If you’re driving the Causeway Coastal Route, or if you’re looking for unique day trips from Belfast, look no further than The Gobbins Cliff Path Walk.
It first opened way back in 1902 and it was originally aimed at Edwardian thrill-seekers that wanted to experience a chunk of Ireland’s most dramatic coastline up close.
Now, a heads up from the get-go: this is a tough enough 3-mile/5km or so walk with steep inclines and declines that are said to be the equivalent of climbing 50 flights of steps.
In the guide below, you’ll find info on everything fro ticket prices to how The Gobbins Path all came about. Dive on in!
Some quick need-to-knows before visiting The Gobbins Cliff Path
There are several important need-to-knows abut The Gobbins Walkway that are well worth reading in advance, to avoid disappointment.
You’ll find The Gobbins Visitor Centre in Islandmagee on the Causeway Coastal Route. It’s a 40-minute drive from Belfast, a 15-minute drive from Carrickfergus and a 20-minute drive from Larne.
2. Opening hours
The Gobbins Walk is open from 08:30 to 17:00 daily (make sure to book in advance and arrive 15 minutes before your tour). You’ll find parking at the Visitor Centre.
3. Admission / ticket prices
The Gobbins admission fee is £20 for an adult, £14.50 for kids under 16, OAPs (65+) and students. There’s also a family ticket (2 adults and 3 kids) for £42.
4. Decent fitness needed
The Gobbins Walk is a long hard slog and moderate fitness and good mobility levels are needed. The path stretches for 3 miles/5km and is the equivalent of going up and down 50 flights of stairs.
5. Height restrictions
For safety purposes, anyone below 4 foot in height can’t enter The Gobbins Cliff Path. According to their website, kids can’t be carried.
The story behind The Gobbins Cliff Walk
The Gobbins Cliff Walk was originally aimed at Edwardian thrill-seekers that wanted to experience a chunk of Ireland’s most dramatic coastline up close.
It was the vision of Berkeley Deane Wise, the Chief Engineer of the Belfast and Northern Counties Railway Company, who wanted to use the recently expanded railway line to attract visitors to this little corner of Ireland.
The early days
Work on The Gobbins Cliff Path began in 1901 and it was in mid 1902 that a pathway from the village of Ballystrugger to the base of the Gobbins first opened.
Berkeley Deane Wise had a vision of adding tunnells and bridges that took visitors along the cliff, but it proved to be an immense challenge.
An overnight success
The parts were constructed in Belfast and the team managed to get them up along the Antrim Coast on rafts, before winching them in place.
The Gobbins Walk became an overnight success and visitors from Ireland and the UK travelled to experience the unique attraction.
Success, demise and rebirth
A suspension bridge was added in 1908 to take visitors to the mouth of the Seven Sisters Caves. Alas, this was the last addition as Wise passed away a year later.
The Gobbins Walk thrived for 30 years. It was then shut during the Second World War and, although it was reopened in 1950, landslides and safety issues resulted in it’s closure.
It remained closed for 50 years until 15 new bridges and 6 elevated paths were introduced, each meeting modern safety requirements. It reopened again in 2016.
The most unique sections on The Gobbins Tour
Over the course of The Gobbins Tour you’ll be taken on a trek along an often narrow and uneven path that wraps around some of Antrim’s beautifully craggy basalt cliffs.
Visitors will ramble across spectacular bridges, up and down rugged staircases carved into the cliff face and into caves that were once home to smugglers and privateers.
1. The tunnel
There’s one main tunnel at The Gobbins Walkway. This dark and slightly eerie passageway was carved through a basalt outcrop. It’ll take you below sea level and you’ll be able to hear the thunder of the sea crashing against the walls as you walk through it.
2. The swinging bridge
This is the suspension bridge that takes you across a deep inlet that, over time, carved out a cave in the cliff face. The bridge was constructed from high-tension cables, and provides a nice stable platform as you soak up the coastal views.
3. The clifftop viewpoint
It’s from the clifftop viewpoint that you’re treated to glorious views of the Seven Sisters caves along with the Kraken Cave and Heddles Port.
Places to visit near The Gobbins Cliff Walk
One of the beauties of The Gobbins Walk is that it’s a short spin away from some of the best things to do in Antrim.
Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from The Gobbins Cliff Walk (plus places to eat and where to grab a post-adventure pint!).
1. Blackhead Lighthouse (5-minute drive)
If you’re after another ramble after The Gobbins Walk, take the stroll from Whitehead Boat Club our to Blackhead Lighthouse. It’s around 2.4km in total and offers views of Belfast Lough and beyond.
2. Carrickfergus Castle (15-minute drive)
A visit to Carrickfergus Castle is one of the more popular things to do in Northern Ireland. The castle here is well preserved and home to a wealth of history. Carrickfergus Town is home to plenty of places to grab a bite to eat.
3. Belfast City (25-minute drive)
There’s plenty of things to do in Belfast a short spin from The Gobbins Cliff Path. From Divis and Black Mountain to the Belfast Cathedral Quarter, there’s plenty to see and do to keep you entertained.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Gobbins Cliff Path
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘Is The Gobbins free?’ to ‘How long is The Gobbins Walk?’.
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 Gobbins Cliff Walk?
The Gobbins Walk takes 2.5 to 3 hours in total. You need to dress appropriately for this as you are, unsurprisingly enough, walking at the site of a cliff.
Is The Gobbins Cliff Path Walk hard?
The Gobbins Walkway is a tough, 3-mile walk. The ground is uneven and the walk is the equivalent of going up and down 50 flights of steps.
What is The Gobbins admission fee?
The Gobbins Cliff Path tickets cost £20 for an adult, £14.50 for kids under 16, OAPs (65+) and students. There’s also a family ticket (2 adults and 3 kids) for £42.
Saturday 6th of August 2022
Is the Gobbins Cliff Walk open all year round?
Wednesday 1st of April 2020
hello i am hoping to come to the Emerald Isle either this fall or spring ( depending on Covid-19 situation :( ). Anyway I have a couple of questions that I didn't find listed. 1. Of the 50 flights of uneven steps, how many flights have the most number of steps (per flight) and what is the number steps in these particular flights? 2. If I am unable to do the actual walk am \I able to walk from the car park at the visitor centre down to the end of the walk to that octagon shaped walkway that hangs out over the cliff?
thank you and hope to see you in the fall, take care and stay safe :) Cathi