If you're looking for something to do with the family this bank holiday Monday it could be very tempting to take a trip up to the beach along with hoards of others who have had the same idea. However if you want to something different this weekend I have a plan for you. The 11th annual Glenarm Tulip Festival has everything to make a great day out and take advantage of, hopefully, great weather! Here are my 5 reasons to visit Glenarm Castle this weekend!
There are only a few select times during the year that Glenarm Castle opens its doors to the public. If you are lucky enough to be there on these days you will see centuries of history from the Earls of Antrim, beautiful portraits, stunning statues and artifacts, and you might even bump in to her ladyship herself!
A short twenty minutes will take you around the walled garden trail. You not only get to see the pristine landscaping - something I'm a bit of a geek over - you'll see all the farm animals mingling together and roaming free in their natural habitat.
Formerly known as Mushroom House the newly renovated tea rooms offer a bite to eat from reknowned chefs - formerly of the Fatted Calf - and offers a different take on your typical tea room foods. We sampled delights such as home made scampi, pulled pork sliders, pea and ham arancini, and slow cooked lamb in pitta. You'll also get the satisfaction of knowing that the produce couldn't be more local as they raise right there on the estate!
The gift shop
Another new addition to the estate is The Byre gift shop. Not only do they stock beautiful branded keepsakes such a key rings and mugs to remember your day you will also be able to bring home a taste of the estate. Home made jams, preserves, biscuits and even the meat itself - butchered by Peter Hannah of The Meat Merchant he is famous for championing Glenarm Shorthorn Beef.
These are just a few of the local products offered by the two gifts shops.
Of course no trip to a tulip festival would be complete without the tulips themselves. Falling just shy of their ten thousand target - thanks to a rogue pheasant - don't worry there are still plenty of thousands of tulips to see in dozens of new and exotic varieties. Tulips in every colour imaginable, tulips that look like frayed silk, even tulips that like chrysanthemums. The views around the walk are beautiful and you'll struggle to believe that you really are looking at the same flower each time you spot a new one.
6 per adult
3 per child
Annual passes available at 17.50 offering 10% discount at the gift shop and tea rooms with other features also.
Guided Tours and the Glenarm Road Train available 11.30am - 4.30pm (leaving every 20 minutes)
See Glenarm Castle Website for details.