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Day 1 – Belfast to Derry-Londonderry on the train
On arrival in Belfast, make your way to the station and board the train for your journey to Derry-Londonderry. You will discover the breath-taking beauty of Northern Ireland’s coastline from your window – gaze in awe as the train traces alongside sheer coastal rock faces and hugs the shore of glittering empty beaches. Keep your eyes peeled as you reach Benone Beach for the marble masterpiece that is Mussenden Temple, clinging to the cliff-edge. This journey is more than simply a means to get from A to B – it is a great introduction to one of the most beautiful corners of the UK.
Your Accommodation in Derry
Your base for the next two nights is a stylish and recently-opened property, created from substantial historic buildings in the city centre. Skilfully fusing the contemporary with traditional, original architectural features, and containing a comfortable champagne bar and sumptuous restaurant, the hotel embodies the new optimism at the heart of Derry’s recent rebirth. The city’s many attractions are right on the doorstep, and you’ll find a number of dining and entertainment options very close by.
Day 2 – Derry Walls Guided Walk
This morning you’re off on a tour around the ancient city walls of Derry. Your enthusiastic and informative local guide brings alive the stories of the city’s founding, the building of the walls in the 17th century to protect the border city from all comers, its descent during more recent history, and new-millennium rebirth as a vibrant and welcoming tourist destination.
The rest of the day is yours to explore this fascinating waterfront city at your leisure. Londonderry has been transformed in virtually every way since the advent of the peace process, and now you’ll find it a bustling, compact and friendly place, rich in fascinating recent history, quirky shops and cafes and, of course, a plethora of friendly Irish pubs.
Day 3 – Travel to the Causeway Coast
This morning you will head back up the coast to Coleraine. Make sure you look out for any sights you may have missed on your earlier train ride! On arrival in Coleraine, you will be met with a private transfer that will take you to your destination for the next two nights – the classic Causeway village of Bushmills.
Your Accommodation on the Causeway Coast
A genuine meeting point for travellers and locals alike, this inn buzzes with conviviality and conversation throughout the jigsaw puzzle of its interconnecting public rooms and twisting corners, at the heart of which lies a gas-lit 16th century snug, with soot-stained walls and ceilings and a pulley suspended above the peat-burning fireplace. Guest rooms are spacious and atmospheric, with individual character and attention to detail in keeping with the building’s charm.
Day 4 – Uncover the North Coast
There is so much more to the Causeway Coast than just the Giant’s Causeway itself. Today you will be collected from your hotel by our local guide to discover the road less travelled along this most famous coastline. Your tour will include many other magnificent sites including the much photographed Dunluce Castle – once the ancient seat of the Earl of Antrim – and also Carrick-a-Rede. Here those wanting to test their nerve can do so on an exhilarating rope bridge, which until recently served as a means of access for local fishermen to a salmon fishing station perched high on a rocky outcrop.
Day 5 – A Guided Tour of Rathlin Island
Your day begins as you are picked up by our hand-chosen local guide to embark on a day of discovery of one of the true gems of the north coast. You will travel to Ballycastle and jump on the ferry to Northern Ireland’s only inhabited offshore island – Rathlin. You will be accompanied today to ensure you make the most of your time on this unique island, including the renowned RSPB Seabird Centre, where puffins, razorbills and many more can be viewed in the early summer months.
Your Accommodation on Rathlin Island
Your lodging on Rathlin Island is a recently refurbished 18th-century Georgian manor house, in a superb location overlooking Church Bay.
Day 6 – Free Day on Rathlin Island
Today is yours at leisure to explore the remainder of this wonderful island. Rathlin is home to many tales of myth and mystery, and on a clear day you can see as far as the island of Islay and the Mull of Kintyre on the UK mainland. Fewer than 100 people call the island home, but each of them will greet you with open arms. We will provide recommendations of walks and landmarks to ensure you make the most of your free time.
Day 7 – Back to Belfast
This morning you bid a fond farewell to the tranquillity of island life in order to embrace the quicker pace of Northern Ireland’s capital city. After taking the ferry back to Ballycastle, your private driver will take you to your next base in the heart of Belfast, where the rest of the day is yours to spend as you wish.
Your Accommodation in Belfast
Your hotel for the next two nights is a locally-owned guest house close to the University area, and a mere 10-minute walk from the city centre. This AA four-star rated accommodation comes highly recommended, and is a comfortable base from which to enjoy the city. Rooms are adorned with fine fabrics, earthly toned soft furnishings, and sumptuous King Koil beds. There is a light and airy breakfast room and, within a few minutes’ walk, a host of restaurants and bars to suit all tastes and budgets; as they say, “in Belfast the craic is never far away”.
Day 8 – Sightseeing in Belfast
Today will be an extravaganza of sightseeing, allowing you to acquire a keen understanding of the varied culture and history of Belfast.
First, you will learn the history of arguably Belfast’s most famous icon, with a visit to Titanic Belfast. An architectural masterpiece in itself, step through the doors of the shining building and follow the story of the ship from its exhilarating birth to the ultimately heartbreaking conclusion, including innovative interactive exhibitions and full-scale reconstructions.
Later, you will be picked up by an enthusiastic local guide and taken on a black cab tour covering the more recent and turbulent story of Belfast, including the famous murals around the city. A short walking tour of the fascinating Cathedral Quarter can be included too, if you wish.
Day 9 – Depart from Belfast
Today your exploration of Northern Ireland’s spectacular north coast comes to a close as you depart from Belfast. We’ll be happy to help with onward travel arrangements.
A multi-centre holiday that combines stays in Derry-Londonderry, the Causeway Coast, Rathlin Island and Belfast.
£1045 per person in April & October, £1095 per person from May to September.
Price is based on two adults sharing a double or twin ensuite room for 8 nights on a bed and breakfast basis. The price includes return ferry travel to Rathlin island, private transfers, a guided tour of the Derry-Londonderry Walls and private guided tours of Causeway Coast, Rathlin Island and Belfast. It also includes entrance to the Titanic Centre.
Unfortunately we are unable to pre-book the trains for this holiday. However, we will include information on which trains to book and instructions on how to make the booking independently.
Before your departure, you will receive personalised holiday information including full directions, recommended routes, and suggestions on places to visit depending on your interests and our local knowledge to help you get the most from your holiday.
Travel to Ireland
We would be delighted to book your travel to Ireland for this holiday. Belfast has connections from many airports in Britain, and the holiday can also be arranged with train connections from Dublin.
All Ireland itineraries and room types are presented subject to availability at specific hotels.
All our holiday prices include a service charge of £9 per person per night towards the costs we incur in researching, planning and designing your holiday.
We guarantee to refund this service charge if you believe that arranging your holiday through McKinlay Kidd has not met your expectations for value. All we ask is that you write to us within 7 days of your return and explain your reason for claiming the refund. This will ensure that we can improve the experience for all our future guests.
I have known the Giant’s Causeway since I was a wee boy. We visited every summer during the school holidays and, like many, I was entranced by the s...
This holiday is available from March until October.
To check the latest availability for this holiday complete the form below or call us. We will respond to your availability check within one working day if at all possible. Please bear with us on this - we work with a hand-picked selection of smaller hotels, guest houses, and other independent businesses, ensuring that you have the chance to explore off the beaten track and really get under the skin of the destination.
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