Northern Ireland boasts an irresistible collection of places to stay including beautiful B&Bs, luxurious spa hotels and great value self-catering properties. Discover NI has selected the best offers of the week to help you plan a short break.


  • Summer Family Dine & Stay Offer, Crowne Plaza, Belfast from £164 per stay 

Enjoy a fantastic summer break with the family at the four-star Crowne Plaza. This modern hotel is situated in the picturesque surroundings of Lagan Valley Regional Park and is just 10 minutes’ drive from Belfast’s thriving city centre, making it the perfect location for a family adventure.  Offer includes an overnight B&B stay in a family room and a family dinner in the Green Room Restaurant or River Bar.  To book call 028 9092 3500. Offer available until 30 September 2018.

  • Shop & Be Pampered, Best Western Plus White Horse Hotel, Co. Londonderry from £102.50 per person sharing

The ideally located four-star Best Western Plus White Horse Hotel is less than five minutes’ drive from the centre of the historic walled city of Derry ~ Londonderry. Enjoy the perfect combination of sight-seeing and leisure time, with both retail therapy and spa pampering. Build up an appetite as you hit the shops in Derry’s bustling city centre then return to your comfortable accommodation to put your feet up. Offer includes an overnight B&B stay with a bottle of bubbly on arrival, a four-course evening meal in the hotel’s 68 Clooney Restaurant, a £25 Foyleside Shopping Centre voucher per room and a back, neck & shoulder massage per person. To book call 028 7186 0606. Offer available until 31 March 2019.

  • Summer Family Fun, Mellon Country Inn Hotel, Co. Tyrone from £240 per stay

The three-star Mellon Country Inn Hotel is nestled at the feet of the spectacular Sperrin Mountains, between Omagh and Strabane. Here you will find the heart of Tyrone’s most popular spot for leisure activities such as walking, cycling, fishing and golf, making it the perfect location to enjoy some family fun over the summer. Offer includes two nights B&B accommodation and £40 dining credit for O’Brien’s Bar and Restaurant. To book call 028 8166 1224. Offer available until 30 September 2018.


‘The History Of The Peace [Accordin’ To My Ma!]’, the brilliant sequel to ‘The History Of The Troubles [Accordin’ To My Da]’, is back at The Market Place Theatre in Armagh.

A peaceful tale of street protests, riots, guns, bombings, the RHI Scandal, the latest Stormont collapse and even more riots, PEACE also sees the return of the legendary Firebell, joined of course, by a host of hilarious new characters including Pineapple the paramilitary, Stacey the Flegs woman, Roberto the Flute band leader and many more.

And as expected from Lynch, Grimes & McKee, PEACE will be especially updated to scrutinize the very latest ‘peaceful’ events in Norn Iron.

‘History Of The Peace [Accordin’ To My Ma]’ will run for two nights on Wednesday 22 and Thursday 23 August at 8pm. Tickets are priced £17 and £15 (concession), and can be booked through the Box Office on [028] 3752 1821, or online at This production is recommended for age 16+.

And to keep up-to-date with the latest news at the Market Place Theatre, you can follow us on Facebook ( and Twitter ( where you will find all the latest information, special offers and video previews.


The Observatory at the Grand Central Hotel takes Afternoon Tea to a New Level!

Press Eye – Belfast – Northern Ireland – 9th August 2018. Picture by Kelvin Boyes

To celebrate National Afternoon Tea Week (14th – 20th August), Conleth Hendron, Observatory Manager from the Grand Central Hotel, is joined by Pamela Ballantine and Ross Thompson of Thompson’s Teas to launch a very special Afternoon Tea experience in the new Observatory Cocktail Lounge.

Served on the 23rd floor of the hotel, Afternoon Tea in the Observatory will be unique and enchanting, and guests will marvel over the breath-taking views of Belfast and beyond whilst enjoying an array of the finest, locally blended Thompson’s teas, crafted coffees, deliciously designed and handcrafted nibbles along with the finest Champagne and cocktails.

