Categories: things to do

Heat up, cool down, meditate and… breathe 

Check in to a wellness retreat at Green Holiday Cottages (4*), a group of cottages at the foot of the Mourne Mountains. Whether you come here just to get away from it all or to take part in their weekend retreats, you'll immediately feel your stresses melt away in these surroundings. This scenic spot sits in a secluded riverside setting near the fishing village of Kilkeel and has access to a number of walking trails in nearby fields. Both Kilbroney Forest Park and the gardens of Castlewellan are within driving distance, while the Mournes themselves provide the fantastic backdrop for those attending the Pilates and Wellness Retreat at the cottages. Not only can you enjoy the ecotherapy on offer at this retreat and connect with nature, but you’ll do so in the company of like-minded people who you will eat and spend some down time with. Food is locally sourced with a focus on fish and vegetarian ingredients.  

Further southwest, close to the border and city of Newry, Killeavy Castle (5*) offers top-class treatments and exceptional food in beautifully manicured surroundings in the Ring of Gullion. The castle’s water therapy area with hydro pool, exercise pool and views of the surrounding hills is a great way to reenergise your body before taking to the laconicum to heat and purify toxins. After heating up, you’ll want to cool down under the aroma mist and drench showers before getting a blast of fresh country air in the outdoor hot tub or tylarium. 

You might want to learn to breathe again and that’s exactly what you’ll take on at the Sound of Silence Retreat at nearby Xhale. Owner and founder, Ann Ward, has practised meditation for over twenty years and she now creates and curates immersive, mindfulness experiences and retreats using meditation and nature. She will take you on a journey into the soul and help you develop tools to quieten your mind. You’ll also have the chance to take part in some forest bathing, or you can treat yourself to a hot stone massage before getting set for some mindful cooking and, of course, eating. 

Zen and the art of soaking in a seaweed bath 

The award-winning Zen Day Spa is an oasis of tranquillity in the heart of Newry and specialises in advanced non-surgical skin and body treatments as well as spa treatments. Their facials will have you looking the part for your trip to lovely Newcastle and a good poaching in the Soak Seaweed Baths. Feel all your troubles ease away in your very own steam cabinet before submerging your tired body in the golden goodness of the mineral-rich local seaweed and hot seawater bath.  

While you're nearby, the Montalto Estate and its captivating gardens and beautiful walks are well worth the visit. Make sure to pass through the enchanting Orchard sitting within a wildflower meadow and take your time to look around before heading up to Belfast for a night of indulgence. 

Head for Strangford Lough to enjoy a special sunrise experience which "will leave you more energized than the strongest cup of espresso you can imagine". Truly find your zen as you start your day by paddling to an island as the sun comes up, enjoying a hatha yoga session on the lawn in an idyllic setting and then enjoy a tasty breakfast before paddling back to base. Suitable for beginners, the sunrise standup paddle boarding & yoga experience is definitely one to try.

City retreats fit for a bishop 

Just outside Belfast city centre and in the plush surrounds of Holywood sits the majestic Culloden Estate and Spa (5*). Originally built by the Bishops of Down as a summer retreat, this stunning hotel sits on a slope overlooking Belfast Lough and boasts the most exquisite decor. They have the service and facilities to match, and you’ll have plenty of indulgences to confess by the time you’ve left this place. Not that we’re judging, so jump right in and treat yourself in the hotel spa. 

Those in search of artistic expression should look no further than the bespoke workshops and experiences on offer at Frankie Creith Art in Portrush. Frankie is renowned for her work in mixed media and textile and is featured in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. Let her guide you gently through the creation of your own piece, inspired by the beautiful Portrush coastline right outside her studio door.  

At the nearby Crindle Stables, horses are your guide on the magnificent two-and-a-half-hour Beach Ride. You’ll get to know your trusty steed, learn to stop, steer, trot and canter before riding along the wonderful Downhill Beach for a date with the setting sun.  

You can finish it all off with the Mussenden Unwind - Fire & Feast. This unique experience offers a mix of foraging and fine dining followed by a dip in the ocean all under the watchful eye of the Mussenden Temple.  

Fermanagh and Tyrone get you to your happy zone 

A slightly more upmarket but nonetheless nature-based retreat are the suites at Finn Lough (5*) in Fermanagh. These guys like to mix it up a little when it comes to providing accommodation and you can expect to find waterside cottages and lakeside lodges as well as quirky bubble domes in this wonderful space. With outdoor jacuzzis and spa treatments available at the Forest Spa Trail, you can take it easy while your fellow travellers go fishing or take a pedal craft and explore the wonders of Lough Erne. 

Of course, no visit to this part of the world would be complete without a visit to the award-winning Corick House Hotel and Spa (4*) in Tyrone. This spot is nestled away in the secluded Clogher Valley and is a tasteful mix of old and new. With no fewer than eight luxurious treatment rooms and a wealth of luxury treatments on offer you’ll soon discover why it was awarded the coveted Spa Hotel of the Year at the 2019 Irish Hotel Awards. 

Revive and thrive is the mantra for your wellness adventure in Northern Ireland and with so many ways and places to treat your mind, body and spirit, there’s plenty of reasons to come back for even more of the really good stuff. 

The Green Holiday Cottages - The Byre
Self-Catering
The Green Holiday Cottages - The Byre

The Byre is a 2 bedroom cottage which can sleep up to 4 people. The Byre has a lowered cooking and food preparation area in the kitchen so it suitable for someone who has limited mobility and who may require the use of wheelchair.

