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Downhill Beach

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General Beach Description

Downhill Beach is part of an 11km/7 mile stretch of sand and surf offering a wealth of activities including water sports, scenic walks and facilities for that perfect family day out. Downhill Beach frequently attains the Blue Flag Award, most recently in 2017. Cars are permitted on this beach throughout the year.

Downhill beach and dunes, together with Benone and Magilligan beach and dunes, is an Area of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI) and a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) due to the quality of the sand dunes and associated flora and fauna. This special landscape offers opportunities for nature walks and sightings of bird life amongst a backdrop of cascading waterfalls, extensive sand dunes, and the prominent Mussenden Temple, one of the most photographed buildings in Northern Ireland. The Temple offers breath-taking views of the North Coast and dramatic 18th century ruins waiting to be explored.

This stretch of beach is one of the most scenic in Ireland and visitors can enjoy views to counties Donegal, Antrim and Derry/Londonderry.

Facilities include:

  • On-beach free car parking (please take note of tidal and soft sand conditions)
  • Seasonal RNLI Beach Lifeguards Service (July & August 11am-7pm daily)
  • Dogs allowed (restrictions apply 1st June - 15th Sept)
  • Horse riding (restrictions apply 1st May – 30th Sept, permitted before 11am and after 7pm)
  • Toilets at beach entrance

Did you know?

There are two tunnels between here and Castlerock: ‘Downhill Tunnel’ 307 yards and ‘Castlerock Tunnel’ 668 yards long. On the 8th June 1846 the removal of the short section of rock at Portvantage between the two tunnels, involved 3,600lbs of gun powder and was referred to as ‘The Great Blast’. This event attracted great crowds to the area and concluded with a banquet for 500 specially invited guests in one of the tunnels!


Gallery - Images of Downhill Beach

Car parking permitted on beach Looking eastwards with Mussenden Temple in background View of beach from Downhill Demesne Seasonal RNLI Beach Liefguard Unit Looking westwards towards Benone and Magilligan Point Looking westwards from beneath cliffs at Mussenden Temple

Aerial image of Donwhill Beach


Contact Us

If you would like further information, please contact us


  • 028 7034 7234