Rathlin West Light Seabird Centre

Top choice in County Antrim

This Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) centre offers spectacular views of a thriving seabird colony, where every summer thousands of puffins can be seen. It's located at Rathlin's upside-down west lighthouse (the lamp is at the building's base). Built into the cliff face, the lighthouse was a feat of engineering when it was completed in 1919. The lighthouse tower now contains exhibits on Rathlin's marine life and history.

Above the lighthouse, viewing platforms look out to the neighbouring sea stacks, where every year thousands of seabirds return to breed, including guillemots, razorbills, kittiwakes and fulmars. The best times to see puffins are mid-May (when the birds gather on the cliffs), mid-June (when the chicks begin hatching) and late July (when the puffins prepare to return to sea). Binoculars and telescopes are provided for close-up views of the birds and their chicks.

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