Belle Isle Castle

Belle Isle Castle

NORTHERN Ireland is jam packed with exciting and unusual places to stay and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) is encouraging people to discover what’s on offer and try out a short break at a quirky property.

From cruisers to castles and gypsy caravans to glamping, those searching for somewhere fun to stay on a short break will not be stuck for choice with the options available in Northern Ireland.  NITB’s Destination PR Officer, Pauline Gormley explains why Northern Ireland is the perfect place to find an out of the ordinary place to stay:

“Autumn is a lovely time of year to take a short break and the opportunity to stay somewhere a little different is right on your door step,” said Pauline.

“There is something for everyone from those who would like a relaxing break to take some time out from a busy life or for those who enjoy activities and are after something a little more adventurous,” added Pauline.

Some of the many unusual and quirky places to stay include;


Black Head Light Keeper’s House – Blackhead is a fully restored lighthouse that boasts bright rooms with antique furniture and lighthouse paraphernalia. Built during the heyday of Belfast shipping in the early 20th century, the lighthouse was responsible for guiding ships including the Titanic through Belfast Lough. Guests will enjoy the magical setting on the stunning Antrim coast and can relax watching the sun rise over the Irish Sea or experience the elements at the height of a storm. This is the perfect spot for a romantic getaway.

The Barbican, Glenarm – The Barbican is a castle positioned beyond an old stone bridge over the Glenarm River. Built in 1825, this medieval miniature castle is a perfect romantic hideaway in one of Ulster’s oldest villages. The property boasts its own roof garden and is the ideal location for a weekend to get away from it all and relax with loved ones.

The Merchant, Belfast – The 5* Merchant Hotel is situated in the heart of Belfast city centre’s historic Cathedral Quarter and is a Grade A listed building which is complemented by an elegant Art Deco inspired wing with a multitude of exciting amenities. Guests can enjoy the stunning luxury spa, rooftop gymnasium with panoramic city views and fabulous jazz bar. The building was built in the mid-nineteenth century as the headquarters of the Ulster Bank and was transformed into the luxurious boutique hotel in 2006. The hotel is renowned for serving the world’s most expensive cocktail which costs £750!


Tepee Valley Campsite

Tepee Valley Campsite

Tepee Valley – This is the perfect weekend break for those want to experience something completely different on a ‘back to basics’ short break. Located outside the small town of Marekthill, Tepee Valley campsite offers exceptional views of the surrounding countryside, the Cusher River and the Slieve Gullion forest park. Visitors to the campsite can choose from a traditional Native American Tepee, a yurt, a log cabin, dome or a traditional gypsy caravan called The Rosie Lee.


Cruising on Lough Erne – Would be sailors will enjoy a visit  to the Fermanagh Lakelands where they  can hire out a luxury cruiser, stay in comfortable surroundings whilst taking in the stunning scenery of Lough Erne and explore everything that Fermanagh has to offer.

Whitehill Cottage, Brookeborough – Guests can take a step back in time in Whitehall cottage which is nestled within the stunning grounds of Colebrooke House, a beautiful historical neo-classical mansion just outside of Brookeborough.  The cottage is beautifully restored and offers luxurious modern facilities whilst retaining the period features of an original Irish cottage. For those who like to keep active, activities such as fishing, cycling and tennis are all available within the grounds.

Belle Isle Castle & Estate – This estate offers the perfect country escape in luxurious surroundings and the 17th century castle, once home to generations of nobles hosts eight luxurious guest bedrooms which are uniquely decorated with antique furniture. The castle has a range of antique furnishings as well as works by Russian, Irish and English painters. Belle Isle is also home to a well known cookery school, the perfect activity for those who would like to try something a little different and learn some new skills.


Jungle NI, Magherafelt – Bask in the splendour of the great outdoors whilst staying comfortable and cosy, by staying in The Jungle NI’s Glamping Pods. The pods offer spacious surroundings and are the perfect accommodation for those who like to go camping but hate to brave the weather in a tent. Each pod sleeps up to 8 people and are within easy access of toilets, showers and a communal campfire.

Drenagh Estate, Limavady – This beautiful estate is set against 1,000 acres of parkland and has been the home of the McCauslands family since the 1600s. The stately home is available to rent and with eight bedrooms, guests can invite lots of friends along to enjoy the elegant delights of the billiard room, home cinema, indoor pool and walled garden.


Killyleagh Castle – The castle which was built in the 12th century is the oldest inhabited castle in Ireland and contains two self-catering apartments within the castle’s towers. This truly unique accommodation allows holiday makers to be ‘king of the castle’ on their short break and guests can also avail of the swimming pool and tennis courts within the grounds.

Spelga House – This large detached, high spec modern house sits in front of a dam wall on top of the Mournes and is the highest located house in Northern Ireland.  It boasts spectacular views of the surrounding Mourne Mountains and is only 7 miles from the lively resort town of Newcastle. This unusual property is ideal for families who would like to get away to a cosy, luxury retreat or a group of friends who would like to spend some quality time together.


Luxury Tent

Luxury Tent

The Bothy is a converted traditional stone barn nestled in the heart of the Sperrin Mountains. The building was recently restored with exposed wood, brick and stone and now has beautiful French doors leading to a sun room creating a warm and relaxed setting. This is the perfect destination for a couple who would like a weekend break to get away from it all.

Corick House Hotel is an original Georgian house decorated in period style. All 43 guest rooms and suites have been individually designed and decorated to an exceptional standard giving a classic, luxurious feel. Guests can feel like they have stepped back into the Georgian era whilst also enjoying stunning views of the gardens, valleys and local countryside.

The Governor’s Lodge – This lodge is situated in the centre of the Baronscourt Estate and dates back to 1890. This delightful two storey building has recently been renovated and can accommodate up to 4 people. This is the perfect place for keen fishers as the estate has some of the best pike fishing in Ireland on offer across three interconnected lakes.

Tullylagan Country House – Tullylagan is one of Northern Ireland’s best kept secrets. Set within 30 acres of landscaped grounds, this family run 19th century estate offers 15 period style bedrooms which have been redesigned to be comfortable and elegant. Guests can relax in the lobby bar, enjoy a meal in the triple award winning Kitchen restaurant or take in the beautiful surroundings on a leisurely stroll.

Rentadonkey – If you don’t want to be confined to the one place, why not explore the magnificent scenery of Northern Ireland by renting out a self-drive, retro VW Campervan. The campers are fully equipped with everything needed to camp in comfort from a coolbox to cooking equipment and an awning and guide book. This will certainly be a short break with a difference and is the perfect way to spend a weekend with friends or family.

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