Coleraine is a town in the Londonderry County of Northern Ireland. It sits on the banks of River Bann, close to its mouth that opens into the North Atlantic Ocean. Hence, the majority of the best things to do in Coleraine revolve around the coastline.

The town is a major access point for the Causeway Coastline. This stretches from Belfast to Derry and is home to some incredible Coleraine tourist attractions. The coastline is home to beaches, coastal cliffs, islands, and caves. It also has several historical places to visit in Coleraine including castles, lighthouses, estate homes, and more.

Some of these historical sites are now in ruins. But, even in that state, they add to the beauty of the coastline. Coleraine also holds great significance as the site of the first-ever human settlement in Ireland. There is a mound in Mountsandel Forest where evidence of human settlement was found. It is one of the most popular Coleraine attractions.

The surrounding forest on the other hand is popular for hiking and birdwatching. There are also numerous beautiful coastline hiking trails that you can enjoy during Coleraine travel. The coastline and beaches near Coleraine are also popular for watersports and surfing. The best thing about these beaches is that they are scarcely crowded.

Many people also visit Coleraine because of Game of Thrones. Several locations close to the town were featured in the popular TV series. The Dark Hedges and Cushenden Caves have become some of the most popular things to see in Coleraine.

These locations were featured as King’s Road and Stormlands in GoT. The Dark Hedges Road was also part of the “Transformers: The Last Knight” movie. You can also embark on a Game of Thrones themed treasure hunt alongside Coleraine sightseeing. If you complete this quest, you will get a fully stamped Journey of Doors passport as a souvenir.

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Top 14 Tourist Places to Visit in Coleraine, Northern Ireland

1. Giant’s Causeway

This causeway sits at the edge of the Atrim Plain and is one of the best things to do around Coleraine, Northern Ireland. It is a beautiful sight. There are stone-pillar cliffs with a sandy beach in between. This opens up to an incredible sight of the ocean.

The stories also add to their popularity as Coleraine tourist attractions. The legend is that the stone pillar forest was created in the aftermath of a war between giants. Some stories also say that these were created by lovestruck giants chasing their crushes.

The Giant’s Causeway is also included among UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It is a fun place to go near Coleraine to enjoy the pillars, hiking trails, and the beach. You will need about 2 to 3 hours to enjoy this place.

I suggest you should book a Full-Day Trip to Giant’s Causeway in advance.

Giant’s Causeway

2. Giant’s Causeway Railway Tour

Even the road leading to the Giant’s Causeway is quite interesting. You can get on this vintage train. The history of the train route goes back to 1887. The scenic tour is one of the best things to see in Coleraine, Northern Ireland.

You will pass by beautiful grasslands, coastal cliffs, beaches, forests, and historical sites. You will need about an hour or so to enjoy this ride when you travel to Coleraine.

Giant’s Causeway Railway Tour

3. Dunluce Castle

This medieval castle stands in ruins above a coastal cliff overlooking the ocean. It is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Coleraine. The history of this castle dates back to the 13th century. The ruins you see today were built in 1613 and it served as the seat of the MacDonnell Clan.

The castle remained abandoned and uncared for several years. Parts of the castle gradually collapsed and fell off the cliff. As a result, you can only have to ruins to admire. But, its current state creates a haunting beauty. Hence it is included among top Coleraine attractions.

However, the bridge leading to the castle still stands strong. It is a daunting experience by itself. You see a ruined castle and you have to cross a bridge handing over a cliff to reach it. You will get amazing views of the ocean and the coastline from this castle. It is one of the best things to do near Coleraine for the sights as well. You can easily spend a couple of hours exploring this castle.

I suggest you should book your Visit to Dunluce Castle in advance.

Dunluce Castle

4. Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge

This is another one of fun things to do in Coleraine, Northern Ireland. This hanging rope bridge connects the mainland with an island. It hangs above the Giant’s Causeway.

You have a beautiful grassland mountain on one side and a mesmerizing island on the other. Then either side of the bridge lies the majestic ocean. As you walk the bridge the ocean breeze rocks the floor. It is a short but exciting pathway.

The island itself is one of the interesting places to go in Coleraine. You can explore the hiking trails along the cliffs or enjoy the pristine beaches. You can easily spend 3 to 4 hours exploring the island.

I suggest you should book your Trip to Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge in advance.

Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge

5. Castlerock Beach

This tranquil beach in Coleraine stretches from about a kilometer. You will find resorts, bars, and restaurants on one end of the beach. This is a place of leisure with beachside seating, horseriding, paddleboating, surfing, and other fun activities in Coleraine.

On the other end, you will find beautiful coastal trails. This is perfect for nature lovers and adventure seekers. In between the two ends is a beautiful sandy stretch that never feels crowded. You can easily spend a couple of hours enjoying this beach when you visit Coleraine.

