Hidden Gems of Northern Ireland

This year Northern Ireland has received the honour of being rated the best place to visit in the world by Lonely Planet. Of course, this will likely direct tourists to the stunning north coast or incredible foodie scene and buzz of Belfast, but it is actually the quaint villages with local boutiques and artisan coffee shops that make Northern Ireland a truly hidden gem worth discovering. Not sure where to start? Here’s a list of towns to take you off the well-trodden path…

  1. Hillsborough

Home to Hillsborough Castle, the royals’ official residence in Northern Ireland, Hillsborough is a town worthy of a queen…or at least your Sunday afternoon. With a pleasant forest park, delicious restaurants and even castle tours, you’ll have plenty to do. It is also so easy to get to via Belfast, just 12km down the M1 and A1.

Places to visit…

  • Owl and the Pussycat- café
  • The Plough- meals or their pub quiz on a Thursday
  • Cheshire Cat- Quirky boutique gift shop


2. Moira

Moira is the epitome of a small Northern Irish town. Take a walk around the tranquil park before popping in to one of the many cafes for a wee cup of coffee. Also browse the array of clothes and gift boutiques for unique finds. Additionally, it is only a 20-minute drive from Belfast on the M1.

Places to visit…

  • McCartney’s of Moira- café, deli and award-winning butchers
  • The Willow- beautiful, artisan gift shop
  • The Stillhouse- newly renovated gastropub for a great meal

3. Saintfield

Home to the National Trust’s Rowallane Gardens, a day out in Saintfield offers a relaxing day out to enjoy nature. Get a taste of Northern Ireland’s artisan coffee scene after at Tribe Coffee.

Places to visit…

  • Carryduff Roadhouse- family owned, American Diner style meals.
  • Jacksons of Saintfield- the perfect place for a shop and a scone!
  • Tribe coffee- for the coffee…and the instagrams!

4. Cushendun

Not exactly a hidden gem but not exactly the headliner it should be, Cushendun is a beautiful seaside village on the North Coast, alive with small shops and pubs. The rustic beach paired with the backdrop of the emerald cliffs makes for a breathtaking walk.

Places to visit…

  • Glenariff Forest Park- nearby walk with beautiful waterfalls.
  • The Corner House- café

5. Moy

A small town in Tyrone, Moy is nearby a number of attractions. Head up to Linen Green, a boutique shopping village, with the girls. Or take the kids to Peatlands Park where they can ride the train or run along the bog lands trail. Finish in the Moy Larder for a great lunch and cosy ambience.

Places to visit…

  • Moy Larder- café
  • Chapter V Restaurant- fine dining
  • Linen Green- shopping village

Hope this rough guide helps! For more travel inspiration in Northern Ireland, visit discoverni or tripadvisor.

Love, the Tahlia team, a proudly Northern Irish business x