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Antrim Coast and Belfast? -- weekend trip

Antrim Coast and Belfast? -- weekend trip

Old Mar 23rd, 2013, 11:48 PM
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Antrim Coast and Belfast? -- weekend trip

As we start our final year here in the UK, I'm taking a look at my bucket list, so to speak, and would really like to see the Giant's Causeway. The best time for us to fit that in is going to be over the August bank holiday weekend and would entail a Friday-Monday roundtrip into Belfast City. We are a family of 4 (kids 14 & 11) and will hire a car.

So, heading north is a given. Thought we would target Bushmills for that portion of the trip: Giant's Causeway, Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, Dunluce castle, and perhaps Rathlin Island.

Question is, should be plan for a day in Belfast as well? Normally we like to take in some history in addition to the great outdoors. Belfast history is largely of a more recent variety and one that we are only notionally aware.

One night in Belfast then or stay north and perhaps walk around the Antrim Mountains and Glens? or something else that I've not yet considered?

Ultimately, that's a choice that only we can make but I'm interested in hearing your feedback.
indy_dad is offline  
Old Mar 24th, 2013, 08:19 AM
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Have you thought about the Titantic exhibition in Belfast. I haven't been there myself but have heard good reports.
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Old Mar 24th, 2013, 09:04 AM
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You need to fit in the Titanic exhibition and the Assembly building, you could also do a tour of the troubles and that would be worth it to fill any gaps in your knowledge, I'm not sure ow you get a balanced view though there probably are dual sectarian tours.

There is a motorbike race on main roads in the west around the August bank holiday and you need to watch out for that, partially as the roads can be closed for the race and partially because the regular deaths during training means that the roads are closed to pick up the bits. I've only just caught one flight out of the place due to this.

As well as those listed I would include Derry London Derry as an actual visit.
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Old Mar 24th, 2013, 09:04 AM
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Belfast is a goodly-sized city, with lots to offer. Nearby is Carrickfergus Castle, the Ship Yards of Harlan & Woolfe and the new, Titanic Experience.
A viable alternative might be Derry. It was our personal favorit, Northern Ireland city. It has a similar 'Recent History', yet also offers the City Walls Tour, for those interested in something further removed from the 'Troubles'. Weather (and time) permitting, a trip to Grianan of Aileach takes you even deeper into the past.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grianan_of_Aileach

Bob
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Old Mar 28th, 2013, 08:47 AM
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I would definitely consider one night and one day in Belfast. As the other already suggested, the Titanic Exhibition Centre is worth a visit, it is so much more than a simple museum, it is a combination of interactive galleries. You will learn and take part in the fascinating history of the famous ship! I'd also recommend a Black taxi Tour, a great way to get to know more about the interesting past of the city. Take a stroll in the Botanic Gardens, they are lovely, especially on a sunny day Last thing, if you have time check out the Mussenden Temple on the Antrim Coast.
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Old Mar 28th, 2013, 07:17 PM
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I would DEFINITELY include a day in Belfast. The recent history of this city is fascinating and it is someplace that I never thought I'd be able to visit due to "The Troubles". I was so pleased to find such a vibrant city with such lovely people. (In fact, one of my children did a semester of study abroad in Belfast. I never would have imagined it!)

Anyway, I would recommend doing the double-decker HO/HO bus for 2 reasons: 1) you get great views of the city, particularly the murals along Shankill Road and Falls Road and 2) the commentary is non-partisan, unlike what I understand you get from the Black Taxi tours.

Another interesting activity would be having lunch in a snug at the Crown Bar. We thoroughly enjoyed our lunch in that architectually fascinating place and your children should especially enjoy the uniqueness of a snug. I'd book this in advance as there are a limited number of snugs.

We stayed at the Avenue Guesthouse in Belfast and I would highly recommend it. Unfortunately, they do not have family rooms, but if you don't mind splitting up, I think you would enjoy it. The location is a residential area close to the Botanic Gardens (which are lovely and free) and only about a 20 minute walk to the CBD. The owners are so friendly and were quite helpful to us in organizing our plans and finding restaurants.

Finally, if you are looking for some scenic, but not too strenuous walks, consider the waterfalls walk in Glenariff Forest Park on your way from Belfast to the Giant's Causeway.
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Old Apr 7th, 2013, 07:51 AM
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Thanks for the replies.

I was actually leaning towards a "rural" weekend up north but seems the consensus is to spend the last night (and day) in Belfast.
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Old Apr 8th, 2013, 05:20 AM
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I am so sorry to hear that your time as an ex-pat is coming to an end! I will really miss your tales of travel with kids!
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Old Apr 8th, 2013, 05:23 AM
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You can easily spend a week along the Antrim coast and exploring the glens - so much beauty to see! Glenariff Forest was a lovely walk for us one afternoon. And of course, the causeway, the rope bridge - be prepared for fantastic views!
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