NI's Summer Tourist Destinations

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Despite its size (just 14,130km²), Northern Ireland is overflowing with unique destinations and experiences loved by locals and tourists alike. Below, we've picked out a few of the most popular sights the region has to offer...
Giant's Causeway – Bushmills, Co Antrim Possibly Northern Ireland's most famous tourist attraction, the Giant's Causeway, is the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in the region. Famous for its hexagonal columns of layered basalt, it is the focal point of a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on the north coast. There are four different trails at the site and are suited for a range of abilities, from families with young children, to those who enjoy a coastal hike. An accessible cliff-top walk is also available. Dogs are welcome (on leads), but only guide dogs are allowed within the Visitor Centre. The Giant's Causeway Visitor Centre has a grass roof, which offers 360 degree views of the coastline. Interactive spaces can also be found in the centre. Pedestrian access to the Giant's Causeway is free, but to use the facilities available on site – including parking – there is a charge of £13 for adults, and £6.50 for children, with various Family Tickets on offer. It is free to National Trust members. Further information can be found via the National Trust website – nationaltrust.org.uk/giants-causeway

Titanic Belfast – Belfast, Co Antrim Having only opened its doors in March 2012, Titanic Belfast has quickly become one of Northern Ireland's top attractions. Situated on the site of the former Harland & Wolff shipyard, it is where the RMS Titanic was constructed before it embarked on its ill-fated voyage in 1912. The centre consists of a series of nine galleries which tells the story of the ship, as well as the aftermath of its sinking and subsequent attempts to recover some of its history from the seabed. Admission to the centre costs £21.50 for an adult, and £10 for a child(aged 5-15, children under 5 are free). There are also family ticket offers, as well as discount for senior citizens and students. Tickets for Titanic Belfast are based on a timed ticketing system, with slots available every 10 minutes during opening hours. Also located nearby are the former headquarters and drawing offices of Harland & Wolff, the SS Nomadic, the Titanic Slipways, and the Titanic Dock and Pump House. Further information can be found via the official Titanic Belfast website. titanicbelfast.com

Old Bushmills Distillery – Co Antrim Just a short distance away from the Causeway, is the Old Bushmills Distillery. The Bushmills Brand Experience includes guided tours around a working distillery, tutored whiskey tastings, a specialist whiskey shop and a gift shop. Following the tour, guests are offered a whiskey or soft drink in the venue's 1608 Bar. (1608 was the year King James I is said to have granted a licence to distill in the area – and the date is still printed on Bushmills brand whiskey labels today.) Lunch is also served in the restaurant. The Distillery Tour Centre is open seven days a week. Further information can be found on the Bushmills Distillery website here – bushmills.com

Belfast Castle – Belfast Situated in the north of the city, on the slopes of Cavehill Country Park, is the majestic Belfast Castle. The site contains both parkland and mature mixed woodland, while the location offers incredible views of Belfast city and Belfast Lough. Numerous species of wildlife – both plants and animals – are at home in the castle estate. Facilities on site include the Cave Hill Visitor Centre, Cave Hill Adventurous Playground, landscaped gardens, ecotrails and orienteering routes. Refreshments are also available to purchase in the castle's The Cellar restaurant, while a gift shop is also on site. The venue is highly popular for conferences, private dining functions and wedding receptions. Admission to Belfast Castle is free, and you do not need to book a tour to have a look around the castle, however it should be noted that restriction to the venue is possible if a wedding is taking place. Parking fees may apply. Further information is available via the Belfast City Council website – belfastcastle.co.uk/

Marble Arch Caves – Co Fermanagh The Marble Arch Caves are a collection of natural limestone caves, located in Co Fermanagh, and is thought to be one of the longest known cave systems in Northern Ireland. Visitors to the attraction can take a guided tour (lasting 60 minutes) of the caves, and includes a short boat journey and a guided walk of about 1.5km. It should be noted that areas of the cave may be inaccessible following periods of heavy rain, so visitors are advised to contact the facility prior to arrival. Guided Cave Tour adult tickets cost £12, with children (5-18) £6 and various Family and Concession tickets available. An Audio Visual presentation on the Marble Arch Caves and the wider Geopark is available to watch at the Marble Arch Caves Visitor Centre, while a nature walk also commences here. Advanced booking is advised during peak times, i.e. weekends, bank holidays and school holidays. Further information, such as admission prices and FAQs, can be accessed via the Marble Arch Caves website here. marblearchcaves.co.uk
Image: Giants Causeway from Tourism Northern Ireland

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