When Is The Best Time To Visit Northern Ireland?

Are you trying to find the best time to go to Northern Ireland?

Let me help!

I love spending a weekend here and would do it any time of the year. 

However, I’ll warn you now, don’t base it on the weather alone.

best time to visit northern ireland

The weather in Northern Ireland will keep you on your toes so don’t be surprised to experience rain during August!

But don’t let the Irish weather put you off, it is one of my favourite destinations to visit year-round.

So let’s help you decide when to book your trip and see what each season in Northern Ireland will bring you. 

The Best Time To Visit Northern Ireland: Overview

Unfortunately, there is not one direct answer to this. It depends on what you want out of your trip.

Like most destinations, the summer months are a popular choice. They tend to bring better weather and more activities to do.

So if you want to explore some hidden coves or have a pint of Guinness in a beer garden, this is a great time to visit.

However, this is when flights and accommodation rates are more expensive.

If you want to see the beauty of Northern Ireland, I recommend either visiting during the Spring (March-May) or Autumn/ Fall (September-November).

These seasons will have you seeing the very best of Northern Ireland without the crowds and high price tags.

best time to visit northern ireland

How Many Days Are Enough For Northern Ireland?

For someone visiting Northern Ireland for the first time, I’d recommend spending at least 5 to 7 days to truly appreciate the beauty and diversity of this captivating destination. 

In this timeframe, you’ll have enough time to explore the bustling city of Belfast, with its rich history, vibrant cultural scene, and fascinating attractions like the Titanic Belfast Museum. 

You can also venture out into the stunning countryside to discover iconic landmarks such as the Giant’s Causeway, Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, and the breathtaking landscapes along the Causeway Coastal Route. 

But I get it, sometimes we don’t have that much time to spare. If this sounds like you then you can experience a lot of Northern Ireland’s highlights in 2-3 days. 

best time to visit northern ireland

Visiting Northern Ireland By Seasons

Deciding on when you should visit any destination is hard, especially if it is your first time there!

To help you out, here is a breakdown of what to expect from Northern Ireland throughout the year:

Spring (March-May)

  • Visit Giants Causeway with fewer crowds
  • Celebrate St Patrick’s Day
  • Admire the cracking views at Slieve League, Donegal
  • Average Temps: 7 to 12 degrees Celsius (45 to 54 degrees Fahrenheit)

Spring in Northern Ireland is like nature hitting the refresh button. It’s when the whole place wakes up from winter.

With the chilly winter weather disappearing and making way for milder temperatures and longer days, this is the ultimate time to visit for outdoor travellers. 

Plus, the bonus? Less crowds! 

That means getting amazing deals on flights and accommodations.

If you are like me and like taking photos on your trip, this is the season for you. You can enjoy the stunning landscapes without too many other folks photobombing your scenic shots.

This is my all-time favourite time of year for exploring the Northern Irish coast so I suggest booking a few boat trips when you do (It’s well worth it!).

With fewer people around, you can have those rugged cliffs and serene beaches practically to yourself, just you and the seagulls.

best time to visit northern ireland

Summer (June-August)

  • Stroll the Cliffs of Mover
  • Book a boat trip to the Skellig Islands
  • Do a Belfast Walking Tour
  • Average Temps: 12 to 18 degrees Celsius (54 to 64 degrees Fahrenheit)

The whole of Ireland is stunning in the summer, but many visitors only venture to Dublin. But a day trip up North is always unforgettable!

Here you will find some epic activities to do. From the stunning beaches of Portrush and Portstewart to strolling along the stunning Causeway Coastal Route, you will fall in love with this part of the world. 

A bunch of these activities won’t cost you anything, so you can save those pennies for an extra pint of Guinness later.

Summer also boasts the lowest probability of rain, so you can count on sunny skies. But there is a chance it will rain, so bring a coat.

best time to visit northern ireland

Autumn/Fall (September-November)

  • Walk the walls of Derry- Autumn leaves will surround them
  • See the wildlife at Castle Espie, Comber
  • Go Ghost Hunting at Crumlin Road Gaol in Belfast
  • Average Temps: 8 to 14 degrees Celsius (46 to 57 degrees Fahrenheit)

Autumn is an epic time to visit because it’s like stepping into a fairy tale. As the leaves turn from green to shades of fiery red, orange, and gold, the whole landscape transforms.

Sure, there might be a bit of that famous Irish rain, but it just adds to the cosy vibes!

Plus, with the summer crowds fading away, making it the perfect season for exploring popular landmarks.

