harbour 

Game of Thrones enthusiasts will recognise Ballintoy as the home of the Iron Islands, Ballintoy is a picturesque little village with the small fishing harbour nestled just a mile down the road towards Carrick a Rede rope bridge. It’s pretty easy for you to park there and walk down, creating a loop.


The Dark Hedges 

Another hotspot for Game of Thrones fans, known as the Kings Road in the show, this natural phenomena of beech trees has become one of the most photographed natural attractions in Northern Ireland and it’s easy to see why.

Located southwest of Ballycastle, you can make this a stopover on your way up from Belfast.

The 94 trees were planted back in the 18th Century by the Stuart family as an attraction, who would’ve thought that 300 years later, people would be coming to photograph it. Especially considering that the average life of these trees are around half of their current age.

This North Coast hotspot, although great at any time of year, is great for those of you who come to visit Ballycastle in the autumn and winter months. Early morning visits when the sun is low and the mist is rising makes for a cracking photo opportunity.



Dunluce isn’t your average 16th/17th century medieval castle ruins, it has a turbulent past teamed with many interesting fun facts and secrets about it; it’s even thought to be one of the most haunted castles in Northern Ireland.

Perched prominently on the coastline between Portrush and Portballintrae, the current ruins were built during the 16th and 17th centuries. However, the history of its location dates back further. There was an original castle built back in the 13th Century by the Earl of Ulster,  Richard Óg de Burgh.

The castle ruins you see today were first documented to be owned by the MacQuillan family in 1513, before being seized in the 1550s by MacDonnell clan which led to a dramatic history of violence and rebellion at the site.

Today, you can roam around the site and learn about the lost town of dunluce, enjoy a picnic by the ruins and take in the scenery.


Rathlin Island 

One of the North Coast’s Hidden Gems, Rathlin Island is home to around 150 people along with colonies of seabirds and seals. Ferries leave several times a day from Ballycastle and you can go by foot/bike (great way to explore the island) or take your car on the longer service. We recommend staying overnight in Rathlin Island so you can fully discover everything it has to offer. We have a great guide on how to spend perfect day (or two) on Rathlin Island.


Mussenden Temple 

Perched on the precipice of a 120ft cliff, close by to Castlerock, Mussenden temple was built in 1785 and is part of the estate of the Earl Bishop, Frederik Augustus Hervey and was originally used as a library.

Unfortunately, you can’t explore inside the temple but the surroundings make for great walks. We highly recommend taking the 2 mile loop of the grounds taking in the nearby Downhill House, which is now ruins, but gives you an idea of how vast this estate was in its heyday. You can then loop back past the walled garden, Dovecote and Ice House and through the Downhill Wood.

Today Mussenden Temple is also home to events hosted by the National Trust – you can find out more and check out what’s on here to see if anything lines up with your North Coast trip.


Where to Stay in Ballycastle 

If you’re still planning your trip to Ballycastle, whether you’re on staycation in Northern Ireland or visiting the Irish north coast from overseas, we’d love to be the base for your accommodation in Ballycastle

We’re looking to open our doors in 2023. You can subscribe for updates here and be the first to know when our booking system opens; you’ll also get an exclusive invitation to become one of our founding members (the clan) – more to be revealed soon.