The Gobbins Cliff path is a fantastic day trip that is full of fun even for those who don’t like hiking! One of the best activities in Northern Ireland, here’s all info on what to do on the Gobbins Cliff walk!

Who wouldn’t like to walk on waves?

I’m talking about walking along cliff edges, above crashing waves, engulfed with sea spray every so often…to the sound of seagulls and cormorants.

Not your usual cliff-side walk now, is it?

I was lucky to venture on a walk along the Gobbins cliff path on my recent travels to Northern Ireland.

The Gobbins is an area of basalt sea cliffs on the eastern coast of Island Magee. The cliffs were formed as a result of volcanic activity many years ago. Lush with bio-diversity, Gobbins cliff walk definitely is a nature lover’s delight.

Read on to know all you need to know before venturing out on the Gobbins cliff walk, one of the best things to do on your Causeway Coastal Way road trip!

the gobbins cliff path northern ireland entrance

gobbins cliff path northern ireland antrim

Best places to stay near Gobbins Cliff path for a last minute getaway


Arbor Hills for those wanting a luxurious stay
Harbour View a luxurious apartment at a reasonable price point
Derrin Guest House for the budget-conscious

Gobbins Cliff path – Essentials

What is the meaning of ‘The Gobbins’?


The name ‘Gobbins’ come from the Irish word Goban which means the tip of land or a headland.

How much are tickets to the Gobbins Cliff Path?


The Gobbins tickets cost per person is £20. Tickets for students and senior citizens are £14.5. You can also check for  Gobbins promo code before booking so that you get a good discount.

The Gobbins booking can be done here.

What to keep in mind for the Gobbins Cliff Path?


  • Keep aside approximately three hours for  the Gobbins Cliff path.

  • Arrive at least half an hour before the allotted slot at the Gobbins visitor center as a couple of minutes are dedicated to safety instructions and information.

  • The Gobbins Visitor Centre is open from 8.30 am – 5.00 pm every day. It has a shop and a cafe.

Visitors are not allowed to carry any food or bags on the Gobbins cliff path. There are free lockers to leave your things at the Gobbins visitor center.

Wild Flowers on the The gobbins cliff path

What to expect on the Gobbins Cliff walk?


As you approach the Gobbins path, you will witness the majesty of the rugged coastline of Northern Ireland looming ahead of you, with waves crashing against the cliffs in an awesome display of nature’s power! A rush of anticipation and excitement fills you as you eagerly wait for the Gobbins walk to begin.

But, before you embark on the Gobbins path, make sure you go through some of these important pointers.

How long is the Gobbins Cliff walk?


The Gobbins coastal path is around 5 kilometres long and can be physically challenging, as it involves steep inclines, narrow paths, and suspension bridges which can be pretty exhausting.

However, you can rest easy since the guided tour is designed to take you through the path safely and at a leisurely pace, allowing you to enjoy the stunning scenery and fascinating wildlife of the Gobbins along the way.

How long does the Gobbins walk take?


The 5 kilometre walk takes approximately 3 hours for a reasonably fit and active person to complete. Make sure that you check with the Gobbins visitor centre if you have any health complications.

Also, note that children are not permitted on the path. Anyone under 4 ft tall is not permitted on the Gobbins walk.

Is the Gobbins walkway difficult?


I usually have low energy levels and had jitters when I realized that it was a 5 kilometre walk after making the booking. But my fears were pointless!

Each Gobbins walk has a dedicated guide, runs after specific intervals, and does not exceed 10-15 people per group. It is paced out – giving you ample time to take in the scenery and the great environment around and deep breaths if required.

The Gobbins walkway is narrow, and walking aids or sticks are not allowed. Visitors with special mobility needs are not permitted on the Gobbins walk. If you have limited mobility, you can take a boat tour of the Gobbins Cliff. Boats for such tours set off from Ballylumford Harbour.

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What is the weather like on the Gobbins tour?


June, July, and August are the best months to visit Larne – this summer season is the busiest season for tourism, and book tickets well in advance as the Gobbins Ireland receives many visitors during this season. September to February are the coldest months, and it rains or snows during these months.

