It is no secret that my kids don’t like the cold weather! They would do anything to stay inside when it’s cold and raining, but this year I decided we need to get out more over the winter months and explore our favourite places.
On Sunday we decided to go for a roadtrip to the North Coast, the kids favourite place. We always make a point of visiting over the summer months as much as we can (along with the rest of Northern Ireland) so why not go on a cold day to get some fresh air and blow off the cobwebs. I always say on a good day the beaches in Portstewart and Portrush are as good as being in Spain but it’s just as pretty in the winter with the waves smashing off the rocks, you just need a few extra layers to keep warm and you (generally) have the added bonus of it not being just as busy.
Growing up both Trevor and I were told the myth behind Giant’s Causeway, you know the one with Finn McCool (you can read it here). Lewis and Sophia also learnt a little about the story in school so they were keen to learn more… So we packed up our winter coats and hats and off we went on our North Coast adventure!
We arrived at The Giant’s Causeway at around 11am, easing the kids in gently, we explored the excellent visitors centre first. The kids loved looking at the exhibitions and watched a short film on the very large movie screen before we started our guided tour.
We picked up our headsets and off we went to explore, stopping at each point while the kids listened on their headsets. I was happy to just take in the view. We spent around 2 hours exploring before the kids decided they wanted some lunch so we hopped on the minibus that takes you back to the visitors centre (costs £1 per person). There was so much more to explore we will definitely be back soon to see more.
The Giant’s Causeway is Northern Ireland’s only UNESCO World Heritage site and boasts around 40,000 interlocking basalt columns as a result of an ancient volcanic eruption. The dramatic sight has inspired legends that the columns once formed part of an ancient road connecting Ireland and Scotland. The area is considered to be Northern Ireland’s most prestigious landmark and it is a truly awe-inspiring phenomenon of nature. The Giant’s Causeway is the most popular tourist attraction in Northern Ireland with over 1 million visitors last year alone.
Nearby is the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge which links the mainland of Northern Ireland to the tiny island of Carrick-a-Rede. The rope bridge spans 20 metres across a 30 metre drop below. The views once across the bridge are unrivalled in Northern Ireland and it has long been a favourite attraction for all who come to these shores. I myself have never been brave enough to cross the bridge myself but Trevor tells me it is worth the walk.
Both The Giants Causeway and Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge are looked after by The National Trust, a conservation charity who rely on support through visits, memberships and donations. We have a family membership and I would highly recommend it. A National Trust membership would make a lovely Christmas gift for a family who love to go out for walks and explore local landmarks. You can get one here.
We decided to go for a spot on lunch at The Causeway Hotel situated right beside the visitors centre. Given the time of year we had pre-booked a table. As we sat down a lovely elf asked if we wanted to go meet Santa, of course the kids said yes! So off we went to the most beautifully decorated room where a Mrs Claus painted the kids faces and made them balloon models. Santa was fantastic with my tribe of 5. He spoke to the bigger kids and waited until Maisy and Isabella were a little more comfortable with him before he spoke to them. At one point he was on the floor talking to them and joking with myself and Trevor.
Trevor and myself opted for the Sunday Carvery while the kids picked from the kids menu. OMG… The food was amazing and the kids all cleared their plates, which is always a good sign! We even managed to squeeze in dessert. The kids of course went for ice cream while Trevor and myself opted for warm chocolate brownie with ice cream, it tasted even better than it sounded (if that’s even possible). The staff were polite, friendly and very attentive which is something I always look out for when we eat out. We hadn’t even left the restaurant before Trevor and I already discussed when we would be back again!
We had the loveliest day out and thankfully the rain stayed away until we were walking back to the car. We know the kids really enjoyed themselves when Maisy says: This is the best day ever! while all the other kids nodded in agreement.