To feel as far away as I did in Fermanagh, but only a couple of hours drive from Dublin is what staycation dreams are made of. If you’re planning a getaway, make sure to consider Northern Ireland this summer. Amazing experiences, stunning landscapes, gorgeous food and drink and a very warm welcome are all ready and waiting. After a couple of nights in Belfast, (read my city guide here) I escaped to Fermanagh for a little adventure, with equal amounts of relaxation.
You can be reassured that businesses are complying with safety guidelines in relation to COVID-19 with the official ‘We’re Good To Go’ mark. This is a sign that tourism and hospitality partners are following Government and industry COVID-19 guidelines, putting in place processes to maintain cleanliness and aid social distancing. You can read more information here.
You can check the Discover Northern Ireland page for special offers, or read on for some inspiration and build your own itinerary.
Where to stay – Fermanagh staycation accommodation
Lusty Beg Island Resort and Spa
Where better to unwind than a 75 acre island accessible only by boat (a tiny car ferry brings you back and forth over a very short crossing) with cabins set in woodlands overlooking the lake, it’s the perfect hideaway.
Accommodation options range from self-catering lodges to dog-friendly chalets, for couples or big families there’s something suitable for everyone and prices are surprisingly reasonable (from as little as £145 in September).
There’s a cosy bar on site, restaurant, spa and loads of outdoor activities.
Lusty Beg have recently opened their outdoor wood-fired barrel baths right on the water’s edge. The temperature stays toasty while you soak in sage and rosemary infused water. You can order a bottle of bubbles right to your bath, it’s the perfect lazy afternoon activity.
For something a little more adrenaline fuelled, take a water safari on the island’s super-fast rib named ‘The Hawk’. The Erne Explorer’s Voyage can be booked via the hotel for an hour or two and takes up to ten people, for a little extra you can also have a picnic packed up to take to White Island, weather permitting. Easily my favourite part of the stay, it actually took a dip in the lake for the adrenaline to wear off after arriving back at base.
If you want a gentler water experience, take one of the kayaks out for an hour or stay dry with 4×4 off roading, clay pigeon shooting or archery.
There’s also the Fairy Trail, one the kids will love.
Things to do and places to eat in Enniskillen
See the town from the water on a kayaking tour with Enniskillen Blueway Water Activity Zone. Loop around by the castle while getting a little workout and learning about some of the local history. They also run SUP and canoe tours.
Pop into Blakes of the Hollow or Pat’s Bar for a drink and a bite to eat after all your hard work, or try The Jolly Sandwich Bar or Rebecca’s Cafe for lunch.
For a lovely dinner option, book a table in local Greek spot, Dollakis. Order mezze style in this small family run restaurant. Try the halloumi, butter beans, Greek salad and tarmasalata, (there are lots of veggie options) with Greek wine or a Mythos beer. It’s impossible not to over order, so good luck keeping room for dessert.
A little outside Fermanagh, you can go back to school – gin school! Wild Atlantic Distillery in Tyrone run four hour long sessions where you’ll distill your very own gin in miniature copper stills. Learn about the different botanical combinations and enjoy a delicious lunch of local meats and cheeses and G&T while the gin-making process takes place. You’ll label and take away your own bottle of Wild Atlantic Gin with a little guidance from the distillers.
Contact the guys directly to arrange transport options if you don’t have a designated driver.
Other things to see and do in Fermanagh
Visit Belleek Potter – the Visitor Centre is free of charge
Caldragh Cemetery (5 minute drive from Lusty Beg) In Caldragh Cemetery on Boa Island, Lower lough Erne stand two unique stone carving. They have been placed beside each other on unrelated pillars in the graveyard which is the original location of the Boa figure.
Lough Navar Forest, part of Marble Arch Global Geopark
Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail
Throughout August, you can #EatOutToHelpOut with 50% off your meal in participating restaurants from Monday – Wednesday. You can search using this Belfast city postcode BT1 5GS at this link and save money on your Fermanagh staycation.
Some opening hours have changed and space is limited due to social distancing so always book ahead and check restrictions in advance.
Looking for more Northern Ireland staycation inspiration? Read my guide on how to spend three days in County Down.
This Fermanagh staycation post was sponsored by Discover Northern Ireland. All views are, as always, my own.