Actually just across the border in the Republic, this historic estate surrounded by lush grounds is one of the very best places to stay in the North, having welcomed a dazzling list of luminaries over the years (W. B. Yeats was a houseguest, Winston Churchill was a cousin of the Leslie family, and Paul McCartney and Heather Mills were married here in 2002). Strolling around the house you’ll wander past Wordsworth’s harp, the Bechstein grand piano on which Wagner composed Tristan and Isolde, and Winston Churchill’s baby clothes, among many other things. Guest rooms are individually designed to varying degrees of grandeur; most are located in the converted hunting lodge, although guests with deeper pockets can stay in the main house for the full Downton Abbey effect. The outstanding Snaffles Restaurant offers sophisticated dishes prepared with local ingredients, such as roast Silverhill duck served with orange marmalade and creamed sweet potato, or beef filet with horseradish glaze served with spinach and onion gnocchi. Alternatively, you can opt for a more casual meal at Conor’s Bar and Lounge. On the several hundred acres of grounds, horseback riding, clay pigeon shooting, and other outdoor activities can be arranged; there’s also an elegant spa to smooth away the few cares you have left. The price is incredibly reasonable for what you get.
- Jack Jewers