Tapestries, Thrones & the Giants Causeway

Tapestries, Thrones & the Giants Causeway

Belfast, the Titanic Story and a scenic train journey are just some of the highlights of this 5 day holiday to Northern Ireland

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Belfast, the Titanic Story and a scenic train journey are just some of the highlights of this 5 day holiday to Northern Ireland

Belfast

A rich and complex history, friendly residents and live music make the Northern Ireland capital the perfect spot for a short break.

The political situation in Northern Ireland continues to be a source of tension and its complex history dates back hundreds of years. Belfast is one of only two cities in the world that has a wall separating two communities; the Peaceline runs for almost three miles throughout the city dividing the nationalist and loyalist communities. In addition to security gates which are still locked on a daily basis, the Shankill and Falls areas are covered in political murals that share the chequered history of the city.

Comprised of several “quarters”, the Cathedral Quarter is probably the liveliest area, Queen's Quarter is home to the Botanic Gardens and the Ulster Museum and Titanic Quarter covering 75 hectares of reclaimed land adjacent to Belfast harbour is named after the Titanic, which was built there in 1912. A Titanic-themed museum was opened in 2012 called Titanic Belfast.

Titanic Exhibition Belfast - the exhibition extends over nine galleries, with multiple dimensions to the exhibition. Drawing together special effects, dark rides, full-scale reconstructions and innovative interactive features you will explore the Titanic story in a fresh and insightful way from her conception in Belfast in the early 1900s, through her construction and launch, to her infamous maiden voyage and catastrophic demise. The journey goes beyond the aftermath of the sinking, to the discovery of the wreck and continues into the present day in the Ocean Exploration Centre.

 

 

The Giants Causeway

For centuries the splendid sight of the Giant's Causeway's 38,000 hexagonal shaped columns of basalt has astounded visitors from all over the world. There have been many different theories and scientific arguments to explain the origins of the Causeway stones and the reasons for their unique shape and form. Mythology long ago, an Irish giant named Finn MacCool roamed the north coast, where he could look across the narrow sea of Moyle to Scotland. A Scottish giant, Benandonner, was Finn's greatest rival, challenging his strength and reputation. As the two giants had never met, Finn decided to invite Benandonner to Ireland, to engage in a decisive battle. There was no boat large enough to carry giants, so Finn built a causeway of huge stones across the water so that the Scottish giant could travel on dry land; thus he would have no excuse to avoid the confrontation.

Coleraine-Derry Railway

Why not sit back, relax and enjoy the views! Whether you start your day in Derry or Coleraine, there’s many things to see along the way. Taking the train means you’ll travel in comfort and get plenty of time to view the scenery. The 45 minute journey was decribed by Michael Palin as "one of the most beautiful rail journeys in the world”. The railway track runs alongside the coast and through the longest railway tunnels in Ireland, measuring 668 and 307 yards respectively.

 

Hillsborough Castle

This beautiful late Georgian mansion was built in the 1770s by Wills Hill, first Marquis of Downshire and was later remodelled in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Today, it is a working royal palace functioning as the official residence of the Royal Family when they are in Northern Ireland, and it has been the home of the Secretary of State since the 1970s. A tour of the house will guide you through the elegant State Rooms, including the majestic Throne Room and graceful State Drawing Room. Each room is unique and visitors will learn not only about the paintings, furnishings and curiosities that grace the walls and floors, but also about the historical use and significance of these rooms, which have welcomed a long list of VIPs, including the Dalai Lama, the Crown Prince of Japan, Princess Diana, Hilary Clinton and Eleanor Roosevelt. Some have also been host to historic meetings between British and Irish politicians, resulting in the castle playing an important role in the Northern Ireland Peace Process.

Wander through 100 acres of beautiful gardens developed from the 1760s onwards, offering a contrast of ornamental grounds, peaceful woodland, meandering waterways, and trimmed lawns. Look out for the statue of Ossian, the striking Lady Alice’s Temple, the Quaker Burial ground and the Ice House.

