Ballycastle Beach

Ballycastle Beach, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Ballycastle Beach, County Antrim, Northern Ireland ©

Ballycastle is located in County Antrim on the north coast of Northern Ireland. The beach is a popular tourist destination including a mainly sandy beach with some shingle. The town is noted for its marina and is a popular place for visitors to base themselves from when exploring the Giant's Causeway and the Glens of Antrim. Ballycastle is a traditional seaside town that includes a marina, offering a fun filled day out for the whole family. The location ensures that both Rathlin Island located off the coast of County Antrim and the Mull of Kintyre on the south eastern tip of Scotland are visible from the coastline Angus on the east coast of Scotland.

Quick Facts


Area: North Coast of Northern Ireland

County: County Antrim

Main Settlements close by: Ballymoney, Portrush and Ballymena.


Ballycastle is located on the Causeway Coast Route on the Antrim Coast in Northern Ireland, the beach is approx 1.2 km in length from the pier at Ballycastle Marina in the west to the Pans Rock in the east. The area includes a promenade at the western end of the beach. The beach itself is located a short distance from the town centre in Ballycastle.

Popular activities at the beach include swimming and surfing, the Ballycastle Golf Course is located close by for golfing aficionados, other activities include bowling. Local facilities include car parking and child friendly areas.

Ballycastle Coalfield ASSI (Area of Special Scientific Interest) includes the eastern end of the beach at Ballycastle. The site is known for its carboniferous sedimentary rocks that date back over 300 million years and includes evidence of past industrial activity including iron ores and coals that were mined between the 16th and 19th centuries.

Ballycastle town has been described as a gateway to the Glens of Antrim and its natural scenic beauty offering visitors with some stunning views. Local attractions include Ballycastle Museum located inside a historic courthouse dating back to the 18th century, looks at the social history of the town along with the Glens of Antrim providing visitors with an interesting insight in to local history, culture and traditions. The town includes a number of historic buildings including the Presbyterian Church known for its round tower and the holy Trinity Church in the town. The Holy Trinity Church, Ballycastle dates back to the 18th century; it is known for its Georgian front and stained glass. The church was built in a Greco-Italian style and includes a spire of approx 100 feet.

Local attractions include The Ould Lammas Fair that is held annually, the long established fair dates back to the 17th century making it one of the oldest and longest running fairs in Northern Ireland. It is usually held on the last Monday and Tuesday in August, visitors can find over 400 stalls lining the streets selling a wide range of goods including the traditional Yellow Man, a honeycomb toffee and Dulse, a sea weed that is reddish in colour.

Attractions include entertain for the crowds along the pony rides, face painting and traditional music. The fair celebrates traditional Irish heritage and culture and provides an interesting place for visitors to explore.

Other attractions include the ruins of Kinbane Castle located a few miles from Ballycastle. Dating back to the 16th century; the castle is noted for its location situated on a limestone headland, the castle is of historic significance and is a state care historic monument offering visitors with impressive over Rathlin Island and Dunagregor Iron Fort.


Location north coast of Northern Ireland, Ballycastle is assessable from across Northern Ireland. From Belfast it is 1 hour 15 minutes, from Londonderry/Derry it is also approx 1 hour 15 minutes by car. From Ballymoney it is 30 minutes, Ballymena, 40 minutes and 1 hour 30 minutes from Lisburn. From Dublin in the Republic of Ireland, Ballycastle is just over 250 km to the north and approx 3 hours drive.

Tourist Information

The Ballycastle Visitor Information Centre is located in Ballycastle, the visitor information centre provide visitors with useful information, help, advice and tips on the local areas. There are also visitor information centres in the region including at Ballymoney, Bushmills and Coleraine.

The tourist information centres includes knowledgeable staff with valuable local knowledge with information on local attractions, places of interest, things to see and do, along with local advice and tips. A visit to the tourist information centres provides a good first port of call for visitors helping to better plan and organise trips in and around Ballycastle and the local area. At the centres visitors can find out about local events, public transport options and accommodation facilities.

Local Accommodation

Local Accommodation in Ballycastle includes a choice of hotels that include historic and contemporary hotels, local B & B’s, Inns, Guest Houses, Self Catering houses, holiday homes and cottages. Local accommodation is available in Ballymoney, Portrush and Bushmills. Towns located in the area including Coleraine, Ballymena and city of Belfast provide a choice of accommodation along with good access to local facilities from which to the surrounding local areas.

Nearby Cities and Towns
Local Cities and Towns include the towns of Ballymoney, Portrush and the city of Belfast, the local facilities, amenities, transport links and accommodation available mean they are popular places for visitors to base themselves from when visiting Ballycastle and surrounding areas.

The town of Ballymoney is located 17 miles to the south west of Ballycastle. The compact historic town is one of the oldest in Northern Ireland and includes a number of notable historic buildings in the town centre. The Old Church Tower is the oldest building in the town, dating back to the 17th century. Other historic buildings include the Town Clock and the Masonic Hall that date back to the 18th century.

Local facilities include a number of small independent shops along with well known high street chains offering a choice of shops along with a choice of bars, pubs, restaurants and cafes serving a choice of cuisines. There is also a choice of accommodation available in Ballymoney making it a popular destination for visitors exploring the region.

