Categories: accommodation

Romance is in the air in Northern Ireland. Dramatic scenery, ancient history, atmospheric cities and stunning coastal towns all make it somewhere to fall in love with. Indoors, there’s even more to love. With romantic hotels, enchanting cottages and inviting castles everywhere you go. You might just find it’s the places you stay that will really capture your heart.

A love affair with Belfast

Belfast’s Merchant Hotel (5*) rocks glamour with a capital ‘G’. And a Victorian and Art Deco twist. It also comes with a roof top hot top and a reputation for exceptionally fine cocktails. There’s fabulousness in every inch of the imaginatively appointed Fitzwilliam Hotel (5*). The bold and quirky Malmaison (4*) sits in the Cathedral Quarter, while Ten Square (4*) goes all out on contemporary comfort. 

Coasting your way to a romantic break

Subterranean luxury with everything on tap, including fresh spring water, is all yours at the extraordinary Waterfall Caves. They sit just at the foot of Binevenagh Mountain. Close by, Roe Park Resort (4*) has its own 18-hole parkland golf course and rooms that combine country house charm with modern luxury.

The pretty seaside town of Portrush is where you’ll find the cool and contemporary Blackrock B&B. And for eco-luxury, there’s nowhere as stunning as the Salthouse Hotel and Spa at Ballycastle. 

A French take on romance?

Maison (5*) in the village of Bushmills, near the Giant’s Causeway, is a French-inspired chic and stylish townhouse with rafted window shutters and romance in every corner, conveniently close to the French Rooms restaurant and café.

Home to the famous whiskey distillery, Bushmills is also where you’ll find the understated luxury of the historic Bushmills Inn Hotel (4*). Or try the enchanting Ruby Stove Cottage, a cottage built for two, with a cosy (red) wood-burning stove.

Cottages to bring you closer

Bay Tree Boutique B&B cleverly blends New England style and stonewall cottage. Calm, refreshing and supremely comfortable, bedrooms are light and airy, with breakfasts lovingly cooked by owner Susan. 

If original wooden floors, beams and open fireplaces are your thing, Larchfield Estate Cottages are for you. While you’re there, take a peek at the beautifully adapted and unbearably romantic Swiss Army Truck. With a wood burning stove, under bed heating, sauna and fire pit, it certainly puts the ‘glam’ in glamping.

Berwick Hall Cottage in Moira retains all the charm of its original 18th barn, with some newer home comforts. While Hillsborough’s Arthur Street Guest Cottage (4*) does cute like no other – in a village of chiming church bells. 

Loving barns and inns and things

Close to Downpatrick, the Barn at Pink Cottage somehow combines the quirky and the cosy with stained glass windows and a medieval feel. Another quaint and quirky one, upside-down Orchard Cottage is a barn conversion with exposed stone walls and a balcony for viewing the countryside.

The Old Inn at Crawfordsburn (4*) is a former coaching inn where travellers of old stopped for a night to rest themselves and their horses. They’d surely appreciate the luxurious four-poster beds and Victorian afternoon tea you find here today. 

Or you can wake up to the beauty of apple blossom in Armagh’s Crannagael House (4*). A self-contained apartment in the East Wing is the perfect base for cider tours and orchard visits. While in Aghalee, Clenaghans’s has connections to renowned painter, Sir John Lavery. Plus superb self-catering apartments, a much-loved restaurant and a near 300 year history of welcoming world travellers.  

At the heart of Derry-Londonderry

The elegant Bishop’s Gate Hotel, within the famous city walls, is a local landmark and a haven of opulent luxury. There’s penthouse glamour on the 7th Floor of City Hotel Derry (4*) and urban chic at Da Vinci’s (4*) on the banks of the River Foyle. There’s always a warm welcome at The Everglades Hotel (4*), while Beech Hill Hotel (4*) has played host to everyone from Presidents to Elves in its original Manor House. 

For a country retreat, try Ardtara Country House & Restaurant (4*), about 45 minutes from the city. An elegant 19th century mansion, the bedrooms have their original Victorian working fireplaces – and a lot of more modern comforts as well.

The most romantic castles

Luxury rules at the stunning Killeavy Castle Estate (4*), at the base of Slieve Gullion. There’s a lot to fall in love with here. A Grade A listed castle, the modern comfort of its converted mill and coach house. And a stunning self-catering Gate Lodge.

The enchanting Ballygally Castle Hotel (4*), sits at the tip of the Causeway Coastal Route, with views all the way across the Irish Sea. There’s stately elegance too at the palatial Culloden Hotel and Spa (5*) - a former Bishop’s Palace. Super-luxurious bedrooms and a beautifully appointed Spa area guarantee your comfort. And there’s 12 acres of spectacular gardens and woodlands to lose yourselves, and your heart, in.

Who doesn’t love a spa?

Northern Ireland certainly does. One of the finest, Lough Erne Resort (5*) lies on a 600-acre peninsula, with stunning views of the Fermanagh Lakes. It’s also home to a championship golf course and an amazing Thai Spa. 

Galgorm Hotel and Spa Resort (4*) has definitely earned its place in Hospitality Ulster’s Top 100 spots. Its acres of parkland seem to stretch for ever and include a unique Thermal Village and Serenity Garden with outdoor tubs. Don’t leave without having a romantic dinner in the River Room.

The wonderful Slieve Donard Resort and Spa (4*) sits between golden beaches on one side and Royal County Down Golf Links on the other. Inside, exquisite cloud beds make every night a dream. The restored 18th century stone buildings at Dunamoy Cottages and Spa (4*) are a magical spot for couples in search of an affordable romantic break. While Tyrone’s Corick House Hotel & Spa (4*) has all the glamour of a country house, with a decidedly modern and romantic flourish.

Heart-warming houses with history

Newforge House (4*) is a historic family-run country house offering warm hospitality, luxurious rooms and local seasonal food. In fact, you may well be greeted on arrival by the friendly chickens who supply your morning egg. Six individually furnished bedrooms mix splendid antiques with contemporary comforts – each room a tribute to the six generations who’ve lived here through the years. 

If your romantic break away is all about some quiet ‘us’ time, the charming Dunadry Hotel and Gardens (4*) could be just what you need. The most tranquil of spots, on the banks of the Six Mile River, there’s also oodles of calm in the picturesque internal gardens.

Romance under the skies

In the grounds of Glenarm Castle Estate, stylish Further Space pods take you back to nature without compromising on comfort. Luxury, fully furnished - with all mod cons - they’re a perfect romantic backdrop to your love story.

And, as there’s nothing as romantic as living in your own little (actually, comfortably big) bubble, the world gave us Finn Lough. A Forest Bubble Dome, with everything you need (like coffee machines)  - plus transparent walls and a four poster bed. Perfect for watching the stars together.

There’s always a place for romance in Northern Ireland. And always a place to stay that’s a perfect match for you and your travelling companion. Half the fun is finding it.