A parental escape to Dunadry Hotel & Gardens

It isn’t typically we get to flee our 4 children and spend a few nights away in a lodge, however when the chance arose to go to the beautiful Dunadry Lodge & Gardens for an action-packed weekend in Antrim, we dropped the nappies and ran.

With the 4 hundred baggage, cuddly toys and kitchen sink packed, we ditched them at their grandparents and headed off for a peaceable two hour and 17 minutes drive of no ‘are we there but?’, no “can I’ve a snack” and no “dad, I’ve to do a poo” …. the latter has typically been previous tense too.


Located within the village of Dunadry, Dunadry Hotel & Gardens is a household run enterprise on the banks of Six Mile River, solely half-hour from Belfast and a 45-minute drive from Big’s Causeway – Northern Eire’s solely UNESCO World Heritage Website – making it a super base for Sport of Thrones.

Photograph: Dunadry Lodge & Gardens

It’s a lodge steeped in historical past courting again to the 1600’s when it housed the Excessive Kings of Eire, to its days as a medieval paper-and-linen mill and many historic parts are nonetheless prevalent within the lodge as we speak.

Coats of arms dangle within the round entrance corridor. The foyer accommodates a fire salvaged from Antrim Citadel and a pre-WW1 Steinway piano ready invitingly for somebody to play. Simply off the foyer, big picket beetlings taken from the unique Linen Mill maintain up the spectacular winding staircase which wraps itself across the Copper Bar (the identify coming from a mannequin of the Bushmills Distillery course of displayed behind the bar).

Photograph: Dunadry Lodge & Gardens

As a nod to the current, and the not too distant previous, glass circumstances on the white plaster partitions show signed champagne corks from the weddings which have been celebrated there. A beautiful household contact.

Outdoors, a big central backyard varieties the guts of the lodge the place the Tree of Peace and Unity stands, a historic image of unity in Northern Eire.


The bedrooms, most of which overlook the central backyard or an internal courtyard, have all been freshly renovated. Our room, which provided views and entry to the personal courtyard, was huge, shiny, cosy and quiet with a big mattress, a rainfall bathe, designer toiletries and all of the common mod cons.

The WiFi within the room was considerably patchy however we are able to haven’t any complaints about how comfy it was

Photograph: Dunadry Lodge & Gardens


On each nights we ate on the award-winning Mill Race Restaurant and the meals was wonderful, actually wonderful. The restaurant has a nicely curated seasonal menu and between the prawns, chickpea salad, haddock and tortellini on the primary evening, to the mussels, goats cheese tart, gradual braised beef and crème brulée on the second evening, we had been blown away by how good the whole lot was. The service was additionally impeccable.

Breakfast as compared was a bit of on the disappointing aspect with only a few choices aside out of your commonplace breakfast fry, some cereal and a collection of pastries, fruit and yogurts.

Different eating choices embrace the Backyard Lounge – which overlooks the Tree of Peace and Unity – and the Copper Bar, each of which serve bar meals starting from halloumi and chickpea salad to their signature steak sandwich served with smoked applewood cheese and tobacco onions.

Photograph: Dunadry Lodge & Gardens


With an abundance of issues to see and do on our doorstep, we had the posh of getting an motion packed day organised for us, so we began the morning early visiting a few of Antrim’s prime points of interest.

The Gobbins

First up was The Gobbins, a spectacular cliff path on the Antrim shoreline, carved from the rock on the flip of the twentieth century.

Situated in Islandmagee and solely a 40 minute drive from Dunadry, The Gobbins is a community of walkways, caves and bridges that hug the dramatic basalt cliff face.

Photograph: Digital Dad

Conceived by the Victorian railway engineer Berkeley Deane Clever and billed as having “no parallel in Europe as a marine cliff stroll”, the trail actually places you at one with nature and the weather. As waves crash beneath you, you make your means alongside slender paths, up stairways carved into the cliff face and thru tunnels hidden below the ocean.

On a transparent day, like we had, you possibly can see the coast of Scotland within the distance and in the event you maintain a watch out you would possibly see the seals, dolphins and porpoises that hunt within the waters.