Castlerock Beach

6. Mussenden Temple

Dating back to 1785, this domed temple was part of the Earl of Bristol’s Estate. It was built as a library and was modeled after the Temple of Vesta of Rome. The structure is one of the most interesting works of architecture you will come across during Coleraine sightseeing.

The library sits along the coast, so the books could get damp owing to the moist ocean breeze. However, a fire was kept burning in the basement. This created a comfortable environment for the books as well as the reader.

Alongside the temple, you can also explore the rest of the estate of the 4th Earl of Bristol. This includes the estate gardens, ruined mansions, gothic lodge, and more. You will need about 2 to 3 hours from Coleraine travel to explore the entire estate.

Mussenden Temple

7. Dark Hedges

The lush trees on either side of this avenue create a tunnel-like pathway. The eerie structure of the trees gives this road mysterious aesthetics. This avenue is one of the most popular Coleraine tourist attractions.

It was famously depicted as the King’s Road in the Game of Thrones series (Season 2, Episode 1). The road was also featured in Transformers: The Last Knight. Aside from the cinematic fame, this road also has its own folk legends.

The legend says that a Ghost called Grey Lady roams the road from tree to tree. Different stories tell different origins of the Grey Lady and many people believe in the ghost. Some people specifically visit Dark Hedges at night for the thrill of the haunting.

During the day, it is one of the best places to visit in Coleraine to click amazing pictures. The symmetry of the trees creates a wonderful backdrop. You can easily spend 30 to 45 minutes enjoying this avenue.

I suggest you should book your Trip to Dark Hedges in advance.

Dark Hedges

8. Old Bushmills Distillery

This is the oldest licensed whiskey distillery in the world. Old Bushmills received its license in 1608 and has been crafting fine Irish whiskey since the past 4 centuries.

The distillery tour is one of the most fun things to do around Coleraine, Northern Ireland. The tour gives you a peek into the secrets of the Bushmills Way and how they evolved over 400 years.

You also get to try out some incredible variants of Bushmills whiskey and some amazing cocktails during the tour. You will need about 2 hours to explore the distillery when you visit Coleraine.

Old Bushmills Distillery

9. Cushendun Caves

These 400 million-year-old caves are among the most popular coastal attractions near Coleraine. They are known for their fairytale-like seaside location and natural beauty. However, their main claim to fame is Game of Thrones.

These caves were featured as part of Stormlands in Game of Thrones Season 2, Episode 8 and Season 8, Episode 5. Even if you are not a GoT fan, you will love exploring the caves.

They are among the most beautiful things to see in Coleraine, Northern Ireland. Even the Cushenden beach is quite an incredible place to enjoy and you can easily spend a couple of hours here.

I suggest you should book your Trip to Cushendun Caves in advance.

Cushendun Caves

10. Journey of Doors Tour

This treasure hunt revolves around the Game of Thrones series and is one of the top things to do in Coleraine. Since many locations around the town were featured in the famous series, the locals pay homage to it.

You will come across many wood-carved artworks dedicated to the show. These are scattered across the town in bars, restaurants, public buildings, and Coleraine attractions..

Most of them are carved doors made from the wood from the Dark Hedges. Each of them is dedicated to a particular moment from the series. This is one of the most interesting ways to enjoy Coleraine sightseeing. You should get a Journey of the Doors passport and embark on this treasure hunt. Each door will earn you a stamp on your passport.

11. Benone Beach

This rockless, golden sand beach is one of the best places to visit near Coleraine for outdoor activities and watersports. You can enjoy swimming, jet ski, speed boat rides, and more. The beach also has picnic spots and special zones for pets. You can spend a couple of hours enjoying at this beach when you visit Coleraine.

Benone Beach

12. Mountsandel Fort and Forest

This is the site of the earliest known human settlement in Ireland. The archeological evidence of settlement here dates back to the Stone Age. This location was also home to a Fort during the Norman rule.

The Mountsandel Fort mound is surrounded by a lush forest. The forest is popular for its beautiful hiking trails. It is also one of the best places to go in  Coleraine for birdwatching. You will need about 2 hours to explore Mountsandel.

Mountsandel Fort

13. Magheracross Viewpoint

This platform gives you an incredibly scenic view of the Causeway Coast. You will see the beaches, coastal cliffs, and small islands in the ocean. The platform also gives you a direct view of many Coleraine tourist attractions including Dunluce Castle, Skerries, and Whiterocks Beach. You need 20 to 30 minutes at this viewpoint.

Magheracross Viewpoint

14. Whiterocks Beach

This white sand beach is the hotspot for fun things to do in Coleraine. It is popular for surfing, kayaking, and swimming. While surfing here is seasonal, you can enjoy many watersports all year long.

