Where to stay in Northern Ireland
A wide range of accommodation is available in Northern Ireland. Most establishments belong to the Northern Ireland Hotels Federation (www.nihf.co.uk).which is the representative body for hotels, guesthouses and other accommodation providers. The broad choice of different properties means the country can cater well for those in search of a specific theme, be that a golfing break, pet-friendly accommodation, a rural hideaway or a family holiday. The best of the city and countryside hotels, meanwhile, are of an impressive quality – five-star options include Lough Erne Resort and the sumptuous Merchant Hotel, which occupies what was once the headquarters of the Ulster Bank.
Grading: The Northern Irish Tourist Board operates a 'star' classification system, rating hotels from 1 to 5 stars.
Bed and breakfast
There are numerous bed & breakfasts and guest houses listed on the Northern Ireland Tourist Board's website.
The Northern Ireland Tourist Board lists details of over 50 caravan and campsites on its website. All have been inspected and given a rating under the UK Caravan and Camping Star Quality Grading Scheme. All the caravan parks featured by the tourist board have mains water and flush toilets, as well as providing pitches for touring caravans and motorhomes. They do not always take tents, so it's generally a good idea to check ahead of time before making firm plans.
There are self-catering establishments in all of Northern Ireland's six counties. For further information, contact the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, or the Northern Ireland Self Catering Holidays Association (www.nischa.com).
Hostelling International Northern Ireland (www.hini.org.uk) runs four youth hostels throughout the country, including Armagh City Youth Hostel and Belfast International Youth Hostel, Bushmills Hostel in County Antrim and Whitepark Bay Youth Hostel, also in County Antrim. All except the Belfast hostel are part of the Hire-A-Hostel programme, meaning they can be hired out exclusively by groups.
Farmstays are a further option, with the local Northern Ireland Farm Stay group (www.farmstay.co.uk/northern-ireland.dot) offering a handful of appealing options scattered over the Northern Irish countryside.