Finding that perfect dress

Classic and understated, bedazzled and glamorous, or chic with a touch of style from the 80s? When it comes to hunting down the perfect wedding dress – otherwise referred to as ‘the one’ – brides are faced with so much choice that they often find it quite difficult to make the final decision.

Top Tips for a stress-free wedding day

Over the years we have certainly seen our fair share of beautiful wedding celebrations, from large, bold and beautiful, to small, sleek and elegant. All weddings share many common elements including great laughs with close friends, special stolen moments with your newly betrothed, and of course, celebration

Some ‘Eggscellent’ Easter activities in County Down

With the Easter holidays approaching, now is the time to plan in some fun-filled Easter activities for you and little ones, and if you’re fond of searching high and low for the elusive eggs in an Easter egg hunt and enjoy getting out and about in the fresh air, County Down will have something for you!

Spending a long weekend at Strangford Lough

Strangford Lough, located just 30 minutes from the busy streets of Belfast, is one of the many beautiful hidden gems that Northern Ireland has to offer, and sits conveniently in Killyleagh’s back yard.

A rather magical day for Mark and Lynsey at Dufferin

It could be said that Newcastle upon Tyne couple Mark and Lynsey Harbottle truly bucked the traditional wedding trend when they planned their wedding for 20th October last year. From a bubble filled bus collection from the airport for English guests featuring prosecco and beer aplenty, to a special flash mob performance and an enchanted Harry Potter style themed reception at Dufferin Hall, it’s safe to say that they fulfilled their hope of having an “element of surprise at every stage” for their guests.

Jake and Emma fly across the world to tie the knot at Dufferin

Jake and Emma Harrison were looking for a quiet and understated spot to get married; “simple yet full of character,” according to Jake. On 17th June 2017, the happy couple’s dreams came true as they tied the knot at Castle Ward followed by a wonderful wedding reception at Dufferin Coaching Inn and Hall.

2017 Wedding Cake Trends: Ask the Expert

2017 Wedding Cake Trends: Ask the Expert

In the world of weddings, more and more traditions are being left behind, but the wedding cake is here to stay! After all, who doesn’t like cake? Whilst some couples are opting for a more traditional tiered cake, others are choosing something a little more quirky for their big day. More fashion-forward designs and flavours are becoming on-trend including the marble look, floral designs, a ruffle effect and possibly the most popular type of design - personalised cakes.

Top 6 Things to do with your family over the Summer Holidays

Stuck for ideas on keeping the family busy this summer?  We’re spoilt for choice this year with a wide range of events and attractions open to enjoy with the whole family this summer, whether you’re visiting our neck of the woods for a long weekend stay at Dufferin Coaching Inn, or if you’re lucky to call Northern Ireland home! Here are our top six must-visit attractions to add to your summer bucket list…

Must-visit beaches to paddle on this summer

It’s June and summertime has officially begun! Time for school holidays, day trips and spending every moment possible outdoors as we soak up our few months of Northern Ireland’s sunny summer weather!

Northern Ireland has miles and miles of coastline featuring some outstanding beaches, stunning scenery and fascinating wildlife, and whether you’re a long-time resident or a weekend visitor to Northern Ireland, our beaches are popular among everyone on beautiful summer days.

What to pack for your Irish summer holiday

Describing the weather in Ireland as ‘unpredictable’ is a huge understatement! There really can be up to four seasons in the one day, so it is important to be prepared, whatever the weather.

If you are lucky enough to be visiting our wee island or if you are venturing off on a ‘staycation’ weekend, it is essential to pack properly for the occasion to avoid any weather mishaps or wardrobe malfunctions.

How to make a big deal out of a small wedding

For many couples, planning a wedding can be a stressful time. From menus to photographers to cars, wedding planning is a job in itself. Opting for a simpler wedding with fewer guests can help alleviate the stress and allows couples to have more time for one another in the lead up to the big celebration.

A more selective guest list does not mean less fun will be had. Fewer people can mean a more personal celebration. The intimate wedding can also come across as much more romantic and spontaneous! Here are a few ideas on how to make a big deal out of a small wedding...

