Monday 2 October 2023

Explore Ballyclare: Top things to see and do in the area

Set on the river banks of the Six Mile Water, Ballyclare is a charming town in Northern Ireland’s County Antrim. It was originally established as a river crossing and flourished as an industrial town in the 19th century following the construction of several paper mills in the area. Today, Ballyclare is a relaxed base for exploring the natural and cultural attractions of County Antrim while also being within easy access to Belfast.

In this article, discover some of the top things to see and do in Ballyclare to help you plan your next holiday. An inspiring choice of accommodation is available online at, which lists apartments in the centre of Ballyclare and spacious homes in its scenic surroundings. Due to the town’s compact size, you’re never more than a short walk or drive from Ballyclare’s main attractions, which range from a picturesque golf course to a beloved garden nursery.
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Visit the War Years Remembered Museum

Established in 1994, this engaging museum explores the area’s cultural heritage related to the events of World War I and World War II. Its collection of military artefacts, uniforms and weaponry spans over 100 years, with old photographs helping to bring the past to life. You can get up close to vintage vehicles and medals awarded to local soldiers, as well as hear stories from those whose lives were impacted by the conflicts of the 20th century.

Relax in Six Mile Water Park

Named after the river that flows through its heart, this picturesque green space extends to the southwest of Ballyclare’s town centre. It encompasses 37 acres of open parkland that includes tennis courts and a children’s playground, as well as a duck pond with an observation deck. Six Mile Water Park is the ideal place for a stroll, with several different walking trails to explore. If you’re feeling energetic, you can exercise at the outdoor gym or just relax with a picnic in the pavilion.

Explore the Ballyrobert Gardens

A short drive south of Ballyclare is this Royal Horticultural Society garden, which was established around 300 years ago as a small farm. It has since been landscaped to blend into the surrounding countryside and plays an important role in trialling the success of plants. While exploring the gardens, you can learn about the 4,000+ plants that are grown here and even purchase some of the varieties at the onsite nursery.

Play a round at the Ballyclare Golf Club

Nestled amidst the rolling hills to the north of town is the Ballyclare Golf Club, which centres around a challenging, 18-hole parkland course. It was originally founded in 1923 and is renowned for its tree-lined fairways dotted with sparkling lakes. After your round, you can mingle with the locals in the convivial clubhouse, which serves meals, drinks and snacks throughout the day.

Cast a fishing line at the Killylane Reservoir

If you’re into fly fishing, then head north to the Killylane Reservoir, which lies amidst open moorland on the edge of the Antrim Coast and Glens Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It’s a popular area for luring trout, with up to four fish allowed per rod. Boat-based fishing is not permitted, which only adds to the tranquility of the experience. Non-anglers can simply enjoy a stroll along the shores of the Killylane Reservoir.

Tour Carrickfergus Castle

Despite being besieged by the Scots, the English and the French, Carrickfergus Castle has managed to withstand the test of time and stands proudly overlooking Belfast Lough. Originally built in 1177, it now offers a fascinating insight into the tumultuous events that have impacted Northern Ireland. Centuries-old cannons are on display, alongside artefacts and costumes from times gone by. After touring what is one of the most impressive castles in Northern Ireland, you can relax over coffee and cake at the onsite cafe.

Hike the Gobbins Cliff Path

Taking in rocky coves and spectacular sea caves, this coastal path is more of an experience than simply a walk. Its history dates back to the early 20th century, although it spent a significant period in disrepair in the wake of World War II. In recent years, the path has been revamped to meet modern safety standards and is once again open to the public. Its suspension bridges and precarious cliff paths offer incredible views across the coastline of Antrim and the caves known as the “Seven Sisters”.

Indulge at the Dunamoy Spa

If you’re into health and beauty, then don’t miss a visit to this relaxing spa, which offers a range of therapeutic treatments. In addition to back, neck and shoulder massages, you can enjoy facials, body scrubs and anti-ageing treatments. Reflexology is also available to help restore the body’s natural balance, as are custom-designed couples’ treatments. You can extend your stay with a soak in the Dunamoy Bathing Suite, complete with rejuvenating minerals.

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