From world class visitor attractions to ultimate relaxation stays, not to mention its award-winning food and drink scene and unforgettable scenery, Northern Ireland has everything you could hope for when planning your next short break.
So, whether you would like to take some quality time out to relax and unwind, create special memories against a beautiful backdrop, or if you are ready to embrace the giant spirit Northern Ireland has to offer, you won’t have to look too far.
Tourism Northern Ireland has put together a list of unique experiences to add to your ultimate itinerary.
Follow the seas with Sailing in the Wake of Giants, an unforgettable adventure around the spectacular Belfast Lough. Feel the wind in your hair as you step aboard Pristine, a stout 1990 Pacific Seacraft 37 and take to blue seas. You will take in the colossal sights like the hulking Samson and Goliath at Harland & Wolff and head for an epic tour on the high seas. With no previous sailing experience required, don’t miss this opportunity to travel as your ancestors once did.
After all that excitement, Galgorm Resort and Spa is the perfect place to unwind. Set within 163 acres of lush parkland, with the spectacular River Maine flowing through the estate, Galgorm has a truly unique setting. The unique Thermal Spa Village, the first of its kind in Ireland, allows guests to relax in the tranquillity of nature with an extensive selection of riverside hot tubs, indoor and outdoor heated pools, steam rooms and saunas. The resort also boasts a selection of top-class restaurants and bars.
Or if you are after breath-taking sea views, the Salthouse Hotel offers luxury eco-friendly experience on the iconic Causeway Coast. Standing in its own private grounds surrounded by the natural beauty of the countryside, The Salthouse features a soothing spa and laid back bar and restaurant, providing the perfect place to recharge and get away from it all.
There are few places in the world that can compete with the awe-inspiring scenery of the Causeway Coast. So get your hiking boots on and take in sights of the Giant’s Causeway, Dunluce Castle and Carrick-a-rede rope bridge.
A stunning historical landmark turned luxury boutique hotel, Bishop’s Gate is located in the heart of the Walled City of Derry. This intimate urban oasis featuring 31 luxurious guestrooms, fitness area, The Wig and Gown Champagne Bar and Restaurant and the Hervey Library.
The hotel is an ideal base to explore all the North West has to offer. And why not check out the beautiful scenery from a dizzying new perspective! Cutting Edge Helicopter, situated at the City of Derry Airport, offers the experience of a lifetime in with the choice of various custom charters. The stunning views from above give you unparalleled access to some of Northern Irelands most spectacular destinations. If you are a Game of Thrones fan, try out the Games of Thrones® thrilling Air Tour Adventure and embrace fabulous aerial views and the picturesque scenery of the Causeway Coastal Route used as film locations by HBO in the award-winning series.
Discover a unique perspective of the only island town in Ireland on the Enniskillen Taste Experience. On this this 3-hour gourmet tasting tour, you’ll experience the tastes, sounds and sights of Enniskillen. Your local guide will introduce you to award-winning producers and family run businesses who are passionate about what they do during this gentle and first of its kind food and drink experience of Enniskillen. You’ll get to sample over 20 fantastic food and drink specialities that are unique to County Fermanagh. Including Joe the Baker’s sour dough, Pat O’Doherty’s famous black bacon, Tickety Moo Ice cream, Boatyard Gin, Sharon’s mouth-watering scones, Innishmacsaint beer and much more! You’ll also get to meet local legends along the way too, who can tell stories of Enniskillen like no one else.
Afterwards, escape to the countryside to the luxurious 5-star Lough Erne Resort, located just minutes from Enniskillen. Nestled on a 600 acre peninsula, the venue boasts spectacular views of the Fermanagh Lakelands and The Faldo Course – one of Ireland’s top golf resorts. Guests can enjoy a unique Thai inspired experience from the luxury spa treatment menu, and the Thermal Suite and Infinity pool are complimentary for all hotel guests. Savour the resort’s stunning setting in The Catalina Restaurant, Northern Ireland’s 3 AA Rosette Hotel Restaurant. Enjoy premium cocktails and drinks while sampling the eclectic Grazing Menu served in The Blaney Bar; or for casual dining choose The Loughside Bar & Grill which specialise in prime Irish meats and seafood from the grill.
