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Ulster Coast

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Available dates:

Join us on a sociable long weekend in the wild beauty of the Ulster coast

£325pp
Book your experience
Available dates:
  • Duration

    3 Nights
  • Accommodation

    Hostel
  • Food

    Some provided. Details below
  • Difficulty Levels

    Multiple walk options available See itinerary below
    for more details

Come along on a brilliant adventure to discover the spectacular scenery of the Northern Irish coast. In a small and welcoming group we’ll head out on several walks to explore the cliffs and beaches, the inland hills, and of course the geological wonder of the Giant’s Causeway, the 8th natural wonder of the world. With many natural features here used as landscapes in Game of Thrones, we’ll be in another world indeed.

The whole trip is fully guided and hosted, so you can concentrate on letting the landscape capture your imagination while we prepare the food, navigate you along the paths, and help you understand this fascinating part of the UK. As well as heading out on walks, we’ll also be visiting famous local landmarks – perhaps the epic castles that dot the coast, or the local Bushmills distillery!

Trip Dates in 2018:

30th March, 5th April, 28th June, 5th July, 2nd August and 9th August.

In a nutshell:

  • 3 days of moderate guided walks exploring the coastline of Ulster, home to the Giant’s Causeway.
  • See the local sights and explore local crafts – it’s not just about walking!
  • Relax in our comfy hostel, right on the coast and a stone’s throw from the beach.
  • Eat out in some great local pubs, then on some nights sit back and enjoy live folk music.
  • Forget about driving and navigating for a few days – we’ll do the hard work!
  • Experience the beautiful countryside of Northern Ireland, home to many Game of Thrones sites and plenty of much older myths and legends.

Ulster Coast

About the location

Ulster Coast

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.

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Itinerary

Day 1

On arrival in Belfast we’ll pick you up and begin the drive north to our hostel. We’ll stop off for a brief wander round one of the famous sights from Game of Thrones, perhaps the brooding Dark Hedges near Ballymoney (The Kingsroad), the coast at Murlough Bay (Slavers’ Bay), or maybe a walk into the Cushendun Caves (The Stormlands). Or perhaps something completely different – the choice is ours and we’re flexible as to what the group wants on the day. We could even take in a slightly longer walk around the Glens of Antrim, a famous beauty spot on the east coast.

At some point on this journey we’ll have a briefing about the next few days and what the arrangements are.

After checking into our hostel in the afternoon, we’ll head out to eat in the evening at a great local pub, where you’ll start to get a feeling for the warm local hospitality. Then the evening is yours to relax or have a few drinks!

Ulster Coast

Days 2 & 3

After breakfast, we’ll all make our own packed lunches with the fresh ingredients provided and head out on the day’s walk. There are quite a few options so we can decide more about each walk the day before, but possible options include:

  • The Causeway Coast
    2

    Stretching across the top of Northern Ireland in County Antrim, the Causeway Coast includes the iconic Giant’s Causeway, a spectacular geological feature and a must-do for anyone in the area. After visiting the causeway itself, we continue east along the cliff-tops, admiring the basalt columns visible in the cliffs below, and watching the waves crash against the ancient rocks. We can extend the walk for as far as we want, perhaps finishing at Dunseverick Castle or continuing further to White Park Bay.

  • Forests of the east
    2

    Towards the east of Country Antrim lie the large forests of Ballypatrick and Slieveanora, both containing a series of paths to take us through their depths. This would be a great option for seeing more of the county’s interior, as the forests are surrounded by low hills, and could also be an option if miserable weather forces us away from the coast.

  • Castles and ancient sites
    2

    If we’re up for a shorter stroll with more history, there are plenty of dramatic local castles to explore. Nearby fortresses include the seaside Dunluce and Kinbane Castles, standing on prominent points and bordered by cliffs and the crashing waves – a terrifying prospect for attackers. If we’re not feeling like walking at all then there are always the seaside towns of Portrush, Portstewart and Castlerock to explore, perhaps including a short walk along the River Bann.

Ulster Coast

Late afternoon onwards

After each walk we’ll head back to the hostel to allow you time for a shower and relaxing cup of tea before we head out for dinner. We’ll try and head to a different location each night (unless we find one place everyone really loves!) to sample the best local food.

After dinner we’ll take you back to the hostel and then the evening is yours. We’ll include a short briefing at each evening meal about the plans for the next day, including weather updates and walk confirmation.

Day 4

On the final day there will be another short walk on this day; on previous occasions we’ve braves the famous Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge and then wandered down to the beautiful Ballintoy Harbour (where the cafe has an unparalleled selection of cake).

Then it’s time to take you to the airport or ferry terminal and say goodbye!

Our Base:

We’ll be staying in a hostel in the town of Bushmills, home to the world’s oldest whiskey distillery. We’re within walking distance of the Giant’s Causeway, and a stone’s throw from several excellent pubs and restaurants.

