Where is Ballycastle?

Ballycastle is in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, approximately an hour from either Derry City or Belfast City making it a great central location along the coast of Northern Ireland.

What is Ballycastle Like?

Ballycastle is a beautiful seaside town which has seen a resurgence of tourist love in recent years, and no wonder, it’s perfectly situated along our stunning Causeway Coast with wonderful views of Rathlin Island that extend all the way to Scotland.  The iconic cliffs of Fairhead sit proudly overseeing the busy town.

Places to Explore in or near Ballycastle 

Bonamargie Friary is one of the finest ruins along the north coast.  It was originally thatched and the ruins consist of a chapel, vaults, gatehouse, cloisters, living quarters and a graveyard. A Black Nun is said to haunt the friary.

Carrick-a-Rede Rope-Bridge is an iconic site.  The island here served as an obstacle for migrating salmon, giving fishermen a chance to enjoy a rich haul.  The first rope-bridge was constructed in 1755 after over one hundred years of fishing at Carrick-a-Rede and Larrybane.  Skip the queues here and see this area from the water below on our Carrick-a-rede Sea Safari.  You might even get to swim beneath this famous bridge.

Rathlin Island lies six miles across the Sea of Moyle from Ballycastle. It has long associations with both Scotland and Ireland and once lay at the heart of the ancient Dal Riada Kingdom.  It is a rugged and picturesque island steeped in a rich history, vibrant mythology, maritime heritage and diverse wildlife.  Explore Rathlin and its coastline on our Around the Sound Rathlin Experience or Bruce’s Cave Experience.

Fairhead is a rocky headland known for its wild and rugged beauty which is iconic of our Antrim coastline.  It is a spectacular geological feature born out of volcanic activity some 60 million years ago, towering over the sea, and steeped in its own mythology of The Children of Lir.  Consequently, it is no wonder it came to be used in the prodigious HBO series Game of Thrones.

Ballycastle Beach is a beautiful sandy beach perfect for a walk, swim or for beach-combers looking for shells or sea glass.

Pan’s Rock (the remains of an iron salt pan) is at the far end of the beach that juts out to the sea and is a popular location for fishing. This is easily accessible by a footbridge.  Look out for the face carved in the rock.

The Devil’s Churn is just beyond Pan’s Rock. Steps have been carved into the stone to an underwater tunnel. The sea floods and empties the tunnel hypnotically making a thunderous eerie noise.

Torr Head lies just outside Ballycastle.  Long winding roads lead to a breath-taking peninsula of panoramic views reaching as far as the Mull of Kintyre.  Lush velvet green set atop volcanic limestone with the remains of a 6th century cashel.  This place has a maritime history dating back to the transatlantic 1800’s and is where the passage of transatlantic ships was recorded and relayed back to Lloyds of London.

Murlough Bay is a wild hidden cove with magnificent views. Used in Game of Thrones scenes this is a truly instagramable location.  There is a short walk from car park and the scenery speaks for itself, it is a hidden gem off the beaten track.


Causeway Coasteering is the best coasteering experience on the north coast.  Matt has been hosting coasteering since 2010 and has a team of qualified and experienced leaders ready to take you on an adventure.  There are a range of coasteering packages available to choose from.

The Bushmills Distillery Tour, a highly recommended experience in the pretty village of Bushmills, is both fun and informative.  This whiskey distillery offers tours learning about the triple distilled whiskey made in Bushmills, its history and unique blends.  It offers tasting opportunities in the bar and a well stocked gift shop.

Why not try Seaweed Foraging on Rathlin Island with Ksenia, who is both knowledgeable and passionate about her adopted island home and the natural treasures its shores offer.  Bookings taken through Nine Glens Walking Tours.

Do something different by hiring a Water Bike with Basalt SixThis is a new and exciting outdoor adventure on the water.  Peddle along the River Bann enjoying the scenery and wildlife and have a well deserved cup of tea after.

Places To Eat

Sit in at Marconi’s Bistro at the Marine Hotel Ballycastle to enjoy a relaxed dining experience right on the seafront.

The legendary Morton’s Fish & Chips Ballycastle are renowned for providing fresh and tasty food.  Enjoy at a picnic table on the seafront.

Our Dolly’s Ballycastle is a personal favourite and we wouldn’t go anywhere else for breakfast.  Delicious fry and friendly service. We dare you to try a Belly Buster.

The Anzac Bar & Restaurant provides a tasty evening meal and is a local favourite in Ballycastle.

Places To Stay

Marine Hotel Ballycastle right on the seafront and very friendly for dog owners too.

The Salthouse, a relatively new luxury option set above Ballycastle in the fresh sea breeze with hot tubs and luxury eco lodges.

Basalt Breaks offer luxury apartments in Ballycastle as perfect bases to explore the area.

In the Sunday Times Best Places to Live Poll 2022, Ballycastle is described as an “unspoilt fishing village” with “a vibrant food scene” and the best place to live in Northern Ireland.  It is no wonder that people flock here to enjoy the uniquely beautiful scenery and the friendly relaxed atmosphere.   Whether you visit for a day trip or holiday here for the summer, make the most of your time by exploring the area, savour the fresh sea air and local food, get outside and immerse yourself in an experiential tour or activity and listen for the stories of Ballycastles history and mythology.

Make sure to book a private charter sea safari with Abhainn Cruises to truly experience this coastal gem.

Text/Call Lynn on +44(0) 7845 370231 to book.