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Northern Ireland

Photo of Northern Ireland

About Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland is a region of fantastic proportions. From one of the world’s greatest coastal strips to the hip and dynamic city of Belfast, this destination is a must visit. For fans of the popular TV series, Game of Thrones, it also offers spectacular views of key filming locations. What’s more, the ragged landscape and lush country side is perfect for a relaxing and leisurely holiday. Our pick of the best places to stay in Northern Ireland offer something for everyone whether you're in search of a chic city pad or a rural country house retreat.

The region is also host to a number of national heritage sites, big city monuments and an incredible cultural and food scene. To fully experience this, you really need a minimum of four to five days. Despite the large attractions of the region, there are a few that are a definite must.

What not to miss

  • Walk through the bustling roads of Belfast city. This battle-scarred city is a refreshing mix of old Victorian buildings, laced with a rich industrial heritage and now host to some of the trendiest restaurants and bars.
  • If you like a road trip, don’t miss the Causeway Coastal Route. The spectacular views along the road take you from pristine seashores to ragged mountain tops.
  • Visit the Titanic experience iin Belfast's waterfront Titanic Quarter. You'll find a fascinating exhibition inside a stunning modern building, and everything you ever wanted to know about the ill-fated ocean liner.
  • Visit the Giant’s Causeway, home to a multitude of interlocking basalt columns – a result of an ancient volcanic eruption. An important world heritage site, and area of outstanding natural beauty, it also contains other rock formations including the Giant's Boot, Wishing Chair and Granny!

Although the region has in the past faced numerous conflicts as a result of border politics, the troubles are now over. The mood is positive and prosperous and along with this comes the development of quality, world-class establishments. You will see a change from the earlier dull hotels to new and funky installations. We have selected a handful of these for our pick of the best places to stay in Northern Ireland.

In Belfast

Belfast is certainly witnessing this change. Take a look at some of the best city accommodations:

  • The first Grande Luxe city hotel, the Merchant Hotel, is set in the former headquarters of the Ulster Bank. Here you will find gloriously pompous decor with beautiful velvet and silk fabrics. A superb bar, restaurant and luxury spa make this a top city spot.
  • The fashionable, boutique hotel, Ten Square, is located in the centre of Belfast. It caters to the hip visitor as it's close to the city restaurants and bars. Also a great choice for business travellers.
  • Rayanne House is a traditional property located in a leafy corner of Holywood, yet within easy reach of Belfast city centre. A perfect spot to experience the peaceful suburbs along with the city treats.
  • The Bullitt, situated in the heart of Belfast, is an ideal spot for a city break. This designer property features contemporary and quirky interiors with plenty of artwork adorning the walls. Their funky rooms include king-sized beds and satellite TVs.
  • Another scenic base, close to the city is the Culloden Estate and Spa. This luxury hotel overlooks the Belfast Lough and offers great food with five-star service. Book here for a weekend of pampering or a deluxe business trip.

Outside Belfast

  • Portaferry Hotel is an excellent, waterfront property that overlooks the Strangford Lough. The hotel includes an award-winning restaurant that offers mouth-watering dishes made from the finest local ingredients. Ideal for food enthusiasts who also care for a gorgeous view.
  • One of Northern Ireland's best known hotels set between the mountains of Morne and the sea is the Slieve Donard Resort and Spa. The hotel boasts a state of the art spa and pool complex, stylish contemporary rooms, and extensive conference facilities. All this on the doorstep of the Royal County Down Golf Course. A great spot to pamper yourself or play a game of golf.
  • The Newforge House is a sophisticated, family-run country house hotel with excellent food and original Georgian interiors. A beautiful romantic country escape.
  • For an authentic Irish experience, visit Bushmills Inn. Much loved by the locals and tourists alike, this cosy inn is a great place to experience scrumptious locally sourced meal and the warm Irish hospitality.