Set among meandering streams and winding country roads, Corick House Hotel and Spa is Tyrone’s first 4-star hotel and brings guests back in time with period style. From the impressive wrought-iron gates the drive is lined with 300 year old beech trees giving spectacular colour all year round and boasts three acres of mixed grounds and manicured lawns to stroll in. Featuring 43 luxury en-suite bedrooms, this venue has excellent dining and spa facilities, and glorious views of the rolling hills and the cathedral village of Clogher will take your breath away.
Be sure to take some time out for an experience like no other as you gaze at the constellations through a state-of-the-art telescope at OM Dark Sky Park and Observatory. The Stars and Stones Experience invites you to step back in time and learn about these ancient stones, their first observatory. You’ll be joined by a local story-teller and guide as they deftly weave together archaeology and astronomy, telling you about the stones and how they were first discovered. Sperrin Glamping Village, beside the Beaghmore Stone Circles, let’s you sleep under the stars too. Lay your head down in cosy comfort and watch the night sky through the glass roof overhead. Just don’t forget to turn off the lights!
Sample some fine dining at Wine & Brine, an incredible sensory experience. Michelin-star trained chef Chris McGowan gifts skills honed from 20 years of training with acclaimed chefs, so it is no surprise that this is the perfect place to enjoy an intimate dinner, family get-together and more. With a growing list of specially selected fine wines and a menu that always alludes to contemporary trends in dining, a passion for stunning food and great service is apparent. Wine & Brine’s cuisine is sourced from healthy local herds and poultry allowed to graze in rich pastures and greens and fruits plucked from verdant soils, artistically transformed into sumptuous yet simple fare.
Continue your experience with a stay at the secluded Killeavy Castle Estate. As the centrepiece of 350 acres of mixed farm and woodland in stunning Slieve Gullion, this is the ideal place to retreat and relax. The beautifully restored 19th century building features 45 guestrooms delicately decorated in a modern style, walls in soft greys, burnt oranges, greens, taking in all the seasonal colours of the hinterland. The Gatelodge provides three guestrooms with distinctive period detailing in keeping with its surroundings. Two bathrooms with fully fitted kitchen with all modern amenities makes the Gatelodge the perfect base for that longer retreat. Meanwhile, the Spa is equipped with seven treatment rooms, indoor and outdoor thermal areas providing over 40 treatments to choose from.
Standing on the wooded slopes of the Holywood hills overlooking Belfast Lough is the magnificent 5-star Culloden Estate and Spa, offering palatial surroundings, fine antiques and the highest levels of personal service. Each of the 98 guest bedrooms is exquisitely decorated and tastefully furnished, with many boasting stunning views over the Estate and Belfast Lough. The award-winning Mitre Restaurant serves modern Irish cuisine using the freshest local produce, and The Cultra Inn, complete with log fires, is a cosy bar and restaurant which nestles in the Estate – perfect for a tasty lunch or pint by the fireside. The Spa offers a wide choice of reviving, rejuvenating, soothing and relaxing treatments.
During your stay, take a wander through history at Montalto Estate, nestled in the picturesque Co Down countryside. This privately-owned demesne dates back to the 1600s, and is famously the site of ‘The Battle of Ballynahinch’ which took place during the Irish rebellion in 1798. It is also home to an exotic plant collection initially created by ‘The Father of Irish Gardening’, Sir Arthur Rawdon. For tranquil and picturesque walks, you can enjoy the stunning views of The Lake Walk and The Garden Walk. Catch a glimpse of some of the wonderful wildlife that calls Montalto Estate their home or simply take in the beautiful seasonal displays and reconnect with nature.