Things to Do in Bellarena

things to do in Bellarena

Bellarena is a small village in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland. The village lies close to a range of tourist attractions, including the Magilligan to Greencastle ferry port and the Blue Flag beach at Benone. It also lies within the Binevenagh Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and has open views towards the rocky plateau and steep cliffs of Binevenagh mountain.

1. Visit Binevenagh Mountain

An iconic landmark of Northern Ireland, Binevenagh Mountain is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and hikers. Its diverse landscape and rich history make it a fascinating place for visitors of all ages to explore.

Located west of Downhill Demesne, this scenic mountain is formed by 60 million years of volcanic activity and boasts steep cliffs that extend over the surrounding landscape. The name of this dramatic mountain comes from the Irish word for Foibhne’s Peak, the peak of the Celtic god of the sea, Manannan Mac Lir.

The cliff-tops around Binevenagh Mountain offer breathtaking views, and there are plenty of things to do at this popular spot. For example, the serene Binevenagh Lake is a popular angling lake and a great spot for a picnic. The surrounding Altikeeragh bogs are home to rare arctic-alpine flora, like moss campion and purple saxifrage.

The cliffs at Binevenagh are also a prime spot to watch the sun set over Magilligan and Donegal on a clear day. You can also visit Castlerock Beach, a beautiful stretch of golden sand that is the perfect spot for a relaxed picnic.

2. Go on a Hike

The Sperrin Mountains are the largest mountain range in Northern Ireland, and hikers are sure to find plenty of trails to enjoy. The area is home to many beautiful hills, quiet valleys, and boggy uplands that are teeming with wildlife.

The Gobbins cliffs are one of the most popular hiking trails in the region, offering stunning views over Lough Foyle and County Donegal. Several walking trails are available for all levels of fitness, and the cliffs are also a great place to spot wildlife.

Another excellent hiking trail in the region is the Cavehill loop, which offers spectacular views over north Belfast. The short loop is perfect for those looking for a relaxing walk without having to leave the city.

3. Enjoy the Beach

The beach at Bellarena is a great spot for swimming and surfing. It also has a number of restaurants and cafes where you can enjoy a bite to eat. The 4-star Bellarena train station is located a short walk from the beach.

The demesne of Bellarena was settled in the mid-17th century by a Northamptonshire gentleman, William Gage, when he bought the lease on the estate – then called Ballymargy – from the Lord Bishop of Derry. It was later renamed Bellarena (from French belle, meaning beautiful, and Latin arena, referring to the sandy beach).

The area is home to a range of natural and man-made attractions including a sheltered bay with a jetty and an 18th-century folly tower, and is surrounded by a forest and a cultivated walled garden. It also has an 18-hole golf course, and the sandy beach is a popular location for windsurfing and kite flying. The beach and its surrounding cliffs featured in the HBO TV show Game of Thrones, as it was used as the Dothraki grasslands in season five when Daenerys Targaryen was rescued by her dragon, Drogon.

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