Served daily from 1pm – 5pm, it really is Afternoon Tea nirvana.


Some of County Down’s finest food and drink artisanal producers will be at the Slieve Donard Resort and Spa, Newcastle on Saturday 8th September for the annual Slieve Donard Beer, Cider, Spirit and Cheese Festival.

Hazel Magill, Head Chef at Slieve Donard Resort with Hastings Hotels General Manager, Stephen Meldrum, are looking forward to welcoming some of County Down’s finest food and drink artisanal producers to the hotel on Saturday 8th September for the annual Slieve Donard Beer, Cider, Spirit and Cheese Festival.

Drinks exhibitors at the festival this year include Whitewater Brewery, Jawbox Gin, Kilmeggan Cider, Shortcross Gin and Echlinville Distillery, home to Dunville Whiskey and Echlinville Gin along with local food producers including Kearney Blue Cheese and Fivemiletown Creamery.

The festival will also welcome the return of the popular Street Food Stall with a wide selection of delicious local treats to taste.

Niall Burns, Operations Manager at the Slieve Donard Resort and Spa, said: “We are thrilled to announce the return of the Slieve Donard Beer, Cider, Spirit and Cheese Festival following the huge success of the past two years.

“The Festival will showcase many of County Down’s finest brands who will be here to talk about what they do with such enthusiasm that it’s impossible not to get totally drawn in.  On top of that there will be lots of food and drink to sample, ensuring that a good time is had by all.

“At Hastings Hotels we only work with the finest local food and drink producers and we can’t wait for guests to come along and see for themselves just why the Slieve Donard holds them in such vert high esteem,” concluded Niall.

This fabulous food and drink event is supported by both Newry, Mourne and Down District Council and Tourism Northern Ireland.

Tickets for the event cost £15 per person, which includes three drinks tokens and a souvenir glass, and are available from the Slieve Donard reception or by calling the hotel on 028 4372 1066.

A Great Line up for Spinning Yarns Festival

Spinning Yarns Festival will take place at Antrim Castle Gardens on Saturday 1 & Sunday 2 September from 10am-6pm. This two-day festival has a great line up suitable for the whole family.

We are delighted to welcome MANNS on board who will host The Afternoon Fashion Tea event during Spinning Yarns, commencing each day at 3pm. Afternoon tea will be served consisting of a selection of delicious finger sandwiches, delicate pastries and MANNS famous home baked scones with jam & cream, complimented by Earl Grey or Darjeeling Teas. The Models will then strut their stuff as they walk around the tables showcasing classic designs in natural fabrics mixed with the seasons latest trends from leading fashion houses. The Fashion show is styled by local lady Pearl Mitchell of Style Solutions, an event for all fashion enthusiasts –  not to be missed. Seats are limited so booking is advisable for both days. Tickets £10 per person for bookings T. 028 9448 1338 or online at

Another great attraction for this family event are the NI Alpacas group who will bring two to three herds of these endearing animals each day, showcasing alpaca fleece products and giving demonstrations on alpaca fibre and the process of working it from the animal through to the finished product. Alpacas are one of the camelid species, closely related to the llama and originate from the high plain in west-central South America.

Enrol for one of our workshops ranging from Rag Rug Wreaths to White Work Embroidery squares, view one of the many exhibitions and market stalls and sample some of the culinary delights on offer.

Chef, author & broadcaster Paula McIntyre MBE and Irish fashion designer, Blogger and BBC The Great Sewing Bee contestant Angeline Murphy, will be joining us over the two days giving demonstrations and offering advice.

There are also a number of children’s activities planned for this weekend event making it a family affair. For more details and bookings visit

The MAC Musical Is Back – In An All-New Club Style Venue

A little bit of Broadway comes to Belfast this September when The World Goes ‘Round takes to a newly transformed stage at the MAC Belfast.

Showcasing some of the biggest songs, from Broadway’s biggest productions like New York, New York, Cabaret and All That Jazz, this feel good show is a revue of hits by Kander and Ebb and is performed by a multi-talented cast who sing, dance and play instruments.

