£125 for a night in George Best's home
It's a far cry from the lakeland chalets of Fermanagh or self-catering cottages in the Glens of Antrim.
But an east Belfast council estate is the setting for what is set to become one of Northern Ireland’s newest tourist attractions.
George Best’s family home in the Cregagh estate will open tomorrow to the paying public as a self-catering holiday home.
The former council house on Burren Way where Northern Ireland footballing legend Best (right) grew up and his father Dickie lived in until his death in 2008 was purchased from the Best family’s estate for £100,000 by Landmark East, a not-for-profit property development company.
For £125 a night or £60 per day for a longer break, people can stay in the five-room property surrounded by the trappings of the Best family, including 50 photographs restored by project partners, East Belfast Partnership. George Best’s bedroom has also been transformed into its state when he was a 15-year-old Wolverhampton Wanderers supporter.
The Best family has welcomed the initiative — which will see all profits channelled into regeneration projects in east Belfast.
Maurice Kinkead, Landmark East’s chief executive, said: “They (the Best family) were the first people to move into the house in 1949. It still retains the typical features. The decor is 1970s/1980s.”
Earlier plans to convert the house into a museum were shelved following concerns over sustainability. But George Best’s brother Ian said he was “disappointed” the site was not developed in such a way. He told the Belfast Telegraph: “I would have liked to have seen it as a museum.”
George Best died in November 2005 at the age of 59 after a long battle with alcoholism. His 87-year-old father Dickie and his son Calum were among those at his bedside in London’s Cromwell Hospital. Heads of state and sporting personalities, including Sir Bobby Charlton and then UK-Prime Minister Tony Blair, were among those to pay tribute to the sporting legend.