It’s also the best time to wander through ancient forests, sip on warm cider at a countryside pub, or cosy up by a crackling fire in a traditional cottage. 

There are so many amazing places dotted around Northern Ireland that will give you an amazing fall break.  However, Derry is my favourite place to visit in Autumn and I love how you can get here from Belfast in under 2 hours!

Winter (December-February) 

  • Visit the Titanic Experience in Belfast
  • Book a tour of Old Bushmills Distillery 
  • Admire the dramatic views of Dunluce Castle
  • Average Temps: 3 to 8 degrees Celsius (37 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit)

Winter in Northern Ireland is a whole different kind of magic!

Sure, the coast might be a bit blustery, but trust me, those dramatic views are worth every chilly breeze. 

However, if you want to stay warm and dry, hit up the museums. You can easily reach the Titanic Quarter from Belfast International which is great if you are short on time.

And if you love feeling festive, you are in luck!

Belfast and other towns light up like Christmas trees with dazzling displays. From festive markets to twinkling lights lining the streets, this is a great place to get your Christmas shopping done. 

best time to visit northern ireland

FAQs About the Best Time to Visit Northern Ireland

I’m sure a few more questions have popped into your head as you have gone through this article.

Let’s see if I can answer them!

These are the most commonly asked questions visitors planning a trip to Northern Ireland have:

Where Are The Best Places To Visit In Northern Ireland?

 Here are some places that you need to add to any Northern Ireland travel itinerary for the best experiences:

  • Giant’s Causeway: Marvel at the unique geological formations and breathtaking coastal views.
  • Belfast: Explore the vibrant capital city with its rich history, including Titanic Belfast, the Cathedral Quarter, and the Ulster Museum.
  • Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge: Experience the thrill of crossing this iconic bridge suspended high above the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Dark Hedges: Wander through the enchanting avenue of beech trees made famous by Game of Thrones.
  • Dunluce Castle: Visit this stunning medieval castle perched dramatically on the cliffs overlooking the North Atlantic.
  • Mourne Mountains: Hike through picturesque landscapes and enjoy panoramic views from Northern Ireland’s highest peak, Slieve Donard.
  • Derry/Londonderry: Discover the history and culture of this historic walled city, including the famous Derry Walls and the Bogside Murals.
  • Bushmills Distillery: Take a tour of Ireland’s oldest working distillery and sample some of the finest whiskey.
  • Fermanagh Lakelands: Relax amidst the tranquil beauty of Lough Erne, ideal for boating, fishing, and exploring quaint villages.
  • Causeway Coastal Route: Drive or cycle along this scenic coastal route, stopping at charming towns and landmarks along the way.

What Is The Cheapest Month To Go To Ireland?

If you’re looking to snag a deal and explore the landscapes of Ireland without breaking the bank, aiming for the shoulder seasons (typically spring and autumn) might be your best bet. 

March through May and September through November you will often find lower prices on flights and accommodations compared to the peak summer months.

best time to visit northern ireland

What Time Of Year Is Best To See The Northern Lights In Northern Ireland?

Early autumn, from late September to early October is one of the best times of year to see the Nothern Lights in areas of Northern Ireland.

You will also get chances in early spring, from late February to early March. 

This is because the skies are often clearer, and geomagnetic activity tends to be more favourable for aurora sightings.

What Is The Coldest Month In Northern Ireland?

When it comes to feeling the chill, either January or February typically takes the crown as the coldest months of the year.

 As winter settles in, temperatures tend to drop to their lowest points, with crisp mornings and chilly evenings becoming the norm.

If you’re planning a visit during this time, be sure to pack your warm clothes!

best time to visit northern ireland

What Is Off-Season Travel In Ireland?

Generally, the off-season spans from late autumn to early spring, excluding major holidays and events.

These months are March-May and September -November.

This is when you will find prices for accommodations, attractions, and transportation that are often more affordable.

The Best Time To Visit Northern Ireland Final Thoughts

I love Northern Ireland any time of year and I’m sure you will too!

However, you have probably noticed from this guide that each season offers something different.

From the beaches best explored in summer to the museums that make a rainy day better, picking the right time of year to visit can make or break your trip.

If you want to be outdoors, pick the Summer. If you want a cosy trip, the Winter months are great. But to experience a bit of both, Spring or Fall trips will cover you.

No matter what time of year you decide to visit, it’s a good idea to book any tours or experiences in advance.

The last thing you want is to spoil your itinerary by not being able to do the experiences you want.