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Things to see and do in Cushendun

A view of the whitewashed terraced cottages in the square at Cushendun, Northern Ireland
Whitewashed terraced cottages in the square at Cushendun | © National Trust Images/Dennis Gilbert

Discover one of the jewels of the Glens of Antrim and explore the unique conservation village of Cushendun. Wander through the historic coastal village, look out for red squirrels, soak up the views from the harbour and take a stroll along the beach. Or head out further afield and go for a walk to explore 30 miles of the Iconic Glens Antrim landscape - a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Explore Cushendun village

Cushendun is a small coastal village packed with architectural heritage. Built in 1912 by Baron Cushendun, the village was designed (by William Clough Ellis) to look like a Cornish village in an effort to please the Baron’s wife Maud, who was born in Penzance.

Wander through the streets to see rows of whitewashed cottages and a quaint sheltered harbour. You can also see the neo-Georgian ‘Glenmona House’ which was commissioned by Baron Cushendun and designed in the 18th-century architectural style.

Spot the ruins of a 14th-century castle built on a Mesolithic flint site and see several Bronze Age standing stones which reveal a much older history of this unique site, before the village was built.

A view of the whitewashed terraced cottages in the square at Cushendun, Northern Ireland
Whitewashed terraced cottages in the square at Cushendun | © National Trust Images/Dennis Gilbert

Stop by the old church

The sandstone church at Cushendun has been part of village life since 1840. Today you can pop inside to see the community-run arts and heritage center which hosts a variety of performances and events throughout year.

Outside in the churchyard you can see the grave of Ronald John McNeill (Baron Cushendun) who built Cushendun and his first cousin Ada McNeil. There is also a blue plaque to commemorate poet Nesta Higginson (Moira O’Neill) who attended services at the church when she lived in Cushendun as a teenager.

View of the village of Cushendun, Northern Ireland, taken from the hills above overlooking the sea
Cushenden village as viewed from the surrounding countryside | © National Trust Images/Dennis Gilbert

Go red squirrel spotting

Cushendun is one of best places in Northern Ireland to spot rare red squirrels. While we can't guarantee a sighting, you're most likely to encounter them early in the morning or late afternoon, in the forest beside Glenmona House, where the Glens Red Squirrel Group has built an activity playground.

The red squirrel is protected by law and is a priority species for special protection in Northern Ireland. The National Trust is an active member of the Northern Ireland Red Squirrel Forum and our local team of rangers work alongside the Glens Red Squirrel Group to help monitor and protect red squirrels in Cushendun.

Head out for a walk

Explore 30 miles of the iconic Glens Antrim landscape and get closer to nature on the Glens Great Grassland Trail. The route winds through meadowland and has a number of stop off points to explore the landscape, beaches and local heritage of the area.

Small boats at their moorings at Cushendun, with trees in the foreground on the left and the village visible across the water on the right

Discover more at Cushendun

Find out when Cushendun is open, how to get here, the things to see and do and more.

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