Northern Ireland has more than 200 miles of coastline, facing towards England and Scotland in the east, and out to the Atlantic in the north. While it might be better known for stunning cliffside views and the Giant’s Causeway, there are plenty of beaches, too – stunning stretches of sand, pebbles and inviting sea, providing plenty of appeal for sunbathers, swimmers and surfers.
Another spot that will appeal to Game of Thrones fans, Ballintoy was the site where the Iron Islands were filmed. Ballintoy itself takes just over an hour to reach from Derry-Londonderry or 90 minutes from Belfast, and from there a narrow, winding country road will take you to the coast. Once there, though, you’re in for a real treat, as you’ll see the ancient Ballintoy church overlooking the sea, and a secluded beach framed by tall cliffs on all sides.
Another Blue Flag beach, Whiterocks is one of the most popular surfing beaches in Northern Ireland and will also appeal to the explorer types, with a network of caves cut into the limestone cliffs that run along it. Whiterocks is just outside the coastal town of Portrush, around an hour’s drive from Derry-Londonderry. The nearby town means that you won’t struggle to find places to eat after a good day’s beaching.