An attractive detached house overlooking Ballyholme Bay in Bangor and set in extensive gardens, Chris and Jenny Mullen’s friendly guesthouse makes a very pleasant base in a desirable area of this popular seaside town.
Just across the (not very busy) road, a well maintained public garden is bordered by the promenade and a large west-facing sandy beach (with a coastal path beyond it, around Ballymacormick Point and on to Groomsport) – and, with Ballyholme Yacht Club just a couple of hundred yards away, there’s always something interesting going on in the bay.
A large yet cosy house, Cairn Bay Lodge is full of character, reflecting the friendly outgoing personalities of the Mullen family – and the history of the house, which dates back to 1914.
Spacious ground floor rooms have the classic oak panelling, Dutch fireplaces and stained glass of the era, and are comfortably furnished for latter day lounging – and, in fine weather, guests are also welcome to relax in the landscaped gardens at the back.
The five bedrooms are all quite different – returning guests naturally tend to have their favourite rooms – and, although the front rooms are in demand for their sea views, the others are equally pleasant because the garden is such an asset.
All are interestingly furnished with a mixture of antiques and more recent collectibles, good beds and smart en-suite shower rooms – also the modern conveniences demanded by today’s travellers, including TV/DVD, direct dial phones, free WiFi, tea/coffee trays and fridges.
More unusually, Cairn Bay Lodge has a proper little gift shop where you can buy interesting items you won’t see elsewhere – and Jenny also offers beauty and natural therapies at her Sea Beauty salon, where you can get a wide range of treatments (for men as well as women), and several special packages are offered including one for brides.
Breakfast is served in the oak panelled dining room and is a point of pride, offering a buffet of fruits, juices and cereals, followed by treats like slow baked porridge with cream and honey, local McKeowns smoked salmon omelette, baked Irish goats cheese with mushroom & tomato – and soft boiled duck eggs with soda bread soldiers along with the traditional cooked breakfast.
And, whatever your reasons for staying in Bangor, remember that the Ards peninsula and Strangford Lough are very close by – and well worth a visit.