Be our guest…

…we’d love to have you!

That’s what we said to our family and friends when we left England.  We’re amazed and delighted by how many of you are actually coming to visit – it’s such a treat to spend time with old friends and to show off this beautiful country.  CD Titanic_1000x1032

Back in March we had family visiting for a long weekend so (on a school day!) the grownups took a trip to Titanic Belfast. Despite some apparent unfriendliness towards Simon and his kind, this was a superb experience…! I really recommend it for a rainy day.

The sheer scale of the Titanic, and the skill (and, ultimately, arrogance) of those involved in her creation and maiden voyage, is something to comprehend.  The effort that the curators have gone to in order to draw out the personal stories woven into this tragedy makes it all the more devastating.  I was intrigued to discover that the key to the locker containing the binoculars was nowhere to be found on ship…would that have made a difference to the events of the evening?

Steamers Brunch

A weekend isn’t a weekend in this country without a trip to the shore.  We took our lovely relatives to Delamont for a ride on the steam train and a hearty brunch after our walk down to the edge of Strangford Lough.

Steamers Cafe is a winner – but I’m not sure we impressed Uncle Dick with the traditional potato bread.  Next time we’ll order a sausage stack on soda instead…

We were sad to wave goodbye after all the fun we had together (and the million things they did to help us out in the house), but this visit will always be special as it’s the first entry in our beautiful new Guest Book*.

After an all-too-short visit from a dear uni friend (we provide B&B and airport transfers for work trips too, don’t be afraid to ask!), we welcomed another great Oxford friend to stay.  Tourist information!

She took a walking tour of Belfast one day, and came back with all sorts of tales and trivia I didn’t already know.  And, thanks to her trip to the Tourist Information, we’ve augmented our collection of leaflets…perhaps we need a display stand in the hallway for our visitors to peruse!?

We hit the North Coast again, to show off the sights, and were blessed with a wonderful sunny day for it**.  We got some ideas for guest book entries at the Giant’s Causeway, and sent some postcards too.  Very touristy!

So, now, how about a brand new destination to add to the Killultales.

You’ll know how much I love Dunluce Castle from my previous post, but I was convinced by Penny and the boys to be brave and go somewhere different.

Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge is a whole lot scarier to cross as a parent with small boys than it ever was as a young teenager.  But we did it, and were rewarded with fantastic views across to Scotland, gorgeous sunshine and a picnic on a cliff.  Cheese sandwiches taste better with a stunning view!

You may have heard the happy news of a Royal visit to Northern Ireland today?  The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall opened Hillsborough Castle to the public after an epic, expensive 5-year makeover.  This will be on future itineraries for all Royal-watchers as it is really near to us!!

Anyway, after our coastal adventures we spent a calm Sunday afternoon in Hillsborough village, meeting up with lovely Oxfordshire friends who were visiting nearby.

Aside from the castle, Hillsborough has a gorgeous parish church, the Cheshire Cat toy shop, a scenic lakeside walk, and more…

Skunk CabbageObviously no walk is complete with out a bit of tree climbing, and we made an interesting discovery about the local flora.

What do you think this flower is?

Clue – it does smell rotten.

I’ve named the photo file so you can find out!

Well, this has totally been a diary of daytrips, hasn’t it!?

Thanks for reading and we hope to see you soon.  Goodbye & goodnight!

We're off!

 

 

* Thank you Auntie Carol!
** Did I mention how rare it was to have such amazing weather, Penny?!

 

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