Travel, and family travel specifically, has become a big part of our focus this year. Between us we’ve covered France, Spain, London, Wales and the South of Ireland in 2017 so far, with lots more trips planned for the remainder. We tend to set our sights further afield when it comes to breaks away, but this past weekend we were invited to try out a staycation in a part of NI that we’d never visited before.
There’s something easy and fuss-free about packing up for a spontaneous break, and one that you can get to reasonably quickly too. It makes the experience instant, and no one can ever argue with dinner and breakfast made for them and a swimming pool and spa to while away the afternoon too.
The Roe Park Resort, Limavady is set in the midst of its own 18 hole parkland golf course, and surrounded by the Roe Valley Country Park. We arrived to heavy showers, but there was no denying the beauty of the setting nonetheless. This is Ireland at its best – rolling green hills, the river running through and a patchwork of countryside extending beyond.
We checked into our Family Suite (it was huge, and would have been more than large enough for six adults, never mind our little family!) and unpacked and changed quickly to make full use of the Health Club. The resort offers both golf and spa options as extras for your stay but, given that we were there very briefly and also because we had two of our keen little swimmers with us, we opted to just spend time at the pool in the afternoon. It was the perfect way to fill a temperamental weather afternoon.
*The Health Club pool does have a swim cap policy. (It’s perfectly fine to bring your own, but they also sell them on site if you happen to forget) We didn’t realise this though, and after buying them to go in I realised that mine didn’t fit. (I have a really big head. #hatproblems 😉 ) Not wanting to break the rules, I jumped in to the little pool quickly to splash with the kids for a few moments, and then sat out the rest of the afternoon. I want to say it was a sacrifice but I had a sunlounger, a stack of magazines and entertained kiddos. I even napped for a quick second. You might want to forget your cap on purpose. Just saying 😉
After showers we got ready for dinner in The Coach House Brasserie. The whole resort was extremely busy with a wedding, golfers and other visiting guests. I think it’s testament to how well respected it is within the area though (lots of local people seemed to be coming in for dinner too.) Also, to their absolute credit, there was no problem with service or even noise during the evening. We had the prettiest view from our table over the golf course and enjoyed a sunset dinner for four. Annie had a snooze mid-way through but that had more to do with three hours of swimming previously I think! 🙂
We headed to bed late, with two very sleepy kids, and full tummies. Andrew had an amazing steak and chicken dish, and I had gorgeous Cajun cod. The food throughout our stay really was delicious, and you can’t argue with a sunset view to go with it…
Breakfast the next morning was a buffet affair, with continental and traditional Irish, cooked options. Unfortunately we were seated in what seemed to be the overflow room and it lacked a little character. I was looking forward to seeing Greens restaurant, which offers fine-dining options in the evenings, but it was jam-packed with other hotel guests. All the families seemed to be in our room too, which made me wonder were we intentionally separated. Nonetheless, breakfast was really very good, and Annie and Noah loved being able to choose what they wanted (and go back a hundred times for more!)
After checking out of the hotel we headed to Roe Valley Country Park, about five minutes away by car. The weather was a bit changeable on Sunday morning too, but we managed a quick walk in the stunning scenery by the river. I’d love to go back again in better weather, with Eva and Ernie too!
It was such a lovely weekend, and refreshing to have a resort cater so well for families, particularly larger families. Eva was staying with her grandparents this weekend due to her Netball finals, but our room and all the facilities would have more than accommodated her too. I’m excited to explore more of Limavady and the surrounding areas in the future. (Mussenden Temple has been on our to-do list for the longest time!) It’s such a mesmerising part of the world, and often it just takes venturing a little further to realise the beauty that lies right on your doorstep.
Many Thanks to Roe Park Resort, who invited us to stay with them for the purposes of this piece. In July and August Roe Park are offering even more exciting, family focused features with a programme of kids entertainment every Wednesday between 7 and 9pm. Enjoy face painting, games and a kids disco as well as lots of other family fun during the Summer months. Find out more about it here.