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Visit us when lock down is over.

In 2008, the financial crisis loomed large over the tourism economy and “staycations” became more popular than ever. Many people found themselves with the urge to get away on a limited budget, some found a new respect for their local economy and others simply wanted to embrace what was on their doorstep. Many people also found that their own financial circumstances had changed and from the desire to retain period homes and other elegant properties a surge of local B&Bs and self catering accommodation options began and many property owners found that the deep downturn actually helped their cause as more people opted for “staycations” rather than flocking to Mediterranean beaches. People were staying at home and anything related to camping did well because people were looking for budget holidays. This leads to the question, after lockdown will we see this mirrored once again?

Here’s a thought, once restrictions are lifted, will you be itching to get out and about again, maybe before you head back to the office you will want to finish off your new found family time with a break away. Let’s face it, it’s unlikely that we will wake up one morning and the airports will be back to normal. What is ‘normal’ now anyway? Perhaps the climate we now find ourselves in is the new normal at least in the short term.

Lisburn and Castlereagh once was and will be again a vibrant, bustling area, made up of clusters of small towns and villages encased under the council area. With an array of visitor attractions, heritage and culture trails, walkways and waterways, Lisburn and Castlereagh have the right antidote to cure your lockdown fever.

Accommodation providers across the Council area may be closed today but a bright tomorrow is waiting and supporting the local tourism economy at the end of this crisis will help their doors remain open in the future and with your help tourism hotspots could enjoy a staycation boom in 2020 driven by the domestic market heading for tourist attractions rather than traveling further afield.

The Ivanhoe Hotel, Carryduff

The Ivanhoe Hotel, Carryduff

The Ivanhoe Hotel in Carryduff dates back to the 1800’s, how many crises has it seen since then and yet today it is one of the area’s most vibrant hotels. Although closed at the moment, a very personal statement on their website reads

“We have been part of the community for so many years and in return the community has been a big part of us.  For anyone who has made future bookings with us please rest assured that we will accommodate you as best we can when we re-open.  Any queries you may have can be sent to our email address ivanhoecarryduff@gmail.com

Stay safe, look after each other & we look forward to welcoming you all back”.

La Mon Hotel, Castlereagh

La Mon Hotel, Castlereagh

You could say, Lisburn and Castlereagh have some of the finest accommodation around. With La Mon House Hotel conveniently located 15 minutes from Belfast city centre, yet nestled away in stunning countryside,  this hotel really offers you everything you could want. It’s a 4 star, family owned hotel which superb leisure facilities on site. If you’re like me, a hopeless romantic, this place is for you. From romantic getaways to long leisurely weekends you will definitely be made welcome at La Mon House Hotel. What’s not to love – Sauna, Jacuzzi, Steam Room, 4 star luxury? If this hotel is the one for you, visit their website HERE for the latest information and booking details.

Lisnacurran Country House, Hillsborough

Lisnacurran Country House, Hillsborough

Now, I don’t know about you but I still believe that one of the most welcoming traditions is allowing people to share your home. Personally, I feel more at home in my own house when I have other people in it. This is true of our next featured property. Lisnacurran Country House in Hillsborough. Owned and run by husband and wife duo Jonathan and Lynne McCabe, this magnificent farmstead dates back to circa 1928. With 38 bed spaces, across 11 rooms and all rooms furnished with a mix of modern and antique finishes, this is one place I do not mind feeling at home. Just in case you are the sort of person who wants something different, there is an approved 4-star Barn with 3 bedrooms and accommodating up to 7 guests.

Check this place out HERE and consider it for your next “staycation”

Brookhall Cottages, Magheragall Lisburn

Brookhall Cottages, Magheragall Lisburn

When I think of a cottage, my mind instantly runs to my grandmother’s house. It was a small cottage in the country with roaring fires and the small of brewed tea. The rolling hills formed the backdrop and as my Granny used to call it “the good country air” added to the sensory contributions.

I found one such place which made me feel like a kid again but thankfully only in the visionary sense. With  Brookhall Gate Lodge, Brookhall Lodge View, Pear Tree Cottage and Honeysuckle Cottage, “Brookhall Cottages” have all the amenities you require to make the most of this countryside retreat and just like at Granny’s, they’re pet friendly, life doesn’t get much better and unlike at granny’s – there’s free WIFI!

If “Granny’s” is a loving reminder of your childhood, why not keep Brookhall Cottages’ details or contact then now about your staycation plans. Visit them HERE

Berwick Hall Cottage, Moira

Berwick Hall Cottage, Moira

When I go on holiday, I like to visit as many towns and villages as I possibly can. So how about this for an idea – wherever you are coming from, look at the nearest point and the furthest point across the Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council Area and “tour” it. One of the most bustling villages you will end up in will be Moira. I would like to use the term “hidden gem” but I won’t - because this place is far from hidden but is certainly a “gem”. Sitting between Lisburn and the Co. Armagh town of Lurgan, Moira is steeped in history, but I will come back to that in a later blog.

Picture this – 18th century, renovated barn and close to a haven for bird watchers, walkers and cyclists, Berwick Hall Cottage is all of that plus more. This 18th century cottage is only 400 meters from the picturesque Georgian village which is home to a 40-acre Demesne of natural beauty. The cottage is adjacent to Berwick Hall is a 17th century thatched listed yeoman’s house and guided tours of the house are available on request. For the more energetic, get on your bike, or at least bring it as safe storage is ensured and there are some excellent cycling routes nearby.

For more information on Berwick Hall Cottage contact Raymond at raymondwilson@yahoo.co.uk or 028 9261 1577

I hope I have managed to enthrall you and enlighten you to some of the great local places to stay during your staycation. Over the coming weeks, I will be featuring a few blogs on different aspects to local tourism and becoming a domestic tourist, so stay tuned. Ask yourself this, what do you enjoy on a “good holiday”, is it the culture, the nightlife, the food, or the locals? Keep that thought in mind and watch out for the next blog coming soon.

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