Ardtara Country House – Without a doubt, one of Northern Ireland’s finest places to stay (and best kept secrets)!

Ardtara Country House has been named by National Geographic as one of the five best places to stay in Northern Ireland – and it’s easy to see why! Far from the staid atmosphere of a hotel, staying at Ardtara feels more like a time spent in friend’s private home where you are a very welcome guest.

Located in one of Ireland’s oldest linen villages, the house was built in the 19th century by linen magnate Harry Clark and family portraits still hang on the walls. Valerie and her team are genuinely warm and friendly and the sense of hospitality at Ardtara is second to none. The nine bedrooms have all retained their working fireplaces, and some bathrooms have fireplaces, too. Expect comfortable king sized beds, high quality linen (of course!) and big bay windows with lovely views out of the eight surrounding acres of woodland.

It’s a delight relaxing with a good book in one of the two lounges. The entrance hall has a self-playing piano, so if you are a music lover, it’s worth asking for a demonstration. The conservatory is the perfect setting for an amazing afternoon tea with homemade scones.

Dining Room Fireplace and Freize

The dining room is spacious and boasts a very special original hunting frieze on the wall. I didn’t get a chance to eat at Ardtara, but the AA Rosette-winning food here has a very high reputation and the dining room often has as many locals as residents – always a good sign! If you have a larger group, it’s possible to take over the whole house for weddings, civil ceremonies, family reunions and all types of social gatherings.

The Clark’s mill is still operating in Upperlands (for 250 years running) and the small towns in the area are great places to shop for Irish wool and linen as well as antiques. Just a bit further afield, the history walled city of Londonderry/Derry, the Giant’s Causeway, Royal Portrush Golf Course, the County Antrim Coast and Belfast are all within an hour’s drive.

For more information on Ardtara Country House and available special offers, click here.