Saturday, 28 May 2016

Make your National Trust membership go further

If, like my family, you've got National Trust membership but have become bored with the same old local stately piles on a Sunday afternoon, why not make your subscription go further? Literally.

That little orange card in your wallet can also work its magic across the sea in Northern Ireland.

The rugged County Antrim coastline is perfect for picnicking on glorious beaches, listening to the echoes in compelling caves and swaying on rickety rope bridges.

The National Trust's vertiginous rope bridge (above) was built in 1775 by salmon fisherman and it links the mainland to the tiny island of Carrickarede (translated to 'Rock in the Road'.) This simple bridge spans 20 metres and is 30 metres above the rocks of the sea, and hose who are brave enough to hold on tight and not look down are rewarded with views across to the Scottish islands.

Travel a little way along the stunning coastline and you'll be able to use your card again, this time at The Giant's Causeway.  The inner-geographer in you will marvel at the 40,000 basalt columns and the kids will love climbing over (and slipping) on the rocks.  Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986, most of the formations are hexagonal but some have up to eight sides; a great family competition is to see who can find the column with the most sides!  

Flights to Northern Ireland are cheap and for around £30 each you can fly to the Emerald Isle with Ryanair or Easyjet from several regional airports.  

Myself and the crew are off to explore Northern Ireland in August on a quick jaunt.  Our flights (for the four of us) have come in under £100, our Premier Inn room slap bang in the middle of Belfast city has cost £34 for a night's use of a family room and car hire for 24 hours is a measly £21.  Two children eat free with every adult breakfasting at a Premier Inn and, in this part of the world, Tesco Clubcard vouchers are valid at restaurants such as Prezzo and Pizza Express.  So, for £155 we have a family trip to Northern Ireland with no additional costs for entertainment while we're there; our National Trust membership and Tesco Clubcard have eliminated additional expenses.  

When you consider that a family day out in the summer holidays to a theme park can cost in the region of £150 for entrance tickets alone, a quick nip across the sea seems like an Irish adventure worth having.

No comments:

Post a Comment