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Belfast to Derry - Antrim Coast tour

From Belfast, we'd like to drive north along the scenic Antrim Coast, stopping at Carrick-a-rede (hope to cross the ropebridge), Giant's Causeway (quick visit here), and, if we have time, visit the distillery. We're spending the night in Derry. I understand from Belfast we take the M2, then M5 for Carrickfergus, and then look for "Causeway Coastal Route signs." For those who have done this drive - any difficulties finding the coastal route? Also, I'm reading about the nine glens, along the way, but I don't understand if you can drive through the glens, or do you have to get of the coastal road to appreciate them? Would you break up the drive to Derry into 2 days? If so, where would you stay?

On the way back, we want to drive inland to Belfast, hoping for a faster more direct route. Recommendations?


Posted by
333 posts

Ed's nailed it like usual.

The coastal route is well marked and you can't really get lost since it hugs the coast the whole way. Some of the Glens are on the route others are off. is a good website to try to figure it out.

I'd try to stay along the way on the Antrim Coast or at least stay the night in Derry and then make your way back to Belfast in the morning. The A6 through the Glenshane Pass and Dungiven is the quickest way back to Belfast. About 2-2.5 hours on average.

Posted by
9110 posts

You've got the right idea of how to get to Carrikfergus.

The Causeway Coastal Route will be easy to spot -- signs all over the place.

The coastal route passes through one glen (Glenarm ?). I missed one of the nine, but most of the others have so fuzzed together that I don't think it was of any consequence.

You're looking at about four hours (at best) driving time from Belfast to Derry. There's a fair hike from the parking lot to the rope bridge and another fair one from the parking lot to the causeway. There will also be a wait to cross the rope bridge in each direction since they control how many people are on it at once and everybody is stopping to have their picture taken.

You can see all of Derry (including museums) in three hours. I'd bust the trip at maybe Coleraine, then visit Derry and push on the next day.

Heading back, take the A6 out of Derry and follow your nose -- it will take less than two hours.

Posted by
126 posts

Thanks so much for the info. I now see there is a lot of specific info on the web re: driving the Antrim Coast. I had no idea. Maybe we'll break up the drive in Cushendall, it's 52 miles from Belfast. From Cushendall it looks like its about 70 miles to Derry. We'll spend the next night in Derry and head back early to Belfast.

Any recommendations on B&Bs in Derry or even along the coastal route?


Posted by
333 posts

I like the Tower Hotel in Derry. Not a B&B but a nice hotel in the heart of the City Center.

We've stayed there a couple of times and found rates under 40 sterling/night

Posted by
72 posts

I stayed at the RosePark B&B for 5 days in September. It's right outside the city walls, just a 10 minute walk through a park, but avoids the crowded, steep Derry streets (I did not like driving there). I found it really conveneient to walking to restaurants, etc. They do have garage parking available but you need to let them know when making a reservation. Even have a washer and dryer available. Thomas is a wealth of information.