The great Anglo-Norman conqueror of Ulster, John de Courcy chose this idyllic location overlooking Belfast Lough to build his imposing castle in the late 1100s. As you walk by the walls with their mighty cannons and wander the ancient keep and medieval chambers, you’ll absorb the history of this part of Ireland. The castle was a power base for the Anglo Normans and later the Ulster stronghold of the English Crown. See the Great Tower’s new roof, featuring 1,000 metres of Irish oak timbers. No medieval castle in this island is as well preserved, nor as atmospheric.
Whitehead Railway Museum
There’s nothing like the aroma of steam trains, smoke billowing back along the carriages as the train rattles through the countryside? Long gone nostalgia? Not here. Lovingly restored by volunteers, in sheds near a beautifully restored railway station, is one of Europe’s most atmospheric railway museums. In the early 1900s, thousands arrived each day here to take a jaunting car to the newly opened Gobbins. Now you can wallow in the age of steam, work old signal levers, explore vintage carriages and, if you book ahead on certain dates, like Halloween and Christmas, enjoy an unforgettable steam train trip.
Places to Dine
For the foodies among you, Mid & East Antrim has you covered
Strolling leisurely across the Mid & East Antrim landscape can be hungry work, and by day’s end you’re bound to have worked up an appetite. That’s why it’s important to get the right recommendations when it comes to eating out, such as the Windrose Bar & Restaurant; Lighthouse Bistro; Castle Kitchen & Bar; Castello Italia; and the Londonderry Arms Hotel.
For more places to eat and drink, see here: https://shapedbyseaandstone.com/food-drink
More places to see
Andrew Jackson Cottage
History lovers can become time travellers for a day, exploring this authentically furnished thatched farmhouse of the 1750s. Imagine you’re saying goodbye to Andrew and Elizabeth Jackson. It’s so easy to do. They lived in a house just like this, just yards away. They’re embarking on the long journey to South Carolina, where within one year their son Andrew will be born. He will grow up to become the 7th president of America and the founder of the Democratic Party.
Galgorm Spa and Golf Resort
It’s the perfect place to escape those winter blues! The Galgorm Spa and Golf Resort is one of the most luxurious spa hotels on the island of Ireland, where indulgence awaits in every corner. At its heart is the Thermal Village, centred around a 20-metre indoor leisure pool, where a beguiling choice of treatments, from deep relaxation massages, bodies nurtured by warm stones, and all kinds of facials are available. Gaze over the splashing river outside while immersed in a hot tub or enjoy steam rooms and saunas and the unique snow cabin. And you’ve only just started!
Little Carnlough, with its picturesque Victorian harbour, is a delight. Little has changed here since the village was developed by Lady Londonderry in the 1800s. Fishermen still set out from the harbour and now you can share their idyllic journey around the bay. As well as catching fish, third generation fisherman Davy Smyth now takes visitors on trips around these waters, telling fisherman’s tales. Ask him to tell you about the day Arya Stark from Game of Thrones emerged from the harbour.
Places to rest
The most important part for many, find the right place to relax
Much of what draws us to a place is the notion of escaping the world outside, and replenishing our stores after a hard year at work, with family, or just getting away from things! You can find such seclusion at: Barbican; Fools Haven Thatched Cottage; The Beach Shack; Galgorm Spa and Golf Resort; Dobbins Inn; or Largy Coastal Apartments.
For more places to stay, see here: https://shapedbyseaandstone.com/accommodation
The Causeway Coastal route that twists and turns along the ancient County Antrim coastline is quite simply a journey like no other.
From atop Slemish Mountain, the vast sky stretches away into the far distance - Patchwork fields, divided by dry stone walls, and the grasslands of the Shillanavogy Valley are burnished gold by the sun.
For more than 800 years, Carrickfergus Castle has been an imposing monument on the Northern Irela
Calling in for an ice cream at The Rinkha is a must for anyone exploring the scenic treasures of
Portglenone Forest continues a history of tree cover on this site established since records began
The distinct warmth, and ambience of Castle Kitchen + Bar make it a space for all occasions and t
18th century thatched, family friendly bar and restaurant set in the award winning village of Bro
On the thrilling Gobbins Experience, nature isn’t content to just sit back and be admired.