Holidaying in Northern Ireland? Here’s a Live It Experience It ‘to do’ list

By ELEANOR MCGILLIE 9 May, 2018

VISITORS coming to Northern Ireland for the International NW200 are spoiled for choice in terms of things to do and places to explore. Here are some ‘Live It Experience It’ options for visitors holidaying in Northern Ireland.

Hide in the hills of Ballyclare

Everyone likes getting out and about into the fresh air and no better place than Breckenhill on the Ballyclare Activity trail. There’s so much to do here for groups of friends or families. Try your hand at giant catapulting, paintball, archery, orienteering, raft building, the traversing wall, rope courses, earthball or ride around on giant trikes.

Surf on eco friendly surfboards

Alive Surf School is rated as Ireland’s Number One surf school on TripAdvisor. Based at West Strand, Portrush, you can take surfing lessons or go on a paddle boarding tour with the team of qualified instructors. Not only that but you get to surf on eco friendly boards made by the team at Skunkworks Surf Co based right here in Northern Ireland.

Skunkworks-surfing-landscape

Sausage rolls on the coast

The Arcadia in Portrush serves up the best sausage rolls in the world. And with the view overlooking the Atlantic what’s not to love. Of course Tanya and her team serve up a range of other delicious treats for breakfast and lunch as well as having a fantastic range of hot and cold drinks. The Arcadia is perfect for families as there’s a beach to build sandcastles and a play area right outside the door. The beauty about the Arcadia too is you could end up doing zumba, pilates or attending an art exhibition depending what’s on at the time.

Horseriding on the beach

Maddybenny Cottages and B&B is unique in that it allows you to bring your horse on holiday so you can hack country lanes or even go horse riding on the beach. There’s a livery service available and many owners either book in to stay in these beautiful country cottages  or they often have their own accommodation in the area. There are lots of quiet roads for hacking and several beaches suitable for horses. In the summertime horses are restricted to before 11am and after 7pm.

Horses on beach - things to do Northern Ireland

Ferry hop to see the flora and fauna

Rathlin Island – what a true gem. Book a guided walking trip with Nine Glens Walking Tours and see for yourself what makes this island truly spectacular. Hear about Bruce’s Cave, see the wildlife, listen out for the banshee, hear about the shipwrecks and take in some of the most breathtaking views you’ll ever experience.

Dunluce Castle

It’s rumored to have its own banshee but there’s one way you’ll be able to get in around these iconic castle ruins and that’s with Dalriada Kingdom Tours. The Dunluce Castle guided tour is really something else. This iconic castle sits majestically on the cliff edge. You will not find another tour company giving this unique tour. To get that authentic story of this landmark castle book this wonderful tour online with Dalriada Kingdom Tours.

Mark Rodgers of Dalriada Kingdom Tours will take you on a tour of Dunluce Castle

A different view of the coast

Our coastline is gorgeous. We all know that but most of us will only have seen it from the cliffs or the causeway or indeed from the car window.  But sea kayaking will give you a totally different perspective while you uncover hidden spots. You can travel the shoreline with Causeway Coast Kayaking Tours in the most environmentally friendly way possible, get up and close with the shore’s wildlife and have good craic while you paddle.

Boom board around Derry city

Far and Wild offers tours and activities which will invigorate your connection with people, place and nature. The River Foyle Stand Up Paddle Board tour is a city-tour of Derry with a difference, calling at celebrated fresh seafood street stall Pyke N’ Pommes after a two hour trip on the estuary. Ireland’s and the UK’s first ever city-based Longboard tour (a long Hawaiian conceived skate-board) has been picked up by media channels and celebrities. The Boomboard Tour is named after a local micro-brewery’s latest product- visitors stop for a taster after a lesson and laid-back tour across Derry’s iconic Peace Bridge.

Run the coast paths

For the visitor who likes to keep fitness levels up to speed then this is for you. Born To Run Tours offers visitors running tours of Belfast city centre and indeed the coastal paths on the North Coast. Bring your trainers because you’ll definitely need them as you pound the paths with Jonny Graham who is an avid runner, a fan of the coast and advocates a healthy lifestyle.

Jonny Graham running on the Causeway Coastal Path - Born To Run Tours

Beachcombing in White Park Bay

This is truly something else. White Park Bay is a fossil-rich sandy beach on the North Antrim coast. With its ancient sand dunes and grasslands you can spot lots of wildlife and rare plants including orchids. The pale sandy beach is home to limestone and bivalve fossils which are known as ‘Devil’s Toenails’. It’s been reported that these Neolithic tools have been found in the rivers running down to the beach. What a place to explore.

Paint a picture

Artist Dermot Cavanagh says ‘anyone can paint’. He is an accomplished artist who has taken the mystery out of painting for thousands of people throughout his career. Dermot has a great offering for people visiting Northern Ireland. Join him as he takes the mystery out of painting at his painting courses, breaks and holidays.

Artist Dermot Cavanagh

Enjoy a storytelling night

In the Glens of Antrim is Ballyeamon Barn Hostel which is owned by storyteller Liz Weir. Liz likes nothing more than to share Irish stories with visitors who come to her hostel in the Glens of Antrim, the cultural heart of the Causeway Coastal Route. Guests staying at the Ballyeamon Barn can hear her stories at the Saturday Night Sessions.

Liz Weir, owner of Ballyeamon Hostel, at Ballintoy Live It Experience It Member

Live It Experience It’ is a group of journalists and travel writers who tell the story of our members. We work  collaboratively with our members, which are tourism businesses, to promote Northern Ireland through water, air and land based activities, food and drink and great places to stay. Together we let our visitors know of all of the amazing things Northern Ireland has to offer.  To become a member business in of ‘Live It Experience It’ call our office on 028 3756 8436 or please submit your information through our online form. T&Cs apply –  Sign Up Here Let us tell your story! Live It Experience It is the NW200 tourism partner for 2018. 

NW200 partner with Live It Experience It for 2018 - Ireland's biggest outdoor event


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Eleanor McGillie

About Eleanor McGillie

Eleanor spent eight years working in the south west of England - one of the UK's most popular tourism hotspots. During her stint working with key players in the tourism sector she developed a love for all things outdoor adventure. As a journalist she got to travel to remote corners of the world to write travel features about the experiences of a particular place. Northern Ireland's story needs to be told and needs to reach new audiences. Live It Experience It aims to attract tourists from outside Ireland, people from Ireland and people who live in Northern Ireland but aren't aware of the extent of the adventures on our own doorsteps. Eleanor is a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) at Associate Level