Guided walking in Northern Ireland - Walk through the Game of Thrones landscape
FoodSome provided. Details below
Difficulty LevelsMultiple options available
1 - 2
For this trip we’re taking you on a bit of a Game of Thrones pilgrimage as we’re heading to the beautiful and intriguing Giant’s Causeway coastline of Northern Ireland.
The dramatic, and quite frankly weird landscape which became the backdrop for a number of the scenes in the TV series, makes for some great walking. We will also have the option to try surfing, stand up paddle boarding or even a morning wild swim.
Along with the walks where you can imagine to your heart’s content that Jon Snow is about to round the corner, we’ve lined up visits to castles, the puffins on Rathlin Island and of course the Giant’s Causeway.
In a nutshell:
- Let your imagination run wild as you stride out across Game of Thrones territory.
- Soak up Northern Ireland’s great hospitality (literally following a bit of whiskey sampling!)
- Leave with some great experiences stored in the memory bank – whether it’s the walking or Bert’s Puffin Bus.
- Try and resist grinning from ear-to-ear as this stretch of coastline begins working its magic.
Giant’s Causeway Trip Dates – REVISED DATES FOR 2020
Thursday 19th – Sunday 22nd March 2020
- Thursday 23rd – Sunday 26th April 2020
- Monday 27th – Thursday 30th April 2020
- Friday 1st May – Monday 4th May 2020
- Thursday 2nd July – Sunday 5th July 2020
- Thursday 9th July – Sunday 12th July 2020
- Monday 13th July – Sunday 16th July
Thursday 23rd – Sunday 26th July 2020 Friday – Sunday 9th August 2020 Monday 10th – Thursday 13th August 20020
- Monday 24th August – Thursday 27th August 2020
- Friday 28th August – Monday 31st August 2020
On arrival in Belfast we’ll pick you up and begin the drive north to our hostel. We stop off for a leg-stretcher at the wonderfully named Dark Hedges, the now iconic avenue of trees that featured in an episode Game of Thrones (you know the one where Ayra Stark escapes King’s Landing dressed as a boy).
Then it’s onto the coastal town of Ballycastle to pick up lunch before heading to Murlough Bay, renamed Slaver’s Bay in the series, for a picnic on the beach and the chance to see dolphins.
Fuelled up, we then go for a gentle five-mile wander along the Fairhead cliff tops where Jon Snow stood pondering his next move rather than admiring the outstanding views across to Scotland’s Mull of Kintyre, Islay and Jura.
After a jam-packed day we reach Ballintoy, the home of Irish whiskey and our temporary home too. After settling into our hostel, we have dinner in a good local, pub.
If there’s a good sunset in the offing we can even make a beeline for the spectacular Giant’s Causeway just a few miles down the road for a sundowner. Don’t worry though if the weather isn’t so kind as we always hatch a plan to include the Causeway at some point during the trip.
Day 2 – Rathlin Island
Today is all about walking and wildlife as we take a ferry across to the remote outcrop of Rathlin Island.
Once we’ve stepped ashore it’s all aboard Burt’s Puffin Bus where you’re introduced to a lovely bit of Irish Craic as the journey’s often accompanied by a fair sprinkling of humorous commentary.
The grinning will continue as we reach the RSPB nature reserve which is home to a fantastic colony of seabirds including puffins.
After a spot of bird watching we then amble for five miles back to the start and pop into one of the bars or tearooms to investigate the Irish hospitality before catching the ferry.
Tonight we normally go to the Bushmills Inn for dinner where great food is served with a side helping of live Irish music.
Day 3 – Giant’s Causeway
It’s weird, spectacular and beautiful and a must-see on any visit to the Antrim coast. The Giant’s Causeway is a natural geological feature that looks as though a skilled team of stonemasons have intricately carved the thousands of basalt columns emerging out of the sea.
To get there we first hop on the local bus up to Port Braddon and then head back along a seven-mile coastal route that is nothing short of magnificent.
After passing rocky beaches and bays full or oystercatchers and other sea birds we reach Dunseverick Castle standing proudly on a cliff top. From there we continue following the headland until the Giant’s Causeway is revealed in all its glory and we drop down to explore this natural wonder.
With the walk ended, there’s plenty of time to reward the explorers with a slice of cake and/or a pint of Guiness at Nook, an old schoolhouse that has been converted into a fab tearoom.
There are then two options – hop on a bus back to Bushmills or for those who just can’t get enough of the scenery there’s a wander along the beach and sand dunes back to the hostel.
Tonight we go to Portrush for our evening meal.
Last day but still jam-packed with walks and adventures.
This morning we’re walking another stretch of beautiful coastline that also enables the more adventurous of us to walk the rope bridge to the tiny island of Carrick-a-Rede which means ‘rock in the road’ (please note the rope bridge crossing is free to National Trust members or £8 for non-members, but there is no obligation to do this if you’d rather stay on terra firma).
