Vanlife Destination: Ballycastle, Ireland

Vanlife Destination: Ballycastle, Ireland

By Tin Top

  • Kids swimming on Rathlin Island
  • Swimming on Rathlin Island
  • The Manor Hotel, Rathlin Island
  • The ferry on Rathlin Island
  • Puffin Bus Rathlin Island
  • JCB on Rathlin Island
  • Puffins on Rathlin Island
  • Dog walking on Rathlin Island
  • Rusty tractor on Rathlin Island, Northern Ireland
  • Sea birds on Rathlin Island
  • Rathlin Island Vanlife
  • The Irish North Coast
  • Boat on Rathlin Island
  • Cattle on Rathlin Island
  • An old abandoned house on Rathlin Island
  • An old abandoned house on Rathlin Island
  • Derelict building on Rathlin Island
  • Rathlin Island Seaweed House
  • Rathlin Island Ruins
  • Irish North Coast
  • Charles Stewart, Skipper of Kintra II (Rathlin Island Ferry)
  • Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge from the sea
  • Irish North Coast
  • Irish North Coast
  • Irish North Coast

One of our favourite places on the island of Ireland is Ballycastle in Country Antrim. The town always has something going on, from festivals to markets. There is a beautiful beach, loads of scenic drives, and plenty of places to park up for the night. Call into the Ballycastle Visitor Information Centre to get guides, maps, and advice. 

A highlight of any trip to Ballycastle is getting out on the water. Book well in advance for the [effectively passenger only] ferry to Rathlin Island and allow at least 4 hours to see and walk the island. As far as we know camper vans are not allowed on the island, unless you have a blue badge or are a resident. The roads are not really suitable for driving a large van on regardless.

The facilities on Rathlin are sparse and sometimes it can be hard to even get a bite to eat. If they are open you can get good food in McCuaigs bar or The Manor House Hotel. However the best grub can be had from a small food truck called The Hungry Seal. The fish and chips are delicious and even better enjoyed sitting on the nearby beach wall. All of the amenities are dotted around the harbour where the ferry lands.

Further out from the harbour there are three lighthouses, a bird sanctuary, and plenty of really nice walks to enjoy on the island. Below are some photos we took on Rathlin.

Official Campsites

We have never stayed in an official campsite in or near Ballycastle, so we can't make a recommendation, but there are loads nearby including the 5-star Causeway Coast Holiday Park, just 1km from the beach.

Wild Camping

We have camped for many days on and around the pier in Ballycastle. People also park up beside the beach on the Carrickmore Road.

Food & Supplies

The town of Ballycastle has plenty of shops and facilities. Don't walk past Ursa Minor Bakehouse if you want to try the best pastries in Ireland. McKay Family Butchers is an excellent place to resupply your fridge.

Things to Do

Rathlin Island, Kintra Boat Tours, Giant's Causeway, Carrick-a-Rede, Dunluce CastleCauseway Coastal Route, Ballintoy Harbour