New visitor centre at Giant’s Causeway opened
It's been a long time in the pipeline, but today the £18.5m Giant’s Causeway visitor centre throws open its doors.
Thousands visited the state-of-the-art tourist attraction on Friday and Saturday as the National Trust staged invitation-only trial days to test the facilities before they go live at 1pm today.
In all, some 3,300 visitors made their way between the columns at the entrance, mimicking the spectacular basalt columns that make up the Causeway itself.
Children and adults crowded into a fascinating exhibition which reveals the stories and science behind the World Heritage Site.
It uncovers many famous visitors, such as Mark Twain and Sir Walter Scott, and the tales of people who lived along the coast. Prof Iain Stewart, presenter of the BBC’s How To Grow A Planet, has recorded a series of short films that allow visitors to use a touch screen exhibit.
The visitor experience also offers an innovative pocket size audio guide in different languages, a cafe, a new shop and upgraded new walks and trails, including a new clifftop walk for families and people with disabilities. Visitors can also enjoy stunning panoramic views of the north coast from the centre’s grass roof.
Giant’s Causeway project director Graham Thompson said: “This is a significant milestone for the National Trust in Northern Ireland and is the culmination of years of working in partnership with stakeholders in the community, the business sector, and government and political arenas. This reflects our commitment to the tourism industry and Northern Ireland confidently moving on.”
Visitors can buy tickets online at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/giantscauseway, at the park and ride in Bushmills village or at the centre. £8.50 (adults), £4.25 (child), £21 (family) with discounts available. Groups (15-plus) can pre-book on 028 2073 3419.
National Trust members free. Centre opening times have been extended from 9am to 9pm in the summer.