Northern Ireland Tourist Board

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Tourist Signing- Brown Signs

Tourist Signing- Brown Signs

Tourist signing/Brown signs

High quality signing of attractions and facilities helps visitors orientate themselves when in unfamiliar surroundings and it can play a significant role in the quality of the visitor experience in Northern Ireland.

White-on-brown tourist signs constitute one part of the overall range of direction signs. Tourist signs are directional traffic signs shown as white letters on a brown background and may include symbols relating to the type of destination being signed.

Brown Signs - New Policy for Tourist Signing in Northern Ireland.pdf

Brown Signs - Summary and Guidance Notes - Tourist Signage in NI

Brown Signs - Tourist Signage Application Form.pdf

Brown Signs - Tourist Signage Policy - Fact Sheet

What can be signed?

In Northern Ireland, tourist destinations are split into ‘facilities’ and ‘attractions’ for signage purposes. Tourist facilities may be signed from the nearest main road. Tourist attractions (meeting certain criteria) may in exceptional circumstances also be signed from motorways.

The list below provides examples of the types of tourist destinations which may be eligible for signing from the strategic road network.


Guest houses
Caravan and camping parks      
Picnic sites
Campus accommodation 


Visitor centres
Activity centres
Theatres/arts centres

For further information on eligible tourist destinations, click here.

What can't be signed?

Utilities i.e. places or services which are of use to tourists but would not constitute tourist attractions are not eligible for tourist signage. Utilities would include shops, shopping centres, restaurants, art galleries, garden centres and sports facilities.

What is eligible for tourism signage?

It is not possible for every tourist destination to be signed as there is such a number and variety of these. Whilst it is TNI’s role to promote tourism, it is recognised that providing a large number of signs with a lot of information in an uncontrolled manner has the potential to confuse visitors and detract from the main purpose of the sign which is to direct traffic in a safe and efficient way.

 A new tourist signing policy was adopted in October 2014.  The policy uses criteria which has been developed after extensive consultation to determine which tourist destinations should be eligible for signage.

Under the new policy, new categories of tourist facilities and attractions are eligible for signage including: activity centres; theatres/arts centres; motor home hire companies; aires de service; and gardens, subject to certain criteria being met. In addition, more flexibility has been introduced to include TNI funded tourism products and TNI Quality Graded tourism providers.

A summary of the key changes introduced by the new policy is available here.

Even where a destination is eligible for tourist signage, signage cannot be guaranteed. The final decision will be taken by TransportNI, taking into consideration road safety and traffic management issues.

How do I apply for tourist signage?

For information on tourist signing and brown sign applications or to apply for a brown sign, please contact your local council.

Local Council Authorities are responsible for promoting tourism in the local area and coordinating applications for tourism signage in each respective area. In assessing an application the council will liaise with TNI on the eligibility of tourist destinations and with TransportNI in relation to the design, location and extent of signing. Requests for inclusion on information panels at tourist information points should also be made to local councils.

To download a signage application form please click here.

How much will it cost?

The applicant will be responsible for bearing the costs of all signs provided on the road network. Costs include design, installation, temporary traffic management and future maintenance. Applicants will have to make payment to the council in advance of any signs being provided.

The cost of providing tourist signs is influenced by a number of factors including size, number of signs required and road type etc.

After an application has been submitted, your local council will liaise with Transport NI and give you an estimate of the cost of signage.