I’d describe it as one of the most recognisable landmarks in Northern Ireland, if not the world. The Giant’s Causeway is a hexagonal rock formation which draws tourists from far and wide and leaves them astounded by its natural beauty and incredible symmetry.
The Giant’s Causeway is visually spectacular and well worth the trip when you visit Northern Ireland. not only is it fantastic in its own right, but it’s also close to the Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge (that famous bridge over the ocean that you’ve probably also seen on Instagram) and the Dark Hedges – made famous by Game of Thrones.
But here, I’ll let you in on a little secret. It’s not readily available information, but the Giant’s Causeway is actually a free attraction to visit. “WHAT?” You might be screaming, followed by “BUT I PAID 9 POUNDS?!”
I’m really sorry, but you’ve been a little bit screwed over. When you visit the Giant’s Causeway, you have two options. You can park in the carpark owned by the National Trust (about £7 I’m fairly sure) and pay £9 per adult and £4.50 per child to go through the Visitor’s Centre and down to the stones. The Visitor’s Centre is hard to miss, mainly because it’s that ugly eyesore of a building in an otherwise cutesy, old-Irish village area. I have never paid and never will, although the majority of Trip Advisor Reviews which you can read HERE either love it or think it’s a total waste of money. Basically it has some history, toilets and a cafe, as far as I can make out. However, I think you can also hire audio guides (for an extra charge) from there if you’re into that.
Option 2 is to park elsewhere and walk down to the stones by the path that doesn’t go through the visitor’s centre which is entirely legal and FREE! There’s a carpark down the road however on the day that we were there it was closed and we weren’t sure why (not naming names or blaming blame) so we parked elsewhere. It might take you a bit longer to
get to the stones if you have to park further away but you save at least £9 so that’s gotta be worth it! Also, you don’t really need an audio guide. Do your research into the fascinating history of the Giant’s Causeway online before you go and Bob’s your uncle.
The National Trust has very tiny letters on their sign entering the carpark that say that entry to the stones is free, however their website prices don’t give an indication that there’s any other way to see the stones other than to pay, as per this photo:
If you think that the Visitor’s Centre is going to be awesome and contribute to your experience then by all means go ahead. But in my four or five times visiting as a child and once as an adult so far, I just don’t see the point. Nature is there to enjoy for free so get out there an do some of the wonderful walks!
The walk down to the stones themselves is about a kilometre of path (you can take a shuttlebus for an extra charge) and you’re greeted by windbeaten, rough and beautiful coastline. We went on a stormy day and the sea still looked incredible (although we did wish we had brought rain jackets!).
This attraction can get pretty busy but I’m not one to say “Skip it” just because of a couple of crowds. We went midweek on the Wednesday before Easter and it was busy but you’ve just got to time your photo opportunities and you’ll be okay! It’s stunning (and cold in Winter/early Spring)) so rug up and take your camera!