Far-away travel is normally my lure, but I'm on a mission to see a whole lot more of the UK. I've found a little piece of heaven that might just lure you in as well and you'll get your travel hit by taking a quick flight over. Welcome to Finn Lough in Northern Ireland.
The winding Irish country roads paved the way to the Finn Lough resort. Don't expect sign posts until you've arrived, taking you up a steep driveway that opens into a glorious panorama of the Irish lake district. The awe of the view is the first taster of an amazing stay to follow.
The resort consists of around 12 private houses, catered suites and the amazing bubble domes. We were a party of six, staying in the waterside cottages - three double bedrooms, two bathrooms, the most beautiful kitchen area and a big living room for a long weekend in the countryside, right by the lough.
I could wake up to the view from the kitchen every single day, made all the more effective by opening up from the entry floor below. You're stepping straight into the countryside and you only need to head out of your backdoor for a walk to the lough or to pin your hopes on a crack of Irish sunshine.
Once the sun starts to set, you're treated to such a dreamy view, whether from your kitchen platform or at the lough side. Never a dull sunset with that view as your base. There is a path all the way around the resort, taking you right up to the waters edge and through a woodland trail before bringing you out at the other side of the houses.
Take a walk through the day and make the most of the picnic tables and seats by the water for when the evening kicks in. Should you be graced with the weather, make sure you book out the fire pit for the ultimate night cap.
Dinner at the Finn Lough Kitchen was on the menu for our final night in the area, get the window seat if you can. The kitchen has a limited menu, because everything on there is absolutely A+. All locally sourced or grown onsite, think top level cuts of meat, seasonal vegetables and easy fodder for your Instagram feed. If you're not ready to finish your night after dinner, head next door to the snug bar and get cosy.
The kitchen is the perfect spot if you're staying in one of the bubble domes at Finn Lough. I'm yet to tick them off my list but I won't take too much persuading to head back and try them - they would be the ultimate in a remote getaway (but there's a Nespresso machine included, let's not get barbaric).
We took a trip here last year (if you remember) and made the most of the resort - explored the lough on the kayaks, took walks through the woodland nearby and ate at Finn Lough kitchen a couple of times during the trip. Given we were here for longer this time, we took the opportunity to explore the wider area, everything is a drive away, but it's worth it. Day one was an unexpected hike up the Slieve League cliffs - I definitely had more of a drive-up visitor centre in mind, not a 600m hike. The weather difference from the car park to the peak is significant, so come prepared if you're doing the same walk and definitely don't wear Vans to do this in, proof of my unexpected trip, see?
We also did the Marble Arch Caves which are slightly closer to home. Really interesting but it is a fully guided tour so not the same level of adventure.
We flew in from Belfast so took the opportunity on the way home to visit the Giant's Causeway again - I'd highly recommend this place. The earlier you can get there the better, but even with the columns scattered with people it's an amazing place. We did a couple more places nearby last year, full details in my other post. No matter how much or how little time you have on your route home, I would highly recommend making time for the Causeway and for The Crown bar in Belfast. When in Ireland, you need to sample Guinness and this is the ultimate spot to do it.
I think I've christened Finn Lough as one of my happy places and I'm pretty sure I'll be heading back for a third time at some point in the future, maybe to explore some more of The Republic? I so highly recommend this place, are any of you tempted to get your trip booked?
PS, they're just about to open a spa there as well... This might be the lure I didn't need to take another trip.