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One day trip to Antrim Coast - Causeways, Carrick, Distillery tour

We are staying in Belfast and have a car. We expect to be up early due to jet lag. We want to do a day trip from Belfast to the Causeways, Bushmills Distillery, Carrick bridge.
9:00am - Carrick-a-Rede Bridge (reservations avail every 30 min)
10:30am - Giants causeway (reservations avail every 30 min)
1:30 pm - Lunch + Dunlace Castle (no reservations needed)
3:00pm - Bushmill Distillery tour
Eat dinner in Bushmill or somewhere on the way back to Belfast

Does this seem reasonable or should we allow more time between any of the sites?

Posted by
6787 posts

We stayed in a B&B in Bushmills for 2 nights, which gave us extra time, and I can’t say that you can’t do it in a single day. But regarding the Bushmills distillery, we pulled into their parking lot, to take the next tour. They told us that an entire big family that arrived just before us had taken up all the available slots. I hadn’t noticed the big motor hone in the lot, but apparently the family had all been packed into it, and was now filling up that tour. We didn’t stick around for the tour after that, as we had reserved a tour time at The Gobbins that afternoon on the way to Belfast, which was our priority. So, it was unfortunate that we missed the whiskey tour, and maybe they take reservations - I don’t know. If they do, and 3:00 is your make it or break it time, make a reservation. Otherwise, you might get shot down, too.

Posted by
508 posts

You will indeed need more time to truly enjoy what they offer. Your proposed time at each is way too short, not to mention the drive time from one to another. I'd give it a full day at most or save one or two of those for another day. Why not spend a night in the area instead of driving back to Belfast the same day?

It's a 20-30-minute walk from the parking lot just to reach the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. Then you'll wait your turn in line, as one group leaves and the next crosses. I'd take an hour or more to enjoy and photograph the scenery - and your fellow travelers wobbling across that wobbly bridge - and even chat with them. No need to rush here.

Likewise the Giant's Causeway, where there's more variety to see, climb, linger on and take in. From the parking lot it's also a 20-minute or longer hike. Or you can take the shuttle bus.

I've not take the Bushmills tour, though I imagine you'll need an hour or so.

Posted by
5608 posts

It is possible to see everything in a day, but it might be a long day since you’re returning to Belfast. When we drove the Antrim coast we started in Crawfordsburn, east of Belfast. Since Dunluce castle is really just a ruin, and one that we weren’t impressed with, we just drove by it. After detouring around road construction and seeing the bridge and causeway, we caught the last Bushmill tour of the day. Believe it was 4pm. We spent the night in Portrush. You will have a little more than an hour drive to get back to Belfast. If your trip isn’t in winter you should be able to get back to Belfast before it gets dark.

Posted by
1490 posts

That is a tight packed itinerary and doesn't allow any time for 'slippage'. I've a feeling you are going to end up time watching to try and get through in time. You need to SLOW Down and enjoy what Ireland has to offer.

We found one of the best views of the Giant's Causeway was from the cliffs above when you looked down on the stones and could see the visitors scurrying around like ants below. Access the footpath from behind the visitor centre.