The Dark Hedges: A Magic Tunnel of Trees

By Aashima

What comes to mind when you hear “The Dark Hedges”? Something spooky, right?

That is partially true. The dark hedges are surprisingly mysterious and the most photographed attraction in Northern Ireland.

250-year-old beech trees form a stunning tunnel around this enchanted road, which can make you feel eerie.

Also, Game of Thrones Dark Hedges scene fans will be able to notice the king’s road featured in Season 2 of the show.  

The Dark Hedges in Northern Ireland, also known as Bregagh Road, will give you a sense of serenity and solitude in the daytime but can also befuddle you at night.

Where is the Dark Hedges in Ireland

The Dark Hedges are easily accessible from Giant’s Causeway, as it is only 21 km away and only a half-hour drive.

Also, this place is one hour away from Belfast.

We recommend you drive over to the Dark Hedges, as it is a secluded place, and you will be able to cover other attractions nearby.

The Dark Hedges location

If driving is not an option, you can take a bus or train from Belfast.

One of the best options is the Giant’s Causeway Dark Hedges Tour, which starts in Belfast or Dublin.

The tour will help cover other Game of Thrones filming locations besides the Dark Hedges.

How to get to The Dark Hedges Ireland

The Dark Hedges are 15 minutes from the Old Bushmills Distillery and 20 minutes from the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge.

Here are the directions to the Dark Hedges experience:

  • By car: From Belfast to the Dark Hedges, take the M2 motorway towards Londonderry.

    Take the exit for Ballymena and follow the A26 towards Ballymoney. After about 10 miles, turn left onto Bregagh Road.

    The Dark Hedges will be on your right after about 2 miles.

  • By bus: A few bus companies operate services to Ballymoney from Belfast.

    The journey takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes. Once you arrive in Ballymoney, you can take a taxi or bus to the Dark Hedges.

  • By train: There is a train service from Belfast to Ballymoney.

    The journey takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes.

    Once you arrive in Ballymoney, you can take a taxi or bus to the Dark Hedges.

Can you drive through the Dark Hedges to Giant’s Causeway?

If you want to know the best way to get from Giant’s Causeway to Dark Hedges, the best option is to take the bus.

It departs from the Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre and arrives at the Dark Hedges car park in 30 minutes. 

However, driving will take about 25 minutes if you have a vehicle.   

Dark Hedges Parking  

The closest and best parking near Dark Hedges is at the Hedges Hotel. 

The free car park is just a 2-minute walk from the north end of the Dark Hedges. 

Near the parking area, there is a marked path to get to the trees.

It is not allowed to drive down Bregagh Road to visit the Dark Hedges, as this is a private road, and you may be fined.

So, parking your vehicle in the designated parking spot is advisable.  

Dark Hedges’ opening time 

The Dark Hedges are open to visitors 24 hours a day.

Also, you can have this phenomenal experience of the Dark Hedges for free. 

Best time to visit Dark Hedges Ireland

The Dark Hedges are a popular tourist destination, and they are best visited during the off-season when there are fewer crowds. 

However, if you visit during the summer months, arrive early in the day or late in the evening to avoid the heat and the crowds.

You can capture quality photos from the south end. The best time we recommend is early in the morning.

If you plan to visit a natural wonder that has inspired many artists and photographers and is a top filming location for the hit HBO series Game of Thrones.

Experience the Dark Hedges yourself- a place full of mystery and magic. Book a guided tour now!

The Dark Hedges at Night

The Dark Hedges at Night(1)
Image: Peapix.com

The Dark Hedges are a sight to behold at any time of day, but they are particularly magical at night. 

The gnarled, twisted trunks of the beech trees were bathed in soft, silvery light, and the road that winds through them seemed to stretch on forever.

It is easy to imagine that this is a place where faeries and other creatures of myth and legend might dwell.

If you want a truly magical experience, visit the Dark Hedges at night. You will not be disappointed.

Here are some tips for visiting the Dark Hedges at night:

  • Arrive early or late to avoid the crowds.
  • Wear comfortable shoes that you can walk in.
  • Bring a camera to capture the magic of the scene.
  • Be respectful of the surrounding area and do not trespass on private property.

We hope you enjoy your visit to the Dark Hedges, Ireland!

Dark Hedges history

These magnificent trees were planted in 1775 by James Stuart. 

Hats off to you, sir!

The thought behind the planting was: to create a picturesque landscape to awaken the visitors with the beauty of the road leading to the entrance of Gracehill Mansion.

The hauntingly beautiful road we see today results from the hundred and fifty trees Stuart planted at that time. 

Alas! Only ninety trees are left, creating a road that seems to be from a fairy tale. 

And the Gracehill Mansion stands still and has been converted into a golf course.

The ambiance you see on the road perfectly combines shadow and luminousness.

