Bushmills to Derry~Londonderry city: 50.1 miles (80.6km)/1 hour 40 minutes at 30mph
It’s pretty much essential to take a tour of the
Old Bushmills Distillery when you’re in this part of the world. It’s the oldest operating distillery on the island of Ireland, and the tour is a treat, with old copper pot stills and casks of whiskey, and a tasting of course.
The Old Bushmills Distillery
With your designated driver at the wheel, continue to the small seaside village of Portballintrae. Just off this coast, a team of Belgian divers brought up the greatest find of Spanish Armada treasure ever recovered from a wrecked ship.
Dunlunce Castle, County Antrim
Next stop is Portrush, and the incredible 16th century
Dunluce Castle, which looks like something straight out of a fairytale. Perched high on rocky cliffs, the ruins of this castle overlook the tumultuous North Atlantic Ocean and the stunning pale sands of Whiterocks Beach.
Royal Portrush Golf Club
Stop for a round of golf at
Royal Portrush, before heading to one of the coast’s most acclaimed restaurants, Harry’s Shack, perched right at the edge of the beach with views over the North Atlantic Ocean.
Back on the road, get in gear for the next stop:
Mussenden Temple. On a coastline full of romantically beautiful sights, Mussenden is almost heartbreakingly lovely. Sitting right on the edge of a cliff in the sylvan surrounds of Downhill Demense, this 18th century folly was inspired by the Temple of Vesta in Tivoli near Rome, and is a favourite wedding location.
You can see it up close, or admire it from afar with a walk on either Downhill Strand or Castlerock Beach, both of which it overlooks.
The town of Coleraine makes a great stopping-off point for lunch, so try the hip little café
Lost and Found, before you venture out to one of the oldest known human settlements in Ireland at Mountsandel, just a mile outside the town. This incredible Mesolithic site is thought to be around 9,000 years old.
Lost and Found
Make the most of this gorgeous areas’s natural sights by getting out and exploring the natural wilderness as much as you can. Near the market town of Limavady, the
Roe Valley Country Park is the perfect go-to for riverside walks through deep gorges, and peaceful woodland rambles.
Finish up with a night in the historic city of
Derry~Londonderry, one of the best preserved walled cities in Europe. As well as a vibrant cultural scene, and fascinating walking tours around the city walls, Derry~Londonderry has great traditional pubs, such as Peadar O’Donnell’s, and excellent restaurants including Browns, the Exchange and the Custom House.
The Walls of Derry-Londonderry
And a great place to stay for the night? Try the Beech Hill Country House Hotel; built in 1739, it’s a comfortable and atmospheric country house just outside the city.