Things to see and do in Northern Ireland

Here’s a selection of the best things to do in Northern Ireland with the National Trust. From top tourist attractions to lesser known hidden gems, create your own bucket-list and see how many places you can visit during your stay.

View of the Giant's Causeway

Visit the Giant's Causeway 

Northern Ireland’s number one visitor attraction, the Giant’s Causeway is a must-see destination for any visitor. Learn about how this incredible landscape of basalt columns was created in the Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre, enjoy a guided walk or audio tour of the site and discover how it feels to walk in the footsteps of giants.

Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge.

Walks across Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge 

Once a simple rope bridge used by salmon fishermen to cross over from the mainland to Carrick-a-Rede island, Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge is now one of Northern Ireland’s most Instagrammed places. Suspended 100 feet above sea level, are you brave enough to cross it off your Northern Ireland bucket-list?

Old Castle Ward Mansion

Set foot in Winterfell, Game of Thrones at Castle Ward 

Castle Ward, a magnificent historic house and estate near Downpatrick in County Down has appeared in many films and TV-series, most notably Game of Thrones. Several locations on the estate featured in series one of HBO’s Game of Thrones but it is best known as Winterfell, home of the Stark family. You can visit the tower where Bran Stark was famously thrown from by Jamie Lannister, the Whispering Woods and archery ground where Jon Snow taught Bran how to fire an arrow.

A family on the beach at Portstewart Strand

Swim in the sea at Porstewart Strand 

On a sunny day, Portstewart Strand attracts beach-lovers from across the country thanks to its two-miles of clean, golden sand. Backed by miles of ancient dunes, the strand is a nature reserve and you’ll find lots of varieties of butterflies fluttering overhead here in the summer months. Even on a dull or wet day the beach is popular with walkers and runners drawn by the unbroken coastline and epic view.

Fallow deer enjoying the Winter sun at Crom

Go wildlife spotting at Crom, Fermanagh 

Away from the busy cities, Crom is a tranquil nature reserve in County Fermanagh on the shores of Lough Erne. This beautiful wildlife haven is home to many varieties of butterflies, moths and dragonflies. The deer park provides a great opportunity to see fallow deer and if you’re lucky you might spot a pine marten or red squirrel in the woods or a kingfisher on the lake.

Spade Maker at work

Call a spade a spade at Patterson's Spade Mill 

The last working water-driven spade mill in daily use in the British Isles, Patterson’s Spade Mill is a great reminder of Belfast’s industrial past. Guided tours vividly capture life during the Industrial Revolution and dig up the history and culture of the humble spade. Only open on selected dates, so check website for opening times.

Walking towards the saddle of the Mournes, Slieve Donard

Walk in the Mourne Mountains 

Consistently voted one of the top walks in Northern Ireland, the Mourne Mountains can be found in County Down and include the highest mountain in Northern Ireland, Slieve Donard. The mountains are criss-crossed with well-trodden paths and trails. As you climb, look out for the famous Mourne Wall a 22-mile dry stone wall that navigates its way across 15 summits.

Mount Stewart House

Enjoy one of the top gardens in the world at Mount Stewart 

Judged as one of the top 10 gardens in the world by the Daily Telegraph and short-listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the gardens at Mount Stewart are beyond compare. Located on the shores of Strangford Lough the gardens enjoy a unique micro-climate resulting in a range of exotic and rare plants, trees and flowers thriving here. Created by Edith, Lady Londonderry in the 1940s the gardens and wider estate include a lake walk, sunk garden, Italian formal gardens and a rose garden.