Visiting The Dark Hedges in Northern Ireland
Many may recognize The Dark Hedges as one of the Game of Thrones Northern Ireland locations to visit as it was used as The Kingsroad in season two. But even if you haven’t seen Game of Thrones or are not a fan, this short road lined with tall, twisted beach trees will mesmerize you. To get the best view of The Dark Hedges prepare to wake up early and arrive before the crowds. Plus the view at sunrise with the fog around the trees is incredibly romantic. If you are planning a trip to Ireland and happen to visit Northern Ireland as well, you cannot afford to miss visiting The Dark Hedges.
Where are The Dark Hedges?
The Dark Hedges is located in Northern Ireland in County Antrim, in Northern Ireland. If traveling from Dublin you will take the M50 to the N1 towards Ballymoney. The drive from Dublin to The Dark Hedges is roughly 3 hours so depending on your flight arrival time, you may want to stop in Belfast and stay the night near The Dark Hedges so you can arrive there early the next morning. On our trip, we did just that. We arrived in Dublin in the late afternoon and drove to Belfast where we grabbed dinner and made our way to Coleraine to stay the night. The following morning we woke up around 7:00AM and arrived at The Dark Hedges around 8:00AM.
Things to Know Before Visiting The Dark Hedges
- The Dark Hedges is an extremely popular spot to visit for photographers and Game of Thrones enthusiasts. If you’d like to take photos without a crowd it’s best to arrive before 9:00AM. Plus, the best time to photograph The Dark Hedges is at sunrise and sunset.
- The Dark Hedges is located on a public road, therefore it’s important to remember to watch out for traffic as you are walking through The Dark Hedges or photograph them. On the other side of The Dark Hedges lies private farmland. Make sure to be respectful and not trespass.
- There are no public visitor facilities or restrooms onsite. The closest place to stop is The Hedges Hotel which is approximately a 2-3 minute walk from The Dark Hedges.
- Be patient! While visiting the Dark Hedges is not necessarily time-consuming, if you are wanting to get the perfect shot you may have to be willing to wait.
Where To Park When Visiting The Dark Hedges
Depending on the time of your arrival, parking spaces at The Dark Hedges might be limited. In order to not obscure the view of others, it is best to park below the bend in the road. Prior to our visit, we were told that driving through and parking at The Dark Hedges was now prohibited, however during our visit there were quite a few cars that drove through the tree tunnel and a few cars parked alongside the trees. These visitors may have been simply refusing to abide by the law, unaware of the new rules, or maybe The Dark Hedges is only blocked off from car traffic during high seasons of tourism. Regardless of what the circumstances were, there are additional parking options available at either the Gracehill House or The Hedges Hotel which are all within walking distance of The Dark Hedges. Should you choose to park in one of these spots, additional parking charges may apply and are cash only.
Address: 141 Ballinlea Road, Stranocum, Ballymoney BT53 8PX, UK
The Hedges Hotel
Address: 139A Ballinlea Rd, Stranocum, Ballymoney BT53 8PX, UK
Cost of Visiting The Dark Hedges
Visiting The Dark Hedges is absolutely free but should you have to park at one of the nearby spots as per mentioned above, additional costs may apply to your visit.
Other Things to Know About Visiting The Dark Hedges
Unfortunately, during our visit, we learned that over the past few years tourism has been hard on these trees and as a result, many of them have fallen leaving gaps between the trees. If you plan to visit The Dark Hedges you can help preserve the trees that are left and refrain from climbing on them or parking your vehicle too close. Instead keep your distance from the trees and park at one of the spots as mentioned above.
There are many things to know about visiting The Dark Hedges. Would you want to experience this romantic spot in Northern Ireland or add this to your list of Game of Thrones Northern Ireland locations?