New holiday cottages from the National Trust in Northern Ireland

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Whether you’re dreaming of peace and quiet in the back of beyond or craving sand and sea, you’ll have nature and beauty on your doorstep with these four new holiday cottages from the National Trust in Northern Ireland.

Step out onto coastal trails from Carrick-a-Rede cottage, stay in the heart of Florence Court with an apple orchard view, cosy up in a gothic gate lodge at Bishop’s Gate or enjoy quiet corners tucked away in Downpatrick Gate Lodge on the Castle Ward estate.

Wherever you choose to stay with the National Trust, there’s always a landscape to fall in love with. You’ll also get the extra feel-good factor from knowing that the money from your booking is supporting the surrounding wildlife and heritage, with every single holiday directly contributing to the National Trust’s local conservation work.

For bookings and to discover more holiday inspiration, visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/holidays/northern-ireland.

Florence Court Rose Cottage, Co Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. Picture: National TrustFlorence Court Rose Cottage, Co Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. Picture: National Trust
Florence Court Rose Cottage, Co Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. Picture: National Trust

Sleeps four guests and two dogs in a fisherman’s cottage with sea views.

Carrick-a-Rede Cottage is a light and welcoming cottage for four people, a short walk from coastal trails with Atlantic views and the historic rope bridge. The cottage is a peaceful haven in a popular spot, with elevated views across to Ballintoy Church and the coast. This is one of the two Dark Sky Discovery sites in Northern Ireland, and is a great spot for stargazing, as well as spotting seabirds, basking sharks, dolphins and porpoises.

The cottage is bright, cosy and comfortable. Downstairs, a spacious hall leads to a cosy sitting room with space to relax by an open fire, the dining room and the kitchen. Upstairs, the double and twin bedrooms have dual-aspect windows, lots of light and lovely views. Outside, there’s a handy yard as well as outdoor seating at the front of the cottage with coastal views.

The gothic gate lodge at Bishops Gate Garden, Mussenden Temple and Downhill Demesne, County Londonderry. Built in 1784 to replace Lion's Gate as the principal entrance to the Demesne. Picture: National TrustThe gothic gate lodge at Bishops Gate Garden, Mussenden Temple and Downhill Demesne, County Londonderry. Built in 1784 to replace Lion's Gate as the principal entrance to the Demesne. Picture: National Trust
The gothic gate lodge at Bishops Gate Garden, Mussenden Temple and Downhill Demesne, County Londonderry. Built in 1784 to replace Lion's Gate as the principal entrance to the Demesne. Picture: National Trust

You’re perfectly placed to visit the thrilling Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. If you’re bold enough to walk across the 100ft high wobbly bridge (pre-booking essential), you’ll be rewarded with a bird’s eye view of green water flowing around the ancient caves and caverns below you. In ten minutes, you can walk to the lively village of Ballintoy with local shops, pubs and restaurants, and beach access just a little further on. The beach at Portbraddan is a ten-minute drive, and half an hour will take you to the Giant’s Causeway.

Sleeps two guests in a gothic gate lodge.

Bishop’s Gate Lodge is a period retreat for two at the entrance to Mussenden Temple and the Downhill Demesne, an 18th-century estate famous for its eccentric Bishop Earl and his iconic, clifftop folly. The Temple is one of Ireland’s most photographed places and just a mile’s walk away. The clifftop landscape here is steeped in history and nature, with gardens, historic buildings and sweeping North Atlantic views; there’s so much to explore.

Carrick a Rede cottage. Picture: National TrustCarrick a Rede cottage. Picture: National Trust
Carrick a Rede cottage. Picture: National Trust

The gate lodge has a woodburning stove for cosy evenings in the sitting room and an abundance of light from high ceilings and tall windows. The bedroom’s half-moon window looks over a pretty, private garden with old stone walls and benched, and a spot for relaxing and dining outdoors.

Right on the doorstep, the Bishop’s Gate leads into the demesne to Bishop’s Gate Gardens, past many rare tree species and then onto open grassland with views of the majestic ruins of Downhill House. Visit the Walled Garden or explore the ruin, and follow the paths to Mussenden Temple, on the cliff edge looking out across the Inishowen Peninsula.

Sleeps four guests and two dogs.

Rose Cottage is a red-brick Victorian cottage at the heart of the Florence Court estate, with lots to see and do from the doorstep. It was once the head gardener’s cottage, and after hours, once other visitors have gone home for the day, you’ll have the gardens and pleasure grounds to yourself.

Inside the cottage, you’ll find rich Victorian colours and period furniture. The sitting room, with an open fire, and the dining room are bright rooms, with views of the apple orchard. The large kitchen is well equipped and looks onto the walled garden. There’s also a downstairs shower room. The cosy upstairs has one double bedroom with a view of the orchard, one twin with a view of the garden and a small family bedroom.

With gardens, orchard and miles of footpaths and trails surrounding the cottage, there’s plenty of outdoor space to discover. Spot the original Irish Yew tree in the native woodland and explore the buildings of the historic working demesne including a blacksmith’s forge, carpenter’s workshop, and sawmill. The project to retore the kitchen garden to its 1930s glory is complete, with two new glasshouses on the original footprint. Florence Court is a thriving estate, and you’ll see groups of volunteers working in the garden, happy to chat and answer questions.

Beyond the estate, the forests, and hills at the foot of Benaughin are nearby. Head five miles to reach the Cuilcagh Mountains. Follow one of the many walking routes before taking the boardwalk to the 666m high summit.

Sleeps two guests.

Downpatrick Gate Lodge is a secluded period cottage, built in the late 1700s. It sits beyond gothic, wrought-iron gates, on a quiet avenue on the Castle Ward estate; you’ll see the Ward arms on its western gable. There’s a woodburning stove in the sitting room, a view of the stars from the bed, and a roll-top bath for a relaxing soak. The cottage is surrounded by woodland and grazing land, with bay windows to take in the rolling views.

You’ll have free entry to explore the Castle Ward estate, which has 820 acres of woodland, miles of footpaths, an 18th-century mansion and formal gardens, all on the shores of Strangford Lough. Wander the grounds once other visitors have gone home for the day. The area is home to the Irish hare, pine marten and red squirrel, and look out for seals and terns as you explore to the waters edge. Castle Ward is also well known as a filming location for Game of Thrones when the historic farmyard was transformed into ‘Winterfell’.

For bookings and to discover more holiday inspiration, visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/holidays/northern-ireland