It is also one of the top places to go in Coleraine for tranquil walks along the seaside. You can venture a little away from the crowd to enjoy leisurely strolls with a backdrop of coastal cliffs. You can easily spend a couple of hours here.

Whiterocks Beach

If you are looking for more places to visit in Coleraine or around it, check out the sections below. We have compiled a complete list of attractions and activities that you can enjoy here.

Things to do in Coleraine, Northern Ireland

Monuments, Museums & Historical Places to Visit in Coleraine, Northern Ireland

  1. Dunluce Castle
  2. Mussenden Temple
  3. Mountsandel Fort
  4. Old Bushmill Distillery
  5. Carrick e Rede Rope Bridge
  6. Downhill House
  7. Hezlett House
  8. The Dovecott & Ice House

Nature & Wildlife Tourist Spots in Coleraine, Northern Ireland

  1. Giant’s Causeway
  2. The Dark Hedges
  3. Cushendun Caves
  4. Portrush National Nature Reserve
  5. Coleraine Library

Entertainment & Leisure Tourist Spots in Coleraine, Northern Ireland

  1. Royal Portrush Golf Club
  2. Score Football Centre
  3. Cheeky Chimps Amusement Park
  4. The Jet Centre
  5. Coleraine Jumplanes
  6. Riverside Theatre
  7. The Crescent Playpark
  8. Damhead Miniature Railway
  9. The Cornfield Project
  10. The Edge Watersports

Shopping in Coleraine, Northern Ireland

  1. Diamond Shopping Centre
  2. North Coast and Glens Artisan Market
  3. Moores of Coleraine
  4. Causeway Specialty Market

Beaches & Islands in Coleraine, Northern Ireland

  1. Benone Beach
  2. Whiterocks Beach
  3. Castlerock Beach
  4. East Strand Beach
  5. Portstewart Strand

Offbeat Places, Tours, & Adventures in Coleraine, Northern Ireland

  1. Hiking
  2. Coasteering
  3. Swimming
  4. Boating
  5. Kayaking
  6. Cliff Jumping
  7. Rowing
  8. Surfing
  9. Watersports

Sightseeing in Coleraine, Northern Ireland

  1. Causeway Coastal Route
  2. Journey of Doors Tour
  3. West Strand Promenade
  4. Magheracross Viewpoint
  5. World War 2 Bombing Direction Arrow
  6. Portrush Harbour

Food, Dining, Restaurants, & Street Food in Coleraine, Northern Ireland

  1. Lir
  2. The Hullaballoos
  3. Dawson’s Bistro
  4. The Newbridge
  5. 55 North
  6. Water Margin
  7. The Bushmills Inn
  8. Elliot’s Bistro
  9. The Cellar
  10. Rocca
  11. Ardtara Country House
  12. Gallery
  13. Link 48
  14. Ocho Bistro
  15. Herald’s at 22
  16. The Elk Bistro
  17. Whoosh
  18. Sixteen 22
  19. New Society

Where to Stay in Coleraine?

Here we have listed Top Rated Hotels in Coleraine. You can check below listed hotels for your perfect stay in Coleraine.

  1. Riverside Hotel Coleraine
  2. Brown Trout Golf & Country Inn
  3. The Bushtown Hotel
  4. The Lodge Hotel
  5. The Anchorage Inn
  6. Inn on the Coast
  7. Adelphi Portrush
  8. Portrush Atlantic Hotel
  9. Royal Court Hotel
  10. Bayview Hotel


How to Reach Coleraine, Northern Ireland?

By Air

The Derry airport is the nearest airport to reach Coleraine town. This airport receives direct flights from Glasgow, Liverpool, London, Manchester, and Palma de Mallorca. You can take a bus or rental car from Londonderry town to visit ​​Coleraine. The journey is only an hour long.

If you want to travel to Coleraine from other domestic or international destinations, you should choose airports of Belfast or Glasgow. These airports receive direct flights from several cities in the UK, Europe, and Asia. You will get buses, trains, or intercity cars to reach Coleraine from these cities.

By Road

Coleraine is connected with both Portrush and Londonderry train routes. You can get direct trains to visit Coleraine from several cities and towns in Northern Ireland. This includes Belfast, Londonderry, Portrush, Yorkgate, Castlerock, Ballymena, Culleybacky, Ballarena, and several others.

You can also get direct buses to visit Coleraine from several towns in the Londonberry county. If you can’t find a direct bus, you should first get to Derry City. You will easily find buses and trains in Derry for Coleraine travel.

If you are planning for a road journey to reach Coleraine, you should head for routes A26 or A29. Coleraine is located at the intersection of these two routes.

By Water

There are no direct water routes to reach Coleraine. However, you can take boat tours in River Bann.

These tours can take you to nearby towns and tourist attractions near Coleraine.

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