The girls and I went to Ballycastle for a few days this week. We stayed in a little house on a farm with horses in stables right next to us 🙂 Before we got there, we stopped at White Park Bay. It’s such a beautiful beach and so quiet 🙂 We were lucky to get sunshine and blue skies. We climbed across a little stream and found some huge rocks to have a picnic on 🙂 It was really windy and refreshing. The girls made silly faces in the sand and climbed on the rocks for a long time.
Afterwards, we went into Ballycastle and the girls played in the playground there. We got some coffee/ice-cream from Morelli’s and went for a walk along the promenade before we checked in. The girls were excited to find two little seats for them to sit on outside our holiday house when we arrived 🙂 They went to unpack and I made some tea and read while I looked at the amazing view from the back garden 🙂 The girls were excited to find a box of toys and games and played with them. We had pizza and then went for a walk around the farm to say hello to the horses 🙂 When we got back, two friendly kittens arrived 🙂 They lived on the farm too and the girls loved when they called by 🙂 We played pick up sticks and snakes and ladders until the girls went to bed and then I enjoyed reading in peace with the wind howling outside 🙂
The next day, we went to a garden centre that might be my new favourite place 🙂 The girls were fascinated by the chilli plants and the Halloween displays. They got a picture in the hippie camper van and in Santa’s sleigh 🙂 There was a cool cafe with an indoor playground in it, so the girls could play in-between eating. I had a fry and then the girls made some friends.
Afterwards, we went on a trip to Dunluce Castle. My daughter said it was her favourite place. I’d been there before but not since I was little and the ruins and views are really dramatic-looking. I loved the views from the cliff and the girls enjoyed exploring the little towers and hidden nooks 🙂 We got a map so we could identify each part of the castle. We went into the visitor centre when we had finished exploring and the girls enjoyed digging in the sandbox for hidden objects. They had some dress-up clothes and puzzles for kids too. The girls did some castle colouring, and then we drove to an art centre in Portstewart with a big playground next to it. The centre was closed that day, but most of the classes were ones that had to be booked anyway. They had some unusual things in the playground – like little chambers containing scents and you had to guess what was in each one. The girls were fascinated by the tile tree on the wall of the art centre too 🙂
We drove into Portstewart and we were greeted by a huge rainbow. We got some ice-cream and went in search of buckets and spades. The girls persuaded me to get them footballs attached to springs as well, and I was amazed by how long they kept them entertained for in the park. They loved the fact that the ground of the playground is made of sand too and made lots of sandcastles and also drew lines in the sand so they could jump over them when they jumped off the swings 🙂
We got chips from a chip shop in Ballycastle that is meant to be the best on the North Coast. I wasn’t convinced it was the best, but they were still good 🙂 They sold monkfish scampi, which I wish I’d tried 🙂
The next morning, we went back to the garden centre. The girls loved it just as much as I did. I had a blueberry scone and they were so fresh 🙂 The girls played for a long time and I read a book about Picasso 🙂
Afterwards, we drove to The Dark Hedges. I had never been there before and I’d had it on my mental list of places I wanted to see. I expected it to be underwhelming, but I actually loved the feel of the place and how spooky it was 🙂 I think the weather we got that day suited it well too. It was dull and drizzly. The girls were more interested in the cows in a neighbouring field but I loved the bowing beech trees 🙂 It just felt like a really unique place. When we finished the walk, we walked to a nearby cafe and it had a little fairy garden outside. There were wooden houses and toadstools and the girls loved looking around 🙂 We got some coffee/ice-cream in the cafe and I talked myself out of buying a toadstool ornament I actually wish I had got now 🙂
This post is getting long, so I’ll continue part two of our holiday in a separate post 🙂