Categories: Things To Do

With summer speeding past, it’s time to start thinking about activities that you’d like to enjoy before autumn sets in. Here, we share some of our favourite things to do before the end of summer in Mid & East Antrim and hope that they will inspire you!

The Gobbins

Tubular Bridge at The Gobbins on a sunny dayAn experience like no other, a visit to the Gobbins by the end of summer will provide the opportunity to immerse yourself in nature and discover just how wild and wonderful the Northern Irish coast is. This unique cliff walk includes tunnels, bridges, narrow pathways, and the chance to see birds, plants, and possibly even dolphins!

The Gobbins tour lasts for around 2.5 hours and your knowledgeable guide will share insightful information about everything that you see during your tour, plus tell some amazing stories about smugglers, witches, and plenty in between! 

Discover more and book your Gobbins experience here

Sallagh Braes

The bluebells in bloom on Sallagh BraesThe perfect summer activity for hikers in Mid & East Antrim, a walk along the Sallagh Braes basalt cliffs offers fresh air, exercise, and breathtaking views. The picturesque walk is moderately difficult due to being steep in places, but if you’re up for the challenge you’ll be rewarded with panoramas of the valley below and the Irish Sea.

The walk includes a ballast amphitheatre which is an absolute must-see, and the local area itself was featured in the popular Game of Thrones TV series which fans of the show are sure to find extra exciting.

Learn more abou Sallagh Braes here.

Slemish Mountain

Two men climbing up Slemish Mountain with views of the countryside behindKeep your walking boots to hand, because the next thing you should do before the end of summer is to take a walk up Slemish Mountain. According to legend, this mountain was the first home of St. Patrick where he worked as a shepherd for 6 years following being brought to Ireland as a slave.

Slemish Mountain stands at a height of around 1500ft (437m) and is the central core of an extinct volcano. The walk is 1.5km in length and takes around an hour to complete. During the walk, you’ll enjoy views of the Antrim and Scottish coasts, Ballymena, and much more!  Learn more here.

Gleno Waterfall

Family watching the river at Gleno WaterfallCameras at the ready, it’s time to visit the beautiful Gleno Waterfall. Located outside of the village of Gleno, the waterfall is 30ft tall and is the perfect destination for those who love nature. Owned by the National Trust, Gleno Waterfall can be reached via a walk incorporating steps, paths, and lookout points to provide fantastic views.

Once you’ve seen the waterfall and taken plenty of pictures, head back into Gleno village where you can marvel at its whitewashed houses and enjoy local produce at the lovely Dairy Bistro.  Discover more here

Portmuck Harbour

Drone shot of Portmuck

Another great location for walking before the end of summer, Portmuck Harbour offers stunning views across the Antrim Coast headlands, and you can often spot passenger ferries sailing in from Scotland. The harbour has a fishing pier and a small beach where you can relax, plus a car park, public toilets, and benches for your convenience.

Portmuck Harbour boasts two walking options. One will take you to Skernaghan next to Brown’s Bay, a popular sandy beach where you can swim and picnic, and the other will take you close to the Isle of Muck, a protected bird sanctuary. Plan your visit to Portmuck here

Glenarm Castle

Glenarm Castle in the background surrounded by treesBefore the end of summer, you simply have to pay a visit to Glenarm Castle. Privately owned but open to the public, the castle offers something for everyone. From beautiful walks through the Walled Gardens and along the Castle Trail to finding out all about the history of the estate at their Heritage Centre and Coach House Museum, you’re sure to have a fun-packed visit.

Whether you’re visiting over breakfast, lunch, or tea, you can enjoy homemade food at Glenarm Castle’s tea room which can be found in their Old Mushroom House. For an extra treat, grab freshly prepared gelato from the Milk Parlour or some tasty traybake from the Potting Shed. Discover what awaits you at Glenarm Castle here. 

Carnfunnock Country Park

Boy walking through maze at CarnfunnockA family favourite, Carnfunnock Country Park is the perfect place to spend a day before the end of summer. With an outdoor playground for younger kids, orienteering for older children, and walks for grownups, the park offers a great opportunity to spend time outside for visitors of all ages!

