Northern Ireland may have been one of the last countries you’d have seriously considered for a holiday this time 20 years ago. However, times change – and so has a country that has come to be associated with the very finest in natural beauty, intriguing history and tourist sophistication.

Here are just five of the many reasons why a visit to Northern Ireland should be on your bucket list.

  • You’ll learn all about the story of the Titanic

It may bemuse you to learn of how affectionately a city with the proud maritime heritage of Belfast remembers the most notoriously unsuccessful product of its shipbuilders. Mind you, there’s no question that the story of the ill-fated RMS Titanic continues to capture imaginations around the world.

Where better to start, then, than at Titanic Belfast on the site of the former Harland & Wolff shipyard where the doomed passenger liner was built?

  • It’s where Game of Thrones is filmed

Very few cultural juggernauts of recent years have come near the staggering global impact of the American fantasy drama series, and it should perhaps be no surprise that so many of its epic landscapes belong in real life to Northern Ireland.

Such legendary locations from the series as Kingsroad, Riverrun and Winterfell Castle can all be visited – and who knows, you may stumble across a familiar backdrop simply by wandering relatively aimlessly through the Northern Irish countryside.

  • You can discover Ireland’s only completely walled city

Derry – or Londonderry to give its official name – isn’t just distinguished by its status as the UK’s inaugural City of Culture, as occurred in 2013.

That’s because it’s also the only intact walled city to be found anywhere in Ireland – as a matter of fact, you won’t find many more complete walled cities in Europe. The fortifications in question have never been breached, and today form a walkway around the inner city, with an impressive circumference of about 1.5 kilometres.

  • Road trips don’t come more memorable than the Causeway Coastal Route

We’re sure you’ve heard of the Giant’s Causeway with its jaw-dropping basalt columns, but there are so many more tourist draws that make Northern Ireland a holiday ‘must do’ – and you can encounter a lot of them via the Causeway Coastal Route.

This journey around the northeast coast of Ireland has to be experienced to be entirely believed, with its winding and rugged road transporting the pilgrim through the nine Glens of Antrim before eventually finishing in Derry.

  • The nightlife scene just can’t be beat

Many a city around the world claims to be ‘buzzing’, but the likes of Derry and Belfast actually achieve the feat through their extremely varied evening attractions ranging from cosy traditional pubs to energising nightclubs.

If you’re heading to Belfast, for instance, we would point you first in the direction of the Cathedral Quarter, which is a lively epicentre of watering holes both well-known and relatively undiscovered.

How best to stay in Northern Ireland?

Truly, no nation offers quite what Northern Ireland can to 21st-century holidaymakers – so why not secure yourself a stay in a nice little hotel or bed and breakfast in the country this year?

With so many Northern Irish B&Bs participating in the eagerly anticipated National Bed and Breakfast Day on 24th March 2018 – and offering some very tempting deals as a result – it’s the date and type of accommodation that we’d be tempted to target. Happy travelling!