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Aerial photograph of Carrick-a-Rede, County Antrim
Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, seen from the air | © National Trust/Art Ward
Northern Ireland

Carrick-a-Rede coastal walk

Trace the coastline over windswept grasslands and winding rocky paths to Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. For those brave enough to cross the bridge, there's a bird’s-eye view of the clear green water and ancient caverns far below – if you dare to look down.

Plan your walk

This route starts at the Larrybane overspill car park (1 on the map), but you can also park at Ballintoy Harbour or on Harbour Road and take the track (A on the map) to the coast path (B), which brings you to Carrick-a-Rede visitor reception (2). Please be aware of unfenced cliff edges, high winds and steep slopes. To cross the bridge, you will need to buy tickets and check opening times – see the Carrick-a-Rede homepage.

Total steps: 6

Total steps: 6

Start point

Larrybane Quarry car park, Carrick-a-Rede, BT54 6LS

Step 1

From the Larrybane Quarry car park, walk back along the tarmac road to the main Carrick-a-Rede car and coach park.

Step 2

Go through the car park, with its reception hut, disused limekiln and views back to Larrybane. Please note you will need to pre-book your tickets to cross the bridge, but you can continue along the coast path up to Step 4 without charge. On your left is the wild Atlantic Ocean, and to the right, fields of coastal farmland.

Step 3

At this point, you'll come to the top of many steps cut into the steep cliff-side. There are a couple of benches to rest along this section of the route – it can be challenging, depending on your ability. Once you have made your way down all of the steps, you will see a gate within an archway. Show your ticket to go through the gate, leading to the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge.

Step 4

Descend the metal staircase and take your first tentative teps across this unique bridge. (Many people are surprised to learn that it sways very slightly.) Views of the stunning coastline are to each side and straight ahead as you step off the bridge and on to Carrick-a-Rede Island – the 'rock in the road' where fishermen came to catch migrating salmon.

Step 5

From the island, take time to admire the views and do a spot of birdwatching. The most important feature of the island is the fisherman's cottage, which is open on select weekends throughout the year.

A small white single-storey cottage with a slate roof, next to dark grassy cliffs and green sea, at Carrick-a-Rede, County Antrim
The fisherman's cottage on the island at Carrick-a-Rede, County Antrim | © National Trust Images/Annapurna Mellor

Step 6

Exit the bridge and follow the looping trail leading to the bottom of the steps you descended earlier. You can now follow the familiar track back to the car park.

Two walkers in winter coats and hats, on a clifftop path at Carrick-a-Rede, County Antrim
Walking the coast paths at Carrick-a-Rede, County Antrim | © National Trust Images/Annapurna Mellor

End point

Larrybane Quarry car park, Carrick-a-Rede, BT54 6LS

Trail map

Map of Carrick-a-Rede coastal walk, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Map of the Carrick-a-Rede coastal walk, County Antrim | © Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland

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