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Ireland

Best Day Trips from Belfast

Belfast Lough. Medieval Norman Castle in Carrickfergus in sunrise light. Aerial view with marina, yachts, parking, breakwater, sediments and far view of Belfast in the background

Belfast in Northern Ireland is a bustling city, known for its impressive Titanic museum, the busy St. George’s Market with a wide array of food and craft stalls as well as natural sites and remarkable viewing points like the Cave Hill. During your visit to Belfast, make sure not to miss the Peace Walls; they separate neighbourhoods that used to be predominantly Catholic and predominantly Protestant.

This impressive landmark goes through the city and serves as a memorial of turbulent times of religious conflicts. When you feel like escaping the urban bustle, look into day trips from Belfast. The city is a great hub for excursions around Northern Ireland, let us guide you through the best ones!

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Day trip from Belfast to the Dunluce Castle 

Close to the village of Portrush, overlooking the sea, you will find the Dunluce Castle. Because of its incredible scenery, the castle has been used in movies and TV shows, most recently in “Game of Thrones”. The Dunluce Castle was built in the early 1500s, but nowadays only the ruins are left for the visitors to walk around. There are no formal exhibitions, rather the artefacts are displayed in transparent cases among the ruined castle walls. 

You can reach the castle via a narrow bridge and from there explore the ruins and enjoy the beautiful views. You will receive a handout guide when you enter the castle, and if you need more information on the background of this historical site, the small visitor’s centre is projecting a short video. The visitor’s centre also has interactive expositions great for families visiting with children.

Below the ruins of Dunluce Castle there is another tourist attraction; a sea cave known as “Mermaid’s Cave”. It is believed that the natural tunnel was once used for escaped during attacks against the castle.

As one of Game of Thrones filming locations, the castle is a popular destination for tourists. Located only 60 miles from Belfast, you can easily rent a car and arrange a trip on your own or book a day tour with a tour agency.

Day trip from Belfast to the Dunluce Castle 

Ruins of medieval Dunluce Castle on a steep cliff. Northern coast of County Antrim Northern Ireland UK. Aerial view.

Day trip from Belfast to Glasgow 

You can start your Belfast to Glasgow day trip with a visit to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum; it houses pieces of French impressionist art, and the museum itself is an impressive piece of architecture, built of red sandstone in the Spanish baroque style. We also recommend visiting the Hunterian Art Gallery; visually it is quite different, as its modern concrete structure was raised in the 1960s. The gallery houses exhibitions of modern and contemporary art. 

Curious to see a collection of modern and classic vehicles? Head to the Zaha Hadid-designed Riverside Museum! Check out the Science Centre too! It is home to a planetarium, an IMAX cinema and several galleries. Visitors looking for an adrenaline rush should try the revolving tower; it provides views of the city from a height of almost 130 metres!

A popular tourist attraction is the Clydeside Distillery; it is located in the old Pumphouse building and has a wide range of impressive distilling facilities. It is a great place to learn more about the whisky distilling process and the single malts are often paired with freshly made chocolates!

There are several ways of getting from Belfast to Glasgow; there are even budget flights between the two cities if you want to arrange a trip on your own. We also recommend having a look at day trips from Belfast to Scotland with agencies online!

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - Glasgow square and building city chambers in Glasgow

Day trip from Belfast to Giant’s Causeway 

Belfast tours to Giant’s Causeway are one of our favourite picks for a reason! Regarded as a symbol of Northern Ireland, the Causeway Coast and the Giant’s Causeway are an area of amazing sights and geological importance. The most characteristic feature is the 40.000 large basalt columns, formed as a result of an ancient volcanic eruption. The columns are sticking out of the sea; arranged in perfect horizontal sections, they form a pavement. Giant’s Causeway has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1986, and the place has been an inspiration of many legends about giants striding over the sea. 

You can follow the narrow coastal trek up to the Giant’s Causeway; the hike will take approximately 2 hours. Before you start exploring the stones, check out the visitors’ centre to learn more about the myths and the geo-history of the site through a series of interactive exhibitions. You can also pick up an audio guide for more information as you explore the stones. The access to the stones is free, but there is a fee for entering the visitors’ centre.

The Giant’s Causeway will always be a stunning site to visit, but you can also look for a Giant’s Causeway Day Trip from Belfast that brings you to this magical site by sunrise; an unforgettable experience guaranteed! 

Day trip from Belfast to Giant’s Causeway 

Landscape around Giant's Causeway, A UNESCO world heritage site.It is located in County Antrim on the north coast of Northern Ireland, United Kingdom.

Northern Highlights Guided Tour – The Best of Northern Ireland

If you want to see more of Northern Ireland’s highlights than the Giant’s Causeway in one trip, we recommend booking a Northern Highlights Guided Tour. This tour encompasses not only the major tourist attractions but also the lesser-known sights. You will journey along the picturesque Antrim Coast, and make your first stop at the Giant’s Causeway (Northern Ireland’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site).

