Historic Hotels in Northern Ireland: Sleep in a Piece of History

Places to stay in Northern Ireland is a land rich in history, where ancient castles, grand estates, and storied buildings whisper tales of the past. For travelers seeking a unique and immersive experience, staying in a historic hotel offers more than just accommodation—it provides an opportunity to step back in time and connect with the heritage and culture of this captivating region. In this article, we explore some of the most distinguished historic hotels in Northern Ireland, each offering a blend of charm, elegance, and a glimpse into the past.

Ballygally Castle Hotel, Ballygally

Overview: Perched on the scenic Antrim coast, Ballygally Castle Hotel is a stunning 17th-century castle that exudes charm and history. Overlooking Ballygally Bay and nestled at the foot of the Glens of Antrim, this castle hotel offers a unique blend of historic ambiance and modern comfort.


  • Tower Room: The famous “Ghost Room” is reputedly haunted by the ghost of Lady Isabella Shaw, adding to the castle’s mystique and allure.
  • Afternoon Tea: Indulge in traditional afternoon tea in the castle’s Garden Room, complete with delicate sandwiches, freshly baked scones, and exquisite pastries.
  • Location: Explore the Causeway Coastal Route, visit nearby attractions such as the Giant’s Causeway and Carrickfergus Castle, or simply relax and enjoy the stunning sea views.

Why Visit: Ballygally Castle Hotel offers a truly unique experience, combining historic charm with breathtaking coastal scenery, making it an ideal choice for a romantic getaway or a memorable staycation.

Merchant Hotel, Belfast

Overview: Located in the heart of Belfast’s historic Cathedral Quarter, the Merchant Hotel is a luxurious 19th-century former bank building that seamlessly blends Victorian grandeur with contemporary elegance. This iconic hotel is a testament to Belfast’s rich industrial heritage and architectural splendor.


  • Victorian Opulence: The hotel’s Great Room Restaurant, with its stunning glass dome ceiling and ornate décor, offers a fine dining experience in a grand setting.
  • The Spa: Relax and unwind in the hotel’s award-winning spa, housed in the original bank vaults, offering a range of indulgent treatments and therapies.
  • Rooftop Bar: Enjoy panoramic views of Belfast from the rooftop bar, sipping on cocktails and soaking in the city’s skyline.

Why Visit: The Merchant Hotel combines historic grandeur with modern luxury, offering a sophisticated retreat in the heart of Belfast, perfect for those seeking elegance and refinement.

The Bushmills Inn, Bushmills

Overview: Dating back to the early 1600s, The Bushmills Inn is a historic coaching inn located in the quaint village of Bushmills, near the world-famous Giant’s Causeway. This charming inn retains much of its original character while offering modern amenities and warm hospitality.


  • Old World Charm: Experience the cozy atmosphere of the inn’s traditional oak-paneled bar, open fires, and intimate dining rooms.
  • Whiskey Tastings: Sample a range of Irish whiskeys at the Gas Bar, where you can learn about the history and craftsmanship behind Ireland’s national drink.
  • Location: Explore the natural wonders of the Causeway Coast, including the rugged cliffs, sandy beaches, and iconic rock formations.

Why Visit: The Bushmills Inn offers a blend of history, charm, and comfort, making it an ideal base for exploring the scenic beauty and cultural heritage of the Causeway Coast.

Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort, Ballymena

Overview: Nestled in 163 acres of lush parkland, Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort is a luxurious estate with a rich history dating back to the 17th century. Originally a gentleman’s residence, the resort has evolved into a premier destination for relaxation, wellness, and indulgence.


  • Thermal Spa Village: Immerse yourself in the resort’s Thermal Spa Village, featuring indoor and outdoor pools, hot tubs, saunas, and relaxation areas.
  • Dining: Enjoy gourmet cuisine at the River Room Restaurant, overlooking the River Maine, or sample local flavors at Gillies Bar & Grill.
  • Golf: Tee off at the resort’s championship golf course, set against the backdrop of rolling hills and manicured gardens.

Why Visit: Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort offers a serene retreat steeped in history and surrounded by natural beauty, perfect for those seeking relaxation, wellness, and a touch of luxury.

The Old Inn, Crawfordsburn

Overview: Located in the picturesque village of Crawfordsburn, The Old Inn is one of Northern Ireland’s oldest hotels, dating back to the 17th century. This historic inn combines period charm with modern comforts, offering a peaceful retreat near Belfast.


  • Historic Architecture: Admire the inn’s original thatched roof, oak beams, and open fires, which evoke a sense of history and tradition.
  • Culinary Delights: Dine at the award-winning Lewis Restaurant, known for its creative menus and use of locally sourced ingredients.
  • Country Setting: Explore the tranquil grounds of Crawfordsburn Country Park, stroll along the nearby coastal path, or relax on Crawfordsburn Beach.

Why Visit: The Old Inn offers a cozy and historic atmosphere combined with excellent dining and a peaceful countryside setting, making it an ideal retreat for relaxation and exploration.

