When you are thinking about spending your gap year or working holiday in Great Britain, you shouldn’t forget about Northern Ireland. Even though it isn’t part of the mainland, it is still a part of the UK and one that is a thrill to explore.
You will certainly have a memorable time in Northern Ireland. The locals are always incredibly friendly and very welcoming to tourists. Plus, there are some gorgeous natural landscapes that will take your breath away. You might even recognize a few of the views too, as quite few big TV shows and movies have been filmed around the area, including Game of Thrones and The Lost City of Z.
That’s not all, though - Northern Ireland is known for being relatively affordable as well. It is certainly a lot cheaper than London and the majority of big cities around throughout England. So, you’ll be able to enjoy plenty of leisure activities and nights out on your working holiday wage, making it ever so easy to experience the best of life in Northern Ireland.
Not sure where to base yourself for your Northern Ireland holiday job? Here are some of the top options.
Belfast is the region’s capital and is quickly gaining a reputation as being one of the UK’s coolest cities. You only have to wander around its quirky Cathedral Quarter to see why it deserves to be called ‘cool’. This is the cultural center of the city and its cobbled street are lined with some really unique bars and restaurants. It’s the place where most people head on a night out. You also won’t be too far from the Giant’s Causeway either. This UNESCO World Heritage site is around 60 million years old and, legend has it, was created by a giant - hence its name. While in Belfast, be sure to try the famous Ulster Fry. It’s a fried breakfast that is all cooked together in the same pan, so expect a taste sensation!
The town of Antrim is located in the county of the same name: County Antrim. The town is a great base to place yourself if you want to get out into nature as much as possible. There are lots of fascinating natural sights in Antrim, and you will be able to easily get to them from the town. For instance, you could walk over the famous rope bridge that connects the mainland to Carrick-a-Rede Island. If you don’t have a head for heights, don’t worry; there are plenty of great hiking trails around the county that won’t require you to cross a 350-year old rope bridge! For instance, you could visit Antrim Gardens for a leisurely wander around its gardens.
The city of Londonderry (or Derry) has had a turbulent history, but these days it attracts a lot of tourists and visitors. The 17th-century city walls are still intact and many people walk around them to get a sense of the city’s history. There is also plenty more history to soak up at the Siege Museum and Sion Stables-Museum. It’s also easy to get to Belfast from Londonderry too. You’ll be able to hop on a train and will be in the capital in just a couple of hours. If you want to make friends with the locals, then head to Peadar O’Donnell’s, a lively bar with regular live music.
Situated in County Down, Bangor is a seaside town that is easily accessible by both car and public transport. At just 14 miles from Belfast, you will be able to nip into the capital whenever you want. There’s plenty to keep you occupied in Bangor itself, though.For instance, you can visit the Castle Park or head to Pickie Fun Park to hit the rides. For a chilled-out afternoon and evening, head to the town’s marina. You’ll find two of the town’s best music venues here, The McKee Clock and the Sunken Gardens. In previous years, the town of Bangor has been called the most desirable places to live in Northern Ireland, so you’ll certainly have a great time basing yourself there for your gap year.
There are so many great places to explore in Northern Ireland, you might struggle to decide where you want to stay. One of the best things about the region, though, is just how compact it is. No matter where you are, you will be able to quickly get to any other area or region. Plus, it’s a great excuse for an adventurous road trip!