A visit to The Giant’s Causeway made me react like a virgin bride the day after the night before – ‘yes of course I enjoyed it but it just wasn’t as big as I expected’!
The Giant’s Causeway is one of those places I have known about almost all my life so was the main reason for heading north to Antrim last weekend. This natural wonder of the world with its 40 thousand hexagonal columns stretching north into to sea to Scotland is remarkable and inspired the legend of Finn McCool, the giant himself. But take note of the ‘s – it is not a giant causeway!
We did the easy version and parked in the National Trust Visitor Centre car park and paid in the centre. You can visit free and there are other car parks but you have to know where to go to get the most of these. The centre does make for a less confusing visit. We got there early – at about 9.30, having stayed in the Lodge Hotel in Coleraine (very good value) and went straight down to the Causeway.
It is about a 1km walk from the new centre to the causeway itself. You can take a bus down but that is an extra £1 each way – you may want to get that on the way back as that is a walk back uphill. You get a free audio tour when you leave the centre which is useful/entertaining/ slightly annoying.
More annoying is the NT staff in bright orange coats that stand in prominent places to ruin your photos unless you get there early. It must get very busy in high season so it is really worth getting there early.
Perhaps surprisingly, you can wander at will over the basalt columns and this lets you get to really appreciate their form.
After we had explored the path as far as was possible we headed up some steep steps to the top of the cliffs which gave great views of the landscape. The new visitor centre, built after the old one burned down in 2000 has a grass roof and really does disappear into the landscape. Inside are educational exhibits and a small restaurant and toilets.
There is lots to do on this coast and the countryside is pretty spectacular on a fine day too. The causeway is amazing but be prepared for the scale of it!