The myth and history of the local area has long been a drawcard but the Causeway Coast has found more recent fame as a filming location for the largest TV series in the world, Game of Thrones. It has benefitted tourism in the area massively with the show’s global fan base all keen to visit the sites used in their favourite show. Diehards will recognise Downhill beach at the far eastern end of Benone from season two when Stannis Baratheon rejects the Seven Gods of Westeros and allows Melisandre to burn their effigies as an offering to the Lord of Light. The Binevenagh Mountains behind Benone appeared as the Dothraki Grasslands in season five when Daenerys Targaryen was rescued by her dragon, Drogon, while fleeing from the Sons of the Harpy in the fighting pits of Meereen.
If you just want a plain old-fashioned bucket and spade experience though, Benone has that more than covered also. Benone was Northern Ireland’s first recipient of the European Blue Flag award and has a visitor centre and caravan park just behind the beach and is accessible via wooden boardwalks. The caravan park has 4-star status through the British graded holiday parks scheme and provides family facilities to rival any throughout Europe with traditional sites as well as glamping lodges. Facilities for both residents and day-trippers include a 9 hole par 3 golf course (open all year round), putting green, crazy golf, golf practice range, tennis courts, outdoor heated splash pools and indoor games room as well as the onsite ‘Waves Coffee Shop & Bistro’. If you fancy surfing or SUP, there’s a surf school onsite too – www.longlinesurfschool.co.uk.
Back at the beach you’re really spoilt, as the local council have installed hot showers and changing rooms and there’s also a cafe – ‘The Sea Shed’. No need for roughing it at Benone, it’s 5-star wavesailing!
A good drive near Benone for scenic views is to take the mountain road at Downhill – ‘Bishops road’ – which climbs quickly to give glorious panoramic views over the whole area. The great thing about any session on the Causeway Coast is you have the opportunity to visit the multitude of tourist attractions nearby such as the Giants Causeway, Dunluce Castle, Bushmills Whisky Distillery, Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge and my personal favourite, the Dark Hedges (another Game of Thrones location!).