Council launches new tourism offerings

ANTRIM and Newtownabbey Borough Council says it is developing a series of unique tourism experiences revealing ‘the Ancient Buildings, Castles and Gardens of Antrim and Newtownabbey’ as part of a joint funded project with the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).

Tourism service providers from across the Borough have been working with a team of tourism experts to develop the design and launch of several unique experiences for the area.

The council says that the experiences will play a significant part in supporting Antrim and Newtownabbey to grow and target their tourism brand and offering to local, national and international visitors.

The experiences developed as part this project include Antrim’s Hidden Gems Tours, a full day tour which includes visits to The Whitehouse, Round Tower, Antrim Castle Gardens and Antrim Town Centre, an exclusive visit to Shane’s Castle Estate and a stop at the Lock Keeper’s Cottage to sample traditional Lough Neagh eel and hear tales from local fishermen.

Another event will be Mindfulness at The Motte: A sunrise mindfulness and Pilates experience on one of the oldest and most historic sites in the Borough – the motte at Antrim Castle Gardens.

It is billed as: “A wellbeing experience that will leave a feeling of happiness lasting into the day ahead and beyond.”

There will also be an Antrim Castle Gardens Tour.

Described as ‘the jewel in the Crown of Antrim and Newtownabbey’, the tour of the Gardens explores the history of the Massereene family and enables the visitor to explore the 17th century Anglo Dutch water garden, one of only three in the British Isles.

There will also be angling at Shane’s Castle - a three-day experience in conjunction with the Dunadry Hotel.

An expert ‘Ghillie’ will guide and advise even the most experienced angler and will ‘bring to life the history and fishing on the estate’.

Ballyrobert Gardens will also feature, with experience that explores the six-acre grounds of the traditional cottage gardens and includes a tour that reveals the formal garden, an orchard, woodlands, a meadow garden and three of the rush fields which have been transformed into iconic symbols of historic interest in the form of concentric rings, a spiral and a Brigid’s Cross.

Finally a Rewilding & Wellness experience will be led by crafter Jennifer Shaw at Willow Cottage and is based around Jennifer’s journey of rewilding her one-acre cottage garden. The experience combines advice and guidance on how to rewild a garden and incorporates mindfulness.

Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Cllr. Billy Webb said: “I am very excited about the tourism products developed as part of the Ancient Buildings, Castles and Gardens of Antrim and Newtownabbey project.

“With thanks to funding from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs we have revealed a range of amazing experiences using the unique places and spaces bespoke to the Borough.

“The Council will continue to work together with the businesses involved as we focus on developing, enhancing and promoting our tourism product to national and international visitors.”

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