Northern Ireland is full of amazing places, scenery and experiences. Being such a small country, it’s all within reach for a day trip from Belfast. Glenariff Forest Park & Waterfalls is one of those places…
I love Belfast
I first came here 8 years ago, and have been back 6 times since. I even actually lived and worked here in Belfast for a year. This current visit, I’ve been here for 6 weeks – and it’s another 2 weeks to go before I move on to travel around Europe some more.
Even though I love this city, being in just one place for so long gives me itchy feet. It feels like home here, which is lovely – but also can make it feel like I’m not on a travelling adventure. Not seeing anything new, or having new experiences.
So, how do you remedy this feeling?
Go for a day trip to places in Northern Ireland that I’ve not seen before!
Glenariff Forest Park & Waterfalls
After looking at a few places online, including the DiscoverNI website, we decided we’d go to Glenariff Forest Park. It’s a beautiful spot, about an hour drive north of Belfast, with forests to walk through, mountains to climb and amazing waterfalls to enjoy.
It was beautiful weather that day, sunny and warm… Mostly. There was cold wind and rain on and off. But this is Northern Ireland after all. Never go anywhere without a jacket! 🙂
We hired a car for the day through Enterprise, a company we used a few weeks earlier. They have competitive rates, are close to the city centre and have great customer service. I’d recommend using them.
For a small car, I paid £35 for 24 hours. Plus, at the last minute I was convinced to pay an additional £17 for the additional insurance cover. I’ve never needed to claim on insurance – but I always get nervous at the point where I need to decide whether to take it!
Glenariff Forest Park – Fees
On arrival at the carpark at Glenariff Forest Park, you pay £5 for a ticket to put in your car window. You’ll need coins – so try to have enough on you. Otherwise, there is a cafe that could probably change notes to coins for you. This is a per car fee, not a per person fee. I imagine the money made here goes towards the conservation of the area, but honestly I didn’t read the sign to know for sure!
Glenariff Forest Park – What to do & see?
Once you arrive in the carpark, there are several signs with maps of the walks in the area. There is a tough one, that goes up the mountain and would have some amazing views. I’d love to have done this one – but in our current state of (un)fitness, we decided to do the much shorter, easier waterfalls walk.
This fairly short walk has a lot more to see that I expected! Beautiful forest, views of mountains, and you can see right through to the ocean. Absolutely beautiful.
The tracks are easy to walk on, some sections are a dirt path and other sections are wooden boardwalks along the side of the river and waterfalls. Although it’s an easy walk, some sections are up and down hills, and there are quite a few stairs at one point – so although you don’t really need to be particularly fit, you do need to be fairly mobile.
What else is there near Glenariff Forest Park?
You could easily spend all day there, especially if you do the 8km walk up the mountain rather than just the lazy walk we did!
If the weather it nice, you could have a picnic in the sun and enjoy the amazing scenery. There is also a cafe for buying food, and sitting inside if the weather isn’t supporting your picnic!
There are many other places nearby you can drive to – coast, mountains, valleys, farms, awesome little country roads and cute villages. We drove around for a few hours – each time we got to an intersection we’d make a sudden decision whether to go left or right. We zig zagged around the countryside – sometimes ending up back where we started, and sometimes finding new beautiful places.
There are several marked ‘Scenic Drives’ that are signposted in the area. I’m sure the tourist information website or office would be able to give you more information.
How to get to Glenariff Forest Park & Waterfalls?
Glenariff Forest Park is about an hour drive north of Belfast. You could go directly there, or you could plan out a longer scenic drive that will allow you to take in some more of the amazing scenery of this part of the world.