Monday, 18 March 2013

Northern Ireland - A Road Tripper’s Dream

I consider that I’ve travelled pretty extensively across the British Isles and I have a goal to visit each and every county in the United Kingdom. One place I have still not visited is Northern Ireland and I am therefore happy to present this guest post by Jo King.

On a road trip through Northern Ireland you get unique stories from an eccentric tour guide, get to do one of the Top 5 road trips worldwide - the Giant’s Causeway and see the stunning scenery of the Waterfall trail. Get your plane tickets, car hire and map and let’s explore the wonderful Northern Ireland – a road tripper’s dream.

Divis Street Mural, Belfast - Oppression Breeds ResistenceDivis Street Murals, Belfast, May 2011 uploaded by Ardfern on Wikipedia

A day in Belfast

No road trip through Northern Ireland would be complete without a stop in Belfast. As mentioned before you will need a car (it is a road trip after all) and if you’d like to start your holiday straight away you can get a car hire in Belfast with Holiday Autos straight from the airport. Simply hop in the car, leave you bags at your hotel or hostel and start exploring the city.

After the flight you’ll need as much energy as you can get so make your first stop at Sinnamon on Botanic Avenue – the locals’ favourite coffee shop. After that you have two options: the city sightseeing bus or a black taxi tour (which is around £25 for two people or £10 for 3-6 people). Considering you can catch a bus anytime you like, I would go for the black taxi option. Both choices will let you hop on and off at various points to take some amazing pictures to show your friends.

Lunch time already? There’s only one solution for that. Boojum on Botanic Avenue has the healthiest Mexican burritos and the food is so good you’ll never want to eat anywhere else again.

And while the day is still young and you need to work off the calories from lunch, take part in a Titanic walking tour or climb up to the glass dome on top of Victoria Square – it’s a long climb but the view of Belfast city centre from the top is breath taking. Once up just enjoy a moment of peace in the City Hall Garden. You deserve it after that climb!

Eccentric Belfast tour guide

Want to see the other side of the city? Take Arthur Magee's walking tour of Belfast. The tour starts from the City Hall and takes you through “alternative Ulster” from the radical Presbyterians of the 18th century to the anti-sectarian punks of the 1970s. Magee’s motto is to turn every stereotype of Belfast on its head so it’s more than worth joining him.

Giants CausewayGiant's Causeway uploaded by Chmee2 on Wikipedia

Causeway Coastal Route

After that it’s time to make the most of your car rental and take the Causeway Coastal Route.

As described by the Discover Northern Ireland Website the route is “an ever changing tapestry of scenery and colours, set against a dramatic coastal backdrop that will take your breath away – the perfect place for a leisurely tour.” I couldn’t have described it better myself.

The route can take from 1 to 5 days and it all comes down to how much you want to experience. Making little stops en route for coffee, lunch, photographs or even walks can certainly make the trip longer and it all boils down to how many days you have planned for it. I certainly encourage the stops; it’s all part of the holiday and you wouldn’t want to miss the best part because you’re in a hurry.

Before setting off from Belfast, think about how long you want to spend on the Coastal Route. Of course, if you don’t have as many as 3 or 5 days free you can always finish off in Derry.

Knowing how long you need in advance can help save some money when you book the car hire with Holiday Autos. Discounts are available and you can always use the extra cash for something else.

Glenariff Forest Park

Along the Causeway Coastal Route is Glenariff Forest Park, which has some nice walks for stretching your legs. The must do here is the Waterfalls Walk – it’s about 80 years old and 3 miles long. Passing through the waterfalls will provide the perfect opportunity to create memories and take great photos.

Another trail you could do is the Scenic Trail. It’s about 8.5 miles long and mainly for the fitter people among us. There are a couple of sections with some extremely steep ascents but it’s totally worth it if you can do it.

About the Guest Author


Jo KingJo King has settled in the UK after spending time overseas living, working and travelling in eight different countries. She is now the Global Communications Manager for Holiday Autos.
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© 2008 - Mandy Southgate | Emm in London

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