Fascinating Road Trip Around Northern Ireland: 4 Top Places to Visit

County Derry/Londonderry-Northern Ireland

Updated On: April 20, 2024 by   Ciaran ConnollyCiaran Connolly

In the emerald embrace of Northern Ireland lies a treasure trove of natural wonders, historic sites, and captivating landscapes waiting to be explored. What better way to experience the rich tapestry of this enchanting region than by embarking on a road trip through its northern reaches? From the serene woodlands of Castlewellan Forest Park to the rugged coastline of the seaside town of Newcastle and from the mystical Tollymore Forest Park to the ancient ruins of Dundrum Castle, each stop promises a unique blend of beauty, history, and culture.

Northern Ireland’s northern region beckons adventurers with its diverse terrain, from verdant forests and rolling hills to dramatic coastlines and ancient ruins. Whether you’re a nature lover, a history buff, or simply searching for adventure, this road trip offers something for everyone. So, buckle up, roll down the windows, and embark on a journey of discovery through the captivating landscapes and hidden treasures of Northern Ireland’s northern heartland.

So we decided to take a fun road trip around Northern Ireland and visit some popular locations we hadn’t visited before. Living in Northern Ireland, you kind of forget all the great places that are on your doorstep. So if you’re a local or tourist, we think the best way to explore Northern Ireland is through a road trip. Take your friends and family, get in the car and explore all the great things this country offers. Please keep reading to find out where this road trip around Northern Ireland took us…

Road trip Around Northern Ireland
Castlewellan Forest Park

First Stop

On the Road Trip around Northern Ireland: The Amazing Castlewellan Forest Park

The first stop on our road trip was Castlewellan Forest Park, which lies north of the Mourne Mountains. This place is beautiful, surrounded by stunning trees, home to a Victorian castle and a history peace maze. If you haven’t had the chance to visit Castlewellan Forest Park, you are missing out. The forest park offers stunning views of the Mourne Mountains that look like something found on a postcard.  You can explore various walking and biking trails around the forest park.

Our favourite attraction here was the Peace Maze, which, if you didn’t know, is one of the most giant mazes in the world. It was created in 2000 and is seen as a symbol representing a peaceful future for everyone in Northern Ireland.  The Peace Maze is lots of fun exploring and trying to find your way out.

This is an excellent place for families and children, and it has a fun play structure called ‘Animal Woods’, located next to the Peace Maze. But Castlewellan Forest Park is a beautiful place to visit if you want to explore some history and enjoy the fantastic forest surroundings.

Road trip Around Northern Ireland
Peace Maze

Second Stop

On the Road Trip around Northern Ireland: the Seaside Town of Newcastle

Next, we headed towards Newcastle on our road trip around Northern Ireland. Newcastle is known to be a small seaside town in County Down, Northern Ireland. It lies on the Irish Sea on the foot of Slieve Donard, not far from Castlewellan. It was windy when we arrived in Newcastle, but the sun still shone. Newcastle has excellent beaches that you’ll find busy during the summer months.

This seaside resort offers so much: sea views, fun activities, great places to eat, and various restaurants and cafes. If you’re ever in Newcastle, you have to hit the amusements and have some fun playing a range of arcade games. Or head to Newcastle Parks, get in the popular pedal swans and go around the lake. Newcastle is also a great place to walk around and enjoy the unspoilt views and welcoming atmosphere. Also, no trip to Newcastle is complete without getting yourself some ice cream!

Road trip Around Northern Ireland
Newcastle Arcade

Third Stop

on the Road Trip around Northern Ireland: Tollymore Forest Park

The third stop on our road trip around Northern Ireland was another great place: Tollymore Forest Park. It was the first state park to open in Northern Ireland and is a beautiful place to visit. Again, like Castlewellan Forest Park, it’s surrounded by stunning mountain and sea views. It’s a great place to get involved in outdoor activities such as walking, horseriding, camping and more.

You will find the Tollymore National Outdoor Centre in the forest park, where you can enjoy canoeing and mountaineering, climbing walls, and mountain biking. No matter your experience, the trained staff will help you feel confident about your chosen activity. Also found in Tollymore Forest Park is a fun children’s play area that will keep them entertained. We highly recommend visiting this impressive forest park to enjoy its beautiful natural surroundings.

Road trip Around Northern Ireland
Tullymore Forest Park

Final Stop

on the Road Trip around Northern Ireland: Dundrum Castle

On our way back to Belfast, we made one more stop on our road trip around Northern Ireland.  The impressive medieval castle known as Dundrum Castle was located in County Down.

A famous knight built the castle called John de Courcy around 1180. Built on a rocky hill that provides unmissable views south over Dundrum Bay and the Mourne Mountains. It’s one of the most historic castles on the island of Ireland, and you need to explore it during your travels around Northern Ireland. We had a great time visiting the castles and looking at the unique ancient architecture it provides. I highly recommend checking this out if you can.

Road trip Around Northern Ireland
Dundrum Castle


As our road trip through Northern Ireland’s northern region draws close, we reflect on the myriad wonders we’ve encountered along the way. From the serene woodlands of Castlewellan Forest Park to the rugged coastline of Newcastle and from the mystical Tollymore Forest Park to the ancient ruins of Dundrum Castle, each destination has left an indelible mark on our hearts and minds.

Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventure, cultural immersion, or simply a moment of tranquillity amidst nature’s embrace, Northern Ireland offers an abundance of treasures waiting to be discovered. So pack your bags, hit the open road, and embark on your journey of exploration through this captivating corner of the Emerald Isle.

What did you think of the places we visited? Have you been to any, or would you like to visit in the future? We would love to hear from you! 🙂

Also, don’t forget to check out some other great places we have visited, such as Glenariff Forest Park, Redburn Country Park, Downpatrick Town, Helens Bay Beach, Holywood Town, Exploring Carrickfergus Town, Celtic Sea God; Gortmore Viewing, St. Georges Market, Rostrevor County Down, Best Cities to Visit in Ireland

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