The very best seashores close to Belfast, from shingle coves to North Atlantic surf

From shingle shores framed by craggy, windswept promontories to fetching coves buffeted by North Atlantic surf, you’ll discover a number of the best seashores on the Irish mainland close to Belfast. Given the northerly latitude of Northern Eire, nonetheless, don’t count on to be baking on sun-soaked golden sands and quenching your thirst with ice-cold cocktails.

Somewhat, it is the immense surroundings, intriguing cities, nature reserves and coastal walks that lure most vacationers to the seaside. Utilizing Belfast as your base, listed here are 7 nice seashores inside driving distance of the Northern Irish capital. 

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Solely 20 minutes from Belfast, Crawfordsburn Seaside is a surprising spot for strolling © navorolphotography / Getty Pictures

Crawfordsburn Seaside & Helen’s Bay

Finest seashore for coastal walks

Simply 20 minutes east of Belfast by automobile and pinned to the shores of Belfast Lough, Helen’s Bay has some of the widespread seashores within the higher Belfast space, fringed by wildflower-topped meadows, tree-choked headlands and the lordly estates of Crawfordsburn Nation Park. Canine walkers and picnickers tucking into cones from the native ice cream van account for the majority of the footfall right here, though the gently shelving seashore accommodates braver bathers on hotter (and generally chillier) afternoons.

Begin the day at Grey Point Fort, an early Twentieth-century armed protection system used throughout WWI and WWII – look out for the distended loading gun taking intention over the Irish Sea. From right here, a scenic coastal stroll continues for over 2 miles, funneling guests towards Crawfordsburn Seaside earlier than swinging inland to the nation park. The squawk of looking seagulls is a continuing right here, with wagtails, shags, herons, dippers and guillemots additionally in attendance. Preserve a watch out for seals and porpoises cresting the waves.

Tyrella Seaside

Finest seashore for clear waters

Just below an hour south of Belfast by automobile, and enclosed inside Downpatrick’s Dundrum Bay, Tyrella is an award-winner, bagging a prestigious Blue Flag accolade yearly since 2011. Sunrises and sunsets silhouette the close by Mourne Mountains, whereas the mile-long sandy expanse invitations brisk morning walks or rejuvenating dips when the tide rolls in.

Separated from inland farms by a 25-hectare (62-acre) dune system, Tyrella is a vital conservation space that is extremely indicative of Northern Eire’s coastal topography. After you’ve charted the shoreline, contemplate horse driving or polo classes on the 18th-century Tyrella House, which additionally presents room and board, or go to Downpatrick City, the supposed resting place of St Patrick and residential to a Gothic cathedral boasting conventional Celtic masonry.

A silent shoreline on Murlough Beach, Northern Ireland
Time it proper and Murlough Seaside is a imaginative and prescient of peaceable seclusion © Andy Gibson / 500px / Getty Pictures

Murlough Seaside

Finest seashore for Sport of Thrones followers

Round an hour from Belfast by automobile, the Mourne Mountains – Northern Eire’s tallest vary – stand sentinel over the shores of Murlough Seaside. Go for a stroll or jog alongside the club-shaped peninsula and its blustery shoreline, then end off with a lift of caffeine within the Imbibe backyard espresso store at Murlough House.

The seashore connects to the Nationwide Belief-protected Murlough Bay Nature Reserve, famed for its indigenous wildflowers in spring, the orchestral calls of its warblers and cuckoos, multitudinous species of butterfly fluttering amongst the vegetation, and a 6000-year-old dune system which subsequently turned the filming location for Slaver’s Bay in Sport of Thrones.

It’s additionally an important spot to deliver the youngsters, with a downloadable Habitat Path leaflet that transforms the reserve right into a nature-hunting quest.

White Park Bay

Finest seashore for fossil collectors

Slightly over an hour north of Belfast by automobile, White Park Bay in Ballintoy is a standard faculty journey vacation spot for native geology college students. A sandy cove bridging two headlands on the Antrim Coast, its secluded locale is ideal for a calming stroll, eschewing the crowds trudging alongside the seashores of close by Portrush.

Look out for the arched Elephant Rock, which native folklore data as a woolly mammoth consumed by a volcanic eruption, in addition to precise fossils – together with belemnites, ammonites and gryphaea shells – encrusted throughout the limestone cliff faces. The seashore is a cease on the Causeway Coastal Route resulting in the Unesco-recognized Big’s Causeway, celebrated as Lonely Planet’s high area on this planet to go to in 2018.

Dunluce Castle, looking towards the gleaming cliffs of Whiterocks
Dunluce Citadel, wanting in the direction of the gleaming cliffs of Whiterocks © Westend61 / Getty Pictures


Finest seashore for cliff and chateau views

Because the title implies, Whiterocks – simply over an hour north of Belfast – is abutted by gleaming limestone cliff faces, with Dunluce Citadel, a crumbling medieval spoil surmounting a basalt outcrop, overlooking the seashore’s japanese fringe. It’s widespread with Portrush locals and weekend revelers from Belfast, who stroll like ants in file alongside its 3-mile shoreline.

Bathers descend on the seashore on New 12 months’s Day – some as an auspicious ritual for the 12 months forward, others in an try and eradicate a hangover – whereas surfers, physique boarders and kayakers courageous the waves day by day. For the very best views, head as much as the newly constructed cliff path, and finish the journey in Portrush, the place a swathe of classy renovation tasks have rejuvenated the once-sleepy seaside city.

The West Strand

Finest seashore for browsing

On the opposing aspect of Ramore Head, the peninsula on which Portrush was constructed, you’ll discover the West Strand – a curving, Blue Flag-awarded seashore buffeted by aggressive Atlantic waves. It’s a hotspot for Northern Eire’s surfers so you may hit the native surf retailers for board and wetsuit leases.

The seashore is equally frequented by canine walkers, cyclists and joggers, who take to each the sands and the elevated promenade. Then, when lifeguards are in attendance from late June by September, West Strand turns into a hub for households and bathers.

While you’re right here, try the high-quality eateries and comfy pubs in Portrush: head to Babushka Kitchen Cafe for an Ulster Fry, dine on slabs of steak on the full of life Ramore Wine Bar, or sip Guinness on the venerable Harbour Bar

Browns Bay Seaside

Finest seashore for solitude

A small inlet on the tip of Islandmagee, about 45 minutes northeast of Belfast, horseshoe-shaped Browns Bay is a poster boy for rural Eire. Lined in white sand and bookended by Skenaghan and Barrs Factors, it’s dotted with rough-hewn boulders mendacity on the ft of pastoral farmlands.

This is without doubt one of the most distant seashores within the nation, and weekday walkers typically discover they’ve the north-facing views of the Antrim Coast’s jutting headlands all to themselves. And for those who’re right here on the weekend, you may pair your stroll with tea and a scone on the cell cafe, Stable Stop Browns Bay.