Top secrets for a good night’s sleep

In need of more shut eye? Are you longing for a morning when you can wake up feeling rested and ready for the day? 

Seven to nine hours is often cited as the recommended daily dose of sleep for adults but, for some, the bare minimum can even prove difficult. This might be down to an overactive mind, hectic work schedule, busy household, a spate of insomnia… or all the above!

Hygge-lovers Andrew & Lauren celebrate their big day at Dufferin Hall

“I completely fell in love with Dufferin as soon as I stepped foot in it and knew it was the perfect venue for the cosy wedding I had envisaged,” says bride Lauren.

Newlyweds Andrew and Lauren Blair had a cosy and very personal wedding at Dufferin Hall last September after getting engaged on a romantic break in Iceland. The couple had been dating for two years before tying the knot and chose Dufferin Hall to gather together their nearest and dearest after a ceremony at a nearby church.

A Fairy-tale wedding with personal touches for Grace and Matt Evans

Grace & Matt Evans got married in a lovely autumn wedding on Saturday 19th November and chose to have their special reception among their closest friends and family in Dufferin Hall.  Their romance budded while working in Tesco during university nearly 14 years ago, and they have since lived together in London and now Dublin.

Beat the January Blues

It’s January and that time of year when many of us may feel a need to have those cobwebs blown away after Christmas and New Year celebrations. For some, January might even be a “dry” month and, although the darker and colder nights may make this decision a bit challenging at times, there is still lots of potential for it to be a fulfilling month.  We promise!

Wishing you a Very Local Christmas

Finding the Christmas gift ideas running a bit dry? Is the thought of walking around shops filling you with dread? There’s nothing we love more than supporting local, innovative enterprises when it comes to purchasing gifts for the Christmas season, and with such a rich selection of food and drink, art, handicrafts, and experience available for us on our back step, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t all support local business this Christmas season! Read on for some of our favourite locally sourced gift ideas…

For the Gin Lover

The gin trend has really taken off in Northern Ireland in recent years, so if you are buying for someone who can’t get enough of the good stuff then a gin-related gift is a guaranteed win (assuming the recipient is of legal age of course). You could either buy a bottle of Shortcross Gin, a gin carefully crafted not far from Dufferin at the Rademon Estate Distillery in Downpatrick or, if it’s a hardcore gin fan you are buying for, a tour and tasting at Echlinville Estate in Newtownards—the home of Jawbox gin and other crafted alcohol—could be a winner. For any wine enthusiasts in your life, a unique wine tasting hosted by JN Wines or a hamper of unique varieties would be the bow on top of any connoisseur’s tree.


Time away doesn’t need to include a long-haul flight and currency exchange.  Treating a loved one to a night at Dufferin Coaching Inn will certainly bring a smile to their face on Christmas Day when they unwrap their gift voucher. If you’re keen to spoil a special someone even further, then you could also throw in a luxurious treatment at nearby Pure Day Spa or a lovely dinner at the hidden gem of a restaurant, the Smuggler’s Table, located in Killyleagh.

Call or email Dufferin Coaching Inn to order your Christmas gift voucher. We can either send you an e-voucher by email or print out a version and sent it 1st class post. Do also ask if you would like to add a personal note to your voucher. 

Food Inspired

Buying someone an experience they can enjoy post-Christmas and New Year is always a good way to ward off any January blues, especially when there is food is involved! We reckon a voucher from our list of local places to eat will earn you some serious brownie points.  Another local institution is Hanlon’s Greengrocers in Downpatrick, located at Market Street in Downpatrick, and are known for their outstanding local food hampers at Christmas time, while closer to Dufferin Picnic Delicatessen is a must-visit to stock up on tasty treats to last through Christmas.


If you are buying for an adrenaline junkie or outdoor enthusiast, then an experience booked in with Clearsky Adventure, Strangford—from rock climbing and archery to sea safaris and glamping—is sure to wow them on Christmas day and give them something to look forward to into the New Year.


We are lucky to have so many unique makers, producers, and entrepreneurs in Northern Ireland with unique offerings to sell, so this Christmas when you’re planning your Christmas gifts, be creative and think local!