For a Country House

  • The Whitepark House is cosy little B&B close to the famous Giant’s Causeway. It is a cosy retreat that offers delicious breakfasts and warm fires – all brought to you by superbly friendly hosts!
  • For another wonderful country escape, stay at the Tyrella House. Built in classic Georgian style, this country house has three bedrooms adorned with elegant drapes and furniture. What’s more, it has its own private beach and polo ground.

For a holiday cottage

  • If you've decided that you'd prefer to book a holiday cottage or apartment, we recommend you visit our online booking partner, Booking.com, where you'll find a wide range from budget to boutique.

Travel Information

  • Northern Ireland has two main airports Belfast International Airport and Belfast City Airport. The International Airport can be reached from many UK and European cities, the City Airport is mainly served by the UK, plus a handful of European cities.
  • There are frequent ferries between the Belfast harbour and Scotland, England and the Isle of Man. These high-speed vessels offer on-board amenities, entertainment and shopping.
  • Enjoy the best of the Irish weather between the months of May and September. The long days offer great opportunities to take long drives, walks and explore both towns and countryside.
  • If you wish to hire a care, which highly adivse if you plan to tour the region, we recommend you check out our online partner Holiday Autos.

Still not sure where to book?

Best Hotels in Northern Ireland

  • Portaferry Hotel 14 rooms from $117

    Portaferry, Co Down, Northern Ireland

    An excellent and unpretentious waterfront hotel overlooking Strangford Lough. Cosy, elegant interiors behind its 18th century facade. Fantastic food in the award-winning restaurant and cookery masterclasses with the executive chef. Utterly charming and great for groups.

    Value chic  -  Excellently priced with a great location
    Foodies  -  Award-winning restaurant
    Cooking classes  -  with David Bamber, the hotel's Executive Chef
    Kayaking  -  Strangford Lough Canoe Trail
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  • Ten Square 22 rooms from $124


    Fashionable boutique hotel in a Grade 1 listed building, located in central Belfast. Comfortable rooms and excellent steakhouse and bar mean that this is the perfect place for relaxation after a busy day of business or pleasure in the Northern Irish capital. A hip spot in the centre of the city.

    Sights nearby  -  Bang in the centre of town close to City hall and walking distance to most major attractions
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  • Slieve Donard Resort & Spa 172 rooms from $143

    Newcastle, Co. Down, Northern Ireland

    One of Northern Ireland's best known hotels set between the mountains of Morne and the sea. State of the art spa and pool complex, stylish contemporary rooms, and extensive conference facilities on the doorstep of the Royal County Down Golf Course. A great spot for avid golfers.

    Total relaxation  -  Whether a few rounds on the golf course or treatments in the spa - there is something for everyone here
    Romantic Break  -  Spoil yourself and a loved one
    Weddings  -  A popular wedding location
    Birdwatching  -  Murlough National Nature Reserve
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  • Whitepark House 3 rooms from $156

    Ballintoy, Northern Ireland

    A handsome B&B overlooking Whitepark Bay with superbly friendly hosts. Award-winning breakfasts, crackling fires, and three characterful bedrooms. Traditional décor delightfully mixed with eclectic objects brought back from Eastern travels. A charming country escape close to the Giant's Causeway.

    Country Escape  -  A homely and warm place to rest your head after a long days sightseeing and walking around this spectacular countryside.
    Restrictions on children  -  There are no family rooms or facilities for babies. Children are welcome if old enough to take a seperate room.
    Sights nearby  -  The Giants Causeway is just 4 miles west and Ballintoy harbour and Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge is 2 miles east.
    Great walks  -  Bob will happily advise you on the best walks, as well as providing fluffy slippers and tea for your return!
    Recommended by  -  Sawdays
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  • Tyrella House 3 rooms from $156

    Downpatrick, Co. Down, Northern Ireland

    Relaxed private country house in a beautiful coastal setting with its own private beach, polo ground and glorious wooded parkland. Three classical bedrooms with original Georgian features and elegant furniture. A wonderful B&B country escape for those who like to enjoy country activities.

