BY TIM HEDGLEY, GROUP TRAVEL EDITOR
IT’S a land of stunning coastlines and dramatic countryside and the people are some of the friendliest you will meet. But you won’t need an epic trek to enjoy epic fun in 2021, with Northern Ireland on the doorstep.
Northern Ireland has amazing places to stay, from world-class luxurious five-star hotels to welcoming guesthouses, warm and cosy B&Bs and quirky one-off unmissable venues which have the potential to make your staycation a memorable one.
But if self-catering is what you’re after, then there are hundreds of places to choose from. In Northern Ireland, you can find adventures of all sorts, and self-catering can be the simplest and best-value way of giving you the freedom to come and go as you please.
Discover Northern Ireland has compiled a list of excellent self-catering options which have all the ingredients for the perfect staycation. Keep an eye out for the “We’re Good to Go” mark, Northern Ireland’s industry standard for tourism and hospitality businesses that are committed to operating safely so you can enjoy a visit with total confidence.
5* Willoughby Place, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh
Willoughby Place is a 5* self-catering townhouse in the heart of Enniskillen. Built in the 1800s, the Grade II listed property has been the subject of extensive renovation to provide luxurious modern accommodation, whilst preserving its original Georgian layout and stunning period features. The house boasts three bedrooms comfortably sleeping up to six people in a mix of super king and double rooms. Features include a large reception room with an open fire and a modern well-equipped kitchen, which leads out through French doors into a charming south-facing courtyard complete with BBQ facilities. Furthermore, rather uniquely for a townhouse, the property has facilities to host a boat, and there is a public jetty at the nearby Round ‘O’, which is less than 200m away. www.willoughbyplace.co.uk
5* Largy Coastal Apartments, Carnlough, County Antrim
This is luxury self-catering accommodation with magnificent sea views located in the second of the nine Glens of Antrim. The three apartments are set in one and a half acres of gardens and woodland with a log cabin, a picnic area and a BBQ for outdoor dining. There is also a hot tub on the patio next to the log cabin for when you would like some relaxation. The large spacious bedrooms are all ensuite, a modern kitchen is fully stocked with essentials while a welcome pack is provided for all guests. Offering garden or sea views, Largy Coastal Apartments has a terrace, along with a private beach area and a short walk into Carnlough town. www.largycoastalapartments.com
4* Ballygally Holiday Apartments, Ballygally, County Antrim
Set in five acres of a designated area of natural beauty opposite Ballygally beach, this is a family-run business which prides itself on high standards and a “home from home” environment. All apartments come with WiFi, a washer/dryer and widescreen TV, just some of the creature comforts on offer here – not to forget the safe play area for children on site. The business has won a host of tourism awards and all the essentials are provided. From here you can stride out on foot for a walk in the Antrim Glens themselves or take to four wheels and embark on the Causeway Coastal Route. www.ballygallyapartments.com
4* The Captains Cottage, Cushendall, Ballymena, County Antrim
The Captains Self Catering Cottage is a quaint but traditional-style cottage situated in a quiet location in Cushendall. This holiday home features a garden, BBQ facilities and free private parking as well as a fully equipped kitchen and large living area. This unique cottage features two bedrooms – one double (ensuite) and one twin that converts to a king size. Only a few minutes’ walk to the beach and village, this stay is perfect for a short family trip. https://discovernorthernireland.com/accommodation/the-captains-cottage-p725171
4* Fools Haven, Carrickfergus, County Antrim
This gem of a thatched cottage, with a historic blue plaque is over 250 years old with a strong Titanic connection. Fools Haven is where two local children, orphaned by the Titanic tragedy, were brought up. They had been sent to live there with their Aunt, when their father sailed on board the Titanic as an engineer on that fateful maiden voyage to New York in April 1912. Sleeping five with a fully modern kitchen while the outside space has a wooden BBQ hut, and a children’s playhouse, both set in a private garden. Guests receive a complimentary hospitality basket on arrival, celebrating locally sourced, quality award-winning foods. www.fools-haven.com
