fbpx Towns & Villages Itinerary | Shaped by Sea and Stone

Towns & Villages Itinerary

The Places That Shaped Us

To truly appreciate the splendour of Mid & East Antrim, you must walk its towns and villages. These are places that have grown up from the rolling valleys of the Glens, nourished by the ebb and flow of the sea. They are strewn with the remnants of history, the stately homes of earls and viscounts, and the engineering prowess of bold Victorians. You’ll meet a welcoming, friendly people, whose unique culture was shaped by a turbulent history.

Join us as we go off the beaten track to explore the places that shaped us. Enjoy a jam-packed day of history, tradition and spectacular views.

Highlights

  • Experience the crisp sea air at Carnlough Harbour.
     
  • Take in the grandeur of Glenarm Castle and surrounding gardens.
     
  • Explore medieval chambers and an ancient keep in Carrickfergus Castle.

Travel time

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

  • 1 hour 45 minutes
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Larne

Allow 1 hour

Take in the crisp sea air this fine morning as we start our day in Larne.

This pivotal town in Northern Ireland has been welcoming seaborne visitors for over 1000 years and still operates as a port today.

Our journey starts with a hearty breakfast in one of Larne’s award winning bakeries, Ann’s Pantry.

After breakfast, take a stroll along Main Street where you’ll find a selection of high street stores and keep a look out for the stunning French Gothic style Town Hall as you go.

Larne | Shaped by Sea and Stone

Ballymena

Allow 1 hour

Driving 30 minutes inland we arrive in Ballymena, the ‘City of Seven Towers’, where the Braid Museum offers a fascinating introduction to Mid & East Antrim.

Go on a journey from the distant past right to the present day through artefacts, photographic exhibitions, and interactive displays.

There must be something in Ballymena’s crisp air that nurtures talent.

Liam Neeson, James Nesbitt and other notable names grew up right here in beautiful Ballymena.

Ballymena | Shaped by Sea and Stone

Carnlough

Allow 2 hours

The short journey to Carnlough is a spectacle all in its own. Driving through the deep green pastures of the Glens of Antrim you'll experience the ever-changing landscapes of Northern Ireland. On arrival, we will explore the picturesque harbour of Carnlough Bay where many fishing and pleasure boats are docked. Then, we’ll take a two-mile walk through an old limestone quarry and arrive at the cascading waters of Cranny Falls. Take a leisurely stroll back to the town centre and soak up the rich history of Carnlough from the comfort of the Londonderry Arms Hotel. Once owned by Sir Winston Churchill in the 1930’s, you can’t help think about his famous quote “We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.”

Carnlough | Shaped by Sea and Stone

Glenarm

Allow 2 hours

A short coastal drive and we’re here in glorious Glenarm – the oldest village in Northern Ireland. The McDonnell family have been part of life here since medieval times. Like any prestigious family, their reign would not be complete without an equally impressive home - Glenarm Castle. The estate spans far into the distance and is complete with a Walled Garden, tea room, historical structures and much more. Take a leisurely amble through the colourful and quaint trails of Glenarm Forest. If you look closely at the river as you pass you may catch a glimpse of a friendly otter. Last but certainly not least, we will visit Steensons Jewellers and watch some of Ireland’s finest goldsmiths at work. You may even recognise a few of their pieces from HBO’s Game of Thrones®.

Glenarm | Shaped By Sea And Stone
Driving through the deep green pastures of the Glens of Antrim you will experience the ever-changing landscapes of Northern Ireland.

Whitehead

Allow 2 hours

The colourful seafront of Whitehead is like an image from a postcard. This splendid seaside town is nicknamed ‘The Town With No Streets’. This is due to the unusual fact that none of the street names actually have the word ‘street’ in them.

A firm favourite for kids and adults alike is the Whitehead Railway Museum.

Hop aboard and explore Ireland’s largest collection of heritage locomotives and carriages at your leisure.

If you’d like to soak up the atmosphere with something to eat, the museum has its very own Edwardian tea room for a spot of lunch. 

Whitehead | Shaped By Sea And Stone

Carrickfergus

Allow 2 hours

We end in Carrickfergus where we’ll begin with the famous Carrickfergus Castle. Built in the 1100’s by the Anglo-Norman adventurer John de Courcy, this historic building tells the tales of ancient kings, cross country invasions, great betrayals and the infamous Siege of Carrickfergus. Walk the cobblestones through medieval chambers, an ancient keep and take in the panoramic views of the Belfast Lough from the looking tower. Less than a mile drive from Carrickfergus Town Centre is a traditionally thatched Ulster-Scots farmhouse. This character-filled building is a replica of the 1750’s home of the parents of the seventh US President, Andrew Jackson. Lastly we will reflect on our great journey with an Irish beverage of your choice in Dobbins Inn Hotel.

Carrickfergus | Shaped By Sea And Stone
Editorials
Editorials

The Gobbins

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Carnlough Bay Boat Tours

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Glenarm Castle

Glenarm Castle

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Whitehead Railway Museum

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A Taste of Tradition

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Don’t just stay. Experience

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The Braid

The Braid

In this interactive museum, you can walk through our surprising history, from ancient pagan stone tombs to the dawn of a new religion. There is a fantastic digital trail for the whole family, with quizzes, puzzles and games. 

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The Braid | Shaped By Sea And Stone

St. Nicholas Church

St. Nicholas Church

Built by Ulster Anglo-Norman conqueror John de Courcy in the late 12th century, it seems every invasion or change of power or tumultuous local event has left its imprint here.

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St Nicolas' Church | Shaped By Sea And Stone
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