As Thanksgiving approaches for our American guests, we’ve been doing something about how lucky we are to be based in such an absolutely amazing ‘wee’ country! Being based in Co. Down affords us glorious coastline, mountainous landscapes, plentiful foodie finds and so much more. We’re forever grateful for all that we have around, so we thought we’d share the love. Here are our top 5 things we’re thankful for – what are yours?
The Great Outdoors
It is hard not to fall in love with the incredible landscape of Co. Down. Nothing beats a walk among the beautiful surroundings of Delamont Country Park, where picnic areas and kids’ play park provide a welcome break. Strangford Lough is another favourite, its wide open lough providing much rest for the soul. Then there is Bloody Bridge in Newcastle, where walks among The Mournes or outdoors activities, from bouldering to canoeing, can be enjoyed.
Ballyhornan Beach is another place that must make it on our outdoor list. Often referred to as one of Northern Ireland's ‘best kept secrets’, the village of Ballyhornan lies on the coast, just south of Strangford, and holds a gorgeous stretch of sandy beach that overlooks the uninhabited Guns Island. We are forever wowed by this place.
There is nothing that gets us more excited than a plateful of local goodness, especially after a busy morning in the Dufferin Inn kitchen! The Smugglers Table in Killyleagh never disappoints, whether it’s serving up an intimate meal for two or a family dinner in its cosy and friendly setting. The restaurant has an exciting and evolving menu, including its fresh catch of the day. The menu here truly showcases off the very best of the outstanding ingredients provided by the land and sea in Northern Ireland.
Taking place every two years, another great local foodie find is the Hans Sloane Chocolate & Fine Food Festival, which always seems to satisfy and amaze, drawing the attention of chocoholics and foodies from across the UK and Ireland.
Whenever the idea of going outside becomes too unbearable, it is good to know that there are still lots of places in the area to take cover in for a few hours. The Vintage Rooms at The Plough Inn in Hillsborough is one such place; nothing beats its cosy setting and extensive cocktail list to ward away the winter blues. If it’s a bit of relaxation that is needed then Violet’s Attic, a quirky and hidden gem in Newtownards ticks that box. For a bit of escapism, Eclipse Cinema is always a good idea, or if venturing out seems like a bit too much there’s always the comfy sofa in front of a roaring fireplace at Dufferin Coaching Inn.
Culture & History
Co. Down is not short of cultural and historical treats and we’re so glad of this when pointing visitors or ourselves in the direction of something interesting. From Down County Museum, Down Cathedral to Down Arts Centre, there are lots of opportunities to engage with local heritage, art and history. Our guests love tracing St. Patrick’s Trail, while art enthusiasts enjoy finding local art hot spots and galleries like Kingfisher Craft Gallery or Top Floor Art Gallery.
We couldn’t let this list of top 5 things to be thankful for go by without the mention of all the special people who surround us. Being at the heart of a friendly community is important and we’re grateful this is something we’re never short in Co. Down, including the many lovely visitors who come to stay or hold an event with us at Dufferin Inn. Thank you all for making Killyleagh such a beautiful place to live and work!