Photograph: Digital Dad

Every stroll is led by an area information and it takes round 2.5 hours to finish. It’s a simple to reasonable stroll however isn’t buggy pleasant and though there is not an age restrict for kids, admittance is predicated on a top restriction of over 4 foot.

Photograph: Digital Dad

It’s a outstanding engineering achievement and an excellent expertise and I’d extremely advocate checking it out.

Afternoon Tea at Whitehead Railway Museum

Now I will be sincere, other than Thomas & Pals, and presumably Chugginton, trains have by no means been on my radar however conventional afternoon tea on a static classic railway carriage at Whitehead Railway Museum was fairly the deal with. Pardon the pun.

Solely a ten minute drive from Islandmagee, the 5 gallery museum permits you to rub shoulders with the ‘giants of steam’. You’ll be able to step on the footplate of a 140 12 months outdated engine, get on board numerous carriages from the Railway Preservation Society of Eire’s assortment and see their restoration workshops, the place the historic trains are introduced again to life.

Photograph: Whitehead Railway Museum

For our afternoon tea we had been transported again to the 1950’s to an genuine eating carriage for scrumptious sandwiches, treats, aromatic tea and stylish environment paying homage to the post-war period. Whereas my candy tooth and Dad bod had a discipline day, it was the nostalgia of years passed by, accentuated by the unbelievable interiors, lighting, seating and delightful panelling that basically made it particular.

It was decadent, it was scrumptious and It was enjoyable…in excellent distinction to the gorgeous Gobbins stroll and I’d extremely advocate you choo-choose it (i’ll get my coat).

Photograph: Digital Dad

With bellies full, we did a strolling tour of the museum led by an distinctive information and obtained to find out about all the assorted steam engines housed there. We obtained to expertise what life on one of many Royal Carriages was like and I even obtained to sit down on the royal ‘throne’… I wasn’t to realize it wouldn’t flush.

Sensible enjoyable and one thing for all of the household to get pleasure from no matter your curiosity in trains.


With so many issues to do in Antrim, Dunadry Lodge & Gardens acts as the proper gateway to the remainder of Northern Eire, whether or not you wish to discover the Causeway Coast or the close by areas from Sport of Thrones.

But when downtime and rest is extra your factor, the lodge additionally has an indoor heated pool, thermal areas, a completely geared up health club and delightful out of doors areas to sit down again and revel in.

Photograph: Dunadry Lodge & Gardens

We completely loved our keep in Dunadry. It was pretty having the ability to chill out sans children with not a single ‘no he did it’ struggle to interrupt up and the very pleasant employees made us really feel so welcome. A giant shout out too to the musicians who performed within the Copper Bar on the primary evening – from guitars, banjos and fiddles, to violins, ukuleles and mandolins, it was good leisure and really particular to witness such unbelievable expertise.

We solely had one full day In Antrim so we solely scraped the floor however with the Big’s Causeway, the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge and Bushmills Distillery nonetheless on our to-do listing, we’re already planning a visit again.

Who is aware of, we might even convey the children…


I used to be fortunate sufficient to be invited as a visitor of Dunadry Lodge & Gardens for 2 nights, with one night meal, on a complimentary foundation. The Gobbins and Whitehead Railway Museum expertise had been additionally supplied on a complimentary foundation.

Lodging: Dunadry Hotel & Gardens

Actions:The Gobbins Cliff Path, Whitehead Railway Museum

Different resorts within the space embrace:

  • Dunsilly Lodge
  • Hilton Belfast Templepatrick Golf & Nation Membership
  • Galgorm

I’ve reviewed numerous family-orientated stays together with Ballyhoura, Doonbeg, Athlone, Monaghan, Limerick Greenway, Cork, Ennis & Doolin, Lough Eske Castle, Faithlegg and Cabra Castle.

For extra data on the various hidden gems that Northern Eire has to supply go to discovernorthernireland.com/

For extra opinions, ideas and parental anecdotes comply with me on:

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