Travel differently this summer and choose the stars, in Northern Ireland’s mountain ranges and river edges. You might want an open tent experience under the skies, or a luxury glamping cabin, high in the mountains – and ‘The North’ has all this and more. From the North Coast to Lough Erne, here’s our top picks for camping in the region.
If tents aren’t your thing, pitch up a caravan at Deighans Caravans, a short walk away from the glorious Benone Strand, in Limavadey, County Londonderry. It sits on the edge of Binevenagh Mountain and comes with beautiful views of the wide coast and mountain backdrop, plus a range of facilities. As a NITB rated five-star resort, the park has a shower block, electric hookup and more outdoor activities than you can fit in your weekend, including the nearby Downhill Forest and stables. Be sure to check out the famous Mussenden Temple, an ancient library that sits atop the Downhill cliffs.
This amazing campsite is located in Tandragee, where you can choose your stay in a traditional teepee, a gypsy caravan, or geodesic dome (which is amazing as it sounds). Tradition and simplicity is the mantra; the experience hopes to bring visitors closer to history, closer to nature, and further away from their mobile phones. You’ll fall in love with your chosen lodge, which includes room for two adults and children and a unique design to fit the theme of the stay. You can check out the website for exact specifications for all lodges.
Wouldn’t every child love to play in a park that overlooks an ancient causeway designed by giant’s? In Ballycastle, the Causeway Holiday Park lies east of the famous UNESCO-listed sight and possibly offers the best view of Northern Ireland. With full facilities and walking distance to Ballycastle and the wider Glens of Antrim, it’s a great base to travel to and from and it provides all the essential facilities visitors will need for the stay. For the more luxury campers, there’s also an indoor pool!
Pitch up a tent at Dungannon Park in Tyrone and sleep under the stars in the heart of the Ulster land. This park is best for fishing and activity trips, with a surrounding lake for game fishing and 70-acre land for anything else. Waking up to a lakeside view will never look so serene. The popular Dungannon walking trail takes visitors through the campsite, into the surrounding land, over wooden bridges and along the freshwater lake – you’ll feel at home with nature here. If you aren’t planning a hike, be sure to visit the nearby Oxford Island Nature Reserve, a National Reservation for several species’ of birds which sits at the edge of Northern Ireland’s largest lake, Lough Neagh.
Clogher Valley is one of Northern Ireland’s most remote locations, and includes its own campsite in Fivemiletown, County Tyrone. There are a number of facilities to include showers but most visitors provide their own essentials. The views are rewarding and the atmosphere is utterly peaceful. Situated close to the Blessingbourne Mountain Bike Trail, the site is tailored for experienced mountain bikers who want to experience the countryside in exhilaration. Try out the red trail for the most extreme route, which takes roughly one hour and is not for the faint of heart. More details about the Blessingbourne Bike Trails can be found here.
The small town of Cushendun in County Antrim is a wonderful destination along the Northern Coast, where visitors can camp in an unusual dome cabin deep in the woodlands. If you aren’t a fan of open tents, try out the glamping experience in one of four hard-standing lodges, which all have their own shower room and TV – and room for five! Some of the cabins are placed to give you the greatest view of the coast, all the way to the Mull of Kintyre. Be sure to visit Cushendun and the surrounding coastal destinations, including Torr Head and Cushendall, further South.
The town of Rostrevor, beyond Warrenpoint is an unspoilt gem in Northern Ireland’s countryside. Kilbroney Park is one of the best places to park a camper or pitch a tent, for its amazing views of Carlingford Lough, just across the water, in Ireland. You’ll love the Rostrevor forest trails, which lead to the famous Cloughmore Stone high into the mountains – visitors can also drive part of the way due to the steepness and duration of the trails. Also check out the nearby Fairy Glen, a magical walking trail through waterfalls, meadows and woodland trees. This area has to be on top of any camper’s list.
You’ll never experience the Mournes quite like this, in a luxury glamping pod high into the mountain range. The mountain centre is situated just outside the beautiful border town of Rostrevor, in Knockbarragh Valley. Not only are there smaller glamping pods at this destination, there’s a communal catering area for large groups staying together. A great place to stay if you are planning a sporting activity, this company owns the National Mountain Bike Centre nearby and a water sports centre at Carlingford Lough. With such beautiful views of the Lough, you might prefer to pitch a tent – the centre has camping space for 40 tents and an excellent BBQ and shower facility. If you truly want to sleep under the stars, this mountain centre is the safest way to do so in the region!