The tour continues to Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, where the first rope bridge between the mainland and Carrick-a-Rede Island was installed in the 18th century. Today’s bridge is made of sturdy wire and hangs 7,6 meters above the sea waters. The trip will end at Glenariff Nature Reserve that you can reach from Glenariff Forest Park following a designated trail (known as the Waterfall Walk). You will hike through the river gorge and past spectacular waterfalls. The natural conditions are ideal for ferns, mosses and other animal species; look out for rare fauna!

“Northern Highlights Guided Tour – The Best of Northern Ireland” tour is a convenient option for time-conscious travellers and those who do not feel comfortable travelling around Northern Ireland on their own. The entire journey will be accompanied by a tour guide who will share fun facts and historical information. This day trip includes hotel pick-up and drop-off from your Belfast accommodation.

Northern Highlights Guided Tour – The Best of Northern Ireland

Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, famous rope bridge near Ballintoy in County Antrim, linking the mainland to the tiny island of Carrickarede. One of the most iconic tourist attractions in Nothern Ireland.

Game of Thrones Tour from Belfast 

One of the reasons why “Game of Thrones” has become a TV sensation is the breathtaking scenery. You would be surprised how many of the Game of Thrones filming locations can be found in Northern Ireland.

The Game of Thrones Tour from Belfast is perfect for fans of the popular TV show, but even if you are not familiar with the series, this tour is one of our recommended day trips. It will not only take you around the many filming locations; you will also see many other highlights of Northern Ireland’s north coast like the Giant’s Causeway, Dunluce Castle and the Larrybane Bay (formed after the last ice age, when the sea waters were much higher than today) with the Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge. 

The Game of Thrones filming locations you will see on this tour include “Dragonstone” at Downhill demesne and Downhill beach, “Coast of Dorne” at Portstewart Strand and Ballintoy Harbour known from the show as “Lordsport Harbour”. You will also make a brief stop at the Dark Hedges that was turned into “the King’s Road”, featured in the show in scenes of Arya’s escape from King’s Landing. At each stop, you will have time to walk around and take photos, and some places you can even rent costumes and turn into some of your favourite characters from the show. 

Game of Thrones Tour from Belfast 

Northern Ireland - Mussenden Temple a popular tourist attraction on the Atlantic Ocean coast of Northern Ireland.

Day Trip from Belfast: Walking tours of the mountains of Ireland

If you are looking for active Northern Ireland day trips from Belfast, walking tours of the mountains of Northern Ireland will be a perfect pick! Led by a professional guide, you will explore the Mourne Mountains in the county of Armagh. It is an area of spectacular natural beauty; the mountains were shaped by 12.000 years ago by the last ice age. In the area, there are many species of local flora and fauna that your guide will introduce you to along the way. Depending on your fitness level, you can ask your guide to lead you all the way to the highest mountain in Northern Ireland, Slieve Donard (850 metres), or take an easier walk along a picturesque natural path.

After the hike, your guide will bring you to a megalithic burial site, examples of which can be found all over Northern Ireland. This tour can also be combined with a Giant’s Causeway day trip from Belfast; the excursion will become significantly longer (12 hours), but you will get the chance to add a visit to the only UNESCO Site in Northern Ireland to your trip!

Ben Crom Reservoir in the Mourne Mountains, County Down, Northern Ireland, seen at sunset

Belfast Murals Tour

To add variety to your Belfast day trips, we recommend taking a tour within the city too! During a Belfast Murals Tour, you are guaranteed to see a different side of the Northern Irish capital. The Belfast Murals serve as testimonials and memorials of key moments in the social, cultural and political history of Northern Ireland. You will find many murals around the Bogside Derry and Londonderry where the large communal riots (in the history of Northern Ireland known as “The Troubles”) broke out in 1969. The riots continued for 3 days, and eventually, the British army was called to restore the order.

Emerged from political chaos, the murals are now one of Belfast’s most recognizable social landmarks. Not only referring to the events from 1969, they tell stories of the long times of dispute and often-violent conflicts between Northern Irish Republicans and Loyalists during the 20th century. 

On this tour, you will be travelling in a classic black taxi with a local guide who will share with you personal stories from the time of violent conflicts and political disorder. A Belfast Murals Tour is easy to arrange with tour agencies online or on-site in Belfast, and the tours usually include hotel pick-up and drop-off.

Belfast Murals Tour

BELFAST NORTHERN IRELAND - Mural in Glenalina Road containing five portraits of the IRA members commemorated in Belfast Northern Ireland.

Recommended Best Day Trips from Belfast

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Best Day Trips from Belfast

Best Day Trips from Belfast

Best Day Trips from Belfast

Article written by:

Hi, my name is Samantha, Finance Managing Guru by day, Travel Blogging Enthusiast by... well... day too! Haha! Travelling King is the destination hotspot for the wannabe traveller! Showcasing affordable, luxurious getaways for the budget conscious! With the combination of my financial knowledge and travelling experiences I aim to show you, with a little planning, the right budget and a realistic goal you can fulfil your travel fantasies and explore the world whatever your budget or desires may be!