Things to do in County Antrim – Seven Days On The Antrim Coast

Situated in the heart of Northern Ireland, County Antrim is a true gem that captivates visitors with its stunning natural landscapes and rich cultural tapestry. Bushmills, Co. Antrim and the entire North Antrim Coast provide the backdrop for a romantic break to remember. If you are looking for something special, off the beaten path and completely different to your average Hotel break then you have come to the right place – stay at Drum Gatelodge, a unique property conserved and restored by Irish Landmark Trust, offering a taste of the area’s heritage and the perfect location to visit the best of County Antrim. 

Marvel at the Giant’s Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its fascinating basalt columns formed by ancient volcanic activity. Take a thrilling walk across the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge suspended over the crashing waves below. Explore the stunning Causeway Coastal Route with its breathtaking cliffs and seascapes.

Delve into the area’s cultural heritage at the Old Bushmills Distillery, where you can learn about whiskey-making and sample the celebrated Bushmills Irish Whiskey. Visit the historic Dunluce Castle, perched dramatically on a cliff edge, or discover the region’s past at the Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre.

Where to Stay in County Antrim: Drum Gatelodge

For a romantic and unique getaway, stay at Drum Gatelodge. This pretty two-story gatehouse was built in 1800 at the end of a long tree-lined avenue on the Ballylough Estate. Located on a quiet country road just outside Bushmills, Drum Gatelodge makes an ideal base for exploring the amazing North Antrim Coast. After a day of sightseeing along the coastal routes or visiting historic sites, you can relax at this cosy retreat with modern amenities like underfloor heating.

Wake up to bird songs and enjoy the peaceful countryside surroundings. Drum Gatelodge offers a unique experience staying in a private, charming property while discovering the beauty of County Antrim. Whether enjoying a romantic trip or just getting away from it all, Drum Gatelodge promises a memorable stay in this picturesque part of Antrim, Northern Ireland.

A classical gatelodge with round tower, set in woodland.

Day One – A Tour of The Giants Causeway

Start your adventure by visiting the Giant’s Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its remarkable basalt columns formed by ancient volcanic activity. Incredibly, this natural wonder formed 60 million years ago. At the Visitor Center, you can learn about the Causeway.

Guided tours depart regularly from the centre, providing an opportunity to delve deeper into the history and stories behind the Giant’s Causeway. Don’t miss the iconic sights, such as the Giant’s Boot and the Wishing Chair, which are sure to captivate your imagination.

To make your visit even more eco-friendly and cost-effective, consider arriving by public transport, bicycle, or on foot. You’ll not only save money on admission fees but also contribute to preserving the natural beauty of the area.

For those seeking an adventurous experience, embark on the 5-mile Clifftop Experience Walk. This scenic trek departs daily from the visitor centre at 12:15 pm, taking you along the breathtaking cliff tops to the historic Dunseverick Castle before returning to the Giant’s Causeway. The walk, which lasts approximately 3.5 hours, offers stunning views and a chance to immerse yourself in the rugged coastal landscapes.

Basalt rock formations protruding from the sea at the Giant's Causeway

Day Two – Causeway Coast Scenic Route: Bushmills to Derry

Take a drive along the Causeway Coastal Route, a scenic drive that stretches from Bushmills to Derry. Although the direct route takes approximately an hour without stops, be prepared to spend much more time as you uncover the hidden gems and secret places that dot this enchanting coastal road.

Don’t be afraid to venture off the beaten path – getting lost is part of the adventure, and the friendly locals are always willing to lend a hand and guide you back onto the right track. Embrace the opportunity to discover hidden coves, quaint villages, and stunning viewpoints that might not be on the typical tourist map.

Make a stop in the charming town of Ballintoy, where you can explore the harbour and perhaps catch a glimpse of the iconic Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge in the distance. Continue your journey through the picturesque villages of Cushendun and Cushendall, nestled in the heart of the Glens of Antrim.

