Best of Northern Ireland: Idyllic retreat at Beech Hill Country House Hotel
Hidden away in the wooded countryside outside Derry~Londonderry, you can connect with nature and local tastes in a unique way this autumn through the immersive food experience and luxury stay at the Beech Hill Country Hotel.
Located on a tranquil 32-acre estate, the 4 star Georgian house hotel offers a perfect characterful base for an autumnal break packed with fine-dining, beautiful scenery and historic attractions.
Enjoy a crisp autumn walk whilst marvelling at the variety of seasonal colours on show on the grounds of the hotel.
When you stumble upon the beautiful Walled Garden – you will not want to leave. The gourmet garden harvests an astonishing assortment of fresh vegetables, salads, herbs and fruits for the hotel menu. From home-grown tomatoes, aubergines and courgettes for delicious main courses to rhubarb and apples for pies and panna cottas – Beech Hill Country Hotel is ready to host autumn feasts.
Leigh Thurston, head chef at the hotel’s Ardmore Restaurant heads into the garden every morning, examines the plethora of seasonal ingredients and incorporates the fresh organic offerings into the menu. The flavours have even had the seal of approval from the likes of Hillary and Bill Clinton.
You won’t be able to escape the remarkable history of this land during your stay. Long ago, it was the seat of the O’Chan (O’Kane) clan and since 1622 it has passed through the hands of the Skiptons and Nicholson, but it has now finally returned to O’Kane family ownership. Now you can chat to the endearing proprietor Patsy O’Kane, who will ensure you feel welcome and every small detail makes your stay comfortable.
Local volunteer historian, Mark Lusby, can also walk you through the festinating history of the house during WWII, when the estate became home to 750 US marines who guarded the Navy Base in Derry~Londonderry – known as Base One Europe – including old photographs, papers and items from that time.
The hotel’s beautiful Georgian living area hosts unique features and furnishings to set you back in time on a relaxing afternoon. It even has a quirky old bar with plenty of local whiskeys and gins to tickle your tastebuds.
Take a trip in to the Walled City of Derry and delve into its past at the Siege Museum, which tells the story of the Siege of Londonderry and of the Associated Clubs of the Apprentice Boys of Derry.
The recently re-developed Museum of Free Derry should also feature on your itinerary, where you can learn the people’s story of the civil rights movement, the Battle of the Bogside, Internment, Free Derry and Bloody Sunday.
Once you’ve learnt about the history of the city, you may wish to explore the current culture within its walls. Inside a beautifully converted old factory, just 2 miles away from the hotel, you will hear roars of laughter, feel the vibrations of live music and rounds of applause at the Waterside Theatre. It hosts a lively programme of a range of quality arts and performances throughout the year, perfect for some evening entertainment.
You can experience the culture well into the wee hours too with a trip to Bennigans Bar and Jazz Club on John Street. With an art gallery, a record shop and top-class live music seven days per week, it’s a hotbed for local artists and music lovers alike.
Visit www.discovernorthernireland.com to plan your short break to the Beech Hill Country House Hotel.
Other nearby attractions
Train between Derry~Londonderry and Coleraine
Aptly described by Michael Palin as “one of the most beautiful rail journeys in the world,” the journey between Derry~Londonderry and Coleraine is one you won’t want to miss. Avoid the hassle of traffic and parking and stop off at coastal attractions on the way.
For stunning architecture pop into the neo-gothic Guildhall. Situated close to the city walls, you can gaze at the unique stain-glassed windows and learn about the Plantation of Ulster before enjoying refreshments in the café.
The Sooty Olive Restaurant and Winebar
Named after the Irish lough fly that has been used for generations to catch wild trout, this restaurant is nestled in the heart of Spencer Road in the Waterside area just a short distance from the 4* Beech Hill Country House Hotel. Enjoy a warm welcome while head chef Sean Harrigan cooks up something special using locally sourced produce at the award-winning restaurant.
Belfast Telegraph Digital