A Guide To The Bray Head Walk: A Handy Climb With Stunning Views

bray head walk
Photo left: SunFreez. Photo right: luciann.photography (Shutterstock)

The brilliant Bray Head Walk, not to be confused with the Bray to Greystones Cliff Walk, is one of my favourite walks in Wicklow.

The Bray Head Walk is a lovely way to get out into the wild and soak up some beautiful coastal views without having to exert yourself too much.

The walk, which takes around an hour (allow longer for stops) starts in the village and is perfectly paired with a bite-to-eat in the town.

In the guide below, you’ll find everything from where to park and the trail to follow to what to do nearby.

Some quick need to knows about the Bray Head Walk

climbing bray head
Photo by Jacek Stamblewski (Shutterstock)

As the walk up to Bray Head Cross is one of the more popular things to do in Bray, it’s pretty straightforward, however, there are a few need-to-knows.

1. Location

Bray Head is just outside the seaside town of Bray, itself just a short drive south of Dublin. The head juts out partially into the Irish Sea, and the view from the top offers incredible panoramas, taking in blue seas, the urban sprawl of Dublin, and the mountains of Wicklow.

2. How long it takes

The walk will typically take around an hour, though you can spend far longer on the trial if you’re stopping for photos or a picnic at the top.

3. Difficulty level

It can be a bit of a slog going up the hill, but the views from the top are well worth the sweat! Generally speaking, the walk is rated as moderate, and most people with reasonable fitness levels should be okay with it.

4. Where to park

The best place to park to enjoy this hike is at the Cliff Walk Car Park at Raheen Park. It’s just outside of Bray town centre and easy enough to reach. From here, you’ll see a few trails — the correct one is the one that leads up the hill. If you’re staying in the town, you can begin the walk on the promenade rather than worrying about parking.

The Bray Head Walk: An overview of the trail

bray head cliff walk
Photo by Ben Loe (Shutterstock)

In this guide, we’ll discuss the Bray Head Walk that leads you to the top and back down again, rather than the Bray Head Looped Walk.

However, as you’ll see, it’s easy enough to turn this into a loop rather than an out and back style walk, if that tickles your fancy!

Kicking off the walk

If you’re staying in Bray, you can simply start the walk by strolling along the promenade, heading south (with the sea on your left if you’re bad with directions!).

Soon enough the road ends and you’ll come across a metal barrier. Walk past this, and when you come to a fork, veer right, heading uphill. Soon enough, you’ll reach a bridge over the railway track, before arriving at the Bray Head Car Park on Raheen Park.

If you’re driving from outside of Bray, you can simply begin the walk from here. Follow the path out of the car park, and it’ll soon split. 

Reaching the top

Avoid the left path from the car park, which is the Bray to Greystones Cliff Walk. Instead, you need to head straight on, with the trail climbing up some stairs.

Once you’ve reached the top of the stairs, you’ll find yourself on a well-worn dirt path that winds up to the top of Bray Head. Along the way, you’ll pass through fairy tale thickets of trees and open, grassy plains, before reaching a rocky scramble to the top.

In poor weather, the conditions can get a little rough, and the scramble can be a little slippery, but for the most part it’s easy enough to manage. Just be sure to dress properly and wear decent boots. Once you reach the top, you’ll see the stone Bray Head Cross, from which you can enjoy spectacular views.

Making your way back down

If time is short, your best bet is to head back down the way you came, either back to the car park or Bray town centre. However, if you’d like to extend the walk, you can follow the path south from Bray Head Cross.

If you’re lucky, the ‘Brew With a View’ van will be somewhere along the path, offering a lovely cup of coffee and cakes to enjoy in your breathtaking surroundings.

Two routes to choose from

Keep following the path south, heading downhill, and you have 2 options. The first is to follow the main path as it veers right, which will take you to Windgates, and eventually the main road from Bray to Greystones (R761).

Follow this North, past Bray Golf Club, and eventually turn right onto Newcourt Road, which will lead you back to the sea front.

Alternatively, if you don’t mind a little more scrambling, as the main path south from Bray Head veers right to Windgates, continue ahead and scramble down the rocks, where you’ll find that the narrow dirt path continues heading south.

Trundle down the open shrub land until the path hits a T-junction. Head left towards the sea, and you’ll soon hit the Bray-Greystone Cliff Walk. Simply follow it back to Bray (the sea on your right!) and enjoy two walks in one!

Things to do after finishing the Bray Head hike

One of the beauties of walking up to Bray Head Cross is that, when you finish, you’re a short spin away from many other great places to visit in Wicklow.

Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from Bray Head (plus places to eat and where to grab a post-adventure pint!).

1. Food in the town

what to do nearby
Photos via Ocean Bar & Grill Bray on Facebook

Bray is home to a number of superb restaurants, cafes, and pubs, each offering an array of dishes to tempt and delight after a good walk. The Ocean Bar and Grill Restaurant is a great choice for a sumptuous fish supper, but you’ll find plenty more on their fine-dining menu. See our Bray restaurants guide for more.

2. The Bray to Greystones Cliff Walk

Bray to Greystones cliff walk
Photo by Dawid K Photography (Shutterstock)

The pleasant Bray to Greystones Cliff Walk runs parallel to the cliffs that lie between the two towns, and lies just under Bray Head. Starting at the same car park as the previous walk, it’s easy to do both in one day. Just be advised, you’ll need to walk back the same way or take a bus back to Bray from Greystones, as it’s a linear rather than a looped trail.

3. Powerscourt Waterfall

powerscourt waterfall
Photo by Eleni Mavrandoni (Shutterstock)

Crashing down 121 metres, Powerscourt Waterfall is the highest in Ireland, and it’s just over 10 km from Bray. It’s easy to reach, with a dedicated car park, nice walking trails, and absolutely stunning scenery. Also a haven for wildlife, such as red squirrels and Sika Deer, this incredible waterfall at the foot of the Wicklow Mountains makes for a magnificent day out.

4. Walks, walks and more walks

lough tay walk wicklow
Photo by Lukas Fendek/Shutterstock.com

Known as the ‘garden of Ireland’, County Wicklow offers a veritable treasure trove of walks to enjoy, many of which sit within the Wicklow Mountains National Park. Here are some of our favourites:

FAQs about the Bray Head Walk

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from where to park for the Bray Head Walk to how long it takes.

In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.

How long is the Bray Head walk?

The walk will typically take around an hour and a half, though you can spend far longer on the trial if you’re stopping for photos or a picnic at the top.

Is the Bray Head walk hard?

The walk here should be OK for anyone with a moderate level of fitness. It’s not particularly steep or overly demanding.

Where do you park for the walk?

The best place to park to enjoy this hike is at the Cliff Walk Car Park at Raheen Park, just outside of Bray town centre.

Andy was once on a glorious worldwide trip on his equally glorious motorcycle. After 4 years, he'd still only made it as far as Eastern Europe, before falling in love with his surroundings and deciding to settle down a while. Nowadays, he spends his time writing about traveling through the places he once explored, normally while sipping a pint.

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