Walking Holidays

Walking Holidays

Ideas for Short Weekend Trips away from London, and Walking holidays in Europe

Northern Ireland (and Donegal)

Highlights:


  • The north east and north coast of Northern Ireland are the highlight, with many fine coastal walks, e.g. around Giants Causeway - stay near the Causeway itself, there are 2 fine pubs nearby. There is a (summer) coastal bus service to take you back to your car.
  • ??? and Temple (NT) : short but lovely coastal walks with ruins
  • Belfast - its not Dublin and is quiet weeknights, but there are a couple of hills near the centre. Mount Stewart (NT Gardens) is nearby.
  • Donegal (the Irish coastline west of Northern Ireland) has dramatic but bleak 'north west of scotland like' coastline - beautiful, but it rains!

Now completely safe after the troubles, and with Ryanair and the other low cost carriers, a very cheap to fly to.

Before you go

Northern Ireland has one of the best tourism agencies in the world. Lots of brochures on walking - and also on cycling, canoeing, accomodation, etc. and some very useful websites.

No walking specific guide books that can be recommended - the best is a Lonely Planet walking guide, but its to the whole of Ireland, so stick to the Walk NI website.

The Rough Guide to Ireland, which we had, isn't recommended for its coverage of the North.

You'll need a car, book in advance [2009 advice] as the airports often run out of cars. However, rates are as low as £12 a day in low season.

Accomodation - B&B's:

The ones sampled were expensive (£55 - £65 per double) and poor quality - tea making facilities were rare, flock wallpaper and carpets common. Use Trip Advisor, and book the recommended ones in advance. One B&B owner wondered how we could afford them, and said she'd never use them herself, and recommended mid-week deals in small hotels. There are lots of YHA and hostels, many of which now have individual rooms.

Accomodation should be easy to find [2009], as the number of tourists is 50% down on last year(the recession, the euro, and Ryanair cutting flights)

Walks

Many of the "Walk NI" walks are short ones in NT properties (so membership will help) and parks/nature reserves, but there are day walks, and several multi day walks.

It will rain

So plan some non-walking days:
The Bushmills tour (Irish Whiskey, near the Giants Causeway), but check the factory isn't on summer break,
Some good NT houses and gardens (Florence Court near Enniskillen, Mount Stewart near Belfast)

Websites

Walk Northern Ireland - official website with list of walks
Ireland's Mountains - peak bagging info about each hill

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