Northern Ireland Itinerary - A 5 Day/Night Tour
Day 1 and 2 Belfast City and Surrounding Area
Arrive at Belfast Airport and make your way into Belfast City.
Belfast is a truly metropolitan city that has undergone something of a revival in the past number of years. Divided into the Cathedral Quarter, the Titanic Quarter, the Queen’s Quarter and the Gaeltacht Quarter.
A must-see when visiting Belfast city is Titanic Belfast. Situated in the appropriately named Titanic Quarter, right beside the construction site of the historic ship. There are six floors of interactive galleries to explore, and learn about the history of Belfast city, the construction of the Titanic, its ill-fated maiden voyage and its legacy. Situated just next to the museum you will find the SS Nomadic - the last remaining White Star Line vessel. Visitors can climb aboard and explore the interiors and learn about the experience of crew and passengers of the historic ship
Another place of interest to visitors to Belfast is the Ulster Museum, situated in the Botanic Gardens in Belfast. The museum is home to a rich collection of art, historical artefacts and items from the natural world which take the viewer on a journey through human history in the north of Ireland.
Day 3: Upperlands
Leave the hustle and bustle of the city behind and travel north-west towards the small village of Maghera.
Wild, untouched and beautiful, a visit to the majestic Sperrin Mountains is a must for all walking enthusiasts. Without any taxing inclines, there are many enjoyable trails that aren’t overly challenging. If the weather is not agreeable, or simply for those not so keen on walking, the Seamus Heaney Homeplace is a must-see, particularly for lovers of poetry. The museum is a celebration of the life and work of Seamus Heaney – one of Ireland’s greatest poets - as well as hosting many interesting events and performances throughout the year.
In this quiet corner of the county, you’re really coming for Ardtara House itself. Ardtara Country House Hotel is an award-winning Victorian Mansion set amidst 10 peaceful wooded acres. Take some time to rest before starting off in the morning for another day’s exploration.
Overnight: Ardtara Country House and Restaurant
Day 4: Bushmills
As you make your way north from Ardtara, any Game of Thrones fan will want to stop off at the Dark Hedges. This was the setting of the King’s Road in the series and one of the most recognisable filming locations and the most photographed sites in Northern Ireland.
Arrive in the village of Bushmills and check into the Bushmills Inn. From here you can either continue your exploration or settle in for the evening and enjoy Bushmill’s warm hospitality and delicious food and make for the coast the following morning.
Undeniably the most visited site in Northern Ireland is the Giant’s Causeway - a magnificent natural wonder comprising of hexagonal columns of stone that formed millions of years ago due to volcanic activity. However, this is Ireland, and the Irish are well-known for their storytelling. Therefore a more fantastical tale was woven which tells the story of a giant building the huge causeway to reach an enemy giant in Scotland.
Of course, there are other sites to see along this stretch of stunning coastline. The Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge is a thin wire and rope bridge spanning the chasm between the island of Carrick-a-Rede and the mainland cliffs. At 20m long and 30 metres above the churning sea below, the bridge is perfectly safe but not for the faint of heart
Overnight: Bushmills Inn
Day 5: Derry - Londonderry City
During your drive along the Northern Coast towards the city of Derry-Londonderry, there are several more Game of Thrones filming locations to be explored. Including Portstewart Strand which doubled as the coast of Dorne in Season 5, and Ballintoy Harbour, the setting for the beach on the Iron Islands from Season 2, where Theon Greyjoy arrives home.
Further along the coast, you may also wish to visit the Binevenagh Mountains, the setting for the grasslands of Essos, where Daenerys Targaryan was rescued by her dragon in Season 5.
Arrive in the afternoon to Bishops Gate Hotel. During your stay in The Walled City, there is plenty to see and do. Talk a walk along the ramparts and view the city and surrounding countryside from on high. Visit St. Columbs Cathedral – the oldest standing monument in the city, and the Tower Museum, where you can explore the rich history of the city. In the evening, you can take a trip to the fabulous Browns Bonds Hill restaurant which is located on the River Foyle overlooking Derry's peace bridge.
Overnight: Bishop’s Gate Hotel
Depart Bishop’s Gate for Belfast Airport, or continue your trip into the Republic of Ireland
Where to Stay/Eat
Ardtara is a romantic country house located in s secluded part of Upperlands in County Derry-Londonderry. With just 9 bedrooms, the house has the intimate feel of staying in a luxurious home. Ardtara is the perfect base for exploring the area, including many of the filming locations from the Game of Thrones Series
For those looking to explore the city of Derry-Londonderry, Bishop’s Gate is a perfect choice. Conveniently located in the city’s Cathedral Quarter, just walking difference from the main sites of the city including the historic wall, St. Columbs Cathedral and the Tower Museum.
Bushmills Inn is a quirky, yet luxurious boutique hotel located in the village of Bushmills close to the Northern coast of Antrim. It is the perfect base for exploring the Causeway Coast, the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge and Dunluce Castle.
Newforge House is an intimate country house just 30 minutes outside of Belfast City. After a day’s exploring come back and enjoy a relaxed evening with delicious food, glowing log fires and warm hospitality. With just 6 bedrooms and situated on 40 tranquil acres, Newforge is the perfect secluded retreat to rest and recharge.