The average temperature of Gobbins Ireland is in the single digits during most of the year here, which means you are likely to feel cold even during seasons other than winter in Larne.

However do note that the weather at the Gobbins Cliff can be unpredictable and can change quickly, so it’s important to be prepared for all eventualities.

It’s always a good idea to check the weather forecast so that you can come prepared with appropriate clothing and footwear. Remember, it’s better to be over-prepared than under-prepared when it comes to the weather in Northern Ireland!

What to wear on the Gobbins Cliffs Path?


The Gobbins walkway is right next to the awe-inspiring waters of the Northern Channel which are a constant companion on your walk and you can expect to be soaked in water, thanks to the crashing waves!

Embarking on this thrilling adventure means coming well-prepared. I would recommend comfortable but weather-appropriate clothing as the path can be windy and damp. A waterproof raincoat or jacket is a must and a change of clothes is also a good idea since you never know when the seas can get rough.

Wearing walking boots that provide ankle support is compulsory. Sneakers are not permitted. Walking boots are available for hire for £5 at the Gobbins centre, should you arrive around 15-30 minutes before your tour.

Safety briefing before the Gobbins Cliff Path


Before the walk begins, your guide will carefully explain safety instructions that you will need to follow on the Gobbins path and what you can expect. You will also receive a helmet which must be worn at all times to stay protected from falling debris.

Listen carefully to your guide and you will be all set for a thrill of a lifetime!

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Gobbins Cliff Walk – The History


We were lucky to have a semi-rainy day in winter, and although the clouds played peek-a-boo, it did not hinder the experience. The Gobbins Cliff path is located on the Causeway Coastal Route (not to be confused with the Wild Atlantic Way in Ireland), and there’s interesting trivia concerning the making of the marvel the Gobbins Cliff walk is today:

  • You realize things co-depend. Berkeley Deane Wise, Chief Engineer of the Belfast and Northern Counties Railway Company, expanded the railway line to this dramatically deserted but beautiful location. He then envisioned the Gobbins to attract visitors to make use of these rail excursion trips.

  • The construction on the path began in 1901, and the first section opened in August 1902. The steel girder bridges were built in Belfast, brought through barges and moved up the coast through rafts.

  • The Gobbins cliff walk became a popular attraction instantly – tourists from Ireland and the United Kingdom took a steamer to Larne to see the Gobbins Cliff Path.

  • The path was closed during the Second World War. In 2006, the  Larne Borough Council council reopened with fifteen new bridges and six elevated paths.

  • You realize if people connect to a place, they do all in their capacity to see it at its best. I’m talking of none other than John Lennon! He was particularly attached to the Gobbins cliff path and garnered even the army’s attention to restore it after its initial breakdown.

Off onto the path now…

We went – stepping on narrow ledges enough to hold one person, admiring the unique flora around, listening to tales of a bygone era. We stepped into Sandy Cave, where fancy tea parties and picnics were held: which could have been used as a smuggler’s cove ages ago!

Sandy cave at the gobbins walkway northern ireland antrim

Highlights of the Gobbins Cliff Path


The Gobbins Cliff Walk is not just a walk, it’s a symphony of thrilling sections that will take your breath away! The actual path starts at a different location. After safety instructions are given, the Gobbins tour guide will take you to the start of the path in a mini-van.

Like notes in a melody, each section adds its unique flavour to the experience, creating a thrilling crescendo that builds as you go. With tunnels, bridges, caves, and staircases, the Gobbins Cliff path is a journey through different worlds, each more captivating than the last.

As you traverse each section, you’ll be spellbound by the rugged beauty of the coastline, the thundering of the sea, and the sheer exhilaration of the experience. So, make sure you carry your camera or phone and click the Gobbins photos, which are sure to leave you wanting more.


Wise’s eye

The Wise’s eye bears the name of Berkeley Dean Wise, the man behind the Gobbins Cliff path. The eye is an oval-shaped hole and is the entrance to the Gobbins path tunnels.


Bridge 1

First amongst the several bridges on the Gobbins Cliff Path, which connect different sections of the walk, and offer some stunning views of the rocky coastline!

