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Any recommendations for 4 days in NI?

Leeds
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Any recommendations for 4 days in NI?

Hello,

We're in Northern Ireland for just over a week in July this year, arriving on the 8th. Was planning to stay in Belfast city 8/9th July and have booked 3 nights at Slieve Donard 10 - 12th. We'll pick a car up on 10th and have that for the remainder of our trip.

The plan is to head up the Causeway coast from Newcastle, and spend the rest of our time up there, before flying home from Belfast city on 17th July.

So we'll have 4 nights free. Lots of questions!:

- would we need to pre-book our accom or will we be able to just drive around and find a decent B&B on spec? We're not looking for luxury accom for this part of the trip, but a good quality B&B with decent room, good shower and nice breakfast.

- should we find one base for the 4 nights (e.g. Ballycastle, Bushmills, Portstewart?) and drive to various places from there, or should we do 2 stops?

- We like walking (nothing too strenous), scenic drives, good food and just general sightseeing & finding nice places. Is there anywhere else that we will have time to visit beyond, say, Portstewart or on the way back to Belfast?

I know that heading down to Newcastle after Belfast might not have been the most logical way of doing the trip, but I wanted to take advantage of a good mid-week offer they're doing there and so we couldn't do it at the beginning or end of our trip.

Thanks in advance for any ideas - I've only ever visiting NI on business trips & we've promised ourselves a proper holiday there for years!

Belfast
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1. Re: Any recommendations for 4 days in NI?

You are coming to N.Ireland at the very height of our holiday period around the 12th of July so you would be strongly advised to book in advance for accomodation and even some restaurants - I would just find somewhere you like along the north coast and stay there as a base as distances either way are not that great - if you are staying at the Slieve Donard you appear to be prepared to go fairly upmarket so I would suggest The Bushmills Inn which is ideally sited for what you want

Plenty of scenic walking along the Causeway Coast and I would suggest Glenarrif down in the Glens of Antrim as well

North Coast, N...
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2. Re: Any recommendations for 4 days in NI?

I would definitely advise you to book your accommodation. Are you aware of the Twelfth demonstrations which happen on 12th July? The main parade is in Belfast but there are events in many towns on this day. 12th and 13th July are public holidays in NI and traditionally a lot of factories have closed and people take their holidays during this time. This means that popular resort towns will be very busy. So that answers the first question!

In relation to your 4 free nights. You could easily base yourself in any of the towns you named and enjoy the scenery. An alternative option would be to go from Newcastle to Enniskillen for 2 nights (the Femanagh lakes are beautiful and I love Devenish island in particular)# and then spend 2 nights on the north coast but to be honest on 13th July there would be a lot of traffic in that area plus I am sensing that you want a leisurely relaxing holiday so although it could be done I think your idea of staying 4 nights on the north coast is better:) Enniskillen to Portstewart would take at least 2.5 hours so I think it would be a bit rushed with a lot of driving so I think it would be better to stay in 1 place on this occasion.

It could take you the best part of a day to drive from Newcastle to the north coast - I would always recommend the Causeway Coastal route although you could of course do it in reverse at the end of your holiday but if that is en route to the airport it may be a bit rushed. There is a quicker alternative from Newcastle which would be to take the M2 from Belfast and stay inland. Much quicker but the Causway Coastal Route is famous for a reason!

I would suggest including a vist to Derry (about 1 hour 15 minute drive from Portstewart, 1 hour 30 from Bushmills). Have a read at some of the recent trip reports - Shells 99 will also give you excellent advice on this! This would be really be a fully day trip. You can actually stop for a photostop or two en route around Downhill (Mussenden temple).

Depending on your car rental terms you could also including Donegal. There is a ferry from Magilligan to Greencastle which would allow you to explore the Inishowen Peninsula.

Or you could consider a day trip to Rathlin from Ballycastle? The puffins should still be there and there are also usually seals in the bay.

So there are 2 options for day trips which means you could very easily fill your 4 nights!!

Once you have decided on your location etc, let us know if we can provide any further help!!

North Coast, N...
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3. Re: Any recommendations for 4 days in NI?

sorry belfasttaxman - I started replying to this and left it so we have crossed paths!!

North Coast, N...
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4. Re: Any recommendations for 4 days in NI?

I suspect the Bushmills Inn might be expensive at that time of year. There is a good B&B - Valley View which is located in the countryside outside Bushmills. Lovely quiet location - but not so good if you want to be near the centre of things and have a glass of wine or two with your evening meal as you would need to get a taxi.

Portrush has a couple of great restaurants - the Ramore at the Harbour has 4 restaurants in one but is extremely busy. Expect to wait one hour plus in the summer and on busy days they will stop accepting people by 8pm.

http://www.ramorerestaurant.com/

http://www.55-north.com/ has superb views and very good food - again in Portrush.

In Bushmills

http://www.distillersarms.com/

Just a few to get you started!

Leeds
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5. Re: Any recommendations for 4 days in NI?

Thanks for your replies - very helpful.

I did know about the 12th July, but hadn't realised that there were 2 days public holiday so that is very useful info and confirms that we should pre-book accom. I'd booked my flights and time off work before I remembered the significance of the dates!

We won't mind taking a day to reach the North coast from Newcastle - so definitely want to take the Causeway Coastal route.

I will have a look at the links/suggestions in more detail. Enniskillen & area does look lovely but if it is going to be a busy travelling period then maybe we'll have to give it a miss this time.

With regard to accommodation on the North coast, I'm looking to keep the cost a lot lower than Slieve Donard (that's our "splurge" for this trip) so something like Valley View would be perfect.... I'll have a look for some similar options in the towns themselves. I just need to decide which town now!

Thanks again for your advice......... much appreciated.

Leeds
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6. Re: Any recommendations for 4 days in NI?

p.s. I just spotted the Trip Reports "sticky" so will have a good look at those.

North Coast, N...
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7. Re: Any recommendations for 4 days in NI?

tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g209952-i2545-k4…

Towards the end of this Leezy (the OP) gives a bit of feedback on her stay. It isn't a trip report as such so it isn't in the sticky but is very recent feedback.

Yes, I think skip Enniskillen this time - you want to relax as well as sightsee. Fingers crossed for some decent weather this summer!!

Edited: 20 February 2011, 19:09
Leeds
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8. Re: Any recommendations for 4 days in NI?

Thank you all for your helpful recommendations. We're all set to leave on Friday for our trip and my only regret is looking at the 15 day weather forecast tonight! Rain, rain and more rain - oh and some clouds! :-)

I'm hoping that Accuweather got it wrong or that there is some wonderful micro-climate in Portrush!

We decided on:

Fitzwilliam Hotel, Belfast for 2 nights

Slieve Donard, Newcastle for 3 nights

Links View, Portrush for 4 nights

And I've been scouring these forums for other hints and tips.

Will post a trip report when we get back.

Thanks again to all contributors on this forum.... very helpful.

North Coast, N...
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9. Re: Any recommendations for 4 days in NI?

Have a great trip rosieh!

Look forward to getting your trip report. If you're staying at Links View, I think 55 degrees north are still running their early bird dinner option if you order before 6.45. Great value - and lovely views - but very popular so either book in advance or get there early.

Leeds
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10. Re: Any recommendations for 4 days in NI?

We're back, and we had a great trip. Weather was so much better than I expected, what a bonus! In particular the day we drove up the Coastal route it was clear and sunny with blue skies so you can imagine how stunning the scenery was! I've put some more detail in a trip report on the sticky thread.

Thanks once again for all the advice, not just in this thread but around the forum - I picked up loads of great info.