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.


  • 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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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


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


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


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.


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


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

The Gobbins

The Gobbins

George McGrand has been guiding people over a spectacular sea cliff walk that clings to this epic coast since it was reimagined in 2015.

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Coastal Walks
The Gobbins | Shaped By Sea And Stone

Carnlough Bay Boat Tours

Carnlough Bay Boat Tours

Meet Davy Smyth, a third generation fisherman in the quaint village of Carnlough, nestled between the rolling hills of the Glens of Antrim and the sea.

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Boat Tours
Carnlough Bat Boat Tours | Shaped By Sea And Stone

Glenarm Castle

Glenarm Castle

Medieval conflicts of the Glens and Causeway Coast, giving way to an 18th-century elegance that transformed this achingly beautiful site into one of the treasures of Northern Ireland.

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Glenarm Castle | Shaped By Sea And Stone

Whitehead Railway Museum

Whitehead Railway Museum

It's true that many visitors talk about the smell of the smoke and memories it brings back but thanks to Thomas the Tank Engine and Harry Potter and the Hogwarts Express you’d be amazed at the number of kids that love it here.

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Whitehead Railway Museum | Shaped By Sea And Stone
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Don’t just stay. Experience

Don’t just stay. Experience

Lighthouse keepers’ houses, 19th-century follies and haunted hotels. It’s only natural that this unique part of the world has some unique places to stay.

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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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Museums & Galleries
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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Historic Sites
St Nicolas' Church | Shaped By Sea And Stone

Other Itinerary's

Make the most of your stay in Mid & East Antrim by selecting from one of our itineraries. Each one caters to a different interest, a different mood, and ensures you experience the very best in the region.

Coast Itinerary

The Causeway Coastal Route that twists and turns along the ancient County Antrim coastline is quite simply a journey unlike any other.

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Heritage Itinerary

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The idyllic area of Mid & East Antrim was not built in a day, over thousands of years, the land started to take shape - with the collision of the rough Irish Sea on the soft grassy verges and the power of mother nature, the land started to flourish.

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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.

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The makers of HBO’s Game of Thrones® wanted to find an ancient landscape new to the rest of the world - dramatic cliffs that give way to beautiful valleys, medieval castles towering over picturesque stone harbours.

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