It is enough to make you snap some photos, which you can boast about on Instagram.

What do the legends say?

If we are talking about the history of the Dark Hedges, you cannot ignore the folklore associated with them.

According to some local legends, a spirit travels from tree to tree. 

The spirit is known as the “Grey Lady!” 

She is said to fade away once she crosses the last beech tree. 

So, avoid going to the Dark Hedges at night. But remember, that is only folklore. 

This is also one of the reasons why it is also called the “Dark Hedges.” 

The shadow of the beech trees’ tangled branches, which form a dark tunnel, may also be the cause. 

Whatever the reason, we’re sure you’ll agree that it’s a name that fits this breathtaking place perfectly!

The Dark Hedges Game of Thrones Scene

When you visit this place, the Game of Thrones Dark Hedges scene comes to mind.

When you visit this beautiful place, knowing that your favorite actors are here and that they have created an epic show for you is one hell of an experience.

You can also act out and imitate the lines and actions they once performed, instilling the moments in your mind and heart forever.

Bregagh Road featured as the king’s road in Season 2, Episode 1: The North Remembers.

The fans also remember that our loving Arya Stark, aka the girl with no name, escaped from King’s Landing. 

That iconic scene set the story of Arya Stark. 

This is the same road in the novel, the longest highway in Westeros, connecting King’s Landing and Castle Black.

FAQs

Who owns the Dark Hedges?

The Stuart family owns the land on which the Dark Hedges reside. 

Now, the Stuart family and the Dark Hedges Preservation Trust are working to manage the impact of tourism.

They ensure that the Northern Ireland Dark Hedges are protected for future generations.

Where are the Dark Hedges in Ireland?

The Dark Hedges is located in County Antrim, Northern Ireland.

It is situated near the village of Armoy, approximately 5 miles from the town of Ballymoney.

The avenue of beech trees can be found along Bregagh Road, which connects the A44 and B147 roads.

Are there any hotels near the Dark Hedges?

Yes, there are a few hotels near the Dark Hedges. Here are a few options:

The Hedges Hotel
Ballygally Castle Hotel
The Bushmills Inn

They are within a short drive of the Dark Hedges tree tunnel, so you can easily visit the trees and then return to your hotel to relax.

Are there any other Dark Hedges Game of Thrones filming locations nearby?

Yes, there are various locations of Dark Hedges in Game of Thrones.

The House of Greyjoy, the Iron Islands, Cushendun, and Braavos are the locations that exist.

Book a Giant’s Causeway Dark Hedges tour now!

What time is best to see the Dark Hedges?

The Dark Hedges road early morning can offer a serene experience.

The site is likely to be less crowded, allowing you to appreciate the beauty of the avenue in a peaceful atmosphere.

The soft morning light can also create a magical ambiance, enhancing the ethereal quality of the scene.

Why are the Dark Hedges famous?

The Dark Hedges gained additional prominence after it appeared in the hit TV series Game of Thrones as the King’s Road.

Fans of the show flocked to the site, boosting its popularity and earning it the nickname “The Game of Thrones trees.”

This unique ambiance has made it a popular destination for photographers, artists, and nature lovers seeking to capture its ethereal beauty.

Do you have to pay to see The Dark Hedges?

No, you do not have to pay to see the Dark Hedges.

The Dark Hedges is a public road, and visitors can freely access and enjoy the scenic beauty of the avenue without any entrance fee.

It is open to the public, allowing visitors to walk or drive along the road and marvel at the captivating sight of the intertwined beech trees.

What movies are the Dark Hedges used in?

The Dark Hedges has been used as a filming location for several movies and TV shows.

Game of Thrones: It served as the Kingsroad, the main thoroughfare of Westeros, in the show’s first season.

Transformers: The Last Knight: The Dark Hedges was briefly featured in the fifth installment of the Transformers film series, adding a touch of magic to the movie’s visual aesthetic.

The Journey: This film, based on true events, depicts the journey of two political adversaries in Northern Ireland.

What towns are near the Dark Hedges?

The Dark Hedges is located near the village of Armoy in County Antrim, Northern Ireland.

It is also near the town of Ballymoney, approximately 5 miles away.

Additionally, Bushmills, famous for its distillery, is around 10 miles from the Dark Hedges.

Why is it called the Dark Hedges?

The Dark Hedges is named as such due to the dense canopy of intertwining beech trees that create a tunnel-like effect, casting shadows and creating an atmospheric ambiance.

The combination of the dense foliage and the shadows created by the trees gives rise to the name “Dark Hedges.”

This natural phenomenon has made the Dark Hedges a popular tourist attraction and a captivating sight for visitors to experience.

Featured Image: Wikipedia.org

Aashima (1)
About the author

Aashima is an avid traveler who seeks out thrills and lives a simple, peaceful life. Bright clear skies are her calling.