Between March and October, there’s even more for families to do. Find your way through the park’s maze, drive remote control boats, battle each other at giant chess and draughts, or take on either the 9 or 18-hole golf course! Plan your visit here

Whitehead Railway Museum

Group of people looking over the balcony onto a train

Learn all about the amazing world of trains at the unique Whitehead Railway Museum. Home to five interactive galleries which offer a fantastic insight into locomotives, the museum is centred around the workshops of the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland so visitors can experience interesting restoration projects firsthand.

As with many of Mid & East Antrim’s top attractions, the Whitehead Railway Museum boasts a tea room where you can enjoy lunch and a drink before heading off on your next adventure. Don’t forget to visit the museum’s gift shop where you can buy a memento of your visit too! Click here to learn more.

Carrickfergus Castle

Family walking towards the Castle gates

Step back in history with a visit to the wonderfully preserved Carrickfergus Castle. Sat on the northern shore of Belfast Lough, this castle is over 800 years old and has been surrounded by English, Scottish, Irish, and French militaries throughout its past. The Norman castle houses displays and cannons which are sure to peak your interest, and you’re also sure to love seeing its Great Hall.

The Carrickfergus Visitor Information Centre offers guidance on the castle, local area, and other nearby attractions. You can also find crafts, souvenirs, and books here. Discover Carrickfergus Castle here.

Carnlough Bay Boat Tours

Boat leaving Carnlough Harbour

Fancy some time on the water before the end of summer? Look no further than Carnlough Bay Boat Tours! Step aboard skipper Davy Smyth’s boat, Curiosity, a converted ship’s lifeboat, and enjoy unrivalled views of the Causeway Coastal route from a new perspective. During your 30-minute excursion, you’ll see Glencoy and Glenarm, and possibly marine life - such as dolphins, porpoises, and seals too!

Other trips offered by Carnlough Bay Boats Tours include Garron Point and a unique 4-hour trip which will enable you to take in the Maidens, rocky islets formed by erupting lava, and see their working lighthouse. For more info, click here.

Stand-Up Paddle Boarding

Group of paddleboarders going along coast with Blackhead Lighthouse in background

If you’d like to control your own vessel, book onto a paddle boarding session with Islandmagee SUP. The paddle school offers a number of different options, including family sessions, beginner courses, and guided tours, all of which will enable you to enjoy the coastline from your very own board. Keep an eye out for marine wildlife, sea birds, and Whitehead’s famous coloured houses, and the Gobbins cliff path.

Sessions with Islandmagee SUP come with all of the equipment you’ll need for your paddle, including buoyancy aids and wetsuits, and you’ll learn vital sea safety skills too. Dive in to SUP here.

Museums in Mid & East Antrim

Two ladies looking at artefacts in a cabinet at Carrickfergus Museum

Summer can bring rainy days, so why not spend these exploring one of the area’s fascinating museums? The Mid Antrim Museum has a gallery focused on the history of the area and its people, displayed in a contemporary way that will excite the whole family. Alternatively, head to the Larne Museum and Arts Centre where you can learn about the area’s agricultural, industrial, military, and maritime history through a number of interesting exhibits.

The Carrickfergus Museum is another fantastic option and houses artefacts excavated in Carrickfergus, plus photos, documents, newspapers, and other insightful materials alongside interactive facilities.

We hope that you’ve enjoyed finding out all about these things to do before the end of summer in Mid & East Antrim and that we’ve inspired your next trip!

The Gobbins Cliff Path
A view of the tubular bridge with flowers on the rock face and the ocean beyond.

On the thrilling Gobbins Experience, nature isn’t content to just sit back and be admired. It completely engulfs you: from the all-enveloping Irish Sea winds and the dolphins dancing off the coastline. Pull on your walking boots and enjoy this 2.5-hour walking tour through tunnels and bridges with the waves crashing at your feet.

