Northern Ireland is one of the most beautiful parts of the United Kingdom, with its dramatic coastline and historic towns. This could be the perfect time to discover Northern Ireland for yourself. You can fly directly into either Belfast or Londonderry (or Derry) from most airports around the UK, many offering flights on low budget airlines for the short distance over the sea, or you might prefer to sail over on one of the many ferry services. Most ferries sail into Southern Ireland, but a few go directly into Belfast. For those arriving in Dublin, the drive up through the Irish countryside can be very enjoyable.
When you arrive there is something for everyone. If you like the hubbub of the city, then Belfast is the place for you to base yourself. The capital city of Northern Ireland, Belfast is steeped in history. It is the birthplace of the Titanic and is home to the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum. There are many traditional Irish pubs and many fine restaurants to make your stay entertaining and fun and plenty of parks, galleries and gardens to help you to relax on your holiday to Northern Ireland.
If city holidays are not for you then Northern Ireland has many other choices on offer. The Sperrin and Mourne mountain ranges provide spectacular scenery and wonderful walks for you to take in the fresh mountain air. In County Down you can play championship golf at the Royal County Down Golf Club or go mountain biking, bouldering, abseiling, canoeing, hillwalking or pony trekking. Whereas County Fermanagh is a must for those wanting to partake in a cycling holiday with the Kingfisher Cycle Trail and the Vintage Cycle Museum. Florencecourt and Castle Coole are fine stately homes that should satisfy the historians among you and, being enriched in waterways and seashore, County Fermanagh is the ideal location for those who enjoy fishing, water navigation or simply trailing your hand through the water as you drift lazily along on a summer’s afternoon.
County Londonderry is, like Belfast, a bustling city, but Derry is the only fully walled city in the British Isles. The walls, which were built in the seventeenth century, can be walked around so that you can view the city from almost any direction to admire the ever changing sky line. Londonderry is also home to The Craft Village and St. Columba’s Cathedral, The Tower Museum and the Roe Valley Country Park and for those who are not afraid of heights, a visit to Mussenden Temple is well worth the trip with its cliff top position and the sheer drop behind it. For those who like tranquillity and peace then County Tyrone is a better place to visit with its beautiful scenery and fresh country air. Derry is the ideal holiday location for horse lovers, anglers and hill walkers alike.
County Antrim is home to what is probably one of Ireland’s most famous landmarks; The Giant’s Causeway. It is also Ireland’s only area that has been dedicated as a World Heritage Site. It is made up of polygonal columns of layered basalt which gives it its distinctive appearance and attracts people from all over the world to come and view its unique make up. When you have finished at the Causeway, you can relax on the two mile stretch of Blue Flag, sandy beach that makes up Portstewart Strand. TheOld Bushmill’s distillery is home to Ireland’s most famous whisky distillery and is well worth a visit, but a visit to Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge is probably best planned for a different day.
Northern Ireland has a wealth of places to stay from its many campsites to well appointed and luxurious hotels. You can stay in a secluded hide away that can be rented for self catering holidays, bed and breakfast guest houses or even in hostel or university accommodation. There are places available to suit all budgets, so anyone can be catered for regardless of their needs and requirements. To make the most of your visit to Northern Ireland, why not plan your travels to coincide with one of the parades. On March 17th each year, Belfast plays host to a huge St. Patrick’s Day parade that is enjoyed by young and old alike and culminates in a free music concert that features a mix of modern pop music and traditional Irish music. If Belfast is not your destination, but you still enjoy a parade, a traditional Easter Parade is held annually in Down. Northern Ireland has a huge amount to offer and is there to be discovered by everyone, whatever they look for in a holiday.