How are we through August already? Summer is drawing to a close and the much-anticipated bank holiday weekend is upon us – meaning my countdown for moving abroad is ticking (7 days!!). I plan on making the most of my remaining time in Northern Ireland.
Here’s my top 5 places to visit in NI this last week of August.
The Sunflower Field, Portglenone
The field of six feet tall sunflowers has opened to the public slightly later this year, yet it is now prime time to visit as they open their golden heads. Stroll through the sunflowers that span for an acre; there is also a wildflower area and a butterfly hotel. While our unpredictable weather may cause difficulties in planning a visit, bank holiday weekend looks promising with blue skies and warmer temperatures. View the site of colourful biodiversity and admire the bees who are hard at work. Freshly cut sunflowers can be bought as a keepsake of your visit. Bring along your canine friends too, provided they’re on a leash. Entry is £2 per adult and £1 per child, with all proceeds going to Macmillan NI.
Game of Thrones Touring Exhibition, TEC Belfast
Only a few weeks remain to catch the dramatic exhibition in Belfast before it continues its tour. The exhibition drops visitors into the centre of the Seven Kingdoms for an up-close and personal look at the artistry and craftmanship behind the series. It combines costumes, authentic props and mystical settings. Even for someone like myself, with limited GOT knowledge, it is well-worth the visit to appreciate an interactive and immersive experience. Seeing Robb Stark’s costume is as close as I will ever get to Richard Madden! Sit in the Iron Throne and have a picture taken as a reminder of the exciting tour. Situated at TEC beside Titanic Studios, where much of the series was filmed, it is even more of a reason to visit. Tickets can be purchased online; prices range from £10-17.
Cuilcagh Mountain Trail, Enniskillen
Known as NI’s ‘Stairway to Heaven’, the expansive walk across blanket bog is a popular route for walkers of all abilities. The route traverses over track, boardwalk and staircase. The final ascent to the summit is a steep flight of stairs, arriving at the stunning Cuilcagh viewing platform. If you have time to plan a last-minute getaway to Fermanagh, consider unwinding after the trek at the luxurious Lough Erne Spa. Embark on an underground discovery of the natural world in Marble Arch Caves. Book into a bubble pod at Finn Lough and feel at one with nature while sleeping under the stars.
St George’s Market, Belfast
One of Belfast’s oldest attractions, St George’s is the last surviving Victorian covered market in the city. Showcasing all things local and indie, the bustling market is celebrated for its variety, food and entertainment. It is an ideal spot to spend the mornings of this bank holiday weekend and treat yourself to brunch from one of the many artisan food stalls . Make sure to see Jeff at the Belfast Times stall – it features quirky and humorous products designed using typography. I will be picking up some of the Northern Irish trinkets, ideal souvenirs to take on my year abroad.
CS Lewis Square, Belfast
Rediscover The Chronicles of Narnia with a walk through CS Lewis Square, a public space commemorating the Belfast-born author. Featuring seven bronze sculptures from ‘The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe’, the square is a stunning display of public art and a celebration of his life and literature. Grab a coffee from JACK Coffee Bar, named after the author who was affectionately known as ‘Jack’ to friends and family. JACK Coffee Bar provides locally sourced food showcases artistic products from local art. CS Lewis Square, located on the Newtownards Road, is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Happy bank holiday weekend. I hope everyone enjoys the final week of summer and takes advantage of what little sunlight we have left! Get yourself out there and enjoy where you live!