Thomas Ferguson's Irish Linen

Thomas Ferguson's Irish linen are widely acknowledged as the finest linen Jacquard weaver in the world. This reputation for quality has been developed through many generations of dedication and skill and owes much to the company's rich heritage.

This weaving expertise combined with fine, high quality yarns, and modern looms; produce a linen damask cloth which is unusually soft and fine, has a wonderful natural lustre and yet is strong enough to last a lifetime, with normal domestic use.

Day 1

A morning departure from Cumbria as we head through southwest Scotland on our way to Cairnryan and the lunchtime sailing to Larne, from here we head to our hotel for the next 4 nights, the Stormont. Dinner in the hotel.

D

Day 2

We are joined by our local guide today for a fascinating tour of Belfast see the city’s four "quarters" and many highlights including City Hall, Queens University, the Opera House and Botanic Gardens.After some free time for lunch we have an included visit to Titanic Belfast, a state of the art visitor centre located over 6 floors where you can explore the shipyard, walk the decks, travel to the depths of the ocean and uncover the true legend of Titanic in the city where it all began. Dinner at the hotel.

B, D

Day 3

First off today is a scenic drive to the Giants Causeway Visitor centre, learn about the legend, the giant Finn MacCool is said to have laid a path across to Scotland so he could meet his lady love. Following lunch we travel the short distance into Coleraine, where we join the train for the picturesque journey to Derry, the track runs alongside beautiful beaches and past historic landmarks. We rejoin our coach in Derry and return to the Stormont hotel for dinner.

B, D

Day 4

There’s a treat in store today with a rare visit to the Queen’s official residence in Northern Ireland, Hillsborough Castle. After a guided tour of this elegant mansion and gardens including the majestic throne room, tea and scones will be served in one of the staterooms. Time to explore Hillsborough town itself with its Georgian architecture before we finish the day with a tour of Thomas Ferguson’s Irish Linen at Banbridge, producers of the finest damask table linen as used in Buckingham Palace. Final dinner at the Stormont.

B, D

Day 5

We leave our hosts and return to Larne for the early afternoon ferry crossing to Cairnryan and then on through Southern Scotland on our way home to Cumbria.

B

B=Breakfast Included, D=Dinner Included

Stormont Hotel

Overlooking the gardens of Stormont Castle, in the leafy suburbs of Belfast, this luxurious 4-star hotel has its own bistro restaurant. There is a 24-hour front desk and complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the hotel.

The modern bedrooms at The Stormont Hotel each have a cosy seating area, hospitality tray, safe, telephone and 32" flat screen TV. The bathrooms come with power shower, toiletries and a hairdryer.

La Scala Bistro serves a modern European menu in contemporary surroundings. Hearty breakfasts are available daily, and the stylish cocktail bar offers a range of creative drinks and snacks, as well as afternoon tea.

The Stormont Hotel is just 4 miles from Belfast city centre, and only 10 minutes’ drive from George Best Belfast City Airport. The spectacular scenery of the Ards Peninsula is within a 20-minute drive.

Below is a list of pick-up points available on this tour.

Below is a list of pick-up points available on this tour.

Name Address Contact Details
Appleby The Sands Appleby
Aspatria Car Park beside Spar Aspatria
Brough Monument Bus Shelter Brough
Carlisle Entrance to Sands Centre Car Park Carlisle
Cockermouth Monument Main Street Cockermouth
Dearham Commercial Corner Dearham
Distington Outside Prospect Works Distington
Egremont Conservative Club Egremont
Flimby Railway Station Flimby
Harrington Galloping Horse bus stop Harrington
High Hesket Palmerstons Furniture Store
Keswick Bell Close Car Park Keswick
Kirkby Stephen Market Square Kirkby Stephen
Maryport Outside Coop Maryport
Penrith Sandgate Bus Station Penrith
Thursby Bus Stop Thursby
Waverton Bus Stop Waverton
Whitehaven Old Bus Station Whitehaven
Wigton Old Bus Station Wigton
Workington Lay By opposite Grahams Travel Jane St. Workington
From Price Call Back Telephone Favourites

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