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FESTIVE BREAKS - TEN OF THE BEST
Twixmas, that quiet gap between Christmas and New Year, can be just the ticket for a refreshing post-Christmas recovery break and often offers great value too. This month’s choices focus mainly on that in between time, but most of the hotels selected are also open for Christmas and New Year, and some have interesting pre-Christmas packages on offer too.
AUTUMN BREAKS - 10 OF THE BEST
Autumn is perhaps the loveliest time of the year to enjoy gentle outdoor pursuits like woodland walks and foraging, and there are plenty of tempting places to stay that are surrounded by wonderful forested grounds or with parkland or gardens to visit nearby - and, perhaps, more challenging routes for dedicated walkers. Here are just ten of our favourites to think about...
FOR LOCAL FLOWERS IN SEASON - TEN OF THE BEST
'Seasonal and local' have become bywords for good food in Ireland - but what about our flowers? Most hotels and restaurants depend on imports for their floral decorations, yet simpler home grown and local flowers used in season have so much more charm - and can save a lot of money. There must be business opportunities for growers (like many in the UK) to tune in to the public demand for locally grown produce of all kinds, edible and otherwise, and offer alternatives to imported shop flowers. These are a few of the examples we've been enjoying on our travels - some are country houses making the most of their large gardens, but in smaller places beauty can come in a couple of blooms in a jam jar, or a bunch of wild flowers picked on a woodland walk.
FARM STAYS & RURAL RETREATS - TEN OF THE BEST
Recognising that farm stays and country houses offer a unique insight into our history, culture and food production, discerning visitors who can well afford the five star treatment are beginning to seek out more modest rural destinations, to experience the ‘real Ireland’ - and it’s there for all of us to enjoy
FOR SPA & PAMPERING BREAKS - TEN OF THE BEST
A fine spell can make a spring getaway tempting, but it's wise to hedge your bets with the weather - making this the perfect time to head for a hotel offering plenty of pampering (of all kinds), as well as outdoor activities to enjoy when it's pleasant to be out of doors