    Active Holiday  -  Golf, polo, walks and excellent riding trails on your doorstep
    Country Escape  -  Enveloped by some of Ireland's best emerald countryside
    Sights nearby  -  Visit the many local National Trust houses and gardens.
    Fishing  -  Trout fishing can be arranged locally
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  • Rayanne House 11 rooms from $156

    Belfast (Holywood)

    A traditional property located in a leafy corner of Holywood yet within easy reach of Belfast city centre. Rooms are decorated in a classic style with antique pieces, rich colours, fabrics and vibrant wallpapers. There is a manicured garden and terrace. Enjoy the famous, first class 'Titanic' menu!

    Great walks  -  Picturesque St Patrick's Trail is just a 45 minute drive away. The Mountains of Mourne have routes available for all abilities.
    Sights nearby  -  The historic Carrickfergus Castle is worth a visit.
    Full of character
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  • The Bullitt 43 rooms from $156


    The Bullitt is situated in the heart of Belfast, the ideal spot for a city break. This designer property features contemporary and quirky interiors with plenty of artwork adorning the walls. Their funky rooms feature king-sized beds and satellite TVs. Breakfast on-the-go offered daily. A great stay.

    City Style  -  The Bullitt enjoys a fantastically central location
    Local exploring  -  Be sure to see all that the city has to offer!
    Sights nearby  -  Head over to Odyssey Arena sport and entertainment complex or visit the historic St Peter's Cathedral
    Great walks  -  Wander aimlessly through the city and get a feel for its atmosphere
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  • Culloden Estate and Spa 105 rooms from $176

    Belfast (Holywood)

    Luxury hotel and spa overlooking Belfast Lough. Opulent interiors, great food and five star service. Ideal for a short spoiling break to Northern Ireland if you don't want to be in the heart of Belfast, and great for business travellers.

    Views  -  Fine views over the gardens and Belfast Lough
    Swimming Pool  -  Indoor Pool
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  • Bushmills Inn 41 rooms from $247

    Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland

    Renowned inn offering genuine Irish hospitality and scrumptious food in its award-winning restaurant. Classic-chic bedrooms in neutral tones with four poster beds. A warren of little snugs and Wild West-esque gas bar create a cosy ambiance. A great choice for groups and families.

    Local exploring  -  Packed with things to see from the stunning Giant’s Causeway to tours of the world's oldest distillery.
    Foodies  -  Enjoy the locally sourced award-winning cuisine on offer, in a charmingly old school setting.
    Sights nearby  -  Close to attractions such as Old Bushmills Distillery, The Giant’s Causeway, Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge and Dunluce Castle.
    Lively  -  Hip and happening.
    Recommended by  -  Sawdays
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  • Newforge House 6 rooms from $247

    Craigavon, Co. Armagh, Northern Ireland

    Sophisticated family-run country house hotel with excellent food. Original Georgian interiors have been updated with modern elegance - fireplaces, large sash windows, paintings, and tasteful furniture are highlighted by lots of natural light and subtle tones. A romantic escape with plenty to offer.

    Foodies  -  Fine three course dining offering seasonal dishes
    Great walks  -  Lurgan, Moira and Hillsborough Parks
    Sights nearby  -  Lurgan Park & Brownlow House
    Sailing  -  Kinnego Marina
    Recommended by  -  Sawdays
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  • Merchant Hotel 62 rooms from $456


    Stunning transformation of a former 19th century bank. Eclectic contemporary rooms evoke a romantic Napoleon III-style Paris - luscious velvets and silks, rich wool carpets, gold and red chintz wallpapers, and statement artwork. Superb bar, spa and gym plus a live jazz bar. Divine.

    Foodies  -  Berts Jazz Bar serves delicious dishes, fine cocktails accompanied by live music
    City Style  -  Historic accommodation in the heart of Belfast
    Spa breaks  -  One of they city's most renowned spas
    Sights nearby  -  UNESCO World Heritage site, the Giant’s Causeway
    Recommended by  -  Mr & Mrs Smith, Fodors
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