A co-production by Blunt Fringe and the MAC and starring a host of local and West End performers, The World Goes ‘Round will open for a two-week run at the MAC from 1st September until 15th September 2018.

To enhance the audience experience, the main theatre at the MAC has been totally transformed into an all new club, called the Luminaire Club, complete with at-table seating and waiter service.  Guests are invited to take their seat, have a glass of bubbly and watch the action unfold on stage.   

Co-directed by Stephen Whitson (Associate Director of West End sensation Hamilton), this classic revue has a multi-talented cast of five actor musicians who will sing, dance and play in this spectacular evening of musical theatre. The cast includes Stephanie McConville, originally from Lurgan and has most recently starred in the UK tour of Little Shop of Horrors; Carolyn Maitland, from the Isle of Wight who has had many leading roles on the West End most recently playing Molly in Ghost the Musical; Aveen Biddle, a recent musical theatre graduate originally from Derry; Will Arundell, a singer and talented cellist from Norwich; and Conor McFarlane, an accomplished musician who recently graduated from the Royal Academy of Music and is originally from Derry.

Claire Murray, Blunt Fringe said, “We are thrilled to be working with such an illustrious cast and creative team to bring the incredible songs of Kander and Ebb to life on the main stage at the MAC. Our cast will be singing, dancing, playing instruments and maybe even roller skating their way through the most stunning repertoire of musical theatre hits.”

The show was first staged in Belfast in 2014 and The Musical Theatre Review called it, “A success – intelligently staged, impeccably sung, wonderfully entertaining and with enormous style.”  The MAC and Blunt Fringe hope to wow audiences with the amazing setting, style and performance for a thoroughly entertaining night.

Simon Magill, Creative Director at the MAC said, “We’re delighted to be co-producing this musical at the MAC this Autumn with our partners Blunt Fringe. To make the experience extra special, I was keen to play with the flexibility of the MAC theatre space and to create something special for audiences by changing the format from our usual theatre set-up into a more intimate, club feel. We have invested in new seating, staging and dressing to create what we hope will be a really special experience. This is the first opening of the Luminaire Club at the MAC and coupled with the amazing talent on stage, audiences are in for a real treat.”

Tickets for The World Goes ‘Round are now on sale and are selling fast. For more information or to book, visit  Supported by National Lottery funding through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

Exploris Aquarium’s Big Birthday Bash!

On Wednesday 15th August we will be celebrating our 2nd birthday (can you believe it has been 2 years since Exploris Aquarium re-opened) and we want you to join us!

We are having a big birthday bash and offering FREE admission to anyone celebrating their birthday on 15th August!* There will also be lots of extra activities running throughout the day including;

  • Neil the seal mascot meet and greet
  • Crabby craft club
  • Face painting
  • Touch tank talks
  • Photo opportunities with Sir David
  • Seal hospital talks
  • Free prize draw


As you already know no birthday party is complete without cake and presents so we have planned a lovely salad cake for Sir David the Green Iguana, meat loaf cake for the otters and a shark feed at 1.30pm. As for the presents every child will receive a free gift to take home!

Join us for a day of birthday fun as we celebrate turning 2 with you and over 200 underwater species and reptiles!

Pre-book your tickets online today at for discount on admission.


*Must be born on the 15th August to gain free entry. Proof required in the form of driving licence, electoral card, passport or birth certificate. Subject to availability.

Donaghafeed Food Tour Serves Up a taste of the town!                                                                                                                                                                

Tickets on Sale Now!

Pictured L-R James McFerran, Pier 36, Patrick Rowan, Harbour & Company, Lauren Simmin, Grace Neills, and Craig Beazley, Bull & Claw. Kilts kindly supplied by Focus, Bangor. Credit ©Press Eye/Darren Kidd

Donaghadee’s seaside cuisine is simply “Deelicious”. A brand-new food tour will be served up as part of the Donaghadee Lights up Festival, which takes place from Thursday 6 – Sunday 9 September and celebrates the town’s fantastic restaurants and it’s Ulster-Scots Heritage.

