WHEN you think of couple’s breaks, you automatically think of dinner on the Eiffel Tower, or a gondola floating along a canal at sunset.
But when you look closer to home, you’ll be amazed at what is right here within your grasp (and budget). Dumfries and Galloway is ideally situated for exploring that bit of land we can spy across the sea on a clear day - Northern Ireland.
And Stena has teamed up with the Galloway Gazette to offer you the chance of winning a car crossing for two lucky people and one vehicle.
Belfast is just over two hours from Cairnryan by ferry, without the stress of a motorway drive and petrol costs to consider, it’s the ideal destination for a night or two away. And Stena are offering this deal from just £59 per adult including car and hotel. Book your ferry and hotel together - you can’t buy them separately for less.
No need to pack your passports, in-flight pillows and travel-size bottles - throw your kitchen sink into your car if you want, as there are no restrictions on luggage when you sail.
Driving straight onto one of the two huge Superfast ferries operating this route, you instantly feel relaxed with no queues full of suitcases and with all the activities on-board, you’ll find yourself wishing the crossing was a bit longer.
Once you’re off the boat, this land really is worth exploring in your car. Follow the Antrim coast north towards the picturesque towns of Port Rush, Port Stewart, Bushmills and Coleraine, all of which are not much more than an hour’s drive from Belfast if you take the most direct route, and make a weekend of it by exploring the world-famous Giant’s Causeway - a must for all visitors to this neck of the woods. Best visited early in the morning to avoid the crowds, the fascinating tale around this natural wonder and the giant Finn McCool is worth a listen through the audio guides.
But the real fun comes from the historic Carrick-A-Rede rope bridge just a few miles along the coast - are you brave enough? This historic bridge was built to link salmon fishermen to the island. On a windy day, it will test the nerves of even the most robust among us. Pack your walking shoes for this one. Or why not really get back to nature by ditching the car at your hotel and getting on your bike? This part of the world is a cyclist’s dream with views to die for.
So a weekend away really is within your sights. This neighbouring land with which we share so must history and heritage is closer than our capital city, so hop in the car, roll on, then roll off to enjoy a weekend away from just £59.
So for your chance to win a crossing, email your answer with your name, address and phone number to the below question to email@example.com or post it to Stena Competition, Galloway Gazette, Victoria Street, Newton Stewart, DG8 6NL by Thursday 18th April at 10am. Question: What was the name of the giant around whom the legend of the causeway is based?