County Antrim Stories and Tips

Fabulous Coastline

Ballintoy is a small village - there is a youth hostel in the village and another further around the coast at White Park Bay (which probably has one of the best views of any youth hostel in the world), a few pubs and a shop, and a small playpark. But its not the village itself that is the attraction. In one direction, heading towards Ballycastle is the Carrick-a-rede rope bridge, but heading out of the village in the other direction towards Bushmills/Portrush you can see a small white church on the left-hand side and a road leading down to the harbour. Its a narrow road with some nice bends on it but once you reach the bottom you find a small car park. Its also a good way to get away from coach loads of tourists as the buses can't make it down the road - but in the summer it will be busy as lots of Northern Irish people know it as a place to stop on a day out.

The harbour itself is tiny, and so are any boats that are there. There is a small cafe/shop which is only open in the summer season. Unfortunetely this trip, there is work going on to spruce the place up - with new paths being laid and carpark redone, which took away some of the magic of this place. If you asked me before this trip were was my favourite place I would have answered Ballintoy harbour, but I think this time the magic has been lost. But its still lovely- there are lots of rocks to clamber over. If you head up the road, there is a small path way just up above the harbour that leads to a small sandy cove.

However, normally if I visit, I don't drive down to the harbour, I actually head out from Ballintoy village along the main road - there is a a wonderful place to stop a bit out of the village for a view before heading to White Park Bay. There is a youth hostel here- but the National Trust maintain the beach area - a wonderful sandy beach with sand dunes and crashing breakers. I normally park in the car park here - and head down the steep and stony path with steps down to the beach, and walk the length of the beach and round the headland and onto the harbour at Ballintoy - enjoy a cuppa and head back - its a good few miles - but the setting is magnificent for a walk! But time didn't permit this time, as it was a quick sightseeing tour with my American friend - but its on my list for the near future as even being up there made me remember why I loved it so much! And maybe I can reclaim the magic and make it my favourite place once again ( but there are some many other wonderful places to choose from as well!)

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