RSPB Rathlin West Light Seabird Centre

Must see views of Northern Ireland's largest seabird colony and a chance to explore Rathlin's unique 'upside down' lighthouse part of the Great Lighthouses of Ireland Trail.

Just six miles off County Antrim's north coast, Rathlin Island is a world away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Before you step ashore, look out for gannets, gulls and dolphins during the ferry crossing. There are regular ferry crossings through the spring and summer season but make sure to book in advance.

Once on the island, head four miles west (by privately operated bus, bike or on foot) to the RSPB Rathlin West Light Seabird Centre. Here you will enjoy close-up views of Northern Ireland's biggest seabird colony, with puffins and other seabirds in their thousands, jostle for space to breed from late April to July. The Rathlin West Light Seabird Centre, perched on the cliffs overlooking the colony, is one of Northern Ireland's most iconic tourist destinations.
In summer, the seabird colony is a real assault on the senses – the sight and sound of tens of thousands of birds, including puffins, razorbills, guillemots and kittiwakes, congregating is like nothing else.

Friendly staff and volunteers are always on hand to answer any questions you may have, and binoculars and telescopes are available to use free of charge.

Please note that while the main visitor centre at the West Light Seabird Centre is accessible there are 98 steps down the cliffside to the viewing platform and a further 64 steps to bottom floor of the lighthouse. Registered guide dogs can access the Visitor Centre. Other dogs must be tied up outside the Visitor Centre during a visit.

Opening times

The Rathlin West Light Seabird Centre is open every day from: 1 April - 13 September.
April and September 11:00 – 16:00 and May to August 10:00 – 17:00. Last admission is one hour before closing.


Admission to the West Light Seabird Centre is free to RSPB members and under 5s. For non-members there is a charge of £5 for adults, £3.50 for students and £2.50 for children.

RSPB Rathlin West Light Seabird Centre
Rathlin Island
Co Antrim
BT54 6RT



Attractions in Co Antrim