There are five famous Donaghadee restaurants on the menu including Pier 36, Harbour and Company, Grace Neills, Slice of Heaven and Bull & Claw with dishes chosen to reflect the true Ulster-Scots heritage of the town. Guests will be entertained as they move from course to course by a good humoured Blue Badge Tour Guide. Listen to tales of the town, the links to Scotland and Robbie Burns himself may turn up for dinner! Taking place on Thursday 6 September and starting at Pier 36 at 6pm the ticket price of £60 includes five courses, paired wines and craft beers. The evening will end with a lively traditional music session.

Mayor of Ards and North Down Borough Council, Councillor Richard Smart commented:

“Donaghadee is one of our most iconic seaside towns and as such has exceptional coastal eateries. This food tour will cater for everyone who wants to sample local produce at its best whilst getting a real taste of the Ulster-Scots heritage of the town.  Whether you enjoy fine dining, are a regular foodie who loves tucking into local food, or just want to enjoy the crack, Donaghafeed is the night out for you.”

Tickets for the event are limited so booking essential. Strictly over 18s only. Kilts kindly supplied by Focus, Bangor.

For further information check out

10 things to do in Northern Ireland has stacks of fun things to do across NI, from family days out to gigs and cultural events. Here are ten exciting things taking place this week (20 – 26 August)


  1. Belfast Mela 2018, Belfast, 26 August. Music, dance, arts and culture come together as the Mela transforms Belfast’s beautiful Botanic Gardens into a magical global garden filled with the sights, sounds and aromas of nations from around the world.
  2. Hilden Beer and Music Festival 2018, Lisburn, 24 – 26 August. Held in the grounds of Hilden Brewery and Hilden House, this ever-popular three-day ale-tasting event proudly boasts all that is great in terms of craft beers and ciders from the UK and Ireland, gourmet food and a huge range of live musical acts.
  3. Jika Jika! Festival, Derry~Londonderry, 25 – 26 August. Respected Irish promoters Jika Jika! promise to bring something new and exciting to Ebrington Square. Their first ever festival is set to feature stages curated by Denis Sulta and Green Velvet across two days, plus a cultured mix of talents including Octave One Live, Willow and Charlotte De Witte.
  4. Shortcross Gin Blues Afternoon, Downpatrick, 26 August. A blistering summer afternoon of blues music and Shortcross Gin at Rademon Estate. The afternoon includes live entertainment, local food makers and a fully stocked Shortcross Gin bar.
  5. Lap The Lough 2018, Dungannon, 26 August. Get off the typical tourist trail and explore some of Northern Ireland’s unique countryside, landscapes and attractions by joining 2500 other cyclists on a journey around Lough Neagh. Whether you’re participating or spectating this is a great way to round off the summer season.
  6. The Auld Lammas Fair, Ballycastle, 26 – 28 August. Two days of trading, bartering, busking, amusements, street entertainment and competitions add to the atmosphere in the beautiful seaside town of Ballycastle. The fair hosts over 400 stalls offering local crafts and locally sourced produce and is free to attend
  7. Maiden City Ink, Derry~Londonderry, 24 – 26 August. The biggest tattoo convention in Northern Ireland hosting award winning artists from all over the globe. Whether you’re looking to get inked, show off your body art or curb your curiosity, this is guaranteed to be a great weekend with a buzzing atmosphere.
  8. Sideboard Sideshow, Newcastle, 25 August. Superbly silly, stunningly surreal and seriously stupid the world of Sideboard Sideshow comes to Newcastle Promenade. A blend of awesome skills including acrobatics, juggling and fire this high energy show is full of fun, laughter and unpredictability.
  9. Flashdance the Musical, Belfast, 21 – 25 August. Coming to the Grand Opera House, Flashdance – The Musical is the inspiring and unforgettable story of Alex a determined welder who dreams of becoming a professional dancer. When a romance complicates her ambitions, she harnesses it to drive her dream of attending Shipley Dance Academy.
  10. Foyle Pride Festival, Derry~Londonderry, 18 – 26 August. The aim of Foyle Pride Festival is to acknowledge, empower and celebrate the LGBT community. The festival features a week of workshops  held throughout the city and a parade on Saturday 25 August.