Kilbroney Park
Forest Parks
Group of friends enjoying the sunshine in Kilbroney Park, Rostrevor

Kilbroney Park Forest features riverside walks and an arboretum. There is a two-mile forest drive which showcases panoramic views over Carlingford Lough. There is also a Play Park with children's play area and tennis courts, an Information area and a café all on site.  Wheelchair accessible in some areas.  Dogs welcome on leads.

Castlewellan Forest Park
Forest Parks
View of Castlewellan Forest Park

Located in a dramatic setting of mountains and sea, this is one of the most outstanding tree and shrub collections in Europe. The beauty, vigour and perfect shape of the trees in the National Arboretum attract tree enthusiasts from around the world.

Killeavy Castle Estate
Hotel
Aerial view of Killeavy Castle Estate. A luxury Hotel Spa destination in Newry, Northern Ireland.

Welcome to Killeavy Castle Estate, the perfect antidote to the modern fast paced world. Named winner of the Luxury Castle Hotel (Europe) Award at the prestigious World Luxury Awards 2021, it’s the ideal place to escape and unwind, and is located just 10 minutes outside Newry City.

Xhale: Awaken Your Senses
Guided Tour
Xhale: Awaken Your Senses

Deepen your Mindfulness Practice through forest bathing in the magic of the Ring of Gullion.

SOAK Seaweed Baths
Spa and Well-being
SOAK Seaweed Baths

Soak offers customers a unique experience, a place to be spoiled or to simply ease the body and soothe the mind. Relax in a silky hot seaweed bath in our award winning bathhouse or Revive with a sensual spa treatment in our bespoke treatment rooms.

Montalto Estate
Historic Sites, Houses, Castles & Buildings
Montalto House, Montalto Lake and Boathouse

A mystical and enchanting estate, set in magnificent natural surroundings. Visitor experience includes access to the estate's beautiful gardens; historic walks and trails and an exciting play area where children can engage, explore and learn.

Culloden Estate and Spa
Hotel
View of the hotel and landscaped grounds on a bright sunny day

Standing high on the wooded slopes of the Holywood hills, overlooking Belfast Lough and the Co. Antrim coastline, is the magnificent Culloden Estate and Spa, one of the most prestigious 5 star hotels in Northern Ireland.

Making Your Mark on the Causeway Coast
Craft Workshops and courses
Artist Frankie Creith providing assistance to a workshop group while they paint outside

This artistic workshop involves all the senses and helps you find your inner creative voice. You’ll be working towards the creation of your own masterpiece, which once home will always remind you of your time spent on the beautiful Causeway Coast.

Crindle Stables
Equestrian
Crindle Stables

Crindle stables overlooks the beautiful Binevenagh Mountain. Our adrenaline filled and relaxing activities include themed fun days, bespoke experiences - nerf and unicorn, pony treks, Game of Thrones® locations beach rides and relaxing picnic treks.

Saddle Up by the Sea
Guided Tour
Group on horseback leaving the stables as part of the Saddle Up by the Sea experience with Crindle Stables

Explore the beauty of the rugged Causeway Coast and Glens on horseback, where the Binevenagh mountains sweep down to the sea. Crindle Stables overlook stunning scenery along a world-famous coastline, and this is where your experience will unfold. Prepare for a visit that centres around creating once-in-a-lifetime memories in an unforgettable setting.

Mussenden Unwind
Health & Wellbeing
Girl standing pensively beside a tree as part of the Mussenden Unwind experience

Immerse yourself in the natural sights, sounds and tastes of the beautiful Causeway Coast. In the shadow of the beautiful Mussenden Temple, you'll be welcomed by Claire from Mussenden Sea Salt to an experience that marries the ancient with the modern, and which promotes reconnection with nature, awakening your senses and offering a sense of wellbeing.

Mussenden Temple and Downhill Demesne
The National Trust
Mussenden Temple and Downhill Demesne

Mussenden Temple is located in the beautiful surroundings of Downhill Demesne near Castlerock in County Londonderry. Awe inspiring views, colourful gardens and woodland walks.

Finn Lough - Suites
Guest House
Finn Lough - Suites

Situated one mile from the Donegal/Fermanagh Border, Finn Lough offers the ideal setting from which to explore both counties. For those who are keen to stay put and relax there is plenty on offer within the 75 acre island resort.

Element Forest Spa Trail - Finn Lough
Spa and Well-being
Element Forest Spa Trail - Finn Lough

Allowing guest to enjoy traditional irish therapuetic treatments surrounded by ancient woodlands and the ethereal lough Erne.

Corick House Hotel & Spa
Hotel
Corick House Hotel & Spa

Nestled in the heart of the Clogher Valley where style and elegance meets country hospitality, this idyllic 4* 17th Century House offers a haven of tranquillity. A warm welcome awaits you in this family owned and managed charming William and Mary.

Corick House Hotel Spa
Spa and Well-being
Corick House Hotel Spa

The luxury Spa facility at Corick House offers guests a retreat from the stress of everyday life. Enjoy our relaxing thermal area, where you will delight in a state of the art hydro therapy massage pools with jets of therapeutic water.

Sunrise SUP & Island Yoga Experience
Health & Wellbeing
Sunrise SUP & Island Yoga Experience

Limber up as the sun comes up. Glide across the peaceful waters of Strangford Lough at dawn and greet the day ahead with a guided yoga flow.