The bridge was originally erected in 1755 by fishermen who came to the island to catch migrating salmon and it provides great views to the Atlantic below and the caves in the surrounding cliff sides. Once on the island there’s also the opportunity to visit the fisherman’s cottage.
After a cup of tea we then walk to Ballintoy Harbour, returning to our Game of Thrones theme as this was the Iron Isles location, and head out onto Elephant rock.
With appetites up we grab lunch and then if there’s time we pay a visit to Kinbane Castle before heading back to the airport.
About the location
The stunning coastline of Northern Ireland is a region of dramatic cliffs and bays, sandy beaches, and of course the natural wonder of the Giant’s Causeway. Though it has always been a destination for lovers of wild scenery, it has recently gained greater prominence as the landscape for Game of Thrones. The coastal path gives access to the shoreline in most places, and there are many paths inland to explore the hills and forests. Besides the natural scenery, the towns and villages are peaceful and welcoming, and there are many ancient ruins to explore.
Good to know:
For our Giant’s Causeway trip our standard shared rooms are single sex dorms with 3-4 beds. Our private double / twin rooms consist of a double bed with a single bed over the top. If you are a solo traveller please book a Shared Room and we will place you with another person of the same sex. All of these rooms are en-suite.
- We will be visiting National Trust properties so if your a member please don’t forget your card.
- Evening meals are not included with this weekend break, each night we will make a group reservation in a local restaurant. The evening meals will cost on average £12-20 for a main course, plus any additional sides, starters and puddings. If you prefer you can make use of the hostels self catering kitchen or head to the local fish and chip shop.
- We will be walking on the first day so either travel in your walking gear or make sure its at the top of your bag. There will be time to change before we walk.
- This venue supplies bedding but you will need a towel.
What’s Included / Not Included:
- Three nights hostel accommodation with breakfasts and packed lunches for full walking days.
- Airport transfers to and from Belfast, plus all travel whilst in Northern Ireland.
- 3 days of guided walks.
- Large Outdoors host and guide to show you the best walks, pubs, venues and secret spots.
- Flights or travel to Belfast.
- Evening meals or lunch on the first and last days.
- Entrance fees to attractions or the Raithlin Ferry.
Traveling to our Ulster Coast Trip & Airport Collections:
This trip begins in Belfast, although we do not supply flights we will collect you from either Belfast City or Belfast International Airports at the following times.
PLEASE NOTE YOU WILL NEED TO BOOK YOUR COLLECTION FOR THE FIRST DAY AT LEAST 7 DAYS IN ADVANCE, AS WE WILL ONLY OFFER COLLECTIONS FROM LOCATIONS REQUESTED IN ADVANCE.
- 9:30am – Belfast City Airport
- 9:45am – Hotel collection, Jury’s Inn Belfast
- 10:30am – Belfast International Airport
- 3:30pm – Belfast Internation Airport
- 4:30pm – Belfast City Airport
Arriving the night before? Some people choose to travel the day before, in this case we will collect from the centre of Belfast at the Jury’s Inn hotel.
Age Limit: You must be over 18 to attend this trip, there is no upper age limit.
Dogs: I am afraid dogs are not allowed on this trip, unless they are registered assistance dogs.
Solo Travellers: This trip is perfect for solo travellers and although couples and small groups of friends are always welcome the majority of people do attend on their own.
Vegetarian or Vegan: We will always supply a vegetarian of vegan meal, however due to the remote locations of our venues these must be booked in advance. Simply complete the dietary section during the booking process or if your dietary needs have changed email the office and we will update your records.
We are unable to offer Halal or Kosher meals but will be happy to supply a vegetarian alternative, please ensure you request this when booking.
Kit lists – You can view our kit lists here…
For important information on what’s included with our standard trips, such as what food we supply, arrival times and answer to our most commonly asked questions please visit out our FAQ’s page
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What our members have to say...
“I didn’t really know what to expect on my first ever walking holiday and wasn’t very prepared if truth be known – lesson to all read the essential kit list especially waterproofs! It was great fun and what a lovely group of supportive and encouraging people, especially Gareth who did a great job looking after us all. I must admit at times I found it a bit challenging but what a great sense of achievement when we reached the top of the mountains (hills) I will definitely do this again.ElizabethMember Since 2016
Well, for a non-walker it was certainly challenging but my word was it exhilarating! The feeling of achievement after every day, was just fabulous. The group we went with were all strangers on day one, but firm friends by the end of the week. The comradery on some of the tougher walks, helped me to the top…..and wow what views. Anyone thinking of doing it - don’t worry….just go for it!ClaireMember Since 2016
My first Large Outdoors and (Ulster & the Giant's Causeway Walking Weekend) Irish experience was absolutely fantastic. Everything was organised perfectly and Gareth is a joy to be around. I loved every minute and will definitely book myself onto another trip. #toldallmyfriendstheyhavetocomeVanessaMember Since 2018