Take your time and savour the journey, stopping at charming seaside towns for a refreshing break or a delicious meal featuring locally sourced seafood and produce. Engage with the warm and welcoming locals, who will undoubtedly share fascinating stories and insights about the area’s traditions and way of life.

Coastal cliffs overlooking blue water on a sunny day

Day Three – Portstewart Strand Beach

After exploring the Causeway Coastal Route, on your third day, enjoy a visit to Portstewart Beach(20 minute drive), one of Northern Ireland’s most beautiful stretches of sand. Take in stunning views of the Inishowen headland and Mussenden Temple on the cliffs above. As a conservation site, it offers way-marked trails to explore the natural surroundings.

Visit the nearby Bann Estuary, a sanctuary for waterfowl and wading birds like curlew and redshank. The hide on the west side of the River Bann provides an excellent opportunity for birdwatching.

Lunch at Harry’s Shack

Harry’s Shack is located on the Portstewart Strand beachfront, serving fresh local fish, meats, vegetables and more from a wide menu. This is a very popular place to eat with beachgoers and locals alike, catering for everyone with brunch, lunch and dinner menus. 

Day Four – Golf & Spa Day

Royal Portrush Golf Club

On the fourth day of your adventure, head to the renowned Portrush Golf Club (10 minute drive), home to the prestigious Royal Portrush Golf Club, which hosted The Open Championship in 2019. This historic links course, established in 1888, offers a true test of golfing skill and has earned its place among the world’s finest golf destinations.

The Dunluce Links, the club’s flagship course, is a masterpiece of golf course architecture. Designed by the legendary Harry Colt, the course seamlessly blends with the rugged coastal landscape, providing breathtaking views of the North Atlantic Ocean. The challenging layout, with its undulating fairways, devilish bunkers, and testing greens, demands precision and strategy from even the most seasoned golfers.

Coastal golf club at Portrush, Antrim

A Spa Visit

Alternatively, you could consider a visit to a local spa – there are numerous renowned options in the area. The Spa at Galgorm (30-minute drive)  is an award-winning, world-class spa that offers a wide range of luxurious treatments and facilities. Set within the stunning grounds of the Galgorm Resort, this spa is renowned for its tranquil atmosphere and exceptional service.

Take a dip in the outdoor hot tub, which overlooks the serene River Maine, or relax in the indoor pool, surrounded by natural stone and cascading waterfalls. For the ultimate in relaxation, book a Riverside Tub experience, where you can unwind in a private, wood-fired hot tub nestled along the riverbank.

You could also try the seaweed baths at nearby Ballycastle and enjoy a seaweed bath or one of their relaxation treatments (10 minute drive). 

Day Five – Rent Bikes & Go for A Cycle

Rent a bike and embark on a self-guided tour along the stunning Causeway Coastal Route. Enjoy breathtaking ocean views, historic sites, charming towns, and quiet country roads. Local rental shops provide quality bikes and all necessary equipment.  If you’re up for a longer cycle, you could visit  the iconic Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, where you can test your courage by crossing the 20-metre-long bridge suspended nearly 30 metres above the waves.

The self-guided tour allows you to stop whenever and wherever you like, giving you the freedom to appreciate the vistas, take photos, and create lasting memories. The quiet country roads provide a peaceful and intimate way to explore this enchanting corner of Ireland.

Day Six – Visit The Bushmills Distillery 

No visit to the Causeway Coast is complete without a stop at the historic Bushmills Distillery, the oldest licensed whiskey distillery in the world. Located just a stone’s throw from the Giant’s Causeway, this iconic distillery has been crafting exceptional Irish whiskey since 1608.

Join one of the guided tours to uncover the secrets behind the smooth and distinctive flavour of Bushmills whiskey. Learn about the process of mashing, fermenting, distilling, and ageing that goes into every bottle. Experienced guides will walk you through the distillery, sharing fascinating insights into the history and tradition of Irish whiskey-making.

See the giant copper stills where the whiskey is distilled, and inhale the rich, malty aroma that fills the air. Visit the ageing warehouses where the whiskey matured in oak casks for years, developing its complex flavour profile and golden hue.

