THE Giant’s Causeway has been named the Best Heritage Attraction at the annual British Tourism Awards.
It marks the first time the prestigious honour has been bestowed on a tourist attraction in the North of Ireland.
And the National Trust team from the Co. Antrim heritage site were in London on Wednesday to accept the gold award.
The Giant’s Causeway is the most visited tourist attraction in the North of Ireland, often taking in thousands of visitors daily.
The unique natural phenomenon is made up of over 40,000 interlocking basalt rock columns, created by a major volcanic eruption in Co. Antrim about 60 million years ago.
And because of its unusual appearance, it was the subject of many Irish legends – including the tale of Irish giant Fionn Mac Cumhaill building the causeway to make his way over to Scotland to fight a Scottish giant.
In 1986, the Giant’s Causeway was officially designated as a World Heritage Site – and a £18.5million new visitor centre was opened in 2012.
Esther Dobbin, commercial and visitor operations manager, said: “This is the first time it has been won by an attraction in Northern Ireland.
“The awards are voted for by visitors, which makes them all the more special. This is great for the National Trust and for Northern Ireland.”
This marked the second consecutive year the Giant’s Causeway was nominated for the award – taking home bronze last year.