This bridge was part of the three bridges which were reconstructed during the 2016 redevelopment of the Gobbins path. An interesting fact? All the bridges are still unnamed! Have a name in mind? You could suggest it to them!


Bridge 2

Connecting two headlands and bridging a narrow crevasse is the second bridge. Take a look at either side of the crevasse and you will see birds nesting amongst spleenwort and kidney vetch.

If you peek out over the railing, you will also witness the remains of the original bridge built way back in 1902!


Sandy Cave

As you move ahead – stepping on narrow ledges enough to hold one person, admiring the unique flora around, listening to tales of a bygone era, you enter into Sandy Cave, where fancy tea parties and picnics were held: which could have been used as a smuggler’s cove ages ago!


Tubular Bridge

You will next pass through the Tubular Bridge, which fishers christened in an array of names as it was not visible to anybody from shore. The bridge was an astonishing feat of engineering and can be instantly recognized when you approach it.

Woman standing on the gobbins tour tubular bridge
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Man O’ War

Cross the Tubular Bridge and you will find yourself before a giant sea stack called the Man O’ War. A fun fact, the Gobbins cliffs were formed by volcanic eruptions!

The sea stack formation didn’t reach the surface but solidified underground, reminding early visitors of ships from the age of sail.


The Gallery

A marvel of engineering, the Gallery is built right on the sheerest cliff of the Gobbins! A peak below and you will be thrilled to see waves crashing amidst sharp rocks jutting out towards you.


The Aquarium

As you continue admiring the steep cliff-side on the Gallery, proceed forward and pause for a short break at the Aquarium. The water is super clear when the sea is calm and provides a fantastic opportunity to watch exotic fish. The rocks around are encrusted with abundant marine life such as molluscs, sponges, and red seaweed.

We found Johnson on the way keeping an eye out for dolphins who were spotted in the waters nearby.


The Tunnel

The next section was my favourite part of the Gobbins Cliff walk – the Tunnel, 100 meters below sea level! It’s a fantastic, eerie experience as you can hear the sound of the sea, and the waves colliding with the rocks send gusts of salty wind your way as you crinkle your noses at the pungent smell of seagull poop!

In summer, you can feast your eyes on adorable puffins, which I guess would partially make up for the poop smell!

Storytime! Over 100 years ago, a man was employed just for pumping out water from the tunnel!


Spleenwort Cave & Otter’s Cave

Hike through the Tunnel and after climbing the stairs you will find yourself in daylight and will be greeted by another set of cliffs. Amid these cliffs lies the Spleenword Cave, adorned with tendrils of bright, delicate leaves. 19th-century collectors were fascinated by these Sea Spleenwort ferns.

One of the bizarre stories our guide mentioned was the discovery of Otter’s Cave: While work was underway, Wise and his men found a cave with a varied collection of bones of birds, deer, ox, and sheep! Nobody knew where the bones had come from and still do not! It was assumed it could have been an otter’s, and that’s how the name stuck.

The cave is now covered with a landslip, but the story continues to intrigue!


Bridge 3

As you pass over the third and final newly constructed bridge, it leads you around the jutting headland into a spacious cove. The towering cliffs on either side provide an imposing backdrop, casting a shadow over the serene waters below.

This bridge, like the others, is also unnamed and you can suggest a name if you have any.


The Swinging Bridge

This is probably the most exhilarating part of the Gobbins cliff path! The Swinging Bridge is a suspension bridge built across a deep inlet that has carved out a cave in the cliffside.

Rest assured, the bridge is extremely sturdy, but jump up and down a little and you are sure to feel a shiver down your spine as the bridge shakes!


Gordon’s Leap

A scary titbit here. The inlet across which the Swinging Bridge was built is called Gordon’s Leap though it is still debated why the inlet was named so. Some say it was named after a murder victim from the 17th century, perhaps a local councillor or one of the bridge’s original builders. Who knows?


Clifftop Viewpoint

Cross the suspension bridge and you reach the last section, the viewpoint which has some mesmerizing panoramic views of the sea.

