Killyleagh is one of the many little villages in County Down; being from Dundonald originally, I’m also from County Down but unless I went when I was younger, it’s not a village I had explored before. I was contacted by Massive PR to see if I would be interested in taking an overnight trip to Killyleagh to stay in one of the bed and breakfast’s in the area, I was thrilled!
(Before we jump into the post further, I was gifted an overnight stay for myself and my boyfriend at no cost. However, all views in this review are completely mine.)
What better way to start our Easter weekend than an overnight stay? I had borrowed the car from my Grandad and I was coming from the city centre of Belfast (We had to lunch before we headed down and of course, we stopped off for some glorious pancakes. Check my Instagram if you haven’t seen these beauties yet!) so overall the trip was about a forty-five-minute drive and more conveniently, it was right in the heart of the centre so I would say if we had chosen public transport instead, I don’t think we would have had far to walk to get to our bed and breakfast.
The first reaction to the village was “Look at all the pretty colours!”. Most of the houses and businesses are all painted different colours and I thought it was adorable. We’re so used to seeing places like Brighton with a very similar style so it was nice knowing that we have our own little place like this in Northern Ireland.
We pulled up very easily to the Dufferin Coaching Inn where we were staying for the evening and knowing that we didn’t have to battle for a car parking space around the village, put my mind at ease. (It’s one of the things that makes me very anxious, if I can’t find somewhere to park close to where I’m going so that’s why I was glad when I could park extremely close.)
Leontine was our host at the Inn and she couldn’t have been more helpful. She gave us a quick tour around the building, including where we would go for breakfast the next morning and even gave us a mini history lesson about the building. It has originally been part of the Ulster Bank and they still had the vault (More on that later!). She took us to our room and we walked in to an antique decorated room with a four-poster bed, the décor really added to the history of the building overall, it was lovely.
Once we had settled into the room and quite frankly, once I woke up from a nap, we took a walk down into the village to explore to see what we could find. We wandered down to find Cuan Beach because it was such a nice night, I knew it would make for some good photographs. While we didn’t go running on this trip, we’re slowly building up a little guide (just for us!) for places around Northern Ireland that we can travel to for the day and have a run, so this beach was definitely put on that list.
We were both pretty hungry at that point so on the way down to the beach, we had passed a restaurant that we said we’d go back to because we’d heard a recommendation about them for a vegan meal. Unfortunately, they were completely booked out but they could not have been nicer to us and told us next time we’re down, to let them know a few days in advance (so they could prepare for the vegan option). Plus, if it’s booked out, that’s a good sign, right? I can’t wait to head back next time.
Beside the Dufferin Coaching Inn is the Dufferin Arms, and while I only seen one thing on the menu that I could eat, we went in to see if they could cater to me. To cut a long story short, the chef came down to see us and he couldn’t have been more helpful. He was able to make me stir fried vegetables with rice and I was over the moon that they went out of their way to feed me. I understand that I’m one person that they could turn away but it always leaves a lasting impression with me if someone doesn’t make me feel like a nuisance.
After dinner we headed back down to the Inn, which was a five second walk away, and we said we would sit out in the living room with our books and read there for a while, but you know yourself, once you cosy up in bed, you don’t really want to get up again. Next time we visit, we’ll be taking advantage of that area because the fire had been lit that evening, and it has a real home vibe. Who wouldn’t want to have a cup of tea, with their book, in front of the lit fire?
The next morning, we got ready to go down for breakfast in the breakfast area and while I didn’t get any photographs of this particular area, it looked like a cute café and everyone loves a cute cafe. There’s nothing worse than feeling squashed in to your table but you don’t feel like here thankfully. Leontine knew about my intolerances in advance so I was served gluten free porridge with almond milk and raspberries and then gluten free bread once I had finished the porridge, and I had that with jam. I wasn’t stuffed but I wasn’t hungry, it was that nice balance that is quite hard to find with breakfast.
For other guests in the Inn, they pride themselves on using local products and local produce which I’ve found is a really important aspect for many local bed and breakfasts. I really like that personally because it shows a sense of “coming together” with the local community. Fresh yoghurts, fruit salad, selected jams and honey, cereals and toast were all up for offer as well as ordering from a separate menu for your “main breakfast”.
Once we got ready, Leontine gave us a tour of the building including the vault from the original bank which has been transformed into the male toilets.
They have a hall that they use for weddings that can seat up to one hundred people for dinner, complete with a stage. She told us that she presents the venue to clients like a blank canvas, so they can decorate however they wish but she said that it doesn’t need too much done to it.
There is a separate bar which can be used by the guests of the events planned for the hall. It’s semi-closed off from the hall so if you didn’t want to be too involved in the festivities later on in the evening, you could sneak in there to get away from the madness for a while.
The hall is underground so the steps into the hall are from above and it makes for the perfect photograph as you can see.
The Inn have seven bedrooms, while we were in Room A, we were allowed to have a look into Room F and Room G to get a feel for what the other rooms were like, because each room is very different.
After signing the guest book, we packed up the car and headed up to Killyleagh Castle which was a twenty second walk up the hill, and I didn’t know that the castle was still in use by a family so you couldn’t go past the gates but it was a lovely view from the outside.
We really did have such a wonderful time in Killyleagh, it was nice to be away from the city for the evening. We can’t thank Leontine enough for the hospitality at the Dufferin Caching Inn and Scott and I can’t wait to come back again (Yes, we’ve already talked about it!) Thank you again to Michelle at Massive PR for providing this opportunity, we’ll be back with our running shoes on (this time) with another running route to add to our little collection.