An Alternative Guide to the North Coast

The Clifftop Experience along the Causeway Coast, Northern Ireland

With Spring almost upon us, our National Trust team at the Giant’s Causeway and Carrick-a-Rede look forward to welcoming visitors close to home and from further afield to enjoy adventures at the Causeway Coast.

Our special places are for connecting with loved ones, family and friends, and making special memories that will last a lifetime. To make sure you get the most out of your visit, we have shared this alternative guide - a list of things you shouldn’t do when visiting the Giant’s Causeway and Carrick–a–Rede Rope Bridge.

What not to do at the Giant’s Causeway:

Discover the hexagonal columns at the Giant's Causeway
View of the Giant's Causeway
Discover the hexagonal columns at the Giant's Causeway

• Forget your camera
Grab your Insta-worthy snaps to capture the special moment!
It may sound obvious but don’t forget your camera! Did you know that this year the Giant’s Causeway has been named the ‘most Instagrammed place in Ireland’, so capturing a beautiful photo of the basalt stones and surrounding scenery is a must. Remember to use #NationalTrustNI if you upload a photo to social media - we love to share your pics!

• Go it alone
Why not join one of our award-winning guided tours and learn about the fascinating history and heritage of the Giant’s Causeway from one of our expert tour guides. The guided tours leave every hour on the hour from the Visitor Centre and are included as part of the Visitor Experience admission.

Stick to one route
Explore the entire World Heritage site and enjoy our offering of different walking trails surrounding the famous stones. Take in the Giant’s Causeway from a new prespective with the unique five-mile hike on the Clifftop Experience - boasting stunning scenery and breath-taking views you’ll see the Causeway Coast from a completely new level and have the perfect opportunity to spot some of the incredible seabirds, wildlife and natural fauna in the area.

• Wear high heels
It's best to avoid wearing high heels during your visit, wearing the right footwear will help you to get around easily and make the most of your time on site.

• Forget to leave time for shopping
The gift shop in the Visitor Centre is the perfect place to pick up a souvenir unique to the Causeway Coast. Our retail zone hosts an extensive range of locally made gifts, with over 80% of our craft product lines sourced here in Northern Ireland. The National Trust is committed to supporting the local economy, and spreading the benefits of our properties to the communities around our special places.

• Stress about packing a picnic
All the excitement and fun of the Giant’s Causeway is guaranteed to work up an appetite, but don’t panic if you haven’t packed a picnic – there are plenty of delicious options at the Giant’s Causeway. Sample locally sourced food and mouth-watering treats at the Giant's Causeway Grab & Go Café in the Visitor Centre, or head to the newly refurbished Causeway Hotel for a cosy corner.

• Leave a trace
As a conservation charity we are committed to preserving and protecting the special places that matter so that everyone  can enjoy the life-enhancing benefits for years to come. One of the ways our visitors can help us is by leaving no trace behind when they visit a National Trust property. We would ask visitors to please be sure to take your rubbish with you, and to be aware of the property, wildlife and fauna surrounding you. We want to protect their natural habitat for them to enjoy too.

• Go home!
If you don’t want to leave – don’t! The Causeway Hotel is a beautiful Grade II listed hotel, with an amazing view of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. With 28 newly renovated en-suite bedrooms, all with captivating views of the Atlantic Ocean, the hotel is the perfect base from which to explore the North Coast.

What not to do at the Carrick–a–Rede Rope Bridge:

An offshore view of Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge
A view of Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge from the water
An offshore view of Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge

 Be afraid!
Suspended almost 100ft (30m) above sea level, the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge was first erected by salmon fishermen over 200 years. Please don’t be afraid - feel the fear and do it anyway
Crossing the rope bridge is an exciting and thrilling experience and one you won’t regret! Plus brave explorers will be rewarded with stunning views along the way and also have the chance to see the original Fishery on the island.

 Overlook the wildlife
Incredible species can be spotted on the way to the rope bridge. Seabirds including guillemots, razorbills, kittiwakes and fulmars all share living space on the island and the adjoining mainland. If you’re brave enough to look down to the water below you might be lucky enough to spot basking sharks, dolphins and porpoises. The National Trust work tirelessly to protect the natural habitats of these amazing creatures, so we’re delighted when our visitors are able to catch a glimpse!

• Just cross the bridge and turn back
After crossing the bridge, stop and take time on the island to enjoy the amazing views across to Rathlin Island and the Scottish islands - there is no time limit on how long you spend exploring the island. When you get back why not enjoy a hot drink and a bite to eat at the Weighbridge tea-room as a reward.

• Leave it too late to get your tickets
To help you plan ahead for your visit we have introduced a timed ticketing system. Visitors can pre-purchase their tickets months in advance to secure a time slot to experience crossing the bridge! Visitors can book their crossing from as early as 9.30am each day.
Top tip, Carrick–a–Rede Rope Bridge and the Giant’s Causeway can get very busy during peak times, weekends and on bank holidays so we recommend arriving early or nipping in later in the day to avoid the rush.

• Only visit the Carrick-A-Rede or Giant’s Causeway
There are a number of amazing destinations along the North Coast that are worth adding to your itenary for a visit. Along the coastline you can explore White Park Bay, Portstewart Strand, Cushendun, Downhill Demesne and Hezlett House, adding these to the list of ‘must sees’ will mean you have truly covered the Causeway Coast and more! Nearby Bushmills and Ballycastle are also perfect lunch-spots if you get peckish on your way here, or your way home!