Also, view the Seven Sisters Cave, the submerged Kraken Cave, and Heddles Port.

Finally, take a U-turn and walk back to the start…pausing for pictures along the way, trying to get a glimpse of the Mull of Kintyre and saying goodbye to Johnson – who was still keeping an eye out for dolphins!

Hike back through Wise’s eye and catch the minibus back to the Gobbins Visitor Centre. Collect your belongings from the lockers and grab a hot cup of coffee from the Gobbins cafe.

If you have some free time, do visit the information centre to get to know more about the history of the Gibbons, the wildlife that inhabits the cliffs, and the formation of the cliffs.

the gobbins cliff walk northern ireland antrim gallery
the gobbins walkway northern ireland antrim

Gobbins Cliff walk – Biodiversity and wildlife


The Gobbins is an area of Special Scientific Interest due to the breeding seabird colony, maritime plant communities and notable species. The site is home to the only mainland puffins in Northern Ireland and peregrine falcons, fulmar, cormorant, shag, Kittiwakes and common guillemot.

The vertical cliffs are mostly covered with grass fed rescue. The lesser steep cliffs are covered with bracken, thrift, common bird’s-foot-trefoil, sea campion and kidney vetch and sea spleenwort.

You can see the molluscs, sponges, and red seaweed in the rock pools below the path during low tide. The deeper water is also home to the lion mane jellyfish, prey for seals and other larger sea animals.

If you’re lucky, you may be able to spot a dolphin, seal or porpoise as these animals have been spotted close to the cliffs.

Where to stay near Gobbins Cliff path?


Plenty of options are available around the Gobbins for a stay. My suggestions would be the following:

Luxury: Arbor Hills

Located about 2 kilometers from the Gobbins Visitor Centre, the Arbor Hills is a cosy remotely located hotel, featuring pod-like rooms with all necessary amenities including a private hot tub.

You also get a chance to see beautiful views of Larne in the distance, both during the day and at night.

Mid-range: Harbour View

The Harbour View is a sea-facing accommodation in Carrickfergus located around 12 kilometres from the Gobbins. The apartment is beautifully decorated and gives you a relaxed feeling and also has all the required amenities for a comfortable stay.

Budget: Derrin Guest House

The Derrin Guest House is located in Larne which is 15 kilometres away from the Gobbins and features tastefully decorated rooms and a sumptuous breakfast option. The scenic Antrim Coast Road starts just minutes away and the Larne railway station is also nearby.

the gobbins cliff path northern ireland antrim underground path
the gobbins walk cliff path northern ireland rock formations

Places to see near Gobbins Cliff path


The walk should not take more than half of your day. If you’re spending more time in Larne, here are some attractions that are near the Gobbins Northern Ireland.

Carrickfergus Castle

Carrickfergus Castle is a Norman castle situated on the northern shore of Belfast Lough. The castle played an important role in Irish history and was used as a shelter during both world wars. It is one of the best-preserved medieval structures in Ireland.


Blackhead Lighthouse 

Blackhead Lighthouse is a listed lighthouse that was built in 1902. The lighthouse is at the north end of the Belfast Lough. You can either visit the lighthouse for a panoramic view of the Antrim coast or stay here in one of the rooms available for guests. Book accommodation for staying at the Blackhead Lighthouse here.

You can also take a seaside walk through the Blackhead Path, which starts from the Whitehead Boat Club and runs around Blackhead.

This area of ‘Special Scientific Interest’ is known for its bird habitat, which is home to birds such as nesting peregrine falcons, meadow pipit, robin, goldfinch, and chaffinch. Dolphins, seals, and porpoises have also been spotted swimming in the lough.


Carfunnock Country Park

Carnfunnock Country Park is a large park located between Drains Bay and Ballygally. The park is owned and run by the Mid and East Antrim Borough Council and has gardens, walking trails, activities, and attractions for kids and adults. Entry to the park is free, but you need to pay for the activities and parking.

Tents and caravans are available for hire if you want to camp here and use the park as a base for touring the Antrim coast.



