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Gateway to adventure

Beyond Belfast

A coastal city, Belfast is located just 25 minutes from golden beaches, lush forests and beautiful countryside; landscapes and landmarks made famous by the HBO series Game of Thrones.

Head north along the Antrim coast to the Giant’s Causeway; south to the stunning Mourne Mountains, or explore Strangford Lough and Lough Neagh to the east and west, respectively.

The Causeway Coast

Belfast and the Causeway Coast was recently lauded as the number one region in the world by Lonely Planet (2017), and a road trip to the Giant’s Causeway is worth it just for the drive along the spectacular Antrim Coast Road. Walk in the footsteps of giants at this UNESCO World Heritage Site; surf the famous West Strand in Portrush or test your nerve crossing the death-defying Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge.

If you’re a fan of Game of Thrones, take a trip to the Dark Hedges, a twisted avenue of light and shade that doubles as the King’s Road in the series.

Causeway student guide

The Real-life Narnia

The picturesque Mourne Mountains is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the inspiration for C.S. Lewis’ magical world of Narnia.

Scale the heights of Northern Ireland’s tallest peak, Slieve Donard; mountain bike through the Mourne foothills in Tollymore Forest Park or follow the 22-mile Mourne Wall, also featured in Game of Thrones.

A weekend in NI

Strangford Lough

Northern Ireland’s lakes, waterways and beaches offer outdoor fun all year round. The best way to experience the Strangford Lough Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is on a Sea Safari, where you can spot seals, porpoises and basking sharks.

Alternatively, take the ferry to Portaferry’s Exploris Aquarium, visit the stunning National Trust property Mount Stewart or take in views of Scotland from the rugged headlands of the Ards Peninsula.

Student day trips from Belfast

Lough Neagh and The Sperrins

The biggest Lake in the UK and Ireland, Lough Neagh offers secluded bays, picturesque marinas and adrenaline fuelled watersports.

In the north tip of the Lough, you’ll find Jungle NI, where the outdoor thrills range from raft building to tree-top zip lining in the foothills of the rolling Sperrins, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

Visit Game of Thrones

Derry/Londonderry and Donegal

For the ultimate ‘Derry Girls’ day out, take the train two hours north to Derry/Londonderry.

Get a selfie in front of the iconic mural of the Channel 4 show; walk the stunning old city walls and see the cannons used in the 1689 Siege of Derry; visit the infamous Bogside with impactful murals chronicling the city’s dark history, then stop for lunch in Browns in the redeveloped Waterside area.

Further west, lies the wilds of Donegal: a weather-beaten stretch of coastline dotted with deserted Blue Flag beaches, cosy pubs and warm-hearted postcard villages. Star Wars fans might recognise the Inishowen Peninsula as the filming location for Star Wars: Episode VIII, but – Hollywood aside -  Donegal’s real appeal lies in the cool, off-radar vibe of the tranquil bays and rugged headlands along the Wild Atlantic Way.

Student trip to Derry

Further afield

As the only UK capital on the island of Ireland, Belfast is the perfect base from which to explore Ireland, the rest of the UK and beyond.

With eight trains a day to Dublin, 31 flight and ferry routes to Great Britain and 43 to Europe, Belfast is where your end-of-semester adventures begin.

  • Dublin - Cross-border train services run eight times daily with a two-hour journey time, while a 24-hour hourly bus service.
  • London – Less than one hour flying time to the UK capital.
  • Glasgow – Travel by coach from the city centre with Stena Line, sail and rail or fly in under 45 minutes.
  • Liverpool – Sail into the heart of Merseyside from Belfast or fly direct in 50 minutes.
  • Cork – Daily train and coach service via Dublin.