For more information on these events or to plan a short break in Northern Ireland, visit

Jacqueline shares her pick of what’s on this weekend across NI


Join Ards & North Down Borough Council this Saturday 18th August at Groomsport for an evening of live music, family entertainment and a spectacular fireworks finale.  This year’s headline act will be Mack Fleetwood a Fleetwood Mac tribute band supported by Wookalily, who will delivering toe tapping alternative folk music. The event will be compered by mentalist, magician and musician Joel Mawhinney.  Cockle Row Cottages are open from 11.00 am – 8.00 pm with free family fun between 2.00pm and 4.00pm.   Funfair open from 4pm (charges apply). Get home on the free late night bus departing from Groomsport’s Main Street at 10.30pm and 11pm going to Bangor Bus Station.


Not every woman gets to spend the night with George Clooney… but Bridie Murphy does! Over the course of one night, Bridie takes George on the journey of her life; from the terrible lows to the hilarious highs and charts the course to her unlikely future.  Brought to you by West Belfast’s award-winning Brassneck Theatre Company, this hilarious night of theatre at the Market Place this Friday and Saturday will leave everyone wishing that they too could spend ‘A Night With George’


Become a Rock Detective for a day this Saturday afternoon at Marble Arch Caves!  Join in this jam packed afternoon of interactive hands on fun where you can discover more about the fascinating rocks, landscapes and people of the Geopark.  Suitable for children aged from 4 – 12 years old. All children must be accompanied by an adult.  Booking is essential but please note this is a free event.


This Saturday 18th August, the beautiful Manor House and grounds of Parkanaur Forest Park will host the annual Castlecaulfield Horticultural Show and Vintage Rally. Featuring flowers, fruit, vegetables, cookery, crafts, photography and live music. Craft stalls and fun activities open from 12.30pm. High tea can be taken in the ballroom and BBQ will be in the grounds. Show Marquee open from 1.30pm. Prize giving by Anne Marie McAleese, Radio Ulster’s presenter of Your Place & Mine.


Lumarina, the family friendly, fun filled, free event at Ballyronan Marina is back! This annual spectacular illumination has gained a reputation for amazing entertainment, with the picturesque backdrop of the Lough providing a unique atmosphere at this family themed event.  On Friday 17th August, from 6pm – 10pm, Mid Ulster District Council will shine a light on the beauty of Lough Neagh, as the Marina provides the backdrop for an evening of music and entertainment with the grand finale fireworks spectacular taking place at 9.45pm.


Make and Take with Creative Coast Community this Saturday is a new and exciting event for the North Coast in summer 2018, taking place in Portballintrae Village Hall. For the first time ever a collective of some of the Creative Coast’s most talented artists and creators are coming together to host the inaugural ‘Make & Take’ event. Starting at 10am there will be sessions throughout the day, in which you can participate in hands-on creative workshops, leaving each one with your own handiwork!


Visiting Titanic Belfast over the 18th & 19th August? There will be lots of free family fun from 12noon – 4pm on the plaza and surrounding area, including face painting, caricaturists, graffiti artists, chalk art and buskers! Titanic Foundation Ltd will be running a Maritime Photo Walking Tour (2.30pm – 4pm) and Titanic Taster Art Trail (2pm – 3.30pm) around the Quarter on Sunday 19th August for only £5pp! Meet at the Titanic Sign (Photo Tour) or at the festival space next to SS Nomadic (Art Trail) on the day to join the tour.  On Saturday 18th, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) will be providing children with the chance to get dressed up in the RNLI Crew Kit. Libraries NI Pop-up Library will also be joining the outdoor festivities, so come along and let the kids choose their new favourite book.

For more details on these events and to add your events free go to Follow us on twitter @whatsonNI and on facebook at for news, competitions and what’s on near you.