Call me biased, but this place we call home has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. I don’t get to see them nearly as much as I would like. And this past while back, I’ve really felt like I needed to escape there – for the sea air, the scenery, the sound of the sea. So, last weekend, that’s what we did. On a Thursday night, after a busy day at work, we threw some clothes and a few treats into the boot of the car and headed for the sea and a village on the north coast called Castlerock, just over an hour’s drive from Belfast.
Castlerock is a picturesque seaside village, home to a 1km stretch of beautiful sandy beach situated between the sea cliffs of Downhill to the west and the lower River Bann estuary known as the Barmouth to the east. The beach is backed by an extensive sand dune system and you can access the beach from the promenade via a series of boardwalks which take you through the dunes to the beach beyond. The beach and dunes are designated as a Special Area of Conservation and an Area of Special Scientific Interest.
We stayed for 3 nights in an apartment just a stone’s throw from the beach on the appropriately named Sea Road and it was lovely to wake up to the sight of the sea on the first morning.
The view towards Castlerock beach from our apartment
Silver sand on Castlerock beach
Ignoring the weather forecast which predicted rain, we went for long walks along the beach during our stay, quietly asking ourselves why we had taken so long to return here. And although the rain finally caught up with us on the Saturday evening, that same night we were rewarded with a beautiful sunset. When you see grown men leave the pub and their precious pints of Guinness to take photographs of the setting sun, then you know it must be pretty spectacular …
Castlerock beach at sunset
We also visited Benone beach during our stay. Situated about 5 miles west from Castlerock, it was just a short drive away and I couldn’t resist the urge to see it again. Undoubtedly one of the most popular beaches on the Causeway Coast with 7 miles of golden sand, it was deliciously deserted when we arrived at 9am. We spent two glorious hours meandering along the beach taking in the stunning views. The beach stretches west to Magilligan Point and Lough Foyle and east to Downhill where we could see, in the distance, the spectacular Mussenden Temple perched precariously on the cliff’s edge (more to follow in future blog post).
Mussenden Temple on the horizon – can you spot it ?
The views out to sea and the backdrop of Binevenagh mountain were simply beautiful, with a cluster of houses and holiday homes nestled under the mountain’s shadow. I’m sure it must be lovely to live in one of those during summer…I’m not so sure about winter !
Benone beach and Binvenagh mountain (and look at that sand !)
A little further along the beach, approaching Downhill
After a five mile walk and returning back to our starting point, we sought out coffee and a sweet treat at Sea Shed Coffee and Surf , located right at the entrance to Benone beach. I loved this place and sat for a good while, drinking a great mug of coffee and enjoying the chilled out vibes of the music playing in the background. A day or two longer there, and I could well imagine myself converting to a life on the surf !
Sea Shed Coffee and Surf (coffee and surf rental shop combined)
Sand dune delights at Benone
Hopefully these pictures give you a feel for how beautiful this part of the world is. We really enjoyed having a few days to enjoy the stunning coastline and get a much needed dose of ‘vitamin sea’ !
For your information:-
- We stayed at 1a Sea Road,a lovely, Scandi style apartment close to the beach, a pub, a bakery and a coffee shop
- We had breakfast in Castlerock at Coffee Hut, and highly recommend the brioche breakfast bap with bacon, rocket and Ballymaloe relish
- The smell of freshly baked sausage rolls drifting down the road from Ruth’s Home Bakery was impossible to resist !
- Sea Shed Coffee and Surf is located at Benone beach and you can find more information here
Have a lovely Thursday – the weather is looking good for the weekend !!