Dobbins Inn Hotel, Carrickfergus

Overview: Located in the historic town of Carrickfergus, Dobbins Inn Hotel is housed in a 13th-century building steeped in history. This family-run hotel offers a warm welcome, traditional hospitality, and a glimpse into Northern Ireland’s medieval past.


  • Medieval Charm: Stay in rooms that blend historic features with modern amenities, providing a comfortable and unique accommodation experience.
  • Carrickfergus Castle: Visit the nearby Carrickfergus Castle, one of Northern Ireland’s best-preserved medieval structures, just a short walk from the hotel.
  • Harbor Views: Enjoy views of Carrickfergus Harbour and Marina, with easy access to local shops, restaurants, and attractions.

Why Visit: Dobbins Inn Hotel offers an authentic medieval experience in the heart of Carrickfergus, making it an ideal choice for history enthusiasts and those seeking a charming and historic stay.

The Roe Park Resort, Limavady

Overview: Set amidst 200 acres of rolling parkland in Limavady, The Roe Park Resort combines 17th-century charm with modern luxury. Originally a country house estate, this resort offers a tranquil retreat in the heart of County Londonderry.


  • Spa and Wellness: Relax and rejuvenate at the resort’s spa, offering a range of treatments, an indoor pool, sauna, and fitness facilities.
  • Golf: Tee off at the resort’s 18-hole parkland golf course, designed to complement the natural landscape and provide a challenging round for golfers of all levels.
  • Dining: Enjoy fine dining at Greens Restaurant or casual fare at the Coach House Brasserie, both serving locally sourced ingredients and delicious cuisine.

Why Visit: The Roe Park Resort offers a blend of historic elegance, natural beauty, and modern amenities, making it an ideal destination for relaxation, golf, and exploring the scenic North Coast.

Brown Trout Golf & Country Inn, Aghadowey

Overview: Surrounded by the picturesque countryside of County Londonderry, Brown Trout Golf & Country Inn is a charming hotel with a history dating back to the 17th century. This family-run inn offers a warm welcome and a peaceful retreat amidst lush greenery.


  • Country Setting: Explore the inn’s landscaped gardens, relax on the terrace, or take a stroll along the nearby River Bann.
  • Golf: Play a round of golf at the nearby Castlerock Golf Course or Royal Portrush Golf Club, both renowned for their challenging courses and stunning scenery.
  • Local Hospitality: Experience Northern Irish hospitality at its best, with cozy accommodations, hearty meals, and a friendly atmosphere.

Why Visit: Brown Trout Golf & Country Inn offers a tranquil escape in a beautiful countryside setting, perfect for golf enthusiasts, nature lovers, and those seeking a relaxing retreat.

Bishop’s Gate Hotel, Derry/Londonderry

Overview: Located within the historic city walls of Derry/Londonderry, Bishop’s Gate Hotel is a meticulously restored Georgian hotel that blends period charm with contemporary luxury. This elegant hotel offers a luxurious retreat in one of Places to stay in Northern Ireland most vibrant cities.


  • Historic Setting: Stay in stylish rooms that combine original architectural features with modern comforts, providing a luxurious and comfortable stay.
  • Walled City: Explore Derry/Londonderry’s historic walls, museums, and cultural attractions, all within walking distance of the hotel.
  • Fine Dining: Enjoy gourmet cuisine at The Gown Restaurant, showcasing the best of local and seasonal ingredients in a refined setting.

Why Visit: Bishop’s Gate Hotel offers a sophisticated blend of history, luxury, and urban convenience, making it an ideal base for exploring Derry/Londonderry’s rich heritage and vibrant atmosphere.

The Tullyglass House Hotel, Ballymena

Overview: Set in beautifully landscaped grounds near Ballymena, The Tullyglass House Hotel is a Victorian mansion that has been transformed into a luxurious hotel. With its elegant architecture and scenic surroundings, this hotel offers a peaceful retreat in County Antrim.


  • Victorian Elegance: Experience the grandeur of the hotel’s Victorian architecture, from the sweeping staircase to the ornate ceilings and spacious rooms.
  • Weddings and Events: The hotel is renowned for its elegant weddings and events, with exquisite banquet facilities and personalized service.
  • Gardens: Explore the hotel’s landscaped gardens, perfect for a leisurely stroll or afternoon tea on the terrace.

Why Visit: The Tullyglass House Hotel combines historic elegance with modern amenities, providing a luxurious and tranquil retreat in the heart of County Antrim.


Staying in a historic hotel in Northern Ireland offers more than just accommodation—it provides an opportunity to immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of the region’s past, from ancient castles and grand estates to charming inns and Victorian mansions. Whether you’re exploring the rugged coastline of the Causeway Coast, the historic streets of Belfast, or the picturesque countryside of County Down, these historic hotels promise a unique and memorable experience.Discover the charm, elegance, and history of Northern Ireland’s historic hotels, where every stay is a journey through time and an opportunity to create cherished memories immersed in the heritage and culture of this captivating region.

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