At the end of the tour, head to the tasting room for a chance to sample some of Bushmills’ finest whiskeys. 

Tour and Whisky tasting at a distillery

Day Seven – Take a Causeway Coast Food Tour

To finish off your trip, take a Causeway Coast Food Tour. These tours are a great way to try local produce, meet passionate food producers, and learn about the area’s food history. Enjoy the freshest seafood straight from the Atlantic and see how local chefs are putting new twists on traditional dishes. 

During the tour, your guide will share interesting stories about the region’s food culture and the importance of using local ingredients. You’ll also get to meet and chat with the food producers themselves, learning about their passion for their craft.

Places to Eat in Bushmills

There are a number of lovely places to eat in Bushmills while you visit.

The Bushmills Inn: An award-winning restaurant, excellent afternoon tea and delicious Sunday Lunch. It has nice al fresco dining options on a sunny day.

Tartines at The Distillers Arms: Chic, modern Brasserie Style with great local ingredients. 

The Fullerton Arms in Ballintoy (15 minutes from Bushmills): is popular with our guests, particularly those who have dogs as dogs are welcome there. 

As with all of our properties, The Drum is equipped with all you will need to have a fully self-catered holiday – but we do offer some interesting options beyond this! Irish Landmark Trust and premium meal delivery service Hara at Home have teamed up to offer guests the option of ordering premium meal delivery at their Irish Landmark Trust property. Visit the Hara Home site to have a look at the menus and make your selection for the date required. Order and make payment directly with Hara at Home. Your House Manager will receive your delivery and have it for you at the property on arrival. Please note this service is available for Friday arrivals only.

When to visit County Antrim

Bushmills and the Causeway Coast are wonderful destinations to visit any time of the year, with each season offering its own unique charm and a wide variety of events and activities to enjoy.

One of the most exciting events in the area is the annual Bushmills Salmon and Whiskey Festival, which takes place every autumn. This festival celebrates two of the region’s most iconic products – its world-famous whiskey and its delicious salmon – and features a diverse programme of activities and events. 

In addition to the Salmon and Whiskey Festival, there are numerous other events happening throughout the year in the Causeway Coast and Glens area. From music festivals and food markets to sporting events and cultural celebrations, there’s always something exciting going on. To discover the full list of events and plan your visit accordingly, check out Causeway Coast and Glens.

When booking your stay at the charming Drum Gatelodge or any other Irish Landmark Trust property, keep in mind that the longer you stay, the more affordable the nightly rate becomes. With so much to see and do in the area, it’s well worth considering extending your visit by an extra night or two to fully immerse yourself in the beauty and culture of the Causeway Coast. To book your stay visit The Old Corn Mill’s page.

Please note that these suggestions are meant to help you plan your trip and are based on information available as of Spring 2024. Always check individual websites for the most up-to-date opening times and booking details before finalising your itinerary.

Featured Property

Salterbridge Gatelodge

Salterbridge Gatelodge, located in the glorious Blackwater valley, dates from the mid 19th Century.

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It is possible to reserve dates online at but bookings are not confirmed until a confirmation email is received from the bookings desk.     


Your booking must be for holiday purposes only.  Irish Landmark reserve the right to refuse hire for purposes other than holiday accommodation. When you make a booking, you accept full responsibility for all persons who will use or visit the property during the period booked.  When you book, you agree to indemnify us against all loss and damage arising directly or indirectly to the property and its contents from any deliberate or negligent act or omission by yourself, or any person accompanying you. 


The hiring contract shall be between the Hirer and Irish Landmark and made subject to these Booking Conditions . The Contract of Hire is not effective until Irish Landmark dispatches to the Hirer written confirmation of a booking. 


Irish Landmark reserves the right to increase or decrease the price of unsold holidays at any time. However, such amendments to price will not be applied to holidays already confirmed.   


All prices quoted are based on current prices and rates of V.A.T. at the time of going to press. Irish Landmark is unable to absorb increases in Value Added Tax or any new forms of taxation which may be introduced. Any such increases will be charged as notified and will be payable. 


