This is going to be incredibly clichéd, but if you are looking to get away from it all, the piece of paradise to escape to is the Fermanagh Lakeland area. I'd stayed in our family touring caravan in Castle Archdale in the early 90s, but had little memory of the holiday, and visiting as an adult with more perspective on the beauty of nature, I felt like it was part of my county I'd never explored before.
Lough Erne is situated in the very far west of Northern Ireland, almost on the border. Fermanagh Lakeland Lodges had invited us to stay with them for the weekend in one of their lakeside houses, and with the summer drawing to a close, we welcomed one last adventure before school started back.
The drive from Belfast took just over two hours, but with the majority of the journey being the M1, it's very smooth sailing. If you enjoy driving, as I do, it's a pleasant trip, even as you reach the rural areas the roads are an easy drive.
The Lodge reception will email you directions the week before your stay, and we found the location using those with no problems, and without a Satnav. Check in is quick, easy and friendly. We arrived at our lodge and got unpacked. As its self catering, I suggest picking up bread, milk etc in one of the towns before you get too far out, as the nearest petrol station is a fifteen minute drive or so.
There was a lovely welcome hamper for us, with local produce, the finest being Tickety-Moo ice cream, made just down the road. The lodge itself has everything a family would need for a self catering stay. The kitchen has a freezer, fridge, dishwasher, oven, microwave, and a bread bin which my son seemed to find absolutely intriguing. The house is on several levels, with an entrance hall, downstairs lounge area and two twin bedrooms with a bathroom. Up one level is the kitchen and dining area, and balcony with the beautiful view you see above. The top level has the double bedroom and another bathroom, plus a storage room.
After our long drive, we had an early night. After a great night's sleep, we headed off on Saturday morning to Enniskillen, one of the nearest towns, to pick up food for the rest of the weekend. It's a bustling town with plenty of charity shops, which pleased me, and a great deli butcher where we bought burgers for Saturday night.
Our chosen activity for the day was a visit to the Marble Arch Caves, a Geopark with a tour of an underground cave system. It's well worth the visit if you are in the area.
After our underground adventure we travelled back to the lodges, to explore the grounds a bit. There's a lovely walk along the lakeside and back through the woods. After such a busy day our son was worn out and almost dozed off getting a piggyback!
He soon perked up when we stopped at the playground though.
We picked up Northern Ireland Monopoly from reception, much to my husband's delight. I hate Monopoly and refuse to play it at home, but I was suckered in by the novelty of buying local properties so agreed to a game, which he won. So I now hate Monopoly again!
Sunday morning brought the highlight for my husband, the Lodges' boat rental. As well as canoes, rowing boats, bikes and other activities, you can rent a motor boat to take out on the lough. We life jacketed up, got our instructions and off we went.
A huge thanks to the staff at Fermanagh Lakeland Lodges for a superb weekend. We were already talking about coming back next summer on our drive home. If you fancy a getaway yourselves, check out their website for excellent deals.
They've out together a Relax and Rewind package for autumn which includes your stay, use of a boat, a welcome hamper and waterside picnic. World of Kitsch readers can get an exclusive 15% off with the code
Time to treat yourself and your family before the winter.