4* Finn Valley Cottages, Strabane, County Tyrone
The Finn Valley luxury holiday homes in the rural location of Tyrone are surrounded by natural beauty looking out onto the Donegal hills. There are four great options to choose from, all include a wood burning stove, a free pool table and games room. A stone’s throw away from River Mourne and River Finn where there is fantastic salmon and trout fishing, Finn Valley is also a great halfway point between Derry~Londonderry & Omagh. www.finnvalleycottages.co.uk
4* & 5* Spice Cottages, Dungannon, County Tyrone
Four beautifully furnished and equipped cottages which have been recently converted from a former 150-year-old stone barn on a 40-acre site. They offer comfortable family sized accommodation in modern surroundings sleeping six to eight people. The kitchen/dining area is exceptionally well appointed and equipped while there is an outdoor BBQ area, new games room with table tennis facilities and various options for families and children including a stair gate, highchair, cot, kids outdoor play area and welcome pack. www.spicecottages.com
5* Scott’s Barn, Magherafelt, County Londonderry
Scott’s Barn is a luxurious country retreat situated at the foothills of the Sperrin Mountains, in the heart of Mid-Ulster. The 400-year-old Barn was restored in 2009 in keeping with its traditional style whilst incorporating all modern conveniences, including under floor heating, plasma digital TV, power shower and dual powered cooker. Sleeping five, the Barn has a luxurious open plan living, kitchen and dining area as well as its own private entrance, courtyard, and gardens where visitors can relax and enjoy. Nearby facilities include hill walking, fishing, cycling and golfing. All guests will receive a welcome pack on arrival and there is a courtyard with free parking. www.scottsbarn.co.uk
4* Custom House, Newry, County Down
Opened in 2020, the Custom House building in Newry is just one hour from Belfast. With an unrivalled rooftop city centre location, luxury styling and superior amenities, the two bed apartments sleep four and includes kitchen, laundry room, smart TV & broadband, free parking, private balcony and room servicing and CCTV. There is plenty to explore within walking distance, such as shops, restaurants, shopping centres and much more. https://discovernorthernireland.com/accommodation/custom-house-apartments-p748481
5* The Bakers Cottages, Seaforde, County Down
Once a former bakery and fully refurbished in 2019, many of the original site features have been sympathetically restored, including the Bakers Hole well. Three beautifully furnished bedrooms sleeping six, the cottage offers views of the Mourne Mountains and the rolling fields with easy access to Belfast. The cottage is newly refurbished with WiFi throughout, wood burning stove, smart TVs with complimentary Netflix in all rooms, free standing bath in bathroom and fully equipped kitchen.
There is a private hot tub house that seats six people with a fridge, wood burning stove and bath robes/slippers provided. Sliding glass doors open out to a patio with outside seating and large lawn. A fully equipped play park will keep the kids entertained while you enjoy a BBQ looking out over the spectacular views or toast marshmallows over the fire pit. www.thebakerscottages.co.uk
4* Clonlum Cottages, County Armagh
Clonlum Cottages are located at the foot of Slieve Gullion, on the doorstep of Ireland’s Mountain of Mystery. In these three newly refurbished cottages, guests can cosy up in front of a wood-burning stove to unwind after a day breath-taking mountain views and hikes. Snug, modern, luxuriously furnished abodes that sleep up to four people per cottage, at Clonlum guests can enjoy the BBQ and firepit area as well as privacy in its secluded setting away from main roads. This family-friendly staycation spot in south Armagh is surrounded by beauty and attractions such as Killeavy Castle, Camlough Lake and Carlingford village. www.clonlumholidaycottages.com
Northern Ireland’s Giant Welcome will be here for you to discover when the time is right to travel. For more information visit www.discovernorthernireland.com
For the latest government guidelines on COVID restrictions, visit www.nidirect.gov.uk/campaigns/coronavirus-covid-19