Sallagh Braes Walk
Walking & Hiking
Walkers looking over cliff top at Sallagh Braes

A stunning short walk across exposed hillside, leading to and along the edge of the dramatic Sallagh Braes basalt cliffs. The Sallagh Braes is a prominent basalt scarp with a spectacular ballast amphitheatre located 3 miles west of Ballygally, close to the Causeway Coastal Route. Views can be enjoyed across the cliffs to the valley below and the Irish sea in the distance. This is a moderately difficult walk. It starts from a height and undulates across hummocky land with some hills to negotiate. Dogs are not allowed as the route goes over farmland.   The local area has recently been featured in the popular HBO TV series, Game of Thrones® and associated interpretation can be found in Linford Car Park.

Slemish Mountain
A couple of hikers sitting on a gate admiring the view of Slemish in the background

Slemish Mountain is about 1,500 feet above sea level and is located close to Broughshane in County Antrim. It is the legendary home of Saint Patrick and is actually the central core of an extinct volcano. Hike to the top and enjoy fantastic views!

Gleno Waterfall
The National Trust
Family at Gleno Waterfall

One of our lesser known ‘hidden treasures’, Gleno is a magnificent 30 foot waterfall nestling in The Glens of Antrim and owned by the National Trust.

Portmuck Walk
Walking & Hiking
Portmuck Walk

Tranquil harbour and dramatic coastal walk

Glenarm Castle & Garden
Historic Sites, Houses, Castles & Buildings
Aerial view of Glenarm Castle & Gardens with the ocean beyond.

Crowned "Historic Houses 2023 Garden of the Year", Glenarm Castle and its walled gardens are a true national treasure. One of Ireland's oldest estates, and home to the Earls of Antrim, Glenarm Castle offers incredible garden walks, with stunning planting displays year round. Don't miss the annual tulip festival which takes place every May.

Carnfunnock Country Park
Public Park
Signpost at Carnfunnock Country Park

Packed full of fun family activities and attractions, Carnfunnock Country Park offers over 191 hectares of mixed woodland, colourful gardens, way-marked walks and spectacular coastline, with panoramic views of the Antrim Coast and North Channel.

Whitehead Railway Museum
Visitor Centres & Museums
A family of four standing on the platform talking to the driver of a blue steam train

The new Whitehead Railway Museum will take visitors on a journey through time, see our large stock fully restored heritage Irish railway steam and diesel locomotives, vintage carriages coupled with state of the art interactive touch displays.

Carrickfergus Castle
Castle / Fort
A woman and child having a pretend sword fight in the room at the top of the castle keep with the sun beaming through the window behind.

Get ready to step back in time at Carrickfergus Castle, an incredible Norman castle nestled in the charming seaside town of Carrickfergus, County Antrim, right on the shores of Belfast Lough. This place isn't just old—it's legendary!

Carnlough Bay Boat Tours
Boat Tours
Curiosity boat leaving historical Carnlough harbour

Memorable, invigorating boat trip in this area of outstanding natural beauty. Passengers have the chance to spot an array of marine life including dolphins, seals, porpoises and various seabirds.

Islandmagee SUP
Water Sports
Group of friends trying out paddle boarding in the open water with Blackhead Lighthouse in background

Experience Stand Up Paddle-boarding (SUP) on the beautiful coastline of Islandmagee and Whitehead. We offer guided SUP tours in idyllic surroundings with a qualified and experienced instructor as well as group sessions, family sessions and courses.

Larne Museum & Arts Centre
Visitor Centres & Museums
Larne Museum & Arts Centre

Housed in the historic former Carnegie Free Library building, Larne Museum and Arts Centre boasts permanent and temporary exhibitions reflecting the agricultural, industrial, military and maritime history of the area.

Carrickfergus Museum
Visitor Centres & Museums
Red vintage pull along fire carriage branded Carrickfergus Fire Brigade

Local museum interpreting the long and distinguished history of the town and surrounding area, with artefacts of treasure excavated in Carrickfergus. There are multi-media and audio-visual presentations.

Mid-Antrim Museum and Arts Centre at The Braid
Visitor Centres & Museums
Picture of The Braid Museum

The Mid-Antrim Museum, offers a fascinating experience for all the family. The museum boasts two large state of the art exhibition galleries.