travel UK

A Day Exploring the Giant’s Causeway

February 12, 2019
Waves lap against the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland

Visiting the Emerald Isle, both The Republic of Ireland and the North, is like stepping into a fairy tale. It’s a land of legends and myths, castles and history and has even featured in Game of Thrones.

No wonder this enchanting land has a place called the Giant’s Causeway. Located on the coast of County Atrim, the causeway is a natural wonder and UNESCO World Heritage site.

The Causeway is a strange site, looking more like a puzzle or a massive piece of modern art rather than something naturally made. But the approximately 40,000 interlocking, hexagonal basalt columns were formed almost 60 million years ago as a result of volcanic activity. Legends tell a different story, one about two feuding giants in which one built the causeway to reach the Scottish Isles but the path was ripped up by the rival giant.

I visit Derry about twice per year. As I’ve seen all the sites the Northern Irish city has to offer, I’m always trying to think of what day trips I can take. Luckily, it’s a fairly easy journey to the Causeway from Derry.

I got off the bus outside The Nook pub and started down the sloping path to the causeway. The path has sweeping views coastline, and is about 1.5 miles to the Causeway itself.

Down to main part of the causeway, tourists were climbing on the step-like formations. I watched the waves crash into the part that juts out into the sea, spraying people with mist.

Watch your step

The weather when I visited was unusually sunny for Ireland and even though it was a lovely day in August, it still felt peaceful. There was plenty of room for me to sit on the rocks and enjoy the scenery without having to contend with crowds.

A few tourists around enjoying a sunny day but not too crowded

I visited during the summer but the coastal breeze was still fresh. Any other time of year, or for those who aren’t acclimatised to cool weather will need a bit of warming up after exploring. As mentioned above, the Nook sits at the top of the causeway near the bus stop and serves up a variety of British fare.

What else is nearby?

The bus to the Giant’s Causeway also stops by Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, and crossing this seems to be a feat only for the brave. The bridge is suspended approximately 100 feet above sea level. It forms part of the coastal walk of the area, which is popular for its beautiful scenery and chances to spot local wildlife.

Getting there

View from the train from Derry to Colraine

View from the train to Colraine

If you are headed to the causeway by public transport, you should be aware that many of the services are seasonal and you’ll have a much easier and shorter journey during peak tourist times. Just make sure to check the last bus back to your starting point, you don’t want to get stuck here overnight!

From Derry

I caught the train from Derry’s main station to Colraine and it was a gorgeous ride watching the coast roll by. Once in Colraine, a bus (172 toward Ballycastle) run to the top of the causeway.

From Belfast

Bus services run fairly regularly during peak season and take about an hour and a half. You can also take the train to Colraine and get the 172.

Giant’s Causeway’s website has some more detailed information about how to get there.

What to take

It’s a fairly gentle hike down to the causeway but I recommend wearing sturdy walking shoes and carrying a bottle of water. And take some layers – even when it seems like a warm day, that coastal breeze can be sharp.

Ok, so I forgot to pack my hiking shoes…don’t be like me, wear proper shoes

Is the Giant’s Causeway on your travel wish list? Or have you been there already?

  • Reply
    Anaïs N.
    February 12, 2019 at 7:47 pm

    I was there exactly 2 years ago today!!!! (Thanks Snapchat memories haha) I loved it there 😍

  • Reply
    jasonlikestotravel
    February 12, 2019 at 7:48 pm

    Great read. I haven’t been yet, nor to Ireland at all in fact but I’m visiting Dublin for the first time in May. I’ll have to add here and Northern Ireland to the list for next time 🙂

  • Reply
    mydreamality
    February 13, 2019 at 1:57 am

    I’ve never been but your post has really piqued my interest! Really informative and wonderful photos!

    • Reply
      Off a Small Island
      February 15, 2019 at 10:12 pm

      Thank you! Yes it’s a great day trip if you’re in Northern Ireland

  • Reply
    Chloe May Blogs
    February 13, 2019 at 9:33 am

    This place is on my bucket list. I find it so fascinating how its a natural occurrence :)x

    • Reply
      Off a Small Island
      February 15, 2019 at 10:18 pm

      It looks so weird because they are such perfect hexagons! Definitely would recommend it, thanks for reading!

  • Reply
    Bexa
    February 13, 2019 at 11:20 am

    This sounds like a wonderful place to explore. Your photos are beautiful, and so calming and relaxing to look at. It looks like you picked a lovely sunny day to visit and even better that there wasn’t too many crowds either. Thanks for sharing Lex, fab post! <3 xx

    Bexa | http://www.hellobexa.com

    • Reply
      Off a Small Island
      February 15, 2019 at 10:24 pm

      Thanks Bexa! Yes got very lucky with the weather given it’s Ireland! But it was a very zen day x

  • Reply
    glowsteady
    February 14, 2019 at 12:26 am

    I’ve never been but your post has made it sound amazing. I live by the sea and that ‘coastal breeze’ is very real. It can go from totally fine to freezing in a couple of minutes x

    Sophie
    http://www.glowsteady.co.uk

  • Reply
    Michelle
    February 15, 2019 at 1:32 pm

    I used to live in County Antrim when I was little and I honestly don’t think we ever visited the causeway. I definitely need to go back one day and see it. Lovely photos.

    • Reply
      Off a Small Island
      February 15, 2019 at 10:41 pm

      Yes I’d definitely recommend it for a nice day out! Thanks for reading!

  • Reply
    ellieslondon
    February 16, 2019 at 10:27 am

    It’s a good trip about the shoes – this place looks awesome. I have had this on my list since visiting Ireland for the first time in 2008 – hopefully I will get there soon! x

    • Reply
      Off a Small Island
      February 16, 2019 at 10:40 am

      It’s definitely worth a day out! Thanks for reading! X

  • Reply
    Annie
    February 17, 2019 at 9:37 am

    Wow, it looks incredible! I can’t get over the fact that it’s naturally made! That’s crazy to me. That’s nice that it wasn’t too crowded. You got some amazing pictures.

  • Reply
    BeingChloe
    February 17, 2019 at 12:09 pm

    It looks so amazing, it’s incredible that the structure isn’t man made! Your photos are stunning x

  • Reply
    sophhearts
    February 17, 2019 at 9:22 pm

    The Giants Causeway is definitely on my travel list and your photos are absolutely beautiful! These are such good tips for visiting too, I’m always one to forget about sensible shoes!

    Soph – https://sophhearts.com x

  • Reply
    Nicola
    February 18, 2019 at 10:10 am

    Really enjoyed reading this post and actually spent a few minutes staring at each photo! I can’t believe those hexagonal columns are a natural occurrence – they’re so perfect. I’ve never been to Northern Ireland but this is definitely on my list now if I ever go 🙂

    Nicola
    http://nicshealthylife.co.uk

  • Reply
    Michelle
    February 23, 2019 at 6:58 pm

    It looks beautiful there!!

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