Belfast is 28 km away from the Gobbins cliff walk. In Belfast, you can visit the Ulster Museum, which showcases Irish history through art and archaeology. Another attraction here is the Titanic Belfast, which tells the story of the RMS Titanic.

The building is at the site of the shipyard where the Titanic was built. Belfast Castle, Crumlin Road Gaol Visitor Attraction, St. Anne’s Cathedral, and the botanic gardens are amongst the many other attractions in the capital city. Also, check out this list of free things to do in Belfast in a day.

Titanic sign in Belfast on a gobbins cliff path tour

Northdown Museum

The Northdown is a  local history museum dedicated to preserving and showcasing the fascinating history and heritage of the North Down area. The museum’s collection includes a wide range of artifacts, photographs, and documents that offer a glimpse into the social, economic, and cultural history of the region.

You can explore exhibits that cover topics such as the linen industry, shipbuilding, local agriculture, and the role of Bangor as a seaside resort.


Bangor Castle Walled Garden

The Bangor Castle Walled Garden is nestled in the heart of Bangor, Northern Ireland. Originally built in the 1840s as part of the Bangor Castle estate, the garden has since been restored and opened to the public as a beautiful and tranquil oasis.

One of the most striking features of the Bangor Castle Walled Garden is its formal layout. The garden is divided into a series of distinct sections, each with its unique character and charm. From the tranquil pond to the beautiful rose garden, there is something to discover around every corner.

The centrepiece of the garden is the beautiful glasshouse, which dates back to the 1880s and is a stunning example of Victorian architecture. Also check out the garden’s historic conservatory and gazebo, both of which have been carefully restored to their original glory.

Woman kissing fish sculpture on a gobbins cliff path tour in belfast

Gobbins Cliff walk FAQs

Where is the Gobbins Cliff path?

The Gobbins is in Islandmagee, County Antrim on the Causeway Coastal Route, 32kms from Belfast. For navigation, the location is The Gobbins Visitor Centre, Middle Road, Islandmagee BT40 3SX.


Is the Gobbins free?

Only guided tours of the Gobbins walk are allowed. Tickets for adults are £20. Tickets for students, seniors (above 65) and children (below 16) are £14.5. Family tickets are available for £42.


How long is the Gobbins cliff path walk?

The Gobbins cliff walk is a 5 km walk. The path is narrow and steep. Walking sticks are not allowed on the Gobbins walk as well as people with certain health conditions.


How to get to Gobbins cliff walk?

If you are travelling by car, take the A2 Causeway Coastal Route from Belfast to Larne. Travel through Carrickfergus and turn right on B90 Island Lower Road. After this, follow the brown signposts to the visitor centre.

Take Bus 256 from the Europa Bus centre and get down at Larne Bus Station for public transport. From here, take the 170b to Ballystruder. Walk from Ballystrudder village to Middle Road for about 20 minutes to reach the Gobbins Visitor Centre from where the Gobbins trail starts.


Gobbins cliff path how long does it take?

The total walk takes around 3 hours to complete.


Who built the Gobbins Cliff Path?

The Gobbins Cliff Path was built by a civil engineer named Berkley Dean Wise between 1901 and 1902. The path was designed as a tourist attraction to showcase the rugged beauty of the Antrim coast and was hailed as a marvel of engineering when it first opened to the public in 1902.


Is The Gobbins worth it?

Yes! The Gobbins is definitely worth visiting if you enjoy outdoor activities, stunning scenery, and unique experiences. The cliff path offers an unforgettable adventure, allowing you to explore some of Northern Ireland’s most spectacular coastal landscapes from a unique perspective.

Lavinia Dsouza

Award-winning Analyst, multi-nominated digital content creator and photographer Lavina Dsouza's words capture stories about culture and tradition mainly through its food and people. She has written and contributed to publications such as The Washington Post, Lonely Planet and Matador Network, to name a few. She is the editor of, a non-profit created to share inspiring stories from women of colour who break free from traditions and choose happiness.

She's also a speaker passionate about DEI and champions solo travel. She has collaborated with numerous renowned brands such as Intrepid Travel, TripAdvisor, Travel and Leisure and Adobe, to name a few.

She can be found on Twitter and Instagram.