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Quality Walk

Portballintrae Causeway Loop

A moderate walk running from Portballintrae to the Giant's Causeway, taking in beach, cliff and rock formations.




5.5 miles

OS Map


Nearest Town


Route Shape


Route Type

Beach, Coastal


Beach, formal and cliff top path

Grid Reference (Start)


Grid Reference (End)


Point of Interest

Portballintrae Bay and Harbour, Runkerry Point, the Giants Causeway

Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Antrim Coast & Glens

Route Description

This route starts in the council maintained car park at the end of Beach Road in Portballintrae. Follow the path that leads from the car park down towards the beach. Bear left across Three Quarter Mile Bridge that crosses the Bush River.  Bear left through the sand dunes to emerge onto Runkerry Beach, and follow the beach along its length.

At the top of the beach, bear left onto a path that runs along the front of Runkerry house to follow the cliff top path northwards. Follow this path along the coast until reaching the Causeway Hotel and the newly refurbished National Trust Giants Causeway Visitors Centre. The visitors centre is a ‘green’ building in that it is built into the ground and the roof is covered with grass that can be walked over. Cross this building and take the steps down to the tarmac path that leads downhill to the Giants Causeway rock formations. A shuttle bus for those with limited mobility operates on this path. Continue past the rock formations along the path into the next bay. Bear right at a path junction in this bay before reaching the rock formation known as ‘The Organ’. You are now on the Shepherds Path. Follow this path uphill (following the red route) and climb the steps that lead to the cliff top path. Bear right at the top of the steps and continue back to the visitors centre.

Leave the visitors centre through the car park, emerging onto the road. Bear right onto the Runkerry Road before the junction with the main Causeway Road. Turn right after 250m into the railway carpark, and join the path that leads away from the station along the railway. After the path begins to drift away from the beach, bear right onto a sand dune path before meeting the Bush River again. The paths through the sand dunes all lead back to the Three Quarter Mile Bridge, which you cross to get back to the car park at start of the walk.  


Getting to the Start (by Public Transport)

Translink - journeyplanner.translink.co.uk

Getting to the Start (by Car)

The start of the route is at the car park at the end of Beach Road in Portballintrae. Continue in an easterly direction past Portballintrae Bay and Harbour to arrive here.


Dogs are allowed. Dogs must be kept on lead

Accessibility Grade

Grade 5

Accessible Facilities

The following facilities are available for users with limited mobility:

Disabled parking - Portballintrae
Visitors Centre - Giants Causeway


Car park available at Portballintrae, as well as a shop and seasonal cafe.



Publication Availability


Walk Location
Map of Northern Ireland
Image Gallery

Ratings and Comments

Don 14 July, 2019 @ 23:49

Great walk with stunning views. Just one short section of the path along the front of Runkerry House has become overgrown with briars, thistles etc and could do with being cut back

Johnny 6 July, 2019 @ 13:27

Tramlines shared path from Bushmills to Runkerry poorly maintained, presently narrowed in to one pedestrian wide in a lot of places with overgrowth. Cyclists don’t stop making pedestrians a lot with dogs on leads step into long wet grass, nettles and brambles. Surface of pathway ok lack of maintenance to sides allowing it to grow over is the problem. Present condition of pathway does not make it suitable as a shared path.

Johnny 2 April, 2019 @ 10:38

Was a brilliant walk, wooden path way being presently laid. This will be an add on to the dangerous eye sore of existing path. Most people walk along off the wooden pathway in the wet winter months as the wooden surface becomes very slippery due to a wet scum which appears.This new pathway being laid is completely unnecessary, it is getting to the point where local people will have no natural safe underfoot paths to walk on in the Autumn and winter months. While out walking this morning i have had seven negative comments about present work being carried out by regular walkers. Spend the money on maintaining what is already there, after this work is completed my rating will drop by three stars

Brendon 30 December, 2018 @ 22:57

Excellent. Walk has to be best walk done to date great views good parking kids love it

Brendon 30 December, 2018 @ 22:56

Excellent. Walk has to be best walk done to date great views good parking kids love it

elaine 24 May, 2017 @ 17:18

Beautiful walk with my 2 dogs, varied terrain, beach, coastal headland around Runkerry to the Giants Causeway, grassland and a cycle path adjacent to the old causeway railway line then back to the beach.

Lyn 13 April, 2015 @ 08:31

A Really lovely walk, very breezy, but the views are stunning! Took us just over 3 hours, that included stopping for some pictures at the Giant's causeway! We took our dogs with us too and it was grand!

Damien 4 January, 2015 @ 10:00

A beautiful walk which a range of terrain and scenery. The steps to the Shepards Path at the causeway were closed due to a landslide forcing us to amend our route slightly but this didn't spoil what turned out to be an excellent day's walking.

hannah 3 October, 2014 @ 17:45

Amazing day......love the walk.

Tim 11 May, 2014 @ 19:13

us 4 old fogies walked to the causeway and back along the headlands and since it was such a beautiful walk we returned the same way. If you want to take the short cut back to Portbalinatae it would cut an hour off of the walk. - round trip , tour of the Causeway, lunch in the Causeway hotel - 5 1/2 hours. GREAT DAY

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