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Hospitality Itinerary

An Exploration of Flavour

Let’s explore the culinary landscape of Mid & East Antrim and follow the trail of one of Ireland’s Top Ten Foodie Destinations of 2019.

There’s something satisfying about eating dinner in a building once owned by Sir Winston Churchill and indulging in afternoon tea in a historic castle.

Then there’s the thrill of watching traditional Irish meals being prepared right before your eyes. But the true experience is in the tasting. The enjoyment of savouring the first bite of a Rinkha ice cream and tasting the distinct flavours of a craft ale that has just been brewed.

This is an exploration of flavour not to be missed! Join us for two days of moreish morsels and delicious dining experiences with this handy itinerary.


  • Sample some of Northern Ireland’s tastiest ice cream at the Rinkha.
  • Learn to cook like the Irish from the masters at Bellahill Cookery School.
  • Visit Glenarm’s historic castle and enjoy an afternoon tea with a twist.

Travel Time

If you were to visit all the stops on this itinerary, you’d be driving for a total of:

  • Day One: 1-Hour
  • Day Two: 1-Hour
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Day One

The Bank House

Allow 1 hour

To start the day we’ll enjoy a relaxed breakfast at The Bank House. With an artisan coffee in hand, there is much to explore in this stunning Victorian building.

With the cafe serving award-winning food, you can relax and explore the beautiful surroundings.

If the Northern Irish weather is on your side, you can also check out The Bank House Gardens.

The Bank House | Shaped by Sea and Stone

The Rinkha

Allow 1 hour

Love ice cream? Then this is the place for you. Tourists and locals alike flock to Islandmagee to check out the famous ice cream at The Rinkha. Since 1921, the Hawkins family have been delighting the tastebuds of the nation with their unrivalled recipe.

As well as ice cream, the Rinkha used to be a local dancehall. It was said that many marriages in the area started on this very dancefloor!

Have a taste of a classic flavour or indulge in one of the Rinkha Specials.

The Rinkha | Shaped by Sea and Stone

Platform 3 

Allow 1 hour

Ride the rails to Platform 3 - a special Edwardian Tea Room at Whitehead Railway Museum.

Check out Ireland’s largest collection of heritage locomotives and carriages before settling down to a bite to eat.

The Tea Room offers a wide variety of food, all in one historic setting.

You can enjoy afternoon tea, lunch and delicious local beverages, while the kids marvel at the impressive displays.

Platform 3 - An Edwardian Tea Room

Bellahill Cookery School

Allow 2 hours

From Whitehead, it’s just a 15 minute drive to Bellahill Cookery School.

If you like cooking, you will love this interactive dining experience.

Get acquainted with Irish cuisine with local cookery tutor Arlene Thompson.

Using the finest local produce like organic Glenarm smoked salmon and black and white pudding from Gracehill, it’s a taste sensation like no other!

Advance group booking required.

Bellahill Cookery School | Shaped by Sea and Stone

Ballygally Castle

Allow 1-2 hours

A tour of Mid & East Antrim would not be complete without visiting a historic castle. And after just a short drive along the coast we will arrive at Ballygally Castle. Before we eat, let’s take a scenic walk along the breezy seafront to appreciate this fine location. Once inside, you will be greeted with a roaring open fire and panoramic sea views from the lounge.

Famed for its exquisite afternoon tea, the castle provides fresh baked pastries, buttermilk scones with cream, finger sandwiches and much more. If you are a fan of Game of Thrones®, pre-book your themed afternoon tea, with John Snow Cakes and Baratheon Bread.

Ballygally Castle Dining | Shaped by Sea and Stone

Londonderry Arms & The Arkle Whiskey Bar

Stay the night

After a jam packed day of exploring it’s time to relax at the Londonderry Arms Hotel.

Steeped in history, the hotel was once owned by none other than Sir Winston Churchill.

You can even see the deeds of his ownership hanging on the wall!

Try some of the local produce on offer in the restaurant, or a special whiskey experience and settle in for the night. 

Arkle Whiskey Bar / Londonderry Arms Hotel
There’s something satisfying about eating dinner in a building once owned by Sir Winston Churchill and indulging in afternoon tea in a historic castle.

Day Two

Londonderry Arms

Allow 2 hours

Start your day the Irish way with breakfast at the Londonderry Arms. To start, you must try the O’Neill’s legendary wheaten bread. Baked fresh every morning from 70-year-old recipe, it’s a taste of traditional Irish cuisine. Fueled for the day, we will take a leisurely stroll to Carnlough’s Victorian Harbour. You may recognise the picturesque setting from Season 6, Episode 7 of HBO’s Game of Thrones®.

From one scenic location to another, we’ll walk along the signposted trails of Gortin Quarry.

Londonderry Arms | Shaped by Sea and Stone

Glenarm Castle Walled Garden Tea Room

Allow 1 hour

It’s just a couple of miles to the town of Glenarm and its famous castle.

The grand estate spans far into the distance and is owned by the Earl of Antrim.

Whilst here, visit Ireland’s oldest Walled Garden and try the delicious local produce in the Castle’s Tea Room.

Showcasing food grown on the estate and world famous Glenarm Shorthorn beef and smoked salmon, it’s a taste of Ireland you won’t get anywhere else.

Walled Garden Tea Room | Shaped by Sea and Stone

Hillstown Brewery  (Currently closed to the public)

Allow 3-4 hours

After a scenic 45 minute drive through rolling hills and plunging valleys, you will arrive at Hillstown Brewery.

Travelling is thirsty work but before you sample the beer, you must learn how it’s brewed.

First we will take a tour of the brewery, learning about the different grains and hops as we go.

Then, we will see the brewers in action and get a well deserved taste of the award winning ale.

Hillstown | Shaped by Sea and Stone

The River Room Restaurant, Galgorm

(No time restrictions)

Fancy a fine dining experience? Look no further than the River Room Restaurant at Galgorm. Relax and unwind as you experience the exquisite tasting menu at one of only three AA Rosette restaurants in Northern Ireland.

Consisting of the finest local produce such as crabs, scallops, lamb and monkfish, you’ll enjoy every last morsel.

As if all this doesn’t sound tasty enough, you’ll also receive expert assistance in pairing each dish with a top-class wine!

Galgorm | Shaped by Sea and Stone

Slemish Market Supper Club (Monthly events)

(No time restrictions)

Step into one of the most popular pop up dining experiences in Northern Ireland - Slemish Market Supper Club.

This unique gourmet meal consists of a six course ‘surprise’ menu with a drink, a wee bite, a starter, a fish course, a meat course and a dessert.

The food is consistently fantastic but the location changes each time to a different venue around Ballymena and The Glens of Antrim.

Check out their Facebook page for news of monthly dinner venues.

Steak cooking

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