Address:

Mill Rest Youth Hostel
49 Main Street
Bushmills
Co. Antrim
BT57 8QA

  • Good to know:

    A few answers to our most common questions and a few tips to help you enjoy your time on the Ulster Coast.

    • 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 £15-20 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.
    • You are welcome to bring your own alcohol to drink. However, there is a Co-op store a few doors away.

    Foods and Drinks:

    Drinks – We will have a selection of teas, coffees, herbal teas and fruit squash for you to enjoy on this trip.

    Breakfasts – Our standard breakfast is a selection of cereals, yoghurts, fruit and toast.

    Packed Lunches – We supply sandwiches, fruit, cereal bars / biscuits and crisps. However, we do not supply any drinks so please ensure you have a water bottle with you.

    Age restrictions:

    This trip is open to anyone over 18 years of age and there is no upper age limit.

    Are dogs allowed:

    I am afraid dogs are not allowed on this trip, unless they are registered assistance dogs.

  • What’s Included / Not Included:

    Included:

    • Three nights hostel accommodation.
    • Airport transfers to and from Belfast, plus all travel whilst in Northern Ireland.
    • Breakfasts on each morning plus packed lunches on day’s 2 & 3.
    • Large Outdoors host and guide to show you the best walks, pubs, venues and secret spots.
    • Entrance to Dunluce Castle and the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge.

    Not Included:

    • Flights or travel to Belfast.
    • Evening meals or lunch on the first and last days.
  • 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.

    First Day Collection Times:

    • 9am – Hotel collection, Jury’s Inn Belfast
    • 9:30am – Belfast City Airport
    • 10:30am – Belfast International Airport

    Final Day Drop Off Times:

    • 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.

  • Tickets, room types and deposits:

    Shared Room

    This is our standard ticket ideal for solo travellers, individuals and small groups of friends, we will place you in a suitable same sex room, sharing with others. This will vary on the venue and can be twin rooms up to dorm style rooms on our hostel based trips.

    If you make one booking for a group of people we will do our best to accommodate you all in one room. However, if you and your friends have made a series of separate bookings but wish to be together, simply email us with a group list.

    Private Rooms

    Whenever possible we will always offer any single or twin / double rooms as available. Please note single rooms are very popular and sell out quickly. Private twin rooms will have two single beds / bunk and a double room will have a double bed.

    Advanced Savers

    Just like booking a train, the earlier you book the less you pay. Please note that advanced saver tickets are non-refundable and are only available for shared room tickets. You are not able to pay a deposit as the full value is due on booking.

    Deposits:

    You can secure your place on this trip with a 50% deposit, the balance is then due no less than 12 weeks before you travel. Failure to pay your balance on time could result in you losing your deposit and place on this trip. If the trip is within 12 weeks then you will need to pay in full to secure your place.

Get Directions
Mill Rest Youth Hostel
49 Main Street
Bushmills
Co. Antrim
BT57 8QA
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What our members have to say...

  • Since my first Large Outdoors weekend I have rediscovered my love for the countryside, met so many great people and had a whole lot of fun. I've sailed around the Inner Hebrides on a luxurious yacht, climbed the 3 national peaks Snowdon, Ben Nevis and Scafel Pike, danced my socks off at the Halloween and New Year celebrations and fallen in love with the beautiful Isle of Skye. Every trip has been amazing fun and I have met so many lovely people and made friends for life. Cheers Large Outdoors!
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    Karen Roberts
    Member Since 2012
  • I have attended Large Outdoors weekends for the last two years , achieving many challenges in the British countryside. Every weekend has been very well organised, in beautiful locations, wonderful walks, nutritious food with lovely people.
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    Elizabeth Brooks
    Member Since 2014
  • I have been joining Large Outdoors on their outdoor adventures for many years now. I wasn’t always an active person and as a self-confessed city dweller I never thought I would appreciate so much of what is on offer when you leave the suburbs behind you. Large Outdoors has not only made me appreciate what natural beauty is on our door step, it has also given me the confidence to challenge myself and see things differently.
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    Shad Everett
    Member since 2009
  • I thoroughly enjoyed the experience from beginning to end. The host Kendra was very welcoming upon arrival at the youth hostel, all walkers and climbers were friendly and we got on great as a group. The home cooked food was amazing and the idea of 'kitchen angels' worked really well. The rock climbing instructor and his son were brilliant and helped us all, providing constant guidance and encouragement.
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    Penny Grainger
    Member Since 2016
  • I love the concept of the Large Outdoors weekends and I like to have at least one or two booked for the future, to have something to look forward to. A weekend trip finds me visiting some fabulous parts of the country: Northumberland, Dorset, Brecon Beacons, Lake District, North York Moors... hills, mountains, moors and coast - all well covered by the amazing choice of locations to pick from, with decent (or lovely!) accommodation, great food and qualified walk leaders. They're also very good value.
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    Member since 2008
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