All bookings can be paid for in full at time of booking. All bookings made within 12 weeks of stay must be paid in full at time of booking. Bookings made more than 12 weeks in advance of stay require a 30% non-refundable deposit with the balance due 12 weeks before arrival.  Irish Landmark shall be entitled to treat any failure to pay by the due date as a cancellation of the booking and will notify the Hirer by email.  The maximum number of payments for a booking will be limited to two – the deposit and balance payment.   A separate payment may be due where an amendment has been made to the original booking.  


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Payments for properties in the Republic of Ireland are taken in Euros, payments for properties in Northern Ireland are taken in Great British Pounds. 


Please note that only one voucher can be used per booking.  Vouchers have a strict expiry date. 


Upon receipt of payment by our bookings office, you will receive a confirmation of your reservation.  All charges for the booking will be confirmed in this notification.  Once confirmation has been issued, the Hirer is responsible for the total advertised price of the property and any extras notified.   

AMENDMENTS TO BOOKINGS (excluding cancellations):    

Irish Landmark does not offer a transfer of dates option. A complete change of dates is treated as a cancellation 

CANCELLATION POLICY: We hope that you will not have to cancel your stay, or part of your reservation.  If for any reason this is unavoidable, cancellations must be notified by email to In the event of cancellation (this includes a reduction in number of nights) your deposit is non-refundable and the following cancellation charges will apply:  

Date of Cancellation 

Cancellation Charge 

More than 12 weeks before start date 

The deposit of 30% 

84 – 28 days before start date 

50% of total rental 

Fewer than 28 days 

100% of total rental 

Irish Landmark does not operate a cancellation insurance scheme for any reason, including Covid-19, and strongly recommends that all guests take out full holiday insurance cover.    

PARTY SIZE AND COMPOSITION:  In no circumstances may more than the number of persons listed on the booking form occupy the property overnight.   Irish Landmark reserves the right to refuse admission if this condition is not observed. Bookings can only be made by adults and cannot be accepted from anyone under the age of 21.  Irish Landmark only allows guest stays where the lead guest is aged 21 years or over.   


Upon receipt of final payment, you will receive Access Details and Important Information via email about your rental. This includes the contact information of the Local House Manager, directions to the property, arrival and departure time, etc. However, the specific arrival time must be agreed with the relevant local House Manager at least four days prior to holiday start date.  It is the responsibility of the Hirer to arrive at the property at the time agreed with the House Manager. Irish Landmark reserves the right to levy an additional charge if the property is not vacated in accordance with these terms on the day of departure.  


The number of day visitors will be limited to the capacity of the property – i.e., a 2-person property may have 2 day visitors, etc.   Prior written consent must be obtained from Irish Landmark Trust for additional numbers of day visitors. 

PERSONAL BELONGINGS: Baggage and personal belongings are always at the Hirers risk. No responsibility can be accepted for loss or damage to any car or its contents. 


Only certain Irish Landmark Trust properties accept a dog.  ALWAYS check this before you book.  Hirers who have made a reservation and are taking a dog will be required to read and agree to special terms, which details the conditions of bringing a dog to one of these properties.  Failure to comply with these conditions could result in the guest being asked to leave a property.  The rental cost is non-refundable in such cases.   


Irish Landmark respectfully request that you charge your electric vehicle at the nearest charging point and not at the property.  


The Hirer is responsible for the property and is expected to take all reasonable care of it. Our House Managers work hard to maintain and clean the buildings and aim to ensure that the property is in a satisfactory condition for your enjoyment.  We ask that you leave the property in a clean and tidy condition upon departure, including all equipment, utensils etc. If the property is left in an unsatisfactory condition and additional cleaning costs are incurred, Irish Landmark reserves the right to recover these costs from the Hirer.   All breakages and damage must be reported to the House Manager immediately so that they can be rectified. All breakages and damage are the legal responsibility of the Hirer and the cost of repair or replacement must be paid to Irish Landmark upon demand.   If there are problems relating to the functioning of the building, please let the House Manager know immediately. Please note that candles are NOT permitted at any Irish Landmark property. Smoking is not allowed inside any Irish Landmark property. 


