General Beach Description
** PLEASE NOTE ** There is no seasonal RNLI Lifeguard Service operating at Downhill Beach this summer. Please exercise due care and caution when visiting this beach. The nearest lifeguarded beaches are at Benone and Castlerock.
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 2019. 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.
- On-beach free car parking (please take note of tidal and soft sand conditions)
- 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!