Northern Ireland, Top Tips for Visiting the Giant’s Causeway on a Budget

Giant's Causeway Northern Ireland

“The National Trust is a wonderful organisation… but why does it have to be so very annoying?  It would be a kindness if they gave you a map when you paid for parking and admission but this is not the National Trust way.  They like to charge for every individual thing.  The day cannot be too far off when you pay for toilet paper by the sheet.” – Bill Bryson

It hasn’t always been free to visit.  In the 1800s, the Causeway was fenced off by landowners who saw its potential as a tourist attraction and so an easy way to make money but after a long drawn out case the High Court ruled that the public had an ‘ancient right of way’ to visit the Causeway and view the stones.

Now the National Trust wants to turn back the clock.  They haven’t exactly built a fence but they crudely misled visitors into paying the extortionate parking and visitor centre admission charge.

Here are my tips for avoiding the Giant National Trust Rip-Off:

1  Walk there.  This might seem rather obvious but as a word of warning it is about a mile walk and there are no footpaths.

2  Use the  Giant’s Causeway and Bushmills light railway.  It is a lot cheaper and you get a train ride there and back.  It only operates in the Summer however.

3  Drive to the Giant’s Causeway and park in the railway car park.  It is only £6.

4  Stay overnight at the Causeway Hotel and park for free.  If not staying overnight park up and have a cup of coffee and become a customer and get entitlement to free parking.

5  Use the National Trust Car Park but only buy one ticket to the visitor centre, a good solution if there is a family of visitors or if there are 4 adults.

6  Use the National Trust car park and just ignore the visitor centre completely.  National Trust say they may clamp cars when visitors haven’t paid but this is most unlikely.  Don’t worry about the clamped car close to the entrance, this belongs to a member of staff and is only there to try and frighten people.

7 Walk from the car park to the Causeway because if you take the bus then this costs another £1 each way.

The National Trust says:

“The admission fee includes: access to the Visitor Centre facilities (cafe, retail, exhibition and toilets including a Changing Places facility), use of a hand-held audio guide to explore the landscape outdoors with over one-hour of content, a guided walking tour led by a National Trust guide lasting more than 45 minutes, and visitor information leaflets and parking.”

Giant's Causeway Rock Garden Plant

Also worth a view:

Views from a disgruntled visitor

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25 responses to “Northern Ireland, Top Tips for Visiting the Giant’s Causeway on a Budget

  1. Thanks so much for the tips Andrew. These kind of things are so very helpful and especially when they come from a trusted source. You can be trusted right? 🙂

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  2. How sneaky putting a clamped car close to the entrance!!

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  3. These are great tips and it’s a place I’ve wanted to see for a long time. Great to get an insider’s perspective. Pee before I go, and walk there! I would rather get tips from you than from any brochure.

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  4. The National Trust might hate you for this, Andrew, but I’ll be your friend for life. I love a train ride 🙂

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  5. Pingback: Postcards of 2015 | Have Bag, Will Travel

  6. Great tips Andrew, for those of us who are uninitiated in the ways of the National Trust. However we get there though, the Giant’s Causeway is on our bucket list! Anita

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  7. Pingback: Top 10 Causeway Coast Attractions in Northern Ireland (Map and Itinerary)Live Less Ordinary: The Contemporary Travel Blog

  8. Hi Andrew, Where can you suggest walking from and we plan to see Dunluce Castle, Giants Causeway and Carrick a Rede.

    We are visiting in December.

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  9. Hi Andrew, I plan on visiting the Gateway along with five motorcyclist, so six in total. I don’t suppose we can drive all the way up, but is there a place for us to park our motorbikes? We are just passing and don’t even have a lot of time. We will be there in June.

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  10. THe Giant’s Causeway is top of my list of places I want to visit in Ireland. I will keep these tips in mind since costs can easily add up. I like option 4 🙂

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