While every effort has been made to ensure that the representations stated on our website, or any printed literature, are made in good faith, neither they nor any oral representations made by employees or representatives of Irish Landmark Trust will create liability on the part of Irish Landmark. 


There shall be no liability for any claim arising from the act, omission or neglect or default of Irish Landmark Trust, its employees or representatives unless proved to be done with intent to cause damage or recklessly and with knowledge that loss or danger would probably result. Irish Landmark’s agents, servants and employees or other representatives have no authority to waive or modify these Conditions other than in writing. 


On rare occasions Irish Landmark may need access to the property for essential maintenance work, should it be necessary, Irish Landmark will give you as much notice as is possible.   There is no need for you to stay in the property since our House Manager can accompany any such visits. 


If you have any complaint during your holiday, please contact the House Manager.  If the matter is not dealt with to your satisfaction, please email outlining details of your complaint.   


Irish Landmark reserves the right to refuse any booking and cancel any booking already made, if in its absolute discretion it considers this to be necessary. Where a booking is cancelled by Irish Landmark, every effort will be made to offer an alternative holiday at no increase in cost.  If the Hirer does not accept the alternative holiday offered, Irish Landmark will return to the Hirer the deposit paid and any other sum paid to Irish Landmark by the Hirer.  Liability for all consequential loss, damage and disappointments is accordingly limited to such return. 


It is the hirer’s responsibility to ensure they book a specific dog-friendly property if they are bringing a dog.  There are specific terms and conditions that to which the hirer must adhere: 

We allow a dog, but only when they have been booked in and paid for. The “Taking a Dog” option must be selected at time of booking.  A charge will apply.  

Our policy is strictly ONE DOG. If you arrive at the property with more than one dog the House Manger is entitled to deny you access to the property.  If it becomes known during/after your stay that more than one dog is/was with you, you may be asked to vacate the property and a charge of €100/£100 per dog will apply. 

You must bring your own crate/bed in which your dog can sleep.  Please also bring bowls, towels, and waste bags for your dog. 

Your dog must be house-trained and kept under proper control.  Dogs are STRICTLY not permitted on beds, sofas, or any furniture.  There is no exception to this rule.  

Before departure, please thoroughly clean the property, paying particular attention to removing pet hair from rugs and soft furnishings.  A vacuum cleaner is available to you.   

If there is evidence that you have not cleaned up adequately after your stay, you will be charged a flat rate of €100/£100.   

You must double-check that the outside area around the property is free of any foul. Dog fouling inside the property is completely unacceptable.  Guests will be asked to vacate the premises immediately if this is discovered.  

Your dog must not be left unsupervised in the property.  We ask that you take your dog with you when you go out.  Please be mindful of any livestock nearby. 


By accepting a confirmation of a reservation from Irish Landmark the lead guest agrees: 


I have read and agree to be bound by the Booking Conditions. 

I agree to be held responsible for the balance of hire for the property due and payable in accordance with these terms. 

I understand that most Irish Landmark properties have no television or internet access; that some have no washing machines or dishwashers; and that many have limited mobile phone coverage. 

I understand that as the Lead Person, I am responsible, before their arrival, for informing all guests of Irish Landmark’s booking conditions, and for their observance of same. 

If I am bringing a pet or having day visitors, I have particularly noted the special conditions that apply in these situations 


Hirers making a reservation over the telephone are deemed to have read all Booking Conditions and agree to be bound by them.   


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Republic of Ireland
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Important Notes

1-night stays are not permitted.

Bank Holidays & Special Dates have a set minimum number of nights.

Deposits are strictly non-refundable & non-transferable.

Cancellation Fees will apply if you cancel your reservation.

Terms and Conditions apply to all bookings.

Special Offers and Discounts are not valid against existing bookings.

There are restrictions on arrival and departure dates over the Christmas and New Year periods.
Strictly no arrivals or departures on 24th, 25th and 31st of December.