Find the nearest See & Do in Antrim
Heading to Antrim and looking for something to do or a place to visit nearby. Coast Radar is not just a list of beaches but we bring you the whole Antrim coast including castles, lighthouses, piers, museums, beautiful gardens, seaside towns, National Trust and other heritage properties.
When on an information page you can also use our tools to search for nearby Antrim seaside towns, and the surrounding coast for the best beaches and places to stay and eat.
Finding the best things to see and do on a Antrim day out with your family or friends is easy – simply explore the links below, to find the closest hit the jump to my location compass or use the search bar to plan where your next Antrim activity could be.
- Carrickfergus Castle is preserved as an ancient monument on the shore of Belfast Lough. John de Courcy, the Anglo-Norman baron who conquered much of Ulster, started building the castle in the 1170s and it remained in use 1928, seeing action until World War II. It was built and re-built three times, and still stands today. Carrickfergus Castle is a self-guiding attraction with information boards situated around the Castle to allow you to spend as much or as little time as you wish. The banqueting hall has been fully restored and there are many exhibits to show what life was like in medieval times. A visitor centre has maps an other items for sale, also guided tours of the Castle can be arranged.
- Cave Hill Country Park offers some nice panoramic views across Belfast and waymarked walking trails suitable for casual walkers or more serious ramblers. The country park includes Cave Hill Adventurous Playground, archaeological sites, Cave Hill Visitor Centre, an eco-trail, gardens, orienteering routes, and refreshments in Belfast Castle. Its most famous feature, known as ‘Napoleon’s Nose’ is a basaltic outcrop which resembles the profile of the famous emperor Napoleon. The park is named after caves located on the side of the cliffs, and there are three large man-made caves thought to have been originally excavated for iron-mining. Adjacent to the lowest cave is ‘The Devil’s Punchbowl’, also sometimes called ‘The Devil’s Cauldron’, a site where ancient Celtic farmers corralled their cattle. This consists mainly of a steep hill, mainly of rocks and boulders, and is considered dangerous to amateurs. McArt’s Fort on the summit of the hill is an example of an old ráth or ring fort protected on one side by a precipice and on the others by a single ditch, 10 feet (3.0 m) in depth and 25 feet (7.6 m) in width. The enclosed area is nearly level. It is believed that the fort’s inhabitants used the caves to store white foods for the winter and may have served as a refuge during times of attack.
- Glenarm Castle is one of Ireland’s oldest estates. Visitors can enjoy the beautiful scenery and walks in our historic Walled Garden and Castle Trail, excellent locally sourced food in our Tea Room and a visit to our shop. The castle itself is the home of Viscount and Viscountess Dunluce and their family, the inside of the Castle is only occasionally open to the public for guided tours. The walled garden has seasonal opening times.
- Dunluce Castle is a now-ruined medieval castle. It is located on the edge of a basalt outcropping in County Antrim (between Portballintrae and Portrush), and is accessible via a bridge connecting it to the mainland. The castle is surrounded by extremely steep drops on either side, which may have been an important factor to the early Christians and Vikings who were drawn to this place where an early Irish fort once stood. In the 1200s Richard Og de Burgh, 2nd Earl of Ulster, built the first castle at Dunluce. It is first documented in the hands of the MacQuillin family in 1513. The earliest features of the castle are two large drum towers about 9 metres (30 ft) in diameter on the eastern side, both relics of a stronghold built here by the MacQuillins after they became lords of the district, the chieftain of which was known as Lord of the Route, in the late 14th century. Later it became the home of the chief of the Clan MacDonnell of Antrim and the Clan MacDonald of Dunnyveg from Scotland. Chief John Mor MacDonald was the second son of Good John of Islay, Lord of the Isles, 6th chief of Clan Donald in Scotland. John Mor MacDonald was born through John of Islay’s second marriage to Princess Margaret Stewart, daughter of King Robert II of Scotland. In 1584, on the death of James MacDonald the 6th chief of the Clan MacDonald of Antrim and Dunnyveg, the Antrim Glens were seized by Sorley Boy MacDonnell, one of his younger brothers. Sorley Boy took the castle, keeping it for himself and improving it in the Scottish style. Sorley Boy swore allegiance to James IV of Scotland and his son Ranald was made Randal MacDonnell, 1st Earl of Antrim by Queen Elizabeth. Four years later, the Girona, a galleass from the Spanish Armada was wrecked in a storm on the rocks nearby. The cannon from the ship were installed in the gatehouses and the rest of the cargo sold, the funds being used to restore the castle. MacDonnell’s granddaughter Rose was born in the castle in 1613. At one point, part of the kitchen next to the cliff face collapsed into the sea, after which the wife of the owner refused to live in the castle any longer. According to a legend, when the kitchen fell into the sea only a kitchen boy survived, as he was sitting in the corner of the kitchen which did not collapse. Dunluce Castle served as the seat of the Earl of Antrim until the impoverishment of the MacDonnells in 1690, following the Battle of the Boyne. Since that time, the castle has deteriorated and parts were scavenged to serve as materials for nearby buildings. Article taken from wikipedia.
- The Belfast Botanic Gardens was established in 1828 by the Belfast Botanic and Horticultural Society and is home to the Palm House and the Tropical Ravine. The Palm House contains a range of tropical plants, hanging baskets, seasonal displays and birds of paradise. This early example of a glasshouse was designed by Sir Charles Lanyon, completed in 1840, although the dome was added in 1852. The Tropical Ravine built in 1889 contains some of the oldest seed plants around today, as well as banana, cinnamon, bromeliad and orchid plants.