Local attractions include Ballymoney Museum showcasing the history, life and times of the area, there are a number of exhibits on show including those dating back to the Bronze and Medieval periods and includes a range of memorabilia and artefacts. Riverside Park includes 40 acres of parkland with walking routes; Benvarden Gardens includes one of the oldest estates in Northern Ireland, the famous gardens date back to the 19th century, visitors can explore the gardens and enjoy scenic woodland walks in a scenic setting.

Portrush is located just under 20 miles to the west of Ballycastle. The small seaside town is well known for its three beaches; the White Rocks, East Strand and West Strand and the town is home to the Royal Portrush Golf Club, a world renowned links golf course.

Historically the town has been a permanent settlement since the 12th/13th centuries; once a small fishing town, over the years Portrush has grown over the years as a popular tourist destination. The town offers accommodation with a number of hotels, eateries and restaurants making it a popular place for visitors to base themselves from when visiting Ballycastle and the Antrim coast.

Local attractions include Barrys Amusements, the largest amusement park in Ireland. The park includes a number of indoor and outdoor rides and attractions with something for the whole family from scary roller coasters, to simulators to carrousels there is something for everyone.

Waterworld is one of the leading indoor attractions in Northern Ireland, the water park features adventures pool, giant water slides, ten pin bowling and more. Dunluce Castle is located close by to Portrush, the now ruined castle dates back to the 13th century, the castle is famous for its location with steep drops on either side.

The city of Belfast is located 55 miles to the south of Ballycastle. Belfast is the largest city in Northern Ireland and home to a number of visitor attractions. Belfast is a centre for industry, arts, finance, high education and culture in Northern Ireland. Historically the city played a key role in the Industrial Revolution and over the years has been a centre for the linen industry, tobacco and shipbuilding.

Belfast offers visitors a range of accommodation options catering for all budgets, a choice of bars, pubs, eateries, cafes and restaurants serving Irish and international cuisines and a choice of facilities and amenities making it a popular destination for visitors to base themselves from when exploring the area.

The city includes a number of street markets, carnivals, fairs and entertainment. Local attractions include Belfast Zoo; home to over 140 species of animals, established back in 1934, the zoo is one of the leading visitor attractions in Northern Ireland attracting approx 250,000 visitors annually. Visitors can see giraffes, elephants, penguins, monkeys, bears, lions, tigers and much more. The zoo plays a leading role in international conservation and breeding programmes designed to help protect many endangered species.

Ulster Museum is located in the botanic gardens in Belfast and is the largest museum in Northern Ireland. Visitors can find collections on local history, fine and applied art, geology, zoology, archaeology and botany. The museum includes exhibits of birds mammals, plants and collections of minerals, rocks and fossils.

Titanic Belfast is a monument and visitor attraction that has quickly established itself as one of the leading attractions in Northern Ireland since it opened back in 2012. Located inside a six storey building visitors can explore a number of galleries detailing the fascinating storey behind the ill fated Titanic, its history, conception, construction, launch, voyage and fateful end. The galleries include interactive features and there are audio tours in several languages for visitors to learn more.

How to Get There

Ballycastle is accessible by both car and public transport.

By Car:

Ballycastle is located approx 55 miles from Belfast via the M2, A26 and A44. The approx journey time is 1 hour 10 minutes to 1 hour 20 minutes depending on traffic, route and time of day.

By Bus/Coach:

There are regular buses available from Belfast to Ballycastle via Ballymena. From Belfast bus service number 218 operated by Goldline Express goes to Ballymena Bus centre and from Ballymena Bus centre the bus service number 131 operated by Ulster Bus goes to Ballycastle. The approx journey time is 2 hours 15 minutes to 2 hours 30 minutes depending on connections, time of day and traffic. For further details on public transport in Northern Ireland please see: Translink


For Local Search and Directions see: Ballycastle Map

Tips & Other Considerations

The weather and climate can be unpredictable across the UK, there can be elements of all four seasons in one day. Ensure you check the weather forecast before you travel and have the correct clothing and footwear including appropriate footwear, raincoat and umbrella.

Follow travel advice and remain alert, vigilant and aware of your belongings at all times especially your wallet/purse and valuables and ensure they are hidden away from public view. If you have a bag try to use a shoulder bag with a good quality, strong strap, that is put across your shoulder not on your shoulder making it more difficult for anyone to take your bag.

If you are travelling by car to Ballycastle in Northern Ireland ensure you are well prepared with maps and Sat Nav to aid your journey, particularly if you are not familiar with the local area and roads. Use the journey planner for door to door directions. Check traffic updates before you travel.

If you are looking for car parking in and around the beach and surrounding areas, ensure you fully understand the rules, regulations & charges for car parks and street parking. The rules & regulations can be complex & confusing if you are unclear, it is wise not to park there.

If you are travelling by public transport, check for service updates prior to beginning your journey for any delays, disruption or cancellations to services that may impact on your journey. Ensure you have the service timetables for the trains, trams, buses and coaches. Remember when the last services are and ensure you make it to the train/bus/coach stops well in time to avoid missing the service.

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