Fermanagh’s Lake district is a wonderful area to explore.
And an excellent base for doing so is Enniskillen– a town on a river island complete with castle!
Enniskillen Castle is 600 years old, and was built by Gaelic chieftains, the MaGuires. They had control from the 1400s until the 1700s, when the castle became an English Garrison. Military history throughout the ages is well represented here, and there is lots to see.
Even if you are not particularly interested in the military, some of the displays are moving, like the story and illustrations of Henry Lamb in the 1st World War. And if you are quite interested, you’ll be thrilled! I saw one older boy moving through the displays at a snails pace, enrapt.
Fermanagh County Museum is also on-site, and is full of natural history & history displays; very child friendly, too. At entry, kids get a booklet, and if they complete it they receive a prize!
The castle, later buildings, & military equipment in the castle yard make for interesting photos. I took a rake of photos of cannons & guns even though they aren’t my thing at all!
Mon 2 – 5 & Tues – Fri 10 – 5
Sat (Apr – Oct) 2 – 5 & Sun (Jul & Aug) 2 – 5
Bank holidays; see website. 4£ adult, kid 3£
Home is your castle, whether it is an actual castle, a cave a la the Fermanagh Museum, or a temporary home–your hotel. When you are busy exploring an area, afterwards you want to go ‘home’ and relax, sleep like a log, and then head off to explore anew. I spent 4 days discovering the Fermanagh Lakelands and I still didn’t see all I wanted to. I want to go back, and yes, I’d return to the hotel where I stayed: Belmore Court. [note: Belmore Court is a hotel in Enniskillen, not the Castle itself. I think a few commenters just skimmed this post and were confused. ]
If you’re like me and love good value but also want special comforts, Belmore Court is the place to stay in Enniskillen!
Below these photos of the castle’s, cave’s, & hotel’s views, is a my review of Belmore Court and my tips:
The value! I stayed in an Executive room, and it was quite smart. Yet prices can start from just 68£ on special offer. Belmore Court has a wide range of rooms, all affordable. There is also the 50’s retro Motel section which has mini kitchens and family apartments.
The Special Offers! I always look for the special offers on hotel websites, and you should too. Belmore Court has plenty of offers all of the time.
The Executive room. Calming, spacious, good looking, had a nice flat screen TV with a pretty wide choice of channels, a great bunch of brochures & info on the area, a big comfy bed with wonderful, smooth & soft sheets and–>
Nespresso!! LOVED this touch in the executive room. Many other 4 star hotels in Ireland & Northern Ireland still don’t have Nespresso.
The Wi-Fi. It was strong!
The bathroom. Spotless, good shower, great hot water for the bath, and the room was never chilly.
Birdsong. There was birdsong in a nearby hedge in the mornings, and the view from my room over the town to Cuilcaigh Mountain was nice. Some Executive rooms have a balcony.
The friendliness! Everyone in all staff areas was friendly and helpful, and Belmore Court has just won The Reception Staff Of The Year Award in Northern Ireland. I know why!
The cleanliness. This should go without saying, but some accommodations aren’t as tip top. Belmore Court was spotless.
Green Policy. I really like that Belmore not only has a Green Policy, but constantly renews it. They’ve also got an Electric Car charge point in their car park!
Car park. Plenty of spaces, on site & free. And for seeing all the Fermanagh Lakelands has to offer, you do want a car. So much to discover! Do visit the website above- there are lots of brochures you can download, and apps, too.
Location. Just a wee walk to Ardhowen Theatre to see a show, Tesco to get some ready-to-eat grub for those of us on a tight, no-eating-out budget (moi!) Also only a 20 min walk to the lovely Castle Coole House & grounds, and the same walking time to Enniskillen Castle. You’ll be in the very centre of town with lots of restaurants in about a 10 minute walk.
Here’s Belmore Court’s Website.
Other bits of info & tips:
The Belmore Court breakfast buffet is mainly cereals, fruits, breads (scones, croissants, bagels, toasts,etc) and yogurts and so on.There is a good selection of these things most of the morning, but if you get there quite late on busy morning as I mention in the photo, some yummies like the chocolate croissants may be gone. Handily, Belmore has breakfast busy-ness times & days posted around the place to help you plan 🙂 There are also hot sausages & bacon, but they weren’t anything to write home about. The breakfast foods are quite handy for grab & go if you are in a rush– I put together a cream cheese bagel & take away coffee one rushed morning. BUT, please note below:
Coffee lovers may struggle in Enniskillen, and I also struggled in a lot of the Lakelands area, too. I couldn’t find a good coffee anywhere. I really tried. Part of me wonders is it the limey water building up in machines? The only really enjoyable coffees I had were the Nespressos in my room at Belmore Court. They are not at the breakfast buffet, so coffee-up before you go down to breakfast if you’ve a Nespresso room. And if you don’t, if you are a coffee lover, I’d skip coffee at the buffet. I tried both the pour & the machine & didn’t like.
(Can you help? What do others think of Enniskillen coffees? Am I just a total coffee snob now? I’d be happy to hear if the coffee improves in the Belmore breakfast buffet, and in Enniskillen in general. What coffee places do you readers recommend in the Lakelands area? Let me know in the comments or on Facebook or Twitter!)
I ALWAYS suggest silicon earplugs. No matter where you stay, there may be noise. Better to be looking at ’em than for ’em is my motto. You won’t always need them, but you don’t want to be without them. Belmore Court is in a good sized town, and is by roads. I wouldn’t say the road was particularly noisy, and I never heard noise from any other rooms, but silicon (not foam) earplugs will really muffle any sounds you are not used to. (Except if you are in a room with no soundproofing directly over a live band in a pub. Needless to say I won’t ever be recommending that place!) If you aren’t sure what silicon earplugs are, here’s a link to the ones I get in Boots.
I had no idea how much there is to see & do Fermanagh before I went, and I totally recommend at least a few days’ visit there. Also,to be perfectly transparent, I want to tell you that I was a guest at Belmore Court so that I could afford to stay and explore the area over more than one day. This does not change my opinions, and as you know if there things I don’t like I will write honestly about that, as I did in my Paddywagon post.
I hope you enjoyed the photos as well as the info; they are my Instagram photos! Each Thursday, the hashtags #IGtravelthursday (& #IGTT on Twitter) show photos from peoples’ travels all around the world- local travels and far flung. Use the hashtag & join in! If you are a blogger, you can also join in with a blog featuring one of your trips/visits and your Instagram photos from it (like in Satu’s Italy post), or how you use Instagram to plan